Weekly Update

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As many of you may have heard, I found out last Friday afternoon I had contracted COVID-19. I regularly wear a mask and wash or sanitize my hands often. Anyone of us can contract the virus, and this is a reminder of how contagious it is.


Each Friday morning, my senior leadership team meets (virtually during the pandemic). During the meeting, one of the members thought I sounded slightly congested and recommended I get tested. I hadn’t really even noticed. I have allergies, and like several of us this time of year, they can act up.


So, I went to take a test and sure enough, I later found out my results—positive with COVID-19.


Fortunately, I was vaccinated earlier this year and have had a mild case. Prior to getting tested last Friday, I didn’t even know I had the virus.


I’m telling you about my experience for two reasons.

  1. If you’re feeling stuffy, congested or just out of the norm—get tested. We have plenty of them, and it’s quick and easy. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
  2. If you haven’t already, please get vaccinated. Studies have proven that even though you may still catch the virus, it drastically reduces your symptoms and nearly eliminates the chances of dying from COVID-19.

 To find testing and vaccination sites, go here.

A difficult week: Violent crime has plagued our city for decades, and over the past year with most meaningful outlets closed due to the pandemic, almost every city across the country has seen an increase. Since last Friday, there have been 12 murders alone in Memphis and a total of 191 so far this year.


I want to highlight one of them.


Earlier this week, a 17-year old was shot and killed by a 16-year old former co-worker at a fast food restaurant off Ridgeway. One of these young men has been taken from his family and friends forever, and the other was charged with first-degree murder, attempted murder and use of a firearm in a felony. Unfortunately, this story is told over and over again only with different names, ages and locations in our community.


This story is another reason for having more meaningful outlets for our young people and for intervening with more youth to keep this from happening. But, there is hope.


As I mentioned to you before, we recently presented our proposed spending of American Rescue Plan Act funding to City Council (which included $9 million to the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Memphis). This past Tuesday evening, Council approved that portion of the funding along with several other meaningful areas. I want to thank our City Council for their partnership to help get this done. To see the full approved allocation, go here.


As a reminder, this funding will allow BGCM to operate in 10 additional Shelby County Schools.

Below is a quick look at some of their overall stats from the operation at Craigmont High School and other clubs:

  • 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.

For me personally, working to solve the problem of violent crime has been one of the most frustrating and challenging obstacles I’ve faced during my time as Mayor because there is no “quick fix”. Unfortunately, the plans we make and the actions we take today do not mean our crime problem will be solved tomorrow.


I want you to know we are serious about a long-term solution to public safety and helping our young people choose the right path instead of the wrong one. This new BGCM funding is a great step towards achieving that goal, and I look forward to working with them make it a reality.


Leading Ladies: I’m fortunate enough to get work with a tremendous group of leaders each day. Two from that special group were honored recently with some pretty prestigious awards, and I want to take a moment to highlight them.


The first is Jennifer Sink, Chief Legal Officer for the City of Memphis, who was named a 2021 Best of the Bar honoree by the Memphis Business Journal. I’m fortunate to work with Jennifer who is one the best lawyers I have known in my career. Her intelligence, common sense and strong work ethic make her very deserving of this distinction.


The second is Alex Smith, Chief Human Resources Officer for the City of Memphis, who was named the 2020 HRO Today's CHRO of the Year Award, Non-Profit. Alex has been a remarkable leader during a challenging year - maintaining safe working conditions for our 8,300 employees, maintaining staffing levels during quarantines and training people for expanded roles such as contact tracing.


I’m fortunate to work with both of the ladies and even luckier to call them friends. Alex and Jennifer—thank you for your leadership and congratulations on these honors.


Thank a Police Officer Day: Today, September 17, 2021, is Thank a Police Officer Day. If you get a chance to thank one of the Best in Blue today (or any day for that matter) please do. They put their lives on the line each day to protect us, and the very least we can do is thank them for it.


Big weekend: This weekend is a big game for our Memphis Tigers as they will go head-to-head against the Mississippi Bulldogs. Good luck and Go Tigers!!!


Additionally, and happening just a stone’s throw from Tiger Lane, is the 33rd Cooper Young Festival.


It’s a huge weekend for our city, and I hope everyone has a great time. I just ask that as you’re out attending these events to please be mindful that we’re still in the middle of a pandemic. Wear a mask and please be careful.


Enjoy the weekend!



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