Representatives Gloria Johnson, Sam McKenzie, Yusuf Hakeem, Bob Ramsey, TBCSL Chairman Antonio Parkinson, and Caucus Chair Vincent Dixie Photo by Vickie Johnson

By Vivian Shipe

KNOXVILLE, TN —  As part of an effort to learn the concerns of the people they serve across the state, members of the Tennessee Black Caucus State legislature have been meeting in town hall settings across the state. Sam McKenzie, State Legislator from Knoxville hosted the listening event for Knoxville on June 2nd at the Beck Cultural Exchange Center. Rev. Renee Kesler, who is the Executive Director moderated the two-hour meeting.

The members of the caucus were also joined at by Representatives Bob Ramsey and Gloria Johnson during a special presentation of a Living Legend proclamation which was presented to the Honorable Reverend Doctor Harold Middlebrook. The town hall meeting was full as both citizens and local government officials, including the new incoming School Superintendent Jon Rysewyk, and state Tennessee Education Association President Tanya T. Coats, listened as questions were asked about education, gun control, lack of funding opportunities for small black nonprofits, mental health needs and other subjects presented from the floor.

The caucus members spoke of their specific goals for every citizen: making sure there was food on the table, putting money back in the pockets of the people, making sure everyone had housing and dealing with health issues.

The last stop for June will be in Memphis with the tours resuming again in July as the caucus continues across the state – listening to the people, being the voice for which they were elected.