I was born here, I have lived here for 25 years, and I will probably die here from its BBQ. The city has its pitfalls. We have potholes, empty promise politicians, suburban savior complex moms, and Graceland. We are known for blues, Dr. King, and overnight shipping. We hate Nashville comparisons, taxes, and John Calipari. We love BBQ, Shelby Farms, and Jerry’s Snow Cones. I wake up each day thankful for the water, the air, and the people who use blinkers on 240.
Above all else, the city is stagnant. I am not sorry about publishing this. Everyone needs to hear this. I have witnessed a city council member take LinkedIn profile headshots as two ATVs drifted up and down the Beale Street Landing behind him. I have heard a 45-minute pontification of a ribbon award winner for “Honorary Mayor of Whitehaven”, so we could cut a Vietnam Veteran short at city hall. I have watched us squandered some of the brightest minds in one of the worst public school systems in America. I am sick of people saying “that’s Memphis,” “only in Memphis,” or “That’s why I moved out of Memphis.”
Instead of complaining, pick something up. Pick up the broom to clean up the blight. Pick up an application instead of a gun. Pick up a volunteer slot to educate and mentor. Pick up your attitude to see the good in the city for one day. Change Memphis one day at a time. We cannot rewrite the first 200 years for the city, but we can give Memphis the best foundation for the next 200 years by eliminating the apathy. Suburban out of sight out of mind is cancer. Love thy neighbor, and the rest will follow. I do not know who this will reach, I do not know who will read this 10 years from now, but if my words stick with one person the city will be better tomorrow than it was today.
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