Knoxville’s new mayor, Indya Kincannon. Photo by Vivian Shipe

By Vivian Shipe

KNOXVILLE, TN — With those three words, “Let us begin,” an historical mayoral inauguration ushered in the promise of great change in Knoxville.

The inauguration ceremony was history making right from the beginning as Yassin Syrian was chosen as the Master of Ceremonies by newly-elected Mayor Indya Kincannon. Yassin,

Mayor Indya Kincannon, left, and Vice Mayor Gwen McKenzie.
Photo by Vivian Shipe

whose company, Yassins Falafel House was chosen as the nicest place in America by Good Morning America, shared his story of coming to America nine years ago with nothing and his humble beginnings of selling sandwiches on the street. He shared his story to show how the acceptance and love he received in Knoxville contributed to his success as he now has over a million dollars in sales annually.

The election of Kincannon as Knoxville’s second female mayor was followed  by another history making moment as Gwen McKenzie was elected vice mayor making her the first African American female to ever hold the position.

Kincannon has already indicated her years as mayor will not be business as usual. She has promised to run an inclusive government. She selected Rev. Charles Lomax Jr. to be the

Yassin Syrian, Master of Ceremonies

Director of Community Empowerment and Councilwoman Amelia Parker to the Knox Transpotation Authority Board.

Kincannon stood before the crowd at the historic Bijou Theatre and those who watched the livestream from the over-flow room in the history center and boldly lay down her vision for a vibrant, inclusive city for everyone.

“Put the people first…. empower the communities….ensure all families have

Councilwoman Amelia Parker, Knoxville Transportation
Authority Board Appointee. Photo by Vivian Shipe

opportunities and respond boldly to the climate crisis “….were some of the words she used to paint a picture of the future of Knoxville.

“We must find common ground to work together to address challenges,” Kincannon said as she closed her remarks and turned to sit down and hold her first council meeting.

A new year, a new decade, a new mayor.

The scruffy little city of Knoxville is growing.