About

We are here to be heard.

Founded in 2019, Community Voices of Knoxville is a diverse group of community members and organizations working in the inner-city, taking the pulse of the heart of Knoxville. The Community Voices Survey asks hundreds of primarily low-income people of all color to not only identify their most serious concerns, but to also participate in a series of Community Conversations and public forums, to tell their stories and identify LOCAL solutions to their most serious issues.

Community Voices 2020 Program and Policy Equity Framework

WHAT:

Specific, workable, community-identified equity policy and program proposals to actualize in partnership with the next mayor.

WHY:

<> Knoxville poverty rates worsening; At 42%, Knoxville Black poverty rate worst in the South for cities > 100K population

<> Use 2019 Mayoral election to raise awareness of and reverse civic neglect of worsening equity 

<> Find bottom-up, poverty reduction alternatives to top-down, poverty management strategies.

<> Community Voices Survey: Historic survey of poverty experts, i.e. 699 low-income residents, yields clear data identifying our most critical issues, as well as the raw material for organizing the community for economic justice and racial equity

WHO:

Community Voices is a partnership of non-profit, non-government agencies, churches, businesses, and individuals based in the Heart of Knoxville, who are working together to empower inner city residents to understand and collectively address issues they self-identify to be critical, priority concerns of justice and equity in their communities.

HOW:

<> Community Voices Survey:  Collaboratively developed in early 2019 by the Community Voices Coalition partners, this historic survey of poverty experts, i.e. 699 low-income residents, yields clear data identifying Knoxville’s most critical economic justice and racial equity issues.

<> Community Conversations 1 & 2: Community forums where inner city residents translated the results of the Community Voices Survey into questions for mayoral candidates and equity policy and program proposals – the Community Voices Equity Framework – to work on with the next mayor.

<> Mayoral Candidate Forums 1 & 2: The topics of gun violence, lack of youth opportunities, and unaffordable housing and utilities, never addressed in previous forums, have been raised to become major election issues. Faces were put on the issues as inner-city residents told their stories to the mayoral candidates at the forums.

<> Going forward: Quarterly Coalition Meetings and Community Conversations with the Mayor: Working mayoral strategy sessions with Community Voices Coalition partners and progress reports presented for feedback at community forums.

EQUITY FRAMEWORK

ISSUE #1: GUN VIOLENCE

Gun Violence Proposal – Priority #1:

Increase Funding for Non-Government, Non-profit Programs Addressing Gun Violence

<> Community/neighborhood-based

<> Based on models of evidence-based success in other cities

<> Examples: Violence Interrupters; Post and pre g.v. trauma treatment

Gun Violence Proposal – Priority #2:

Transparent, Complete, Readily Available Local Gun Violence Statistics

<> Web access

<> Precinct-level data

<> Timely updating and access to yearly comparisons

Gun Violence Proposal – Priority #3:

Increase and Sustain KPD-Youth Long Term Relationship-building Programs

<> Target inner city middle and high schools

<> Athletics and beyond 

<> Beyond cadet recruitment

Gun Violence Proposal – Priority #4:

Gun Buyback and Ban KPD Gun Resales

<> This program and policy must be simultaneously implemented

<> Pilot voluntary gun back program

<> Define success based on gun violence stats

Gun Violence Proposal – Priority #5:

Funding for Trauma Treatment for G.V. Prevention and Post G.V. Trauma

<> Treating trauma before it leads to gun violence

<> Comprehensive, ongoing treatment for gun violence survivors

<> Survivor: anyone who has personally experienced gun violence – wounded, witnessed, or had someone they cared for wounded or killed by a gun or other violent attack

ISSUE #2: YOUTH OPPORTUNITIES

Youth Opportunities Proposal – Priority #1:

Impact Report on Current City Youth Programs

<> Identify service gaps 

<>     “       measures of success/effectiveness

<> Evidence-based evaluations

Youth Opportunities Proposal – Priority #2:

Expand Internships and Apprenticeships through City and Chamber

<> Target inner city/low income youth 

<> Identify measures of success/effectiveness

Youth Opportunities Proposal – Priority #3:

Youth Representative on Police Advisory and Review Commission

<> Previous experience with KPD interactions

Youth Opportunities Proposal – Priority #4:

Establish City Youth Advisory Council

<> Reports to Mayor 

<> Youth reps from each City Council district

<> Advises on youth-related policies and programs

ISSUE #3: AFFORDABLE HOUSING AND UTILITIES

Affordable Housing and Utilities Proposal – Priority #1:

Advocate for Low-Income Representative on Knoxville Utilities Board

<> Mayor approves nominees submitted by KUB

Affordable Housing and Utilities Proposal – Priority #2:

Sustainable Funding for Low-income Weatherization and Solar

<> Clean Energy Equity Trust Fund for start-up capital and financing?

Affordable Housing and Utilities Proposal – Priority #3:

Enact Low-Income Property Tax Freeze

<> Targeted in rapidly gentrifying areas?

ISSUE #4: POLICE – COMMUNITY RELATIONS

Police – Community Relations Proposal – Priority #1:

Establish Stakeholder Committee for Independent Review/Audit of KPD

Police – Community Relations Proposal – Priority #2

Increase and Sustain KPD-Youth Long Term Relationship-building Programs

Police -Community Relations Proposal – Priority #3:

Youth Representative on Police Advisory and Review Commission

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