Covenant For A Better Community

Photo by The Daily Times, Maryville TN

HISTORY OF BLOUNT COUNTY UNITED


The year 2014 was marked by widespread protests against police involved killings and deadly attacks against police throughout the United States. What we have learned through the years about crises and events, is that they are short-lived. They bring people together for a season — until the next crisis or event happens. This is evident even in Blount County United. We started this journey with a “Call to Prayer” in December 2014, and over 150 people attended that prayer service with a sincere desire to be a change agent, but as we know everyone who starts on the journey does not continue. We are grateful to the ones who knew that this call was not an “event” but a call to ongoing action (even preventative action) — a call to be a change agent!

In January 2015, we moved into action by establishing several working committees; the Faith Committee, Civic Committee, Education Committee and Youth Committee who organized to begin work toward justice and human rights. These committees continue to move us toward a better and more inclusive community.


PREAMBLE

Blount County United is dedicated to promoting better human relations in Blount County. We envision a county where human relations will be at their best because fundamental human rights will be met for everyone. All individuals and groups will have equal opportunity to reach our full potential. It will be the norm to value and draw upon cultural diversity to enrich all aspects of our lives. We will enjoy greater harmony in our connected group and interpersonal relations, and our city and county governments will lead and model the highest level of respect for civil liberties and human rights while maintaining the dignity of every human being as well as the dignity of our governments through policy and budgetary priorities, practices and enforcement of laws.

RESPECT

Today, Blount County United and our government agencies bring together key partners including city and county municipalities, community members, youth, schools, academic and religious institutions, law enforcement, business and other leaders to resolve potential intergroup conflicts and lead the way to both prevent and eradicate bias, prejudice and hate.

INTEGRITY

We commit ourselves to truth, honesty, dependability and responsibility in all our actions and relationships.

AFFIRMATION

We affirm these standards as vital to our continued growth as individuals and institutions. Therefore, Blount County United joins in this covenant with the law-enacting and law-enforcing agencies of Blount County, vowing to uphold the principles of mutual respect as well as personal and institutional integrity to enforce with consistency, fairness and equity, upholding the human rights of all Blount Countians.

HATE CRIMES

We understand a hate crime to be a targeted criminal act motivated by racial, religious, sexual/gender or other prejudice, incited by hatred and typically involving violence. Hate crimes include (but are not limited to) acts of defacing property, desecrating graves and places of worship, assault, murder and intimidation, when verbal threats or threatening behavior place a person or a group of people in fear of harm.

DECLARATION

We vow to acknowledge and condemn violent hate crimes whenever and wherever they occur; strengthen enforcement and prosecute offenders; support victims; monitor and report hate crimes, and reach out to community groups to advance police/community relations.

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Signed on Feb. 8, 2018, by Blount County Mayor Ed Mitchell and Sheriff James Berrong, Maryville Mayor Tom Taylor and Chief of Police Tony Crisp, Alcoa Mayor Don Mull and Police Chief David Carswell and members of the BCU’s civic committee the Rev. Sam Brown, Vandy Kemp and the Rev. Dixie Lea Petrey at a ceremony in Blount County Public Library.