Knoxville City Council will appoint its first members to the African American Equity Restoration Task Force during its meeting next Tuesday. The task force will consist of the following members: George Underwood, Enkeshi El-Amin, Brandon Hardin, Regina Olum, Anderson Olds, Dave Miller, Deborah Porter, Matthew Best, Tanisha Fitzgerald Baker, Bill Lyons, Stanley Taylor, and Gwen McKenzie.
These members were selected from applicants that qualified as business, community, financial, educational, faith, health care, youth, and city leaders. According to the council documents, the task force will determine its organizational and leadership structure during its first meeting.
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.
Knoxville’s upcoming budget appears to hold a primary focus on the expansion of many key social justice initiatives. Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon introduced these focuses in a budget presentation last month.
These types of initiatives within Knoxville’s proposed budget include: alternative forms of policing, permanent housing for the homeless, expanding affordable housing, clean energy implementation (such as electric cars), an African American Equity Restoration Task Force, increased diversity in businesses, and equitable hiring in local government.
This year, Knoxville will deploy an African American Equity Restoration Task Force to solve “disparity and disenfranchisement in Black communities.” The city created the task force in mid-December at the request of Vice Mayor Gwen McKenzie, as part of a larger resolution issuing an apology for the city’s past impacts on Black people.
According to the City Council website, the task force will include business, community, financial, education, faith, healthcare, youth, and city leaders capable to create policy and programs for the city. The Community Empowerment Department will assist the task force in their assigned task. Additionally, the city stated that the task force’s recommendations may be afforded up to $100 million in government grants over the next seven years.