green opportunities

courtesy of DeWayne Barton


It’s a midweek morning at Asheville’s YMI Cultural Center. Upstairs, in a gallery featuring his wall-mounted sculptures, Dewayne Barton has just gotten off the phone, protesting his treatment earlier that morning at Buncombe County government office.

“Being black here, being black anywhere, You have to have your own therapy to help you be able to move throughout the world,” Barton said. “The thing I just dealt with this morning is crap. ‘Oh, you need to take your bracelet off?’ I need to take your bracelet off to go through a metal detector? How many people do you tell to do that?”

North Carolina Department of Commerce

Buncombe County’s unemployment rate stands at just over 4%.  But the same rate for the county’s African-American community is several times higher.  Efforts to bring that down have been slow moving.

Pexels

Asheville’s restaurant scene is one of the big reasons why the city’s national profile continues to rise.  African-American restauranteurs, chefs, and cooks will be honored at an event Wednesday afternoon showcasing the role Asheville’s black population has in the industry.