Amelia Parker grew up in Knoxville, first living in North Knox on Cecil and Chickamauga Avenues while attending Belle Morris elementary and then moving to Sherrod Road in South Knox near Baptist hospital where her mother worked for close to 25 years before the hospital closed. While in high school at South-Doyle, Amelia worked part-time at the downtown Lawson McGhee Library where she worked for the next 7 years. After graduating from South-Doyle High, Amelia attended the University of Tennessee (Knoxville) where she received a B.A. in Comparative Studies of Race and Ethnicity, a degree she was able to design through the College Scholars Program. Amelia earned both her law degree (J.D.) and her master of laws (LL.M.) from American University Washington College of Law, with a dual concentration in International Human Rights Law and Gender. Amelia currently lives in north Knox in the Alice Bell/Whittle Springs community and works as the Executive Director of Peace Brigades International-USA.


Amelia has worked in the field of human rights for close to two decades, working both at home and abroad. 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. Also during the early part of the 2000s, she served as a Legislative Coordinator for Amnesty International – USA for the state of Tennessee. In summer 2004, Amelia served as a judicial extern in the Superior Court of Georgia under Judge Louisa Abbot. In fall 2004, she joined the staff of the Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law in Washington, DC as program coordinator where she worked for five years, designing and implementing human rights programming such as the Genocide Teaching Project, which trained law students to teach the lessons of genocide in area high schools, as well as organized conferences and workshops. In 2006, Amelia worked for a short time at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, researching and drafting memoranda on issues relating to minority contractors and government procurement programs for the Committee’s Minority Business Project.


Continuing her focus on the domestic implementation of human rights laws in the U.S., 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 shadow report on U.S. compliance to the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD) in 2008. Amelia went on to lead one of the oldest grassroots organizations in Tennessee, Statewide Organizing for Community eMpowerment (SOCM) for over three years from 2009-2013, where she 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. Following her time at SOCM, Amelia became executive director of PBI-USA in 2014 where she currently works. Amelia is also on the Board of Directors of the Birdhouse Community Center and an active member of the Coalition to Stop School Pushout, as well as a founding member of Black Lives Matter Knoxville and the 2017 City Council Movement, which propelled Amelia towards deciding to run for office and advocate for her community and all of scruffy city Knoxville as the 4th District City Council representative.