By Vivian Shipe
KNOXVILLE, TN — She is quiet and unassuming. She doesn’t care to be in the lime light and works to accomplish great things by sharing her gifts and resources to build up others. During the Census you could find her standing on the street waving people down to be counted. You could even spot her in the background of her own organization, boots on the ground helping get voters registered at events held around the city all last summer.
Meet Nikki Frank, co-founder of Knoxville Renaissance, a non profit organization with a goal of building Black wealth in Knoxville.
Frank, a highly intelligent woman and a quiet visionary, had this to say about the state of the Black experience. “After the election of President Barak Obama, racism reared its head in this country in a way I had never seen before. Racism, that was once quiet and covert, became astoundingly unrestricted and progressive. An intolerable and uncomfortable shift was happening and I knew that there was work to do. It became important to me to see Black community members become empowered. I have a vision of a unified, economically thriving Black community. Knoxville is a beautiful community and a great place to live – I hope it can someday be a Black mecca similar to Atlanta. We have come such a long way and so many are working hard to make changes, that I feel confident that it is possible to see the fruit of our labor in my lifetime. My concern is that often funding bypasses the Black community and is allocated for other initiatives. I hope that as more African Americans gain local leadership positions, we will see a shift in this dynamic.”
When asked three questions, Frank responded with great conviction:
What is your WHY? “I am passionate about the systemic racism and inequities that plague communities of color. One of my goals is to provide opportunities for people of color to build generational wealth through home ownership,” said Frank.
What makes you so confident? “Seeing so many like minded boots on the ground organizations who are passionate about change makes me confident for the future.”
What words of wisdom can you share? “Never compare yourself to others – keep pushing forward on the path God has set for you.”