Weekly Update


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Now that school has started back, I want to remind you of a challenge I made a few months ago for you to get involved in creating better outcomes for our young people.

It’s our 2017 Call to Action. Two of the three options I gave you deal directly with building up our young people. Today, if you’re not currently one of the thousands of Memphians who are rolling up their sleeves to make Memphis a better place, I challenge you to get off the sidelines.

Memphis needs you.

Here are a couple of options:

Mentor a young person: It’s proven that a young person’s ability to choose the right path in life so often depends on the influence of an older person. So in keeping with the city’s commitment to President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative, and in partnership with the Grizzlies Foundation, I encourage you to commit to an hour a week of mentoring through The Giving Hour initiative. Visit thegivinghour.org to sign up.

Read to a kid: If a child can't read by the third grade, he or she often falls behind. Shelby County Schools’ Team Read initiative asks for an hour a week and a commitment once a week from October through April to read to second graders -- and help improve their futures. Call the SCS Family and Community Engagement office at 416-7600 to sign up.

I’m not asking you to do something I won’t do. I’ve enjoyed getting to know my mentee, Taishun. And my wife, Melyne, is reading at Dunbar Elementary.

City government has upped its game when it comes to making an impact with young people. Our libraries are open longer, our library and community center programming has increased, and we’ve added more summer jobs. And this fall, we’re adding after-school programming at all 25 of our community centers.

We’re making progress. We’re reinvesting in our future. Won’t you join us?

On the same page: Earlier this afternoon, I gathered the 200 most senior leaders in city government in the same room to reiterate our priorities. It never hurts to have a good reminder, and to ask everyone to channel their efforts every single day toward what we want to accomplish for you.

My vision is to reverse population loss and maximize Memphis’ momentum by delivering quality core services of city government -- by being ‘brilliant at the basics.’ As I told our group today, our focus is around five core areas: youth, public safety, neighborhoods, good government, and jobs.

I ask you to hold us accountable. Report a service issue at 311 (call 311, visit memphistn.gov/311 or use the Memphis 311 smartphone app), and you’re always welcome to email me at mayor@memphistn.gov. We work for you.

Innovation at MFD: I promised you when I was inaugurated that we would put fresh eyes on old problems. I promised follow-through, too.

It’s in that context that I ask that you read this story from WREG-TV on an innovative new program from the Memphis Fire Department. It came from the steering committee I co-chaired to find ways to implement IBM’s recommendations to improve our Emergency Medical Services and reduce non-emergency calls.

Great job, Memphis Fire!

Celebrating Crosstown Concourse: I can’t wait for tomorrow afternoon, when we’ll formally open Crosstown Concourse with a grand opening ceremony and celebration that will go on all night. This is a historic moment in our city, and perhaps our strongest symbol yet that our momentum resides in our core.

No place for hate in our city: Like all of you, I was troubled by last weekend’s violence in Charlottesville. As I said over the weekend, we condemn hate, white supremacists, Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan. There must be no mistake in that, and we must call it what it is.

Today, I was proud to be part of a bipartisan group of more than 200 mayors from across the country to sign the Mayors’ Compact to Combat Hate, Extremism, and Bigotry. The mayors of Clarksville, Knoxville and Nashville joined, too. I hope you’ll join in the same spirit of working to condemn hate and bring our community and our nation together.

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