A Weekend of Inspiration: Inside the Memphis Power Summit

The Memphis Power Summit, which took place on December 16, was a stirring reminder of the power of unity and purpose in community organizing. More than 60 change makers gathered for a day of skill-building workshops and networking, marking a significant moment for those dedicated to shaping a better future.

The summit kicked off with a vibrant mixer at Mahogany Memphis the night before, setting a tone of camaraderie and collaboration. Local elected officials, including Memphis City Council Chair JB Smiley, newly elected Council Member Jerri Green, Shelby County Commission Budget Chair Michael Whaley, and Memphis Shelby County Schools Board Member Mauricio Calvo, mingled with attendees. To close out the mixer, Rep. Justin J. Pearson laid the groundwork for a day of meaningful exchange and learning.

Saturday’s sessions spanned a spectrum of crucial topics – local advocacy, leadership development, member recruitment, power mapping, fundraising, co-governance, media relations, and notably, the integration of AI in advocacy. The environment buzzed with dynamic conversations, as participants shared insights and forged new connections.

A significant segment of the summit was the lunchtime panel on healing and community care. Spearheaded by experts Tikeila Rucker, Tameka Greer, Vahisha Hasan, and Giovanni Dortch, the panel emphasized the importance of mental and emotional well-being in advocacy work. Here, participants gained strategies and insights on preventing burnout and sustaining hope amidst the relentless pace of change-making.

Adding a practical touch to the event, Memphis Film Works provided a mobile headshot photo booth, a hit among attendees. The opportunity to refresh professional portraits was a thoughtful addition, underscoring the summit’s attention to the diverse needs of community organizers.

In a tranquil corner of the summit, the Healing/Reset Room, curated by Jackie O. from the Memphis Black Healers Collective, offered a sanctuary. Here, a massage therapist worked wonders in 15-minute sessions, reminding everyone of the importance of self-care in the taxing world of advocacy.

Chuja Marie, a participant, encapsulated the spirit of the summit: “Walking into the Power Summit made me feel powerful. Rep. Pearson’s presence was like a spark igniting a flame, making me believe that anything is possible.”

The success of the summit has already sparked conversations about future events, with many attendees eager for continued collaboration and learning. The organizers have promised to return in 2024, calling for community input to shape future sessions.

The Memphis Power Summit was not just a conference; it was a celebration of community spirit and a testament to the belief that together, we can forge a path to a better tomorrow.

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