Human rights advocates call for change in Scenic City
Chattanooga receives a lot of attention across the country for being a great place to live, but not everyone is sharing in the Scenic City's success.
Several community advocates gathered at UTC on Monday for Tennessee's Human Rights Commission public hearing that addressed several human rights issues within the city.
"We need to talk more about the human side about what is happening here in Chattanooga," said Dr. Elenora Woods, Hamilton Co. NAACP.
While testifying before the Human Rights Commission, Woods outlined growing problems facing the city's lowest-income residents.
"How do we deal with a city that wants to grow, is growing, and is seen all over the world as a very good place to live... yet deal with poverty?" Woods asked.
Karen Jefferson went to the NAACP for help after being evicted from The Villages of Alton Park, a public housing complex on the city's far south side.
"They were down there, putting my stuff out on the street, just throwing it out," Jefferson said. "I started crying, I was very upset."
"Speaking truth to power is kind of an unpopular job, it's kind of hard to do," said Perrin Lance, Chattanooga Organized for Action.
Lance said the city needs more affordable housing options.
Other advocates joined the forum, speaking on disability rights, human sex trafficking awareness and disparities in education and employment.
Some, like Woods, suggested implementing new advocacy and education programs to help. But all agreed that change needs to happen.
"These are our people, our children and our problems," Woods said.
The Tennessee Human Rights Commission will continue these meetings at various locations around the state through May.