Friday, March 29th, 2019 – A crowd of over 150 community members came together Friday to kick off the 2019 Knoxville City Council election season with City Council Movement candidates Charles Al-Bawi (District 5), David Hayes (At-Large, Seat B), and Amelia Parker (At-Large, Seat C). Held at the Concourse, the event, hosted by Black Atticus, featured speeches from the candidates and community members Constance Every (Director of Sleeves4Needs) and Ed McDaniel (President of United Campus Workers-Communications Workers of America Local 3865). The evening also included entertainment, featuring performances by Summer Awad (“Uncensored”), Jarius Bush, Kobe Kane aka Mr. Kobayashi, and Divine Urban Expressions Cultural Arts N Dance. The after party, also in the Concourse, was hosted by Forever True (FRVR) Recordings, a local hip hop label in Knoxville. Food was provided by Kianga’s Kitchen, Good Golly Tamale, and Yassin’s Falafel House.
In their speeches, candidates highlighted each of their platforms and motivations for running for city council. Al-Bawi, a lawyer who focuses his work on child welfare and family law, is running to bring community-oriented policies, such as a free food program for low-income youth during the summer, and advocacy for marginalized communities to the city council.
Under the banner of Knoxville for All, community activist Hayes, spoke to his platform of affordable housing, good jobs with living wages, safe, healthy, and resourced communities, and real democracy. Hayes highlighted the need for a democratic city budget, as well as the need for communities and neighborhoods to resist gentrification by impacting and benefiting from development.
Parker, Executive Director of Peace Brigades International USA, closed out the candidate portion of the evening, announcing her candidacy for the at-Large, Seat C. Parker is reviving her people-centered platform from her 2017 election, which calls for changes to the city’s budgeting process and budget priorities that will promote a just, equitable, resident-led Knoxville.
The City Council Movement was developed from the political caucus of Rescue and Restoration. Rescue and Restoration is a community organizing effort established in 2014 to address health, political, education and economic issues that affect predominantly African-American communities. The Movement’s Mission is to strengthen the people’s political power by holding elected officials accountable via organizing, education and participatory democracy; and secure political representatives who maintain practices and implement projects that demonstrate viable effective economic and social impact on people of color, working class and marginalized communities. Al-Bawi, Hayes, and Parker have all been endorsed as 2019 City Council Movement candidates.
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