2:30 PM – Our First Hybrid Meeting!
Vaccinated individuals are welcome to attend in-person at the Friends Meeting House, 227 Edgewood Road, Asheville, NC.
Presented by Dr. Oralene Simmons and David King
While the decision to remove (and actual removal of) the Vance Monument is still fresh in the minds of Asheville and surrounding county residents, David and Oralene, two members of the Task Force appointed by the Asheville City Council and the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners, will discuss the process, history, deliberations and eventual recommendation by a vote of 11 for removal, with only 1 vote for repurposing. The task force received over 600 comments from the public. City Council eventually agreed and voted 6-1 (Sandra Kilgore was the sole “no” vote) for the monument’s removal. Come, listen, and join the dialog. David and Oralene will put this decision in the context of how Black and White North Carolinians were taught Southern history and how it was seen to be a step in the right direction toward truth and reconciliation. David and Oralene will also reveal an interesting personal connection.
Dr. Oralene Simmons, internationally recognized civil rights leader, is the founder of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Association of Asheville and Buncombe County. She was raised in Madison County and was the first Black student to attend Mars Hill College. Dr. Simmons received the national MLK Commission’s “Making of the King Holiday Award” presented to her by Mrs. Coretta Scott King. Ms. Oralene Simmons speaks and teaches widely, inspiring audiences locally, nationally, and globally, about her journey in civil rights along a path of non-violence in the tradition of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
David King, a former Buncombe County Commissioner, lives in Weaverville with his wife, Nancy. He worked in manufacturing for 20+ years, owned a small business as a farrier, and with his wife, they owned a gift and coffee shop and a small real estate business. David holds two associate degrees from Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College and a bachelor’s degree in industrial technology from Western Carolina University. He has been active in both Republican and Democratic politics as well as county commissions and boards. He is a huge advocate of public education, equality of opportunity, land conservation and a healthy environment.