The past week has been filled with sadness for all of us at Knoxville Leadership Foundation (KLF). Our mission for almost 30 years has been to mobilize resources around issues of injustice and inequality, creating environments where all people can thrive. While the tragedy of George Floyd here in 2020 is one in a long history of injustice that continues to prevent our country from realizing the original dream of all people being equal, what’s more tragic is that it is 2020 and we still are living with this evil, racist and sinful activity that we witnessed recently.

As leaders, the persistence of this makes it hard to find words that can create hope. Our mission at KLF has always been and continues to be focused on those who allow us into their lives, into their homes and into their journey and struggle. We have understood for years that personal relationships across cultural lines are the only way for unity to exist. When we connect in personal ways seeking to understand each other’s stories, we realize that we are equal and can stand with each other against the injustice that continues to persist in this country.

It is very important to all of those connected to KLF that you know that we remain focused, vigilant and committed with a strong resolve to work together for a hopeful future. As a faith-based organization, we believe at our core that God is faithful, that he is not the God of confusion nor division. Our real enemy is not each other. Unity is a profound theological principle that we place in the center of our work. Love for each other is also from God and lives throughout our organization. Our continued commitment to you is that we will use these guides of unity and love to help us navigate as we link arms to create hopeful futures for all those we serve. Affordable housing, jobs, compassionate responses to individuals in crisis, healthy pathways for children, all these things and more are KLF vehicles that allow us to take steps forward, together.

While any statement or response feels shallow in these moments, we wanted our KLF family to know of our commitment to push forward as we have done for years providing the important tools and resources necessary for all of us to thrive.

In closing we offer this prayer as a reminder that God is the reason for our work and at the center of our mission.

Instrument of Thy Peace

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace
Where there is hatred, let me sow love
Where there is injury, pardon
Where there is doubt, faith
Where there is despair, hope
Where there is darkness, light
And where there is sadness, joy

O Divine Master, grant that I may
Not so much seek to be consoled as to console
To be understood, as to understand
To be loved, as to love
For it is in giving that we receive
And it’s in pardoning that we are pardoned
And it’s in dying that we are born to Eternal Life
St. Francis of Assisi


Chris Martin
President, on behalf of the KLF Staff & Board of Directors