Kinnawa Kaitibi on the importance of using civic engagement to create change in the community
Among the many issues that the recent protests have brought to light in our area is a disconnect between citizens and local governance. With the city facing several social issues, Chattanoogans have been surprised by the reactions from officials and many have been left wondering what they can do about this. Kinnawa Kaitibi says that the best thing Chattanoogans can do now is to use the power of the vote.
Kinnnawa is well known in the community for being an integral part of the local creative culture, especially the Chattanooga music scene. He has held positions as a local radio host and is currently the CEO of African Thunder Incorporated and its subsidiary Tha Milk Drop, both of which are businesses that focus on promoting local hip-hop artists. Kinnawa is also the Public Relations Coordinator for the City of Chattanooga’s Youth & Family Development.
In all of his careers, Kinnawa has prided himself on seeking both equality and equity for Chattanoogans. Since the protests began, he has been actively taking part in them as well as using his position within the city and as a leader in the music community to promote the BLM movement.
“When I saw the situation and the tragedies that were occurring, I knew that I had to step up,” He said.
After being inspired by C-Grimey, Kinnawa began urging Chattanoogans to participate in civic engagement and in voting for changes to how the local government operates.
Kinnawa told us that the biggest change that he wants to see come to the city is a change in mentality.
“Seeing that some officers and officials are still holding harmful mentalities despite the protests has been quite disheartening.” He shared.
He wants locals to see the bigger picture of what the BLM movement is about and how it is not just a call against racial prejudice, but a call for people to support any groups being infringed upon. A big part of changing mentalities though is changing those who are guiding citizens and setting policies.
“The people in power create change, so they are the ones who we must change,” Kinnawa said. “We have to make sure that those in power are pushing for the agendas that we the people want.”
This idea has spurred Kinnawa to encourage citizens to become actively engaged in government on all levels, from local to federal. By using the power of the vote, citizens can decide what direction the government will guide them.
Kinnawa says that any people feeling discouraged during this time should see now as a time to take action and not let fear consume them. He says that now is the time to take action, not for people to be afraid.
“Until we get comfortable feeling uncomfortable, things will never change.”