David Alex Hayes

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David Alex Hayes

David Alex Hayes is a Knoxville, Tennessee activist. Organizer at Afros United. Partner of Lisa East, a sociology lecturer at UT. Hayes has experience with the Service Employee International Union. He co-founded UT Coalition for Responsible Investment, Stop School Push Out, and other organizations.

He is a member of Liberation Road.


David Alex Hayes says he draws inspiration from another young African-American member of city council, the late Danny Mayfield, who was elected in 1997 and died of bone cancer after serving a little more than three years in office. Hayes was born in Charleston, S.C., on the naval base there, and was raised in a deeply religious family. (His father studied for the ministry at the Southeast Institute of Biblical Studies, overseen by the Karns Church of Christ in Knoxville.)

“My parents became very involved in pushing back against racism within the Church of Christ, and nowadays, they’re not tied to it (the church) anymore,” he says.

He went to high school in Murfreesboro, where he excelled in athletics, and toyed with the notion of going to a smaller college where he could play sports and get noticed. He gave up that dream in favor of studying business at UT-Knoxville, where he majored in supply chain and sustainability. While in school, he interned at Unilever, which has built one of the largest supply-chain operations in the world. And he found that he was not impressed.

“Once you’ve worked in a corporate environment, you’re really disconnected from the real world, and you realize its goals are very shallow,” he says. “My responsibility isn’t just to work in a business that makes things a little less bad. … My responsibility isn’t to accrue a lot of wealth for my family, personally. My job is to go into the office and transform the institution so it can work for all people.”

So, he dropped out of college to become a full-time organizer for causes he cares about.

He says his goal isn’t just to be elected but to help get a majority of like-minded people on city council – a voting bloc that will be engaged with the community, particularly those black and brown citizens who have been left out.

He is incensed that the city doesn’t do a better job of awarding contracts to black contractors and that 47 percent of Knoxville’s black population lives below the poverty line.[1]

Running for office

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.[2]

Knoxville for All

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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 ovr.govote.tn.gov or grab a paper form from us in Hodges! We’ll be here all week

DSA endorsement

Democratic Socialists of America - Knoxville April 5 2019· 🌹✊🖤 ENDORSED!!

Knoxville DSA is excited to announce that our membership voted to endorse David Hayes for City Council At-large, Seat B!!!

We look forward to building a #KnoxvilleForAll with David and are thrilled to be supporting his campaign. David cares about affordable housing, building community, a living wage and a better future for ALL Knoxvillians.

Vote David Hayes


H/t to member Eddie Nelson for the graphic.

Campaign sponsors


David Alex Hayes 2019 campaign kickoff was sponsored by Mike Adams, Ben Allen, Chelsea Badgett, Thomas Carpenter, Andrew Cmeyla, Allie Cohn, Anna Corcoran, James Corcoran, Zachary DeJoe, Lisa East, Paul deLeon, Manju Heineman, Haley Hicks, Arlina Johns, Anne Langendorfer, St.Thomas LeDoux, Eric McManly McAnly, Kimberly Peterson, Karen Principe, Sue Rosenburg, Maggie Shoder, Eli Stanfield, Charice Starr, Alexis Watkins, Matt Wray.

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 ovr.govote.tn.gov or grab a paper form from us in Hodges! We’ll be here all week

City Council Movement

In 2017 Alex Fields and David Alex Hayes were members of the Knoxville City Council Movement.


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. [3]

Knoxvillians Against Injustice

Alex Fields November 26, 2014:


With Tom Torres, Elandria Williams, David Alex Hayes, Karly Safar, Angel Ibarra and Knoxvillians Against Injustice at Day After Darren Wilson Grand Jury Decision Candle Vigil And March.

Ferguson solidarity

Thomas Wayne Walker August 15, 2014:


Organizations on the ground in st. louis, mo are calling for people across the u.s. to demonstrate at 2pm est *this saturday* against police murder, police militarization, and racism--in solidarity with the uprising in ferguson and demanding justice for mike brown. let's meet up at the corner of summit hill & hall of fame dr., where knox police killed an unarmed african-american man on may 18, 200... See More — with Holly Rainey, Elizabeth Wright, Michelle Christian, Alex Fields, Josh Smyser, Suzanne Pharr, Anne Barnett, Anna Masson, Saint Thomas LeDoux, Joshua Outsey, Meagan Thomas, Michelle Gibson, Cassie Watters, Elandria Williams, Sam Stratton, Jess Welch, Angel Ibarra, Joseph Woods, Kaitlin Malick, Andre Canty, Melanie Barron, Ben Allen, Erin Bicknese, Tom Torres, Ricki Draper, William Wilson, Bonnie Swinford, Joe Tolbert, Jr., Mickee Murray, David Alex Hayes, Margo Miller, JT Taylor and Karly Safar at Summit Hill and Hall of Fame Drive.



Ferguson — with Paul Attea, David Alex Hayes, Andre Canty, Angel Ibarra, Esmeralda Baltazar, JT Taylor, Tom Torres, Thomas Coward, Kaitlin Malick and Sam Petschulat.

"Say Zir Name"

Dunford Hall room 2326 Thursday 12 November 2015, organized by UTK Progressive Student Alliance "Say Zir Name".

Special guest Cazembe Jackson, our trans brother and bad ass organizer for South will share his story as a transman in the movement and how he held his comrades accountable for his pronouns. He will also make awareness for pronouns and elevating trans existance more intersectional mentioning policy brutality and mass incarceration of black transwomen.

Those indicating attendance on Wherevent included Melanie Barron, Kristin Moretz, Lucy Greer, LaSabra LeeAnn Williams, Emily Gregg, Donna Bra-kay, Morgan Smith, Rachel West, Allison Joslin, Kristen Godfrey, Amira Sakalla, Caroline Rogers, Meghan Martin, Elizabeth Stanfield, Alina Clay, Jocelyn B. White, Gwen Schablik, Jamie Greig, Breann Cooper, Mary Geiser, Lindsay Jai, Cris Dark, Hanna Cat Wilkinson, Becca Payton, Genevieve Jeter, Priyam Madhukar, Leigh Belmont, Nicky Frazier, Courtney Anderson, Chelsey Verzosa, Charlotte Lee, Maggie Marsh, Erica Davis, Catherine Boggan, Alyssa Loveday, Hayley Brundige, Anna Masson, Karly Safar, Danielle Sapore, Sara Hitson, Emily Hoffman, Madeleine Lewis, Amanda Eleanor Pitts, Kennedy Childress, Deanna Nagle, Rachel Pilkinton, Ciara Louise Naomi, Evie Briley, Elizabeth Wright, Bailey Ayanna Allen, Katie Myers, Charice Starr, Colleen Ryan, Kelsey Theodore, Kamilya Gosmanova, Emily Robinson, Rae Jones, Kate Stamper, Carlie Nicole, Yasameen Hoffman-Shahin, Kaleb Emmert, Klay Ra Willyn, Travis Daniel Wilson, Brandon Shaw, Johnathan DeWitt Clayton, David Alex Hayes, Mitch Thompson, David Collins, Will Clifft, Ariel Tesla Farley, Joshua Brown, Don Black, Kumail Ibraheem, Andy Renison, William Dirmeyer, Benjamin D. Young, Adam Hughes, Ben McClendon, John Pena, Robert Cremins, Noah King, Mark McKee, Jack Petschulat, Jordan Welsh, Brandon Ray Darr, Jenishea Lewis, Alex Fields, Rodolfo Urquieta, Will Gabelman, JT Taylor, Dhruv Majumdar, Tyler Kibbey, Devin Earhart, Thomas Tran, Geoffrey M. Bennett Hervey, Harlan Mitchell, Wesley Shaun Malik Williams, Kendrick Young. [4]

FRSO connections

David Alex Hayes in front of Freedom Road Socialist Organization logo, October 2015

Magnolia Ave

After about 9 years of planning, meetings, public hearings, and lots of publicity in the media the initial renovation of some six blocks along Magnolia Avenue was getting some late and very vocal objections from some nearby residents.

The main objection, it seems, is that the proposed project passes through one of Knoxville’s traditional African-American neighborhoods but some of those voices haven’t been heard. The idea of beginning the project at the western end of Magnolia, the part closest to downtown, is also being questioned by some citizens.

Mayor Madeline Rogero used her “Mayor’s Report” Tuesday evening to try to counter some of the complaints and to give a background on the project and how the community has been involved in the planning.

One speaker suggested that the council should suspend the project and another complained of police harassment after protesting at the earlier council meeting.

One protester even suggested that the promotional materials showing the completed project shows White people on the streets and not African Americans. Another speaker invited the mayor and council to visit the neighborhood and let the residents give them a tour.

David Alex Hayes, of Black Lives Matter, said that East Knoxville is “getting the scraps” of city funding and said the move from downtown outward would move African-Americans out of the neighborhood.

Xavier Jenkins said that while East Knoxville suffers from roads with potholes, West Knoxville has “yellow brick roads.” While he welcomed a meeting with the mayor he said, “Selling us hopes and dreams doesn’t work.”[5]

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 indicating they would attend, on Facebook included David Alex Hayes.[6]

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 saying they would attend, on Facebook included David Alex Hayes.[7]

Free LaShonda Hall


Rhonda Gallman October 23, 2016;

Obama We need you to Act Now! — with Tray Rock, Felecia Outsey, David Alex Hayes, Karly Safar and Sherri Williams.

Eat Out (with) PSA

Hosted by UTK Progressive Student Alliance, Monday, March 6 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 David Alex Hayes .

Memphis Solidarity Brigade

The Memphis district of Freedom Road brought together cadre from around the nation to support a local organizing effort, Memphis For All, to apply our line and strategy to local elections. The Path to Power Memphis for all Solidarity Brigade took place in mid-July 2018 to culminate with an early voting canvassing effort.

Thomas Wayne Walker May 29 2018:

yo!!! i'm excited to invite y'all to sign up for a program focused on learning, on-the-ground, about building political power as leftists, revolutionaries and radicals in working class communities of color that are left out & shut out of politics. the path to power memphis solidarity brigade will combine training & actual field work in support of justice organizations engaging in electoral work to build power, like memphis for all, labor unions, and more. you can sign up at this link https://goo.gl/forms/wemUNfG4SxbusyHo1

it's listed as wednesday 7/18-sunday 7/22, but the real programming is focused on thursday 7/19-saturday 7/21. housing and food are supported, and other support is available. i'm hoping especially to get folks from tennessee to do it, so we can start really thinking about building a #tennesseeforall. hit me up if you're interested, apply now to get in on this.


Thomas Wayne Walker, Jyoti Gupta, Lindsey Glenn Krinks, Whitney Washington, Briana Perry, Anna Carella, Ramon J. Ryan, David Alex Hayes, Elizabeth Stanfield, Dana Smith, Anne Barnett Josh Adams, Ashley Caldwell, Erica Renee, Deja Foster Justin A. Davis Justin Jones, Sj Payne, Salma Mirza, Jasmine Wallace, Nancy Dung Nguyen, Chris Brooks, Haley Greenwell, Odessa Kelly. Aaron Gamal, Cazembe Jackson, Eliott Geary. Frank W. Johnson, John Emery, Allie Cohn, Calvin Cheung-Miaw.

Liberation Road

Liberation Road newsletter July 2019

David Alex Hayes is a member of Liberation Road.


  1. [1]
  2. [2]
  3. |Wherevent, Karly Safar May 1 Knoxville
  4. Wherevent, Say Zir Name
  5. [Magnolia Avenue Project protest continues The Knoxville FocusBy design on February 19, 2016]
  6. FB Revolutionary Strategies to Beat the Rising Right Wing Went 109
  7. [3]