We know all too well that racial disparities exist in the criminal legal system, especially those with lived experience. The next question we need to ask is “Why?” To ask these questions and start to get to the roots of these disparities, Stand for Children, MICAH, Official Black Lives Matter of Memphis, Just City, and Memphis for All are facilitating the Justice and Safety work of More For Memphis (MFM), a collaboration between 300+ multi-sector and neighborhood partners to establish a plan to improve quality of life in Memphis and Shelby County.
We’re leading with equity in the Justice & Safety Anchor Collaborative. To date, we have assembled an incredible work group of justice-impacted community members, youth, and organizational representatives to conduct a root cause analysis of the injustices we face, which will then inform tangible policy solutions. The work group has been meeting weekly and attending trainings on how to approach the potential solutions through an equity lens since September, and in November, they facilitated a well-attended and productive community event to include more voices in the process to get to the roots of injustice.
This process is an important part of reshaping the narrative around public safety in our community, and the Justice & Safety workgroup is working with the Justice & Safety Alliance to ensure this work continues into the future. It’s time to move past surface-level “fixes” that blame the community for the problems that systems create. We believe that communities, particularly communities of color, deeply and intimately understand the problem and therefore hold the transformative solutions that will last. All of us are looking forward to the impactful conversations and the resulting action that we know will follow.
Stay tuned for more updates and ways to get involved in 2023!