Knoxville NAACP president talks agenda just 9 days into new role

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After taking over the NAACP branch in Knoxville, the president, the Rev. Sam Brown, talks about the issues facing the African-American community and his plan to address them.

Originally from East Tennessee, the Reverend Sam Brown said he knows his new job is important. However, he also said he felt ready for it.

“As an AME Zion pastor, working with the NAACP is something that has always been a priority of mine,” Brown said.

The new role will not come without challenges. The community sees gun violence affecting children, overwhelming housing disparities and more. Brown said most of the problems his community faces can be solved through better learning opportunities.

“Education is the surest way to access upward mobility, the NAACP is doing whatever it takes to hold all institutions accountable so that everyone is treated fairly,” Brown said.

However, no challenge on the new president’s agenda is more important than the public health crisis that is decimating the black community. COVID-19 has disproportionately affected communities of color, health officials say.

“We will also partner with the faith-based coalition to create an information and messaging device for the black community so that any anxiety about taking the COVID-19 vaccine is taken away,” Brown said.

The Reverend also said he wanted to send a loud and clear message, “The NAACP is no one’s enemy. We are just a friend of justice.”

The NAACP will meet on January 16 for its first retreat. He said this is where leaders will plan initiatives and actions for the year.

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