Tennessee Human Rights Commission visits campus

Eleanor Angel, Chattanooga, Tenn. – Chattanooga Organized for Action will provide a Testimony to TN Human Rights Commission Feb. 24 from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m in the University Center.

The commission will address three major issues within the city of Chattanooga. The crisis of housing, economic inequity and democracy.

Perrin Lance, Executive director and UTC alumni, will be providing a testimony at the hearing. Perrin started COA with a group of friends during 2010.

“I walked around UTC and Chattanooga a lot and I would always think about the workers at UTC and I wondered whether or not them and their children had the same opportunities at success that I did,” Perrin said. He knew they did not but he didn’t see this issue being addressed.

“I didn’t see anyone in Chattanooga that was really looking to do something about it. I didn’t see anyone directly trying to tackle the issue of the economic inequities and social injustice straight out,” Perrin said.

With a group of friends, inspired by the need seen in the city, they began COA. “We have had the same vision since day one. That Chattanooga needs to be a more socially just city,” Perrin said.

Perrin said that some of the issues they are tackling today include poverty, unemployment and homelessness.

Perrin said that said that the student body at UTC has the ability to have a huge impact on what is going on in the city of Chattanooga.

Some  students do not feel as affected by the government decisions being made.

Elise Ball, Senior from Knoxville, has strongly invested in her community but has not been as aware of how the government may be impacting her.

“As a student, I haven’t gotten as involved or invested much time in Chattanooga as a city. So I don’t know how Chattanooga government has failed me,” Ball said.

“Students are a marginalized population themselves,” he said. “Students have a say in the courses that are offered and the teachers that are hired.”

Peter Hagemeyer, junior from Oak Ridge, said that he is interested in what the hearing will have to offer as far as solutions to the issues that are present in our city.

“I would be interested in going to see whether solutions are proposed and not just observations,” Hagemeyer said.

“I would like to see what their solution to the huge education disparity between wealthy people and the poor people of Chattanooga is,” Hagemeyer said. “If they do have solutions, do they include a type of race reconciliation or are they proponents of a separate but equal culture in Chattanooga.”

Hagemeyer said that he wonders if thy are more interested in unification or preservation of barriers that exist.

“There is often a lot of observation and no solution,” Hagemeyer said.


COA is asking for students to submit testimonies of how they have experienced the state of inequality and injustice in Chattanooga. Submissions can be sent to info@chattaction.org or students may call Perrin Lance at (423)-653-2393.
The hearing is free of charge and open to everyone.


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