Chattanooga Football Club is proud to recognize distinguished Chattanooga native Ken Jones.
Jones' work in the community is unwavering. His leadership and dedication in his professional life earned him the role of Senior Director of Procurement, Vendor Relations, & Minority and Women-Owned Businesses at Electric Power Board (EPB) of Chattanooga.
As part of the club's celebration of this outstanding community leaders, we asked Jones what Black History Month and the community of Chattanooga mean to him.
What does Black History, and Black History Month, mean to you? What do you hope we recognize/celebrate throughout this month?
Ken Jones: Black History is the foundation of America. This country was built on the backs of Black Americans. We normal hear about slavery during Black History Month and in schools. Black History is so much more than slavery. Black History is innovators, inventors, educators, business owners, creators, husbands, wives, spiritual leaders, etc. Black History isn’t the month of February, it’s all year long. My hope is we stop limiting out thoughts about Black History and expand it.
Trivia Question for you: Who were the first African American Chattanooga Police Officers in 1948? Morris Glenn, Arthur Heard, C.E. Black, W.B. Baulridge, Singer Askins, Thomas Patterson, and Thaddeus Arnold.
Trivia Question #2: What park in Chattanooga had the first lighted softball fields for African Americans in the South? (Hint: it debuted its swimming pool in September 1938.) It's Lincoln Park.
These things and more are what I hope we celebrate all year around!
What does the Chattanooga Community mean to you and your family?
Having grown up in Chattanooga, I've witnessed the evolution of our community firsthand. From times of hardship to moments of vibrancy, I've seen the remarkable transformation we've undergone. I take immense pride in our city's journey. We've overcome challenges, from being labeled one of the dirtiest cities in America to becoming a sought-after destination. This progress reflects the resilience and spirit of our community. Let's continue to build on this momentum, embracing the opportunities ahead with optimism and determination. Together, we can shape a future where Chattanooga thrives even more brightly, inspiring others with our collective achievements.
Do you see any positive progress in our community or something you might want to see in the future to best support Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) initiatives in the Chattanooga area?
The Chattanooga community has seen strides in the realm of DEIB, yet there remains ample opportunity for growth and necessary changes. I envision a setting where individuals from diverse backgrounds, encompassing varying social economic statuses, social capital, and more, come together over dinner to foster collaboration and transparency. This gathering should provide a platform for participants to openly and honestly share their burdens and concerns. Each voice should be given the space to be heard, with listeners demonstrating a genuine intent to understand rather than merely respond. It's essential for individuals to empathize with others' perspectives, recognizing the validity of each viewpoint regardless of personal stance. Our unique experiences and upbringing offer valuable context that shapes our understanding. Embracing diverse viewpoints doesn't hinder collaboration; rather, it enriches it. Ultimately, I envision a community united by its differences, finding strength and cohesion in embracing diversity rather than attempting to overcome it.
What are some of your proudest achievements as a leader of diversity throughout your career/ in your community?
My greatest source of pride stems from my dedication to serving the community. Every day, I strive to embody the principles of servant leadership, fostering an environment where open dialogue and collaboration thrive. I'm committed to engaging in challenging conversations while ensuring that every voice is heard and respected. One of my greatest joys is mentoring and supporting emerging leaders, providing them with the guidance and resources they need to achieve their goals. Witnessing the success of others as they realize their dreams brings me immense satisfaction. Knowing that I've played a role in empowering them to reach their full potential is truly fulfilling.