Knoxville’s newly-established African American Equity Restoration Task Force was allotted $100,000 in the latest city budget. Mayor Indya Kincannon highlighted this task force as one of their biggest diversity initiatives.
That is one tenth of a percent of what Kincannon projected the task force may receive. At the end of January, The Tennessee Star reported projections that the task force may receive $100 million in government grants over the next seven years.
Social justice was the primary focus for Kincannon when formulating the budget, as The Star reported at the end of March. Other initiatives in the proposed budget included alternative forms of policing, permanent housing for the homeless, expanded affordable housing, clean energy implementation, increased diversity within businesses, and equitable hiring in local government. As promised, funding for these initiatives were outlined in the budget announced this week.
Concerning policing, Kincannon allocated several million to “reimagine public safety.” This totaled up to $1.9 million for public safety partners, such as the Metro Drug Coalition and Animal Welfare; $1 million for violence interrupters and preventers; $500,000 for health and mental health partners; and over $500,000 for youth havens and programs.
Affordable housing initiatives received a $9.5 million boost, with an additional $1 million to address homelessness. Kincannon also promised an additional $50 million commitment to affordable housing projects for the next decade. Over $1 million went to supporting diversity businesses.
Clean energy received a significant portion of the funding. $15.3 million was invested in transitioning public transportation to electric energy, and over $4.7 million for stormwater infrastructure and urban forestry.
Knoxville approved the creation of the African American Equity Restoration Task Force last December. A companion resolution issued an apology to the past injustices endured by Black individuals in the city.
The Star followed up with the mayor’s office about when the task force members might be announced. Their spokespersons didn’t respond by press time.
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Corinne Murdock is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and the Star News Network. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Black Owned Business” by Paul Sableman. CC BY 2.0.