Felicia Outsey and her son Dynamic Ray

By Vivian Shipe

KNOXVILLE, TN — The last year has been lived in isolation for the majority of the country. That isolation has resulted in a 14 percent rise in suicide, 31 percent rise in overdoses, and an alarming increase  of 70 percent in murders in Knoxville, particularly

Pastor Butler of New Mount Calvary Church speaks to the community. Photos by Vivian Shipe

among the youth. While the police are taken the route of justice; many small groups in the community are taken a preventive and restorative plan of action

Pastor Reginald Butler of New Mount Calvary Church which sits in the heart of the area where much of the violence has occurred, open the doors of his church to concerned community groups which are steadily growing in numbers.  He purposefully moved his church into the community to help effect change. Every week groups meet and share what they are doing. In an effort to get help, they are working collectively to get the city government’s attention about the immediate needs that must be met as the budget planning for next year is on going.

The movement to save lives and get the resources needed to help others is being fueled by the drive and passion of Felicia Outsey, a community leader who runs Divine  Urban Expressions. There are barbers, coaches, art therapist, counselors, musicians, neighborhood associations, organizations, and individuals, all a  part of the “Divine Intervention” Mutual  Aid Work Group. Each week, the numbers joining the fight increase. Seema Singh who is on the City Council

City Councilmember Seema Singh, front row, listening to the community concerns.

attended to hear what the community had to say at one of their weekly meetings.

Outsey had this to say about the move to make something concrete happen, “We try our best to learn what all the needs are and move in love to try to help one another.” We work collectively to strengthen the foundation in order to build a stronger village for the youth and families we serve.” .

Several of the organizations have events coming up aimed toward embracing the youth and showing them another way. The first event will be a fishing tournament on April 3rd. Children who want to learn to fish as a way of escaping the stress they are under and to have someone to talk to, are the focus of the tournament.

The group meets in person every Wednesday from 6:30 to 8 pm. at different locations within the communities they are trying to help. Their mantra: We MO.V.E. in L.O.V.E.