Democrats Hoyos, Williams Face Off Ahead of Race for Duncan’s Seat: Photo Story

Two representative candidates met to discuss their views at a Democratic town hall Wednesday night at the University of Tennessee. Dr. Joshua Williams, left, and Renee Hoyos, are running for representative for Tennessee’s 2nd Congressional District, currently held by Jimmy Duncan.
Hoyos cited her time as the director of the Tennessee Clean Water Network, an environmentalist group, as one of many qualifications for the job. “I’ve lobbied at the state level and the federal level. I’ve worked in public policy for 15 years. I know how to do the work of government.”
“Right now healthcare is the number one issue for people,” Williams said. A clinical psychologist and healthcare provider, Williams said he knows how the industry works and that it’s time to get profits out of healthcare.
Both democratic candidates voiced support for many of the same ideas, such as family reunification, funding for Planned Parenthood, and access to higher education.
Williams also supports a $15 minimum wage and provision of better low-income housing.
Hoyos said her time working with immigration services would help her in policy-making. “I remember when Republicans thought amnesty was a good idea.” Hoyos said she is committed to protecting so-called Dreamers, and would like to craft meaningful immigration reform.
Running against Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett, both Democrat candidates will need to become more visible before the election. “Tennessee has the lowest voter turnout rate in the country. We’ve got to do better,” Williams says.
“We have an opportunity to change what this district looks like that we may not get in another 20 years,” Hoyos said of Duncan’s retirement. Both candidates encouraged audience members to be involved in this election cycle.
The town hall was hosted by the University of Tennessee’s College Democrats. The group had a booth set up for voter registration and members who could answer questions for attendees.
The town hall was moderated by UTK College Democrats President Caroline Cranford, right, who praised the two “very fine” candidates.


Volapalooza brings end of year celebration for UT students, celebrates 15th anniversary

Volapalooza ended the semester with a bang for UT students.

Since 2003, Volapalooza has taken place on the last day of classes and has featured musical acts from every genre. This year’s lineup featured X Ambassadors, COIN, Pell, Luke Pell, Mountains Like Wax, Electric Darling and DJ A-Wall.

The event was moved from Worlds Fair Park to Thompson-Boiling Arena due to inclement weather; a move that upset some students.

Allie Barnes, a UT student, remarked on the move.

“I understand that they had to move it here because of the weather, but I still wish we could have been outside,” she said.

Many students, however, were happy with the move saying they enjoyed the “concert environment more than the festival vibe.”

The show featured two stages, one for local bands and the other for bigger acts. Concert goers could go back and forth between the two stages in between acts. The event also featured many different vendors giving away free items like Coca-Cola, water, t-shirts and free henna tattoos.

The free henna was the most popular booth of the night with some students waiting almost three hours. Volapalooza also featured many different food trucks with items like corndogs, ice cream, burgers, fries and many other options.

Hunter Malone, a student who attends Berea College in Berea, Kentucky, drove in for Volapalooza. He said he made the drive because of the personal connection he has with X Ambassadors.

“X Ambassadors have really helped me through many difficult times in my life. Some of their songs got me through some very dark times when I was battling depression,” Malone said. “They’re part of the reason I am alive and seeing them live reminded me of where I am now, loving myself for who I am.”

Volapalooza proves that there is much more to music than meets the eye.

Images by Gabrielle Harman

Edited by Kaitlin Flippo

UT bands perform final concert of semester

Thursday, April 13 marked the final performances of the University of Tennessee Concert Band, Symphonic Band and Wind Ensemble during the 2016-2017 school year.

Each ensemble honored its seniors in honor of their last performances in Cox Auditorium.

UT’s Concert Band performed first under the direction of Interim Assistant Director of Bands Fuller Lyon. They performed “Shine” by Michael Markowski,  “Sinfonia VI: The Four Elements” by Timothy Broege and “Foundry” by John Mackey. Percussionists played non-traditional instruments such as salad bowls, mixing bowls, and pile of wood in the last piece of their set.

UT’s Symphonic Band continued the evening conducted by Associate Director of Bands Michael Stewart. They performed “Nobles of the Mystic Shrine” by John Philip Sousa, “Incantation and Dance” by John Barnes Chance and “Arabesque” by Samuel Hazo.

Andrew Northcutt, whose brother Aaron plays trumpet in Symphonic Band, believed the first piece “[sounded] kind of like a circus.”

UT’s Wind Ensemble performed last under the direction of Director of Bands Donald Ryder. They performed “ZING!” by Scott McCallister, “Avelynn’s Lullaby” by Joel Puckett and “Elsa’s Procession to the Cathedral” by Richard Wagner.  The last piece made use of the organ fixed in the center left wall of Cox Auditorium.

Images by Alex Overlay

Edited by Lexie Little

Annual Mardi Growl parade brings excitement for spectators, raises money for Young Williams Animal Center

It was a dog lover’s dream come true as many locals celebrated Mardi Gras with the 10th annual Mardi Growl parade on Saturday, March 4.

While many attendees were excited to enjoy the many dogs dressed in amusing costumes, there was more to this event than just parading dogs. Mardi Growl was hosted by the Young Williams Animals Center. The goal of this event was to help fundraise enough money to keep the Young Williams Animals Center to continue their services to about 12,000 animals.

The parade started on Willow Ave. at 11 a.m. with the street filled with hundreds of decorated dogs and was led by Fulton High School’s marching band through the Old City. Hundreds of spectators waited with anticipation as the band led the parade to Gay Street. The Grand Marshall was in a red convertible, waving to the crowd with Smokey the dog as the other guest celebrity.

Many dogs were dressed in Mardi Gras colored tutus and boas. Some dogs were spray painted hot pink while another one’s body was covered in boas, leaving only the legs and head to show.

Dog owners had the chance to compete in the category of their choosing: ‘Best Dawg Pack,’ ‘Best Couple,’ ‘Best Vol Spirit’ and ‘Best Naked Dog.’

After revealing the winners of the categories, Market Square was open for all attendees with over 60 vendors. Each vending station catered to a dog’s needs. Rescue centers were also set up.


Edited by Kaitlin Flippo

Images by Sage Davis


Activists assembled to reject executive order banning immigration

Photo by McKenzie Manning

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Over 1,000 citizens assembled in Market Square on Wednesday, Feb. 1 to stand in solidarity against President Trump’s executive order banning refugees from entering the U.S.

The silent vigil began at 12:30 p.m. with protestors milling about, discussing their take on the immigration ban. Organizers encouraged the group to stand in a circle and recognize a 30-minute moment of silence for those whose chance of entry has been curtailed. Spanning the entirety of Market Square was a circle of solidarity equipped with signage and paraphernalia depicting their opposition to the ban.

“The executive orders are devastating to our organization,” Katie Willocks, a case manager at Bridge Refugee Services, said. “Without arrivals, we can’t provide services for the people we do have here. So we’re trying to raise awareness for that.”

A City of Knoxville representative spoke on behalf of Mayor Madeline Rogero denouncing the ban. She expressed Rogero’s support of the silent vigil in words of encouragement to the group.

At 1 p.m., the crowd marched down the sidewalk of Gay Street to Main Street where they delivered letters to lawmakers Sen. Bob Corker, Sen. Lamar Alexander and Rep. John Duncan, Jr. regarding the ban.

The protest appeared to cut across demographic lines, attracting a wide array of people from various walks of life. Those in attendance wore colorful hijabs and donned American flag apparel, held signs in various languages and cited scripture from both the Bible and Quran.

The protest included sympathizers of the movement, as well as those who identified with the ban on a personal level.

Jeannine Fort is a Peruvian immigrant who works in Knoxville as a Spanish interpreter. According to Fort, it is a “universal mandate” to welcome those who have nowhere else to go.

“I am here because I believe that when your country is being destroyed from the inside or the outside, sometimes you have no choice but to leave. Refugees have been vetted for many, many, many months if not one or two years. It’s not like we don’t know who’s coming. That is not true,” Fort said, shifting conversation to the rhetoric of fear in the U.S.

Polly Murphy, retired special needs teacher, said that it is difficult to get the “true truth.”

“We have to work very hard, all of us, on both sides to make sure we are getting true information, true facts, true news…There are many other countries that are taking refugees that are doing fine. We need to all find out what’s really true and take a deep breath and do what we know is right,” Murphy said.

Another immigrant at the event was Yakob Tekie, a UT graduate student in the counseling psychology program. His country of origin is Eritrea, a small country nestled on the banks of East Africa surrounded by Sudan, Ethiopia, Djibouti and the Red Sea. Tekie spoke fondly of his Eritrean’s ability to peacefully coexist, regardless of religion. “For the last 200 years or so we have not seen any conflict. Religion is not even an issue with the exception of the recent political situation that has been going on overseas.”

Tekie spoke positively about his past five years in Knoxville. “I’ve always felt welcomed here and safe. But right now it feels as if I’m not welcomed… I feel hopeful to see all these thousands of people coming here to support humanity and justice.

Pastor Dixie Lea Petrey was among those in attendance who sported a sign with a religious message.

“God created the universe and all humanity. And we are a part of the family of God—all around our planet and our country. Get to know your neighbors. Because basically we all want the same things for our children,” Petrey said.

In direct contrast, another protestor held a “#ChristianWhenConvenient” sign.

There was tension at the event.

A group of 5 middle-aged men stood on the outskirts of the protest, exchanging negative yet hushed remarks about the message of the ban. When asked to comment, they denied.

West Pointe graduate Kurt Greene attended the event claiming a lack of partisanship. “I’m the least partisan person out here. I’m fairly neutral on a lot of this stuff…but as someone who has had the honor and privilege of leading soldiers, what we’ve seen so far from Mr. Trump, regardless of your political stripes, really fails to meet any minimum standard or level of competence when it comes to leadership. I’m just here to express my disgust with that.”

The New Colossus, a poem appearing on a plaque mounted on the Statue of Liberty, became a rallying cry of the event. While organizers delivered letters to lawmakers, a collection of activists rallied across from the Court House reciting its words in unison:

“Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. ‘Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!’”
The New Colossus, Emma Lazarus

According to a Reuters/Ipsos poll conducted from Jan. 30 to Jan. 31, 49 percent of American’s agree with the executive order. The order suspended refugee resettlement from seven majority-Muslim nations due to the need to “protect the nation from potential terrorists.” Citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen on immigrant or non-immigrant visas are effectively barred from the U.S. until further notice.

To see your congress member’s opinion on Trump’s executive order, click here.

This event was coordinated by Bridge Refugee Services and Allies of Knoxville’s Immigrant Neighbors.

Video footage of the recitation can be found here.

Edited by Kaitlin Flippo

Featured Images and Video by McKenzie Manning


Sarah Emmerson introduces abstract art installment to UT gallery

Sarah Emerson, an abstract landscape artist based in Atlanta, Georgia, spoke at the University of Tennessee on Thursday, Sept. 29. Emerson enlightened her audience as she described her perspective and the process of creating her artwork.

Emerson found an attraction to abstract art and combined that with ideas to which she had an emotional connection, drawing inspiration from many worldly events. She describes her art as “dark,” but tries to encompass the idea that there is beauty in everything. She elaborated that her artwork portrays the idea that life is finite. She mentioned the “unbearable flatness of being” multiple times, elaborating that painting can stop time and space. Her landscapes are symbolic as she tries to incorporate a variety of literary symbols. Her goal is to create a mystical atmosphere: a combination of the morbid, hopeful, and unknown.

Audience member, Kaitlin Morton, admitted that she had no prior knowledge of anything art related, but stated, “the presentation challenged my outlook on art and I now see the work it requires to create an installment, mentally and physically.”

Emerson strives to create artificial space that can embody a history. She says that, “history is a landscape of events and becomes a character on its own.” H

er images portray the idea that life is constantly changing and that nothing is concrete. She makes her art large, and said she wants the viewer to be absorbed by it. Scale is important to her because it creates a vulnerability between the pieces and the viewer.

“Emerson’s work was very interesting and being able to hear her perspective on the work and the process she undergoes when creating the pieces makes me look at the pieces in a new light,” viewer Cam Shelton said.

Emerson’s installment is featured in the gallery of the Art and Architecture building.

Edited by Katy Hill