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Knoxville NAACP President talks agenda just 9 days into his new role

After taking over the Knoxville NAACP branch, President Rev. Sam Brown talks about the problems facing the African American community and his plan to fix them.

An East Tennessee native, Reverend Sam Brown said he knows his new job is a big one. However, he also said that he feels prepared for it.

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

The new role won't come without challenges. The community is seeing gun violence affecting kids, overwhelming housing disparities and more. Brown said most of the problems facing his community can be fixed with better learning opportunities.

"Education is the surest way to upward mobility, the NAACP does what is ever necessary 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, according to health officials.

"We will also be partnering with the faith coalition to create an apparatus of information and messaging to the Black community so that any anxiety regarding taking the COVID-19 vaccine will be removed," said Brown.

The Reverend also said that wants to send one message loud and clear, "the NAACP is not the enemy of anyone. We're just a friend to justice."

The NAACP will convene on Jan. 16th for its first retreat. He said that is where leaders will plan out the initiatives and actions for the year.