SOCM’s Knoxville Chapter is preparing to transform tenants’ rights in the city! In March, we hosted June Zettelmeyer from the Cumberland Chapter to help us conduct a workshop on choosing an issue. We narrowed down our shared interests to working to improve tenants’ rights in the city and cutting energy bills in rented homes through energy efficiency improvements. Right now, members are working on researching these complex and important issues. We’re learning what rights tenants currently hold in Knoxville, how tenant organizing has succeeded throughout the country, and what energy efficiency programs currently exist for homeowners. In June, we’ll put this all together in a strategy workshop hosted by Middle Tennessee Organizer Mike Cannon and Social Justice Committee Chair Dylan Ross.
Meanwhile, chapter member Drocella Mugorewera has led our efforts to recognize World Environment Day. Drocella is working with members of her community to collect pieces of art and writing from students. These works will be on display at the Birdhouse Community Center in the 4th and Gill Neighborhood for the month of June. Drocella will be the keynote speaker at a potluck dinner on June 21st at the Birdhouse, which will also feature music, poetry, and an auction of crated goods from throughout the world.
Fundraising Chair Shelby Wright has put together a subcommittee to work on a fundraising event in late summer. The final details are still taking shape, but it should be an outdoor event themed towards children.
Regis Borsari has offered to take on the position of SOCM representative to the Knoxville Scores energy savings campaign. We’ve also held successful tablings at the Knoxville Home Energy Savings Fair, and the University of Tennessee Earth Day Celebration. In March, we had several representatives meet with members of the Knoxville-Knox County Food Policy Council to learn more about their work.
The Knoxville Chapter continues to grow at a rapid pace; we’ve had to move our meetings from the conference room to the main entrance of the office to find enough seating room!