Children line up to do art projects and eat all they can hold.

By Vivian Shipe

KNOXVILLE, TN — Charetta Jones looked at the beautiful rainbow of children playing before her.

Forgotten children in a forgotten part of town. Montgomery Village sits across the bridge in South Knoxville. Ironically, as South Knoxville continues to rapidly expand with new businesses and apartments and housing; the small area across the tracks where the marginalized live seems stuck in time.  Old buildings, sparse services, and crime abound with very little concern or love shown.

Jones knew she had to do something to show the children, all between the ages of 3 and 14 that they too are loved. So, she made a phone call to Felicia Outsey and asked her to bring her Move in Love organization to Montgomery Village 

As she has done over and over in East Knoxville during times of trials and crisis, Ms. Outsey, whose organizations letters M.O.V.E.stand for motivation to overcome violence through expression, rounded up her troops and on a sunny Sunday afternoon, brought love and hope to a culturally diverse community. 

An all call for volunteers brought out former and future Commissioners and some of Knoxville’s best DJs, rappers and lyricists. People came with pan after pan of hotdogs drinks, cookies, and to the delight of the children, big batches of Mac and cheese!

The rappers flowed with words of hope. Rapper Styles, an ETSU student home for the weekend, reminded the children of who they will be while RFJ 4000 spit spiritual words of encouragement. Even the children performed during a special showcase where every child who wanted to perform was given the opportunity.

For 4 hours the children joyfully sang and danced, won prizes, and at the end, after a moment of silence, released balloons for their little friends who had died too soon 

Pain lies not only in the East, it lies in the South also… but for a few hours, it was forgotten as children played, feeling loved and cared for.

As she looked over the grounds where the children played, Ms. Outsey reminded everyone that you not only teach love… 

You must model love…