Proverbs 29:18 is one of my favorite scriptures. It states, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” Conversely, this means where there is a vision, the people live. From a spiritual and socioeconomic perspective, this is very true because Memphis should be the place where people will desire to live, work, and play.
My vision for Memphis is for the city to once again be the high elite in public safety, quality education, and economic development. All three categories are interrelated. In order for us to be considered regionally, nationally, and globally as the “leader” and not the “follower”, it takes high-quality leadership from the Mayor and the City Council to work collaboratively in pursuing and achieving goals and objectives that enhance the quality of life of all.
First of all, I would want all neighborhoods to be safe, clean, and attractive to the eye. In order for this to occur, cooperative growth is needed. Cooperative growth must be done threefold: culturally, communally, and economically. It is extremely easy to negatively criticize Memphis’ challenges in this area, but it takes a lot of time and energy to actually stay in the City and look for ways in making it better. I’m a strong proponent in finding proactive ways in removing these barriers and have actively helped neighborhoods with this specific goal.
Public education cannot be inadequately administered to our youth. No matter what we may perceive about the younger generation, the fact is that the next generation will indeed be our future doctors, lawyers, entrepreneurs, and other positive contributors to society. A City that embodies and impels successful schools will be able to attract and retain young people. Moreover, this will have a progressive impact on the middle class sector of the City, which has much room for increment. This population increase should be coupled with continuous job growth. We must also increase graduation rates and decrease dropout rates and the number of schools on low-performing lists. I take pride as a teacher in making sure my students, regardless of their school status, have the best quality education at Central High School.
Finally, in order to be the City of Choice, economic development will help fight the economic segregation and poverty that exists within the City. My vision is that we continue to dispel the existence of public housing and replace it with affordable housing. I would like to see all sectors of a community empower themselves by collaborating and finding solutions to create the Memphis I believe we all want. During my time on the Council, I have given continuous support and assistance to several Community Development Corporations (CDCs), including the Cooper-Young CDC and The Works, Inc. The latter has helped with the implementation and approval of the SoMe project (South Memphis Revitalization Action Plan), which is a 7 year longitudinal plan… “To transform South Memphis into one of our region’s premier urban neighborhoods of choice by mobilizing local residents, institutions, and their allies to implement a comprehensive economic and community development strategy promoting healthy living, lifelong-learning, local entrepreneurship, job training, innovative youth and family services, green building and design, cooperative problem-solving, alternative transportation, excellence in urban design and public and private development partnerships.”