Can’t say about the rest of the country, but Powell is going to be OK.
We saw that Sunday when Gabby Amanns mobilized her friends and folks from Powell Church for a peace walk on the Emory Road sidewalk. It was hot, and the walk was long. Politicians were scarce, although we did spot Elizabeth Rowland in the crowd.
Gabby said the idea had been pressing and burning in her heart. Her words:
“I want to invite you to rally together in these trying and uncertain times to spread love, stand for the value that every individual holds, and to be the hands and feet of Christ.
“Small steps are not going to end inequality and injustice, or make the world perfect … But they are the beginning sparks to becoming a world of genuine empathy, love and peace. I encourage you to come and join in this peaceful, encouraging, necessary event to stand for all members of our society, but especially our African-American and minority brothers and sisters.”
Walkers gathered at KARM’s parking lot, where Gabby and others handed out cold water. A great idea. Everyone wore a mask and the smart ones wore a hat. We all socially distanced, staying in family groups 10 feet apart from others on the sidewalk.
The march ended at Powell Station Park with a live band; Gabby’s dad, Danny Amanns, spoke, and William Pruitt of 100 Black Men of Knoxville offered the benediction. Laura Bailey gave rides back to KARM in her Gator golf cart.
And I’m watching the action. Young adults sang. Kids carried balloons and a dog with booties (to prevent sidewalk paw burns) marched in front. There was no visible law enforcement.
Powell Station Park was a perfect site. We gathered in the back, away from the splash pad. We stood on land where Cherokees had raised corn, where restless men like John Menifee came with his land grant and where Columbus Powell built a house before he, too, left for the wilderness. It was the Hackworth and Gill families who cut trees, sawed lumber and brought water to a growing community.
And on that land, on July 12, 2020, the next generation of leaders stood to say that Powell is open to all people – even the most vulnerable.
Gabby Amanns said it best: “While there aren’t as many African Americans and minorities in Powell as there are in other cities, there are some. And that is enough for us to stand beside and remind them that we care for them, love them and want equality for all people.
“We want to see unity in our beautiful community of Powell.”
And the crowd said, “Amen.”
Sandra Clark is editor/CEO of KnoxTNToday.com.