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About Faith Held

Community Outreach Coordinator Faith Held’s parents had a profound effect on her belief system that she could never escape. Her first memories are of attending city council meetings and marching in rallies alongside her father, a local community organizer who has worked for the last twenty years in Knoxville’s low-income communities. “I hated it at the time, because it involved a lot of sitting quietly in church basements and listening to the grownups talk,” she says. “But I picked up important lessons along the way about giving everyone a voice, even if it sometimes means yelling on their behalf.”

Meanwhile, she watched her mom build a law firm from the ground up. “There,” she says, “I saw firsthand why it was important to fight the good fight, stick up for the little guy and never tell a lie.”

At the age of 18, Faith married to a man in the military and had a baby. At 20, she got divorced. She remembers, “As a stay-at-home mom up to that point, I was seeing how hard it was to get back on my feet as a single parent, even with loads of family support. But I also knew a lot of people were way worse off than I was. I wasn’t any more deserving than they were, just lucky. I wanted to pay it forward.”

Faith began her education in social work, receiving admission into the accelerated honors program and multiple scholarships for her academic work and undergraduate research. Still, she was frustrated by the lack of her ability to help people on the scale she had imagined. She heard from caseworkers who admitted feeling ineffective because their hands were tied by the agency they worked for. She was maddened to think of the countless people being denied assistance due to bad policies and public servants who refused to do their job. She wanted no part in it, so she re-directed her studies toward public policy, communications, and political organizing.

Faith leads Held Law Firm’s Advocacy Project. She connects clients with information and resources they need during this time of change, and also identifies where and when resources and programs need to be better developed to meet the client’s needs. While Held Law Firm’s lawyers focus on representing individual clients in the courtroom, Faith develops solutions to problems faced by Held Law Firm’s clients outside the courtroom, working with the Firm’s allies in the community to effect policy change.

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