representation

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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A view of value

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by Tawanna Brown Detroit, Michigan reminds me a lot of Memphis. As a first-time attendee of this year’s Grantmakers in the Arts (GIA) Conference, there were aspects of the convening, held in Detroit, that felt very familiar. Both cities hug mighty rivers, entrenched in histories muddied with issues of race and class. Though world-renowned transportation operations are […]

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Bringing students into the field

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by Heather Trussell At The Soulsville Charter School, Dr. Dennis Leoni and I have been working to create a classroom culture in the high school orchestras of orchestral etiquette, work ethic, and respect for colleagues and instruments. We consistently emphasize the fact that proper technique and posture informs the quality of music-making, as well as […]

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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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Work in progress: the in-school strategy in action

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by Lecolion Washington The last few years have been an amazing time for the MMI in-schools team as our work has grown by leaps and bounds. One of the key attributes that MMI brings to the table is that we have created an environment in which the tail doesn’t wag the dog. The level of […]

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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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MMI Works Externship: building global citizens

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by Amber Hamilton In June 2017, I had the privilege of accompanying four MMI Works students on an externship to Ireland. The students, who earned the externship by participating in our summer program last year and applying through a competitive application process, were able to experience a curated trip packed with meaningful experiences. The students […]

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MMI Works externship: our stories

by Aliciah D. My first trip out the country can be considered one of the most noteworthy chapters of my life. The country the I got to explore was none other than Ireland, a place known for particular beverages and plants with four petals.  I have traveled out of the country of my origin to […]

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Shelectricity: energizing girls for innovative lives

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by Tawanna Brown It was a stormy Saturday morning in April, but the rains did little to deter the more than 100 middle school girls, parents and girl allies who showed up for Shelectricity’s Memphis Listening Party.  It was a festive affair that included girl-power music, from Alecia Keys to Aretha Franklin, spun by DJ […]

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