On Monday October 28th Knoxville community members, activists, leaders, politicians and social justice organizations gathered in solidarity on Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard to remember Atatiana Jefferson and Black women affected by police violence.
The evening was a time to commemorate Atatiana’s life, the 28-year-old Texas woman murdered by Fort Worth police officer Aaron Dean, inside of her home on Oct. 12, as well as the countless Black women killed by violent police officers.
Until Freedom, an intersectional social justice organization founded by previous National Women’s March organizers Tamika Mallory, Linda Sarsour, Mysonne Linen, and Angelo Pinto, lead the national day of action in 15 cities, including Knoxville, New York, Houston, Seattle, Atlanta, Miami, and Detroit, Phoenix, Knoxville, Baltimore, Las Vegas, and Washington D.C.
Angela Dennis, Imani Mfalme, Brandi Augustus, Brittany Bonner, Charice Starr and local organizations including Community Defense of East Tennessee, Knoxville’s Black Mamas Bailout and organizers from the Highlander Center lead the Day of Outrage to honor but more importantly lift up Black women.
“When I saw the call to action to have the rally from National activist Tamika Mallory in NYC I knew that I had to get Knoxville involved somehow”, said Angela Dennis a local writer and community member.
“Typically we see movements and causes for other people and communities in our city of Knoxville. As Black women we are always supportive so this was for us and it’s needed. Our people are in poverty at 42 percent and Black lives matter we must not forget that,” she continued.
Approximately 100 people attended the hour and a half long event with numerous Knoxvillians from all demographics and organizations present.
Speakers included Zaynab Ansari from Tayseer Seminary on behalf of the Muslim Community of Knoxville, Andre Canty, City Councilwoman Gwen McKenzie, David Alex Hayes, Amelia Parker, Calvin Taylor Skinner, Rick Roach, and Constance Every.
“The solidarity vigil was important for me, I feel strongly that what happened to Atatiana could happen to me”
“As a Moorish Muslim woman in Knoxville to see my brothers and sisters of the Islamic faith answer the call to stand to protect us was one of the most empowering moments I’ve been blessed to be a part of as a Muslim here in Knoxville”
Moving forward organizations involved hope to expand the dialogue regarding Black women and Black issues in the community of Knoxville and continue the conversation.