Weekly Update

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Over the last few weeks, I’ve written about our struggle with violent crime and the many ways we’re working to address it. A long-term solution that we’ve been deploying for the last several years is providing more meaningful programming for young people through our parks, community centers, libraries, and summer jobs programs. So far, we’ve seen some great results.

But, we know we must do more.

That’s why this past Tuesday I proposed allocating $9 million over three years to the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Memphis (BGCM). If approved, this will allow them to operate in 10 additional Shelby County Schools. This was a part of a larger presentation I made to City Council on our proposed strategy for the $161 million the City of Memphis received in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds.

Thank you to Superintendent Joris Ray for this partnership with BGCM. 

This proposal expands on what Dr. Ray and BGCM have successfully done at Craigmont High School for the last three years. Recently, the principal, Dr. Tisha Durrah, wrote a letter detailing their experience with the program. Over the three-year period, the school has seen a

  • Reduction in the number of neighborhood fights after school
  • Decline in gang-related activity reports after school
  • Increase in after-school tutoring attendance
  • Increase in students joining after school clubs and activities; and an
  • Increase in students exhibiting positive behaviors (specifically 10th and 11th graders).

With sufficient funding, BGCM can have a transformative impact on our young people. Take a look at some of their overall stats:

  • 100 percent of seniors graduate, and 100 percent of graduates go to college, get a job, or join the military.
  • 76 percent of low-income club members ages 12-18 who attend regularly reported receiving mostly A’s and B’s, compared to 67 percent of their peers nationally.
  • 81 percent of BGCM members show an increase in homework completion.
  • 57 percent of alumni said the club saved their life.
  • The percentage of Club girls who express an interest in a STEM career (47 percent) is more than three times greater than that of their same-aged female peers nationally.

Over the coming weeks, City Council will be reviewing our ARPA allocation proposal and will have its own tweaks and suggestions for spending. We welcome them.

That said, if we’re going to be serious about a long-term solution to public safety and helping our young people choose the right path instead of the wrong one, our BGCM proposal is a great step towards achieving that goal, and I hope we can partner together with Council to achieve it.

COVID-19: As I wrote in this space last week, we are still in a serious battle with this virus as the Delta variant continues to burn through our community. As you can see below, the positivity rate continues to rise and infect more and more people.


The numbers in our hospitals and ICUs also continue to see significant increases.



As our children go back to school this fall, getting vaccinated (if you haven’t already), continuing to mask up, and washing our hands often are as important as they ever have been. If you or someone you know have not received your vaccine, you can visit our public vaccination site at the Pipkin Building. To keep up-to-date on our efforts to fight this virus, please go here.

Stay vigilant.


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