Knoxville City Council will be considering a zero-tolerance policy on racism and sexism displayed by any city employee.
Council member Amelia Parker announced that she is drafting the policy. This latest initiative follows a similar policy proposed in the wake of George Floyd’s death last year by community activists, and agreed upon by Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon. That initiative never came to fruition. Concerning last year’s similar proposal, Parker said in an email that the lack of follow-through from Kincannon was disappointing.
The city of Knoxville plans to fund over $50 million for affordable housing over the next decade, according to legislation proposed by the mayor. The Affordable Housing Fund, as promulgated by Mayor Indya Kincannon, will commit a minimum of $5 million annually for the next decade to develop affordable housing.
The Knoxville City Council is considering the legislation that would make Kincannon’s goal possible. The legislation would create a trust fund account called the “Knoxville affordable housing fund.” If passed, the new fund will take effect immediately.
Knoxville schools will no longer have a police presence, per a joint letter issued by Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon and the Knoxville Police Department (KPD). The mayor and KPD pulled the plug on an agreement in which KPD supplied officers as security for Knox County Schools (KCS).
KPD officers will be pulled from schools by June 12 – the latest date of graduations occurring. The letter explained that KCS’s internal security and mental health professionals have grown since the agreement took place, making it unnecessary to have KPD assistance.
Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon pledged up to $25,000 for a mural dedicated to memorializing COVID-19 deaths. The mural will be a permanent memorial for over 600 Knox County residents who reportedly died from COVID-19. The commissioned artist, Kelsey Montague, is best known for “What Lifts You” – the popularized angel wings mural located in the Nashville Gulch.
The pandemic memorial mural will be located on one of the Clinch Avenue Viaduct underpasses at the World’s Fair Park; it will depict brightly-colored birds flying upward into a blue archway toward the base of the historical Sunsphere. Kincannon announced this development in a press release on Thursday.
On Wednesday, Knoxville announced the appointment of 17 youths to a council dedicated to addressing city issues through “strategic planning.” The “Mayor’s Youth Council” will work alongside the Knoxville City Council and other city officials as they focus on community organizing, leadership, and advocacy. The council has a total of four eighth-graders, three high school freshmen, four sophomores, four juniors, and two seniors representing eight schools.
The council will begin meeting over the summer. They will be tasked with learning municipal services, collaborating with their peers and youth-serving nonprofits, and “strategic planning.”
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.