By Patricia Williams
KNOXVILLE, TN (June 2020) – East Knoxville buzzed with activities last Saturday, June 27th – all while following mandated coronavirus safety and social distancing protocols. Events held in a few blocks of MLK Avenue took hours to visit and enjoy, which I did.
My first stop was at Edgewood Chapel AME Zion Church at 2440 MLK Ave. where Pastor Victor and First Lady Stephanie King hosted a voter registration drive. Complimentary hot dogs and hamburgers from the grill were served with a side of chips. A few political candidates vying for positions in the district stopped by to meet and greet, and to get their hands on the mic to speak for a few minutes between the music.
Our own neighborhood herbalist Mrs. Vernita. She hasn’t set up shop with her essential oils, natural soaps, lotions, and incense in a short while. Mrs. Vernita walked about 6 blocks, with a cane, to be present with the community she so dearly loves. Mrs. Vernita is one of our humble, silent, nurturing community mothers. To know her is to love her. Show her some love, you might gain some knowledge, as I do every chance I get.
A Prayer Walk for Peace was also underway a few doors down at the 5-Points Harvest Plaza. It was hosted by Pastors Dr. Evans and Ashley Kariuki of Eternal Life Harvest Church at 2410 MLK Ave., which is an anchor of 5-points. Church and community members hosted a rally and Prayer Walk for Peace. that included speakers and prayers for peace, which culminated in a peaceful march down Vine Avenue.
WHAT? BIKERS HAVE ALWAYS COVERED THEIR FACES. On an adjacent corner of 5-Points, friends and members of the ACES motorcycle club had a car wash and bar-b-que fundraiser. Local DJ Von provided soulful ole skool music, while Jarman (formerly of Jarman’s Bar-B-Q) dished up grilled ribs, deep-fried chicken wings cowboy beans and sides for a small donation. I can’t leave out Jarman’s secret recipe refreshing iced tea that hit the spot in the heat of the day. Photos below.
(CORRECTION: Eric ‘Tiko’ Gwinn is not the owner of T’s Barbershop nor the shop at 2630 N. Broadway as he stated. The Dream Institute is the name of the shop at 2630 N. Broadway, which is owned by April Hardin.)
MOBILE HAIRCUTS & GROOMING. On a previous Saturday, I caught up with barber Eric Gwinn, Jr. who was serving clients on his innovative, mobile grooming station. Gwinn is proof that where there is a will there is a way. Gwinn has been mobile since the beginning of the shut-down. COVID-19 has dis-proportionally affected African-American communities at a much higher rate. Gwinn said that he doesn’t want to put his customers or anyone at risk.
And the 4th of July holiday weekend is yet to come. In the meantime, remember to wear a mask, don’t touch your face, and wash your hands.
Photo Gallery from COVID Saturdays, June 2020. Photos by Patricia Williams