national perspectives

Three life lessons I learned while working in juvenile justice

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by Desiree Coleman Long before I had the pleasure of reading Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow, I understood firsthand what disproportionate minority contact meant.  I spent close to 10 years working in the nation’s capital, with some of the most vulnerable communities, including incarcerated youth.  I worked in a juvenile justice system that was […]

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Lessons in giving

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by Toya Randall Much of my success has been and continues to be fueled by women. I first experienced the power of an organized network of women growing up under the care of my mother, grandmothers and aunts. Theirs was a unique sisterhood brought to fruition by my birth to teenage parents. Over the course […]

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Five strategies for advancing racial equity in public education

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by Sam O’Bryant When I began working in Memphis in 2012, I arrived during the halfway point of a major investment in teacher effectiveness. While the work was worthy and victories were won, the focus was on making teachers the absolute best they could be. Like most education reform, there was an absence of specific […]

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Don’t talk to me about diversity

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by Denise St. Omer I’m tired of talking about diversity. You heard me right. I’m a black woman in philanthropy and I’m done engaging in conversations about diversity. Conversations about diversity create spaces for people to engage in activities that make them feel like they’re doing something, but don’t actually move forward toward creating inclusive […]

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Shifting from pain to promise

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by Rhonda Broussard What if solving for pain points isn’t good enough?  From product designers to UX/UL to social entrepreneurs, we’ve been trained to get close to the problem.  Bryan Stevenson urges us to get proximate to people so that we can really understand their pain.  Last year, we worked with Memphis Music Initiative (MMI) […]

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Music Cities Convention Memphis

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Memphis Music Initiative was proud to partner with Sound Diplomacy to present the Music Cities Convention in Memphis in October. The conference brought more than 200 people to our city, hailing from 60 cities and 15 countries, to talk about equity and access in a music city. Our own Amand Pugh attended and wrote this […]

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Equity and inclusion ain’t easy – but it needs to happen

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by Sam O’Bryant  Since 2011, I have worked on projects and initiatives that have deliberately and intentionally discussed the role of race and equity in America. My work has included planning regional conferences on racial healing in the American South, hosting community conversations on race in the Delta, and even promoting black male achievement within […]

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Power

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 by Anasa Troutman Last summer, I made public a dream that I had held close to my heart for over 10 years. In a vintage theater on Martha’s Vineyard with no air conditioning, in front of a modest audience of 100 people, I shared my vision of building Shelectricity, a space where black and brown […]

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Leadership is a gift

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  by Kwayera Archer Cunningham  Leadership is a gift to be handled with care, as if a fine piece of porcelain. I have received many awards, acknowledgments, and praise for my leadership, but even more notable than the accolades was the permission of those who allowed me to lead and represent them. Understanding that leadership […]

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Leading with love in schools

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by Allison R. Brown He was 14 years old when the school resource officer hit him so hard in the face, he knocked his front tooth out. This happened at school. It is unclear what the student’s transgression, or supposed transgression, was. I posit that it does not matter. When children go to school, they […]

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