The Bottom closes when plumbing breaks; community rallies

Susan EspirituEast Knox, Our Town Neighbors

Dr. Enkeshi El-Amin, a local sociologist, along with other local Black women in Knoxville have created a space in East Knoxville for local youth to thrive and find their cultural identity.

The Bottom is that space which began in 2019 as a youth sewing and entrepreneurial program, but has grown to include a tea room, podcast studio and a black empowerment bookstore. To read the story about this community creation, go to their website: The Bottom.

Reading on The Bottom Facebook page, one excited youth posted, “We are so excited to be bringing back our annual summer program ‘Sew it, Sell it’’ We have 11 students ready to sew it and sell it at The Bottom this summer. Over the next few weeks participants are going to be expressing their creativity, learning a vocational skill, and developing a sense of self-reliance. Stop by The Bottom during market day on July 29th, where you’ll have the opportunity to support these young entrepreneurs by purchasing their products!”

The excitement turned to dismay last week when disaster struck after failed plumbing and a $15,000 repair estimate to replace pipes and reroute all drains and sewage closed the building, suspending two youth programs and devastating the organization.

By Friday, the community had rallied to raise over half the funds needed and work began to repair the plumbing. The Change Center stepped in to host the youth programs while the space is unusable, but home is home at The Bottom and the youth need back in the space.

A donation to The Bottom will not only help complete the needed repairs, but it could also help to keep the doors open and programs running. Donations also help maintain and sustain a Black institution and Black-affirming space in Knoxville.

You can make a donation conveniently through VenmoCashapp and Paypal!

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