Weekly Update: Looking back at MLK50 week


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It has been quite the week in Memphis. As a community, we came together for an honest, inspiring, fitting commemoration of the 50 years since Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in our city.

I can’t figure out which moment was most impactful — hearing Dr. King’s children speak at Mason Temple, listening to Rev. James Lawson at the National Civil Rights Museum, the bell tolling at 6:01, the big crowd that gathered at our opening of the I AM A MAN Plaza on Thursday, or any of the other moments in the past few days and weeks.

Yes, we have plenty of work still to do — like on poverty, which we outlined last week.

But we’ve also made undeniable progress as a community in those 50 years, too — like with the working conditions for our sanitation workers.

That’s been my message, and I think it’s what a broad cross-section of Memphis believes: We’ve made progress, but we have not yet realized Dr. King’s dream. In Memphis, more than any other city in the world, we must not rest until we reach that dream.

I look forward to continuing our work to make Memphis even better.

Thanks, employees: I am continually amazed and proud of our City of Memphis employees. This week is no exception. So much planning went toward making our MLK50 events meet the moment, and so many City employees were involved in that planning. And, so much energy has gone into our public safety and other logistics work this week in particular.

To our City employees, I say this, simply: Thank you. I hope you'll join me in expressing your thanks, too.

Pothole progress: Starting this week, we’ve transitioned some of the crews we activated on our pothole blitz back to their regular duties. As of last week, we had filled more than 36,000 potholes since mid-January.

As you know, we’ve doubled street resurfacing in the past four years, part of our ongoing reinvestment in Memphis. You’ll start to see our crews and our contractors working on full street repaving very soon.

Rebuilding MPD: A couple of weeks ago, our latest Memphis Police recruiting class started at the academy. I hope you’re as grateful as I am that good people have raised their hands to make our community safer.

We’ve made good progress on rebuilding MPD, reversing a seven-year decline in officer count in recent months. We have held two classes a year since coming into office, and I’m proud to say we’ll add a third class later this summer.

Free summer camps: As you may remember, we’ve made our community center summer camps free of charge this year — another step in continuing to improve what we do for our youth. Signups start tomorrow at 9 a.m. at all City community centers.

Lasting image: On this important week in our city, I want to leave you with a striking image of I AM A MAN Plaza illuminated at night.

I AM A MAN Plaza


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