A local faith-led, multiracial and interdenominational coalition of congregations, community organizations, and labor groups will present its vision for East Tennessee to candidates on October 7 from 3-5 p.m. at the University of Tennessee Cox Auditorium on the UT-Knoxville campus.
Through a months-long process of discussion and voting in a series of meetings open to all, the Alliance for Community Transformation of East Tennessee (ACT-ET) has arrived at three specific ways our elected representatives can improve the quality of life in our community:
- Provide a path for all Tennessee residents to obtain a valid driver’s license.
- Ensure local lending institutions provide equal opportunity to home mortgages for all families.
- Increase access to necessary medical treatment for those struggling with opioid dependence.
ACT-ET member organizations include Oak Ridge Unitarian Universalist Church and St. Mary’s Catholic Church. Members of First Christian Church of Oak Ridge, First Presbyterian Church of Oak Ridge, and Oak Valley Baptist Church participated in choosing the issues and planning the public meeting.
“Government of, for, and by the people requires that we make known to our elected representative our values and vision for our community,” said Joan Burns, Oak Ridge resident and co-chair of ACT-ET. “Doing so is not easy. Individuals are easily dismissed. But there is strength in numbers and there is power in working together.”
In a press release, Burns pointed to the success of Nashville Organizing for Action and Hope (NOAH)—which has brought together diverse groups of citizens from churches, unions, and advocacy organizations—to push the mayor’s office to create an affordable housing plan and city council to pass inclusionary zoning and developer-subsidy bills. NOAH has become a powerful force for positive change on this and other issues, the press release said.
Like NOAH in Nashville, ACT-ET is creating the opportunity for concerned citizens in East Tennessee to come together and be heard by decision makers.
“Anyone interested in the health, safety, and quality of life in our community is invited to help us shape and focus this public meeting with candidates,” said Greg Easterly, ACT-ET community organizer. “Our goal is to have 1,000 citizens in the Cox Auditorium at UT on Sunday, October 7, standing up to be heard by those who want to represent us.”
Candidates for governor, U.S. House and Senate, and the Tennessee General Assembly have been invited, the press release said. Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero will open the event and welcome those in attendance.
Burns encouraged all Oak Ridgers who care about the future of our community to attend, saying, “Be there to show those who wish to represent us that the people are paying attention and will be heard.”
The members of ACT-ET apply their faith and values to the pursuit of equal opportunity for all, shared abundance, and stronger, more prosperous communities, the press release said. For more information or to explore how you or your organization can join ACT-ET, contact Greg Easterly at [email protected] or visit the Facebook page for ACTofEastTN.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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