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Healing from the hurt | Austin-East parents, city leaders gather to turn pain into passion

Faith leaders, parents, a counselor and city activists spent time in one sanctuary and shared their support and plans to help heal the city and their communities.
Published: Apr. 21, 2021 at 11:42 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - A wave of emotions came over a group at Mount Zion Church Wednesday evening after seeing the last moments of 17-year-old Anthony Thompson Jr.’s life.

Minister Calvin Skinner still has questions.

“Why? Why us? Why our community. Why our people?,” Skinner said.

Faith leaders, parents, a counselor and city activists spent time in one sanctuary and shared their support and plans to help heal the city and their communities.

Parent Felicia Outsey is determined to turn her pain into passion. The mother of two Austin-East students said she’s advocating for students and parents who are still trying to grapple with the loss of five classmates.

“You save the kids by helping the families. So, if you’re not going to do both, your work is in vain,” Outsey said.

She wants students to have mandatory trauma and anger management classes along with their parents.

“This is too much right now,” Outsey said.

Sam Brown, the Knoxville NAACP President said viewing the body camera footage is a baby step forward toward real work solutions.

“Now that we are all dealing with the same set of facts. And, it’s only from that place we can begin to have serious conversations,” Brown said.

Those conversations will continue with a rally set for Sunday at Montgomery Village starting at 2 p.m.

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