Weekly Update


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Reducing violent crime is our No. 1 priority. So much goes into that  like the good early results we’ve had in rebuilding police staffing and positive outcomes in getting stiffer sentences from the state for violent crimes.

But as I’ve often said, the true long-term solution to crime — and more than that, the true long-term solution for the entire good of our community — is making sure young people choose the right path in life.

That’s why we’re fundamentally re-investing in what we do for our young people.

Another example of this took place a week ago today, when we hosted our annual Classic College and Career Fair at the Pipkin Building. Some 3,100 young people saw the opportunities that await them in careers and higher education. It’s hard to beat.

In the past year, we’ve upped our number of summer youth jobs, increased our library hours, amplified community center camps, and introduced after-school programming in our community centers for the first time.

These are, no doubt, actions that won’t fully be realized for years to come. But I hope you can see the progress we’re making in re-investing in our most important asset, our young people.

On the Brooks: The Brooks Museum of Art is a great asset to our city. You probably saw this week where it is debating a future that could be outside of its longtime home inside Overton Park (though still in Memphis). Please know that our administration has talked and will continue to talk to leaders at the Brooks to make sure their decision is in the best interest of our city for years to come.

Building consensus: It’s easy to tweet or go on a Facebook rant. It’s easy to talk about how to change Memphis for the better.

But real leadership is about building consensus  often behind the scenes, in meetings and phone calls  toward a common goal. That’s what we set out to do a couple of weeks ago when we asked the faith community for its support on our request before the state to move the statue of Nathan Bedford Forrest. And did they ever respond.

As of this writing, 172 diverse members of the clergy in our city, representing 98 congregations and institutions, are signed on to a letter in support of what we’re doing. These are leaders of congregations of all kinds of denominations, black and white, liberal and conservative  you name it. This is real consensus in our community.

I hope you saw the letter, which names every clergy member who has signed. And I particularly hope you saw the guest column in The Commercial Appeal from Rev. Dr. Stephen Cook of Second Baptist and Rev. Dr. Sean Michael Lucas of Independent Presbyterian explaining why they think it’s important  so important that their entire clergy staffs signed on.

Our condolences: You probably heard that Rev. Dwight Montgomery, one of the leaders in our faith community, passed away this week. I appreciated his support on some key issues during my time in this office, and always appreciated and looked up to his leadership on civil rights. I will keep his family, friends and congregation lifted in my prayers during their time of grief, and I hope you will, too.

Traffic alert: The intersection of Poplar and Parkway has been confusing for as long as I can remember  especially for those who want to make a left turn. So our Division of Engineering fixed it. With new traffic signals that went live this week, you’ll no longer have to awkwardly wait out your turn in the middle of the intersection. When you get the green arrow, you can go ahead and fully complete your turn.

Thank you, Memphis: In the space of a few days last week, I was reminded of just how grateful I am to have your support as mayor. I learned on Wednesday that voters in The Commercial Appeal’s Memphis Most poll chose me as “Best Local Politician.” And then on Saturday, I was honored to have another great reception as we walked the Orange Mound Parade route.

I’ll admit it: This job causes far too many 3:30 a.m. wide-awake moments than you’d ever want. Yet in those moments, your words of encouragement and support at events like these run through my mind.

They keep me going.

Thank you, Memphis, for the honor of a lifetime. Thank you for your support.

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