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Knoxville Area Urban League’s annual meeting offers opportunity to ‘move forward’ together

February 10, 2022

The Knoxville Area Urban League will host its annual membership meeting to celebrate the successes of 2021 – and overcoming its considerable challenges – and share a vision of unity for 2022.

Sponsored by BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, the event will center around the theme of “Moving forward: It starts with us.” The keynote speaker will be Bill Haslam, who served as governor of Tennessee and mayor of Knoxville. The luncheon is set for Wednesday, Feb. 16, from 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Knoxville Convention Center.

Guests will connect with community leaders and hear presentations by Knoxville Area Urban League President and CEO Phyllis Y. Nichols and Dr. Andrea Willis, senior vice president and chief medical officer for BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee. Haslam’s speech will focus on inspiring attendees to support the organization as its programs and services – as well as the community’s needs – expand in 2022.

“Our community and the country started to emerge from three pandemics in 2021 – COVID-19, economic uncertainty and racial unrest,” Nichols said. “However, we held firm, fighting for a ‘new normal’ that is diverse, equitable and inclusive. I am eager to move forward alongside our supporters.”

The Knoxville Area Urban League is helping more individuals than ever through its Economic & Business Development, Education & Youth, Housing & Community Development and Workforce Development programs.

In partnership with GEM Community Development Group, the Knoxville Area Urban League is working to increase representation among Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBEs) as plans progress for the multi-use stadium on the edge of the Old City. The organization also is advancing education by organizing its 20th annual “Shoes for School” in 2022, an event that provides shoes and essential supplies to schoolchildren and connects students and their families to valuable resources.

Since the lifting of the COVID-19 moratorium on evictions and utility shutoffs, the organization has continued to assist those facing housing instability so that residents can stay in their homes and afford utilities. The Knoxville Area Urban League also is partnering with local employers and expanding its Start Smart programs to increase the number of qualified workers.

Guests will be asked to remain masked unless eating or drinking at the annual meeting. Proof of vaccination or negative COVID-19 test within 48 hours of event is required for entry.

For more information on the Knoxville Area Urban League and its programs, call 865-524-5511 or visit

About the Knoxville Area Urban League
Since 1968, the Knoxville Area Urban League has assisted disadvantaged people attain social and economic stability and self-sufficiency through direct services and advocacy. The League works to provide a skilled and diverse workforce; to increase homeownership; to support economic and small business development, and to enhance education efforts for our youth. The Knoxville Area Urban League is a United Way partner agency and affiliate of the National Urban League. The League’s work and results are evident in the lives of the over 11,000 people it impacts each year. For more information, call 865-524-5511 or visit