Amelia Parker

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Amelia Parker

Amelia Parker is a member of the TN Anti Racist Network. Worked at Satyagraha Institute. She was born in coal mining country in eastern Kentucky. Her family moved to Knoxville in the early 80s when Amelia was 4 after her mom got a job at Baptist Hospital where she worked until the hospital closed.

After high school, Parker attended the University of Tennessee (Knoxville) and graduated with a B.A. in Comparative Studies of Race and Ethnicity, a degree she was able to design herself through the College Scholars program at UTK. The Comparative Studies of Race and Ethnicity degree allowed Amelia an opportunity to explore topics that cut across group experiences in the U.S. and around the world. Focusing primarily on the U.S. experience, Amelia’s degree explored how U.S. domestic and foreign policy, law, history, culture, and society are formed and the how racial and ethnic difference impacts debate and policy regarding issues such as immigration, citizenship, empire and expansion, defense, diplomacy, public welfare, social justice, and human rights.


During her undergraduate studies, she also traveled and lived abroad. In 1998, she spent the summer in Urbino, Italy through one of UTK’s summer study abroad programs and returned a year later for a full year of study. Separate from her studies, she made the decision to conduct a research project with Senegalese street vendors she befriended who poured into the sleepy town of Urbino every weekend to sell handbags and purses, in an effort to learn their story and to create a short documentary of their experience that might help others understand the challenges they face. In 2000, she traveled to Ghana to work for the Legal Resources Centre, where she researched the right to work of Sierra Leonean refugees, as well as the human rights implication of water privatization in Ghana.

While a student at UTK, Amelia continued her part-time job at the library and served as coordinator of the campus Amnesty International chapter, organizing campaigns against university apparel being made in sweatshops and for better pay for employees. She was also a member of the Cultural Attractions Committee, helping bring performing arts to campus, and the Wesley Foundation, which provided an office for many of the activist groups on campus. Additionally Amelia served as the Tennessee Legislative Coordinator for Amnesty International where she developed advocacy plans, lobbied Congress for various human rights legislation, and conducted trainings for university students.

After graduating from UTK, Amelia moved to Washington, DC to study law at American University Washington College of Law (WCL) where she would graduate with specializations in International Human Rights Law and Gender and the Law, earning both her Juris Doctorate and L.LM (master of laws) degrees. She volunteered with Election Protection and interned at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under the Law where she worked with the Minority Business Project researching and drafting memoranda on issues relating to minority contractors and government procurement programs. Amelia had the opportunity to study at the University of Utrecht for a semester of law school where she studied ombudsman law and cases of international reparations. During the summers, she clerked for Judge Louisa Abbott in Savannah, Georgia and volunteered at the Amnesty International office in Nederland, Colorado.

While at WCL, Amelia worked as program coordinator at the WCL Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, designing and implementing human rights programming such as the Genocide Teaching Project, which trained and facilitated law students teaching the lessons of genocide in high schools. Part of Amelia’s job responsibilities also included planning and implementing over 60 events and conferences each year for the Washington, DC community on various human rights issues from public education to the human rights obligations of cities recovering from a natural disaster. In 2007, she published an article concerning racial inequalities in the U.S. public education system and U.S. non-compliance with international treaty norms, which led to her being a contributing author to the U.S. Human Rights Network’s 2008 shadow report on U.S. compliance with the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination.

Parker moved back home to Knoxville in 2009 to lead one of the oldest grassroots organizations in Tennessee, Statewide Organizing for Community eMpowerment (SOCM). For over four years, Amelia helped lead the organization through theory of social change and visioning workshops as well as anti-racism trainings, exploring what it means to be an anti-racist organization. She helped move the organization from one with a reputation for its environmental justice victories to an organization known for its social and economic justice work as well.

Following her time at SOCM, Amelia became executive director of Peace Brigades International-USA. Peace Brigades, an international organization founded in 1981, pioneered the practice of protective accompaniment, a strategy of nonviolent intervention in conflict zones that provides international advocacy support and a physical presence for human rights defenders who are being threatened for the work they do. In addition to her work with PBI, Amelia serves on the Board of Directors of the Birdhouse Community Center, is an active member of the Coalition to Stop School Pushout, the Progressive Action Committee’s Police Reform group, and was a founding member of Black Lives Matter Knoxville and the City Council Movement. In 2017, Amelia ran her first campaign for a seat on city council, tying for second in the primary with former state rep Harry Tindell and then moving on to secure over 2,000 write-in votes, 20% of the vote, in the general election.[1]

COVID-19 Town Hall


Austin Sauerbrei-Brown April 27 2020·

When it comes to addressing #COVID19, we need things like paid sick leave, emergency rent relief, mandatory PPE, and access to testing to move forward. But our local government’s hands are tied. We need to Gov. Lee to use his emergency powers to free up our local officials to support working families!

Join us TONIGHT at 7pm EST for a virtual Town Hall highlighting how we can empower our local leaders to address COVID-19 and support working families. We'll hear from local elected officials, workers and organizers on the front lines.

Speakers include:

Hosted by Stand Up Nashville, Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition, United Campus Workers Tennessee Justice Center, Workers Interfaith Network (Memphis, TN), A Better Balance, 2019 City Council Movement - Knoxville, NOAH - Nashville Organized for Action and Hope, Central Labor Council of Nashville & Middle TN, Wendland Cook Program in Religion and Justice, SEIU Local 205, Memphis for All, Chattanooga Area Central Labor Council, Central Labor Council of Memphis & West TN.

AT&T workers solidarity

Jobs with Justice of East Tennessee June 3 2019.


Thank You for standing in solidarity today with AT&T workers who face the expiration of their Southeast contract August 3. We asked customers, "We're trying to keep good jobs in our communities, and AT&T's CEO is trying to offshore them, even though they got a tax cut. Will you help us call on Congress to investigate them?" You can, too! Go to today or tomorrow and write to your Congressperson.

With David Alex Hayes, Elizabeth Armstrong, Mike Armstrong, Lee Dunham Sessions, Richard Henighan, Cassie Watters, Amelia Parker.

DSA victory


On November 5 2019 Amelia Parker won election to the Knoxville City Council.[2]

Letter to Obama

In March 2009 dozens of 'human rights groups' and activists in the United States, signed a statement urging President Barack Obama to rethink his decision to boycott the United Nations-sponsored anti-racism conference.

As you know, the Durban Review Conference is one of the most important international platforms for discussing the elimination of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerances. Given the brutal history of slavery and Jim Crow in the United States, your Administration has much to contribute to this discussion. A boycott would be inconsistent with your policy of engagement with the international community…

Individual signers of the statement included Amelia Parker, of the American University Washington College of Law and Program Coordinator for the Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law.[3]

Knoxville comrades


Karly Safar with Amelia Parker and Seema Singh Perez.

May 1 Put the People First rally

Put the People First, Knoxville Thursday 1 May 2014. Organized by : Karly Safar.

Gov. Haslam and his elite allies, have abandoned everyday people in Tennessee. Our coalition's response is simple: put the people first! We want living wage jobs, good public schools, and a good democracy that encourages participation!
Join us for a May Day parade and BBQ celebration by and for the people! Meet us in Market Square at 6pm and we'll march to Vine Middle School on MLK Blvd and end at Harriet Tubman Park for a BBQ and celebration!

Endorsers include:

United Campus Workers | Knoxville NAACP | Knox County Education Association | Seeed Knox | SOCM | Jobs with Justice of East Tennessee | Knox County Democrats.

Those giving notice of intention to attend on Wherevent included: Kristin Baksa, Christina Louise Belge, Lee Dunham Sessions, Kathryn Davis, Elizabeth Wright, Jenn Wallis, Jess Welch, Anne Barnett, Suz Seaton, Kaitlin Malick, Sol Msr, Linda Haney, Brittany Bender, Erica Davis, Christina Catherine Gore, Megan Clifton, Kim Webber, Vivian Swayne, Miriya Bollenbacher, Jennie Spanos, Shelagh Leutwiler, Taimi Olsen, Donna Maxwell, Janet Miles, Nicky Primo Allen, Natalie McGee, Leslie Principe, Tonya Hill, Tanya T. Coats, Cassie Watters, Kassie Ernst, Diana Moyer, Bonnie Swinford, Rose Attea, Maggie Gardner Tankersley, Jane Johnson Skinner, Amelia Taylor, Melanie Barron, Kristi Larkin Havens, Camillee Dyin'ices Perrett, Anna Masson, Jessica Pittman, Angie Max, Jonnie R. Hagan, Genny Petschulat, Laura Megan Stewart, Nickie Hackenbrack, Casey Self, Shamika Cook, Viviane Manigat Jackson, Xylina Marshall, Courtney Anderson, Leslie Anderson Pignataro, Sally Buice, Amelia Parker, Sistufara Muhammad, Amber Matthews, Janine Al-Aseer, Judith Petree, Deborah Bahr, Joy Coffey, Rebecca Stefanescu, Donna Laxson, Kate Elgammal, Karen Principe, Holly Smarr, Natasha Carina, Melissa Slayton, Elizabeth Owen, Megan Brockett, Robert Naylor, Mark Mohundro, Alex Falk, Conrad Charleston, Ben Wright, Cameron Brooks, Jim Wallace, Andrew Beamer, Andre Canty, Isaac Brandt, Adam Alsamadisi, Alex Fields, Ben Allen, Ryan Brown, Axel Ringe, Bryan G. Pfeifer, Prince Abed Oduro, James Gullett, James R. Golden, Bob Hutton, Gerry Moll, Alexander Thumler, Young Rome, Brad Wright, Elias Attea, Josh Smyser, Sam Petschulat, Jordan Welsh, Donald Fritz, Josh Stovall, David Alex Hayes, Ed Borum, Shaun Scenard, William Isom, Alejandro Guizar, Alex Pulsipher, Thomas Wayne Walker, John Mayer, Micheal Freeman, Angel Ibarra, Donte Samoa, Robert Boyd, Tom Torres, Rodolfo Urquieta, Andrew Sexton, Dustin Moore, Kacper Fryderyk Grass, Matt Ellison, Richard Murray, Maurice L. Clark, Sr., Justin Marcel Leduc, Lee Owen, Zach Blume, Mitch Thompson, Ramez Elgammal, Brandon Ray Darr, Tres Daugherty. [4]

Revolutionary Strategies to Beat the Rising Right Wing

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Revolutionary Strategies to Beat the Rising Right Wing, was a nationwide conference call organized by Freedom Road Socialist Organization, Sunday October 30, 2016.

What's the nature of this right-wing threat? What has this election cycle changed about the political terrain we're fighting on? How do we need to prepare for whats coming after the election? Hear about these crucial questions from our panel of top political strategists, including Nelini Stamp, Bill Fletcher, Jr., Linda Burnham, and Sendolo Diaminah.

Those invited, on Facebook included Amelia Parker.[5]

Now What? Defying Trump and the Left's Way Forward


Now What? Defying Trump and the Left's Way Forward was a phone in webinar organized by Freedom Road Socialist Organization in the wake of the 2016 election.

Now what? We’re all asking ourselves that question in the wake of Trump’s victory. We’ve got urgent strategizing and work to do, together. Join Ash-Lee Woodard Henderson of the Movement for Black Lives and Freedom Road, Calvin Cheung-Miaw, Jodeen Olguin-Taylor of Mijente and WFP, Joe Schwartz of the Democratic Socialists of America, and Sendolo Diaminah of Freedom Road for a discussion of what happened, and what we should be doing to build mass defiance. And above all, how do we build the Left in this, which we know is the only solution to the crises we face?

This event will take place Tuesday November 15, 2016 at 9pm Eastern/8pm Central/6pm Pacific.

Those invited, on Facebook included Amelia Parker.[6]

Eat Out (with) PSA

Hosted by UTK Progressive Student Alliance, Monday, March 6, 2017, at 11 AM - 9 PM. Moe's Original Bar B Que- Knoxville, 4405 Kingston Pike, Knoxville, Tennessee 37919.

Percentage night at local restaurant Moe's! Support UTK's oldest progressive student organization, the Progressive Student Alliance, and learn all about what we do!

Those invited, on Facebook, included Amelia Parker.

2019 Council run


In 2019 Amelia Parker again ran for Knoxville City Council, with Democratic Socialists of America endorsement.

City Council Movement


In 2019, a local group is growing among downtown and near-downtown residents. The City Council Movement fielded two viable candidates two years ago, electing Seema Singh Perez to Knoxville City Council. Their candidate Amelia Parker also ran a close race as a huge write-in candidate but lost to Lauren Rider when the council chose Harry Tindell after a tie with Parker. Rider went on to defeat Tindell.

The City Council Movement is made up of volunteers who come from social justice organizations in the area and is diverse and growing more active.

“We have another strong slate of candidates running and we need your help getting them into office,” is the plea on the group’s Facebook page. “All funds raised will go towards joint get-out-the-vote materials for our three CCM-endorsed candidates,” the site proclaims.

The group is backing David Alex Hayes, Charles Al-Bawi and Amelia Parker in the upcoming city primary for council seats.[7]

Knoxville for All

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2017 Council run


In 2017 Amelia Parker unsuccessful ran for Knoxville City Council, with Democratic Socialists of America endorsement.

She was a Democratic Socialists of America member.

PSA support


The UTK Progressive Student Alliance supported Amelia Parker in her race in 2017.

UTK PSA endorsement

UTK Progressive Student Alliance is with Charles Al-Bawi. October 2 2019 ·


Hey everybody!! Are you registered to vote for the upcoming election?? The deadline to register for the upcoming local election is OCTOBER 7! That’s ONLY 5 DAYS away!!This election is an important one because some wonderful folks from 2019 City Council Movement - Knoxville are running. PSA proudly endorses Vote David Alex Hayes, Vote Amelia Parker & Vote Charles Al-Bawi!! Let’s build a Knoxville for All together!!

To register, go to or grab a paper form from us in Hodges! We’ll be here all week