We want to extend a sincere congratulations to Mayor-Elect Paul Young on winning a tough election with a crowded field of candidates. After a hard-fought race, we look forward to coming together and finding alignment on our shared goals of bringing a brighter future to the Memphis we all love. 

As the mayoral race got underway, we understood that we were engaged in a fight for the future of Memphis. This election season held immense significance, as it determined the trajectory of our city – whether we would move Memphis forward towards a future where ALL communities have what they need to live a dignified life; or whether we would succumb to stagnation and continue pushing the status quo that over-criminalizes and leaves many of our people behind. 

Local offices, like the Mayor and City Council, are the offices that will most directly and immediately impact the lives of everyday Memphians. But the further we get from national and presidential politics, the lower voter engagement and turnout tends to be. Recognizing this trend, we made the conscious decision to invest heavily in this election so we could provide information and recommendations to voters and supporters–both in terms of which candidates were the most and least fit to become the next mayor. 

When we began this fight for Memphis, we used a rigorous endorsement process with a committed team of representative community members  to vet the candidates. Through this process, we identified certain individuals who we believed should not lead our city. In that regard, we saw real wins: through public communications and voter outreach, we helped thwart what could have been a detrimental outcome by preventing Sheriff Bonner or former Mayor Herenton from becoming mayor. This, in itself, is a win in the fight for Memphis.

Van Turner emerged from our endorsement process as the candidate with the strongest track record who most closely aligned with our values of investing in people and communities, improving the lives of youth and families, and creating sustainable policies and holistic solutions that address poverty as the real root of crime. He took a stand in this election, and we commend him for his unwavering commitment to the people of Memphis. We express our gratitude to him for his courage and for running a race that supported the movement for change.

We will continue forward from where we left off, building upon the strong victories of this election cycle. It is a true triumph that the fear-mongering tactics and emphasis on crime and punitive justice so prominent in the Bonner and Strickland campaigns failed to prevail. Regrettably, these tactics seemed to have an impact in some of the City Council races, but we successfully averted the worst-case scenarios in the mayoral race. 

We stand in solidarity with the progressive elected officials who united behind Van Turner to support a new path forward for Memphis. Our hope has always been to build upon the successes of last year’s elections, which saw the victories of District Attorney Steve Mulroy, Mayor Lee Harris, and Juvenile Court Judge Tarik Sugarmon. The 2022 elections resulted in winning key allies for criminal justice, youth justice, and county leadership. We’re hopeful that Mayor-Elect Young will prove to be an ally in city leadership as we continue to advocate for our goals. 

I must extend a special thanks to Justin J. Pearson and the Movement for Justice team for their invaluable partnership in this fight for Memphis. Representative Pearson demonstrated a level of courage and risk-taking that is often rare among newly elected officials. He invested his time, energy, and resources into what he saw as the path forward for Memphis – one of the most critical decisions our city will make in the next decade. We must continue to work together, looking towards the future with determination and hope.

In our pursuit of progress, we will continue collaborating with our partners to engage voters, promote civic participation, and advocate for the values and principles that will shape Memphis into a city of inclusivity, justice, and prosperity. We remain committed to the fight for Memphis, recognizing that the journey towards transformation is not always straightforward but is always worthy of our dedication.

We look forward to joining with Mayor-Elect Paul Young in the fight for a healthier, safer, and more just Memphis during his tenure, and we will keep our focus on how we continue to progress towards our goals of achieving educational equity and racial justice.

The People for Fairness & Justice (PFJ) PAC has launched the Fight for Memphis campaign to engage voters around the upcoming mayoral election and secure the future Memphis deserves. Building on successful recent justice race victories, the nonpartisan campaign’s goal is to shape the race by elevating issues like justice, safety, opportunity and integrity.

This is a pivotal moment for Memphis, and this campaign is about fighting for the city we know is possible. We want to ensure voters have the information needed to move our city forward, not backward.

At the campaign’s website, FightForMemphis.com, people can sign up to support the effort and donate to the cause. In the coming weeks, the campaign will endorse a candidate who will lead Memphis into the future. The campaign will also discourage voting for candidates whose ideology and policies will continue stagnation, perpetuate the status quo, and contribute to Memphis’ challenges.

The campaign’s public debut is a digital advertising effort against Floyd Bonner, whose mismanagement of 201 Poplar during his tenure as Shelby County Sheriff led to deaths, illness, and dangerous working conditions for the staff. We can’t let 201’s crisis become 901’s future, so PFJ will share communications materials, volunteer resources, and candidate information to help voters choose a Mayor that will lead us to a brighter future. 

PFJ believes Memphis is ready to turn the page and write a new chapter. In addition to a digital advertising effort, Fight for Memphis will organize canvassing, phone banking, forums and other get-out-the-vote efforts in the months leading up to the October election. In the crowded field of 17 candidates, we intend to get out the vote for our endorsed candidate to help elect our next Mayor with a larger, more representative group of voters. 

This is about realizing the full potential of the city we love,. We encourage all residents who believe in Memphis to join the fight.

Representative Justin J. Pearson has shown us all that he’s ready to stand up for young people and bring Memphis’ voice to the Legislature, even in the face of immense opposition. After he and Rep. Justin Jones were unjustly expelled, Rep. Pearson continued to raise the consciousness of our state and country, even having the ear of the President and Vice President. 

We need Rep. Pearson’s voice in the upcoming special session and beyond to protect our children from gun violence, fight for restorative justice and mental health support in schools, and push anti-poverty legislation to prevent violence from occurring in the first place. We know he’ll keep elevating important Memphis issues on the state and national levels during his whole term, and we’re proud to officially endorse Rep. Justin J. Pearson for District 86!

I’ve worked for many years in politics, advocacy, and organizing in Memphis, and I can say that the accomplishments we’ve made in 2022 are some of the most proud moments that I’ve had. We defeated the worst District Attorney in the country. We supported a progressive DA to bring much needed change to our community. We elected the first African American Juvenile Court Judge–bringing change to that important office for the first time in over 60 years. And, in working with our partners and the community, we fundamentally transformed the opportunities that we have in this community for real justice and safety.

The fight to unseat former DA Amy Weirich began in 2021 when we convened local, state, and national partners to form the People for Fairness and Justice (PFJ) to elect a new Shelby County District Attorney and Juvenile Court Judge who would share our values of restorative justice, criminal justice reform, and reducing the incarcerated population. Within months of planning and convening, we built a strong coalition centered on trust and a shared commitment to bringing a change to Shelby County that would reverberate across the country.

We developed and ran a well-targeted, multi-layered campaign, complete with groundbreaking efforts in canvassing, phone and text banking, digital communications, mail, TV/radio ads, and even an endorsement from actor and rap artist Common! Thanks to your overwhelming support, our hard work paid off: Steve Mulroy won the DA’s race with 56% of the vote and Tarik Sugarmon won the Juvenile Court Judge’s race with 44% of the vote – two HUGE wins for Black and Brown youth and adults (and everyone else) in Shelby County!

This move away from the failed status quo rhetoric of punitive, “tough-on-crime” policies showed the entire country that we’re ready to lead the way in transforming justice in Shelby County. What’s more, you showed up and answered the call of our youth (not yet old enough to vote for themselves) to elect leaders who will keep young people’s best interests front and center over the next eight years and bring meaningful change to the youth justice system.

Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts, for bringing a new day for justice and safety to Shelby County.

The Justice & Safety Alliance (JSA) is a coalition of organizations focused on achieving lasting public safety by truly reimagining policing, supporting proactive crime prevention, and increasing investment in safe, strong, and healthy communities. Over the past year, we led and supported some important progress in Shelby County, including releasing the Policing Reimagined report, running the J22 Campaign to increase voter turnout in the justice races, and supporting partner organizations in getting major bail reforms passed. 

Policing Reimagined

With the focus on the role of policing in our community, we aimed to set out a clear perspective by commissioning independent expert Dr. Duane Loynes (Assistant Professor of Urban Studies and Africana Studies) to author a report called Policing Reimagined to provide history, context, and recommendations around the issues of policing and crime. After the report’s release, the JSA hosted a follow-up town hall with the authors to discuss the report as it pertains to policy and investment solutions in Memphis. 

Dr. Loynes’ work shows us that safe communities are not those with the most police, but those in which people have equitable access to the things they need. Read more of the summary and implications for Memphis in our op-ed in the Commercial Appeal.

Justice-22 (J22) Campaign

During the Shelby County general election over the summer, the JSA ran the non-partisan Justice-22 (J22) campaign to increase voter turnout, specifically encouraging voters to vote all the way down the ballot in the races related to the criminal legal system. The August ballot was especially long because it included several judge positions as well as the State and Federal primary offices, so the risk of voter dropoff was high. Our goal was to turn people out to vote in the District Attorney and Juvenile Court Judge races, and we focused our efforts on Whitehaven, Westwood, and South Memphis neighborhoods. Through door-to-door and crowd canvassing, we educated voters about the role those offices play in youth and adults’ daily lives. 

Even though voter turnout continued to trend low, we followed the August election with ongoing Voter Engagement meetings to strategize for the future. We’re looking forward to developing some new deep canvassing programs in 2023 and continuing to encourage people to get civically engaged. 

Major Bail Reforms for Shelby County 

In late July, the Shelby County Commission passed the following reforms to our bail system that would:

  • Create a new bail hearing courtroom
  • Require individualized bail hearings with counsel no later than three days after arrest
  • Require examination of a person’s financial circumstances prior to any bail decision, and
  • Turn to money bail only as a last resort.  

We worked with Just City, ACLU-TN, Official Black Lives Matter Memphis, and the Wharton Law Firm for over a year to advocate for these reforms through a joint letter to and negotiations with Shelby County Government and Judicial officials. After a year of calling on them to stop the bail practices that violate the constitutional rights of people arrested in Shelby County, we now have momentum to create one of the fairest bail systems in the country. These changes are expected to be fully implemented by February of 2023, and we’re committed to supporting the new justice administration’s reform efforts however we can.

Stand For Children joined the Shelby County Voter Alliance to support the largest organized voter engagement effort in Shelby County history! Working with a coalition of organizations, we focused on registering and turning out voters across Memphis & Shelby County. If you’re a Stand supporter, you probably got one of our calls or texts.

With engagement from parents, volunteers, and 18 community partners, the Shelby County Voter Alliance registered 2,500 new voters and is now focusing on building the alliance to increase turnout for the 2022 local elections. Learn more at www.AllInShelby.com.

Read the article here. 

We are 6 days away from the Nov. 3rd election. Early voting ends Thursday, October 29, and it’s going to take ALL OF US to voice our ballot at the polls to have the change we seek! We must use our vote’s power to shape an inclusive future that offers everyone a fair and equitable chance at life in the United States.

Yes, it’s raining and cold outside, but please don’t let that stop you from finding your nearest early voting location today to cast your ballot. I strongly recommend that you take some time out to let your voice be heard today to avoid the long lines on Election Day (November 3). If you can’t make it to the polls by Thursday, October 29, make a plan with your loved ones now to find your assigned voting location on Election Day by visiting www.govote901.com.

Remember, there is power in your vote! Please don’t allow anyone to deter you from voicing your ballot in this critical time of our lives. Many of our resources, i.e., health care and civil rights, are at risk of being violated, and it’s our job to protect what’s rightfully ours.

It’s no secret that in 11 days, we will be casting our ballot in an election that will decide our way of life for the next four years. A decision that will impact the future for not only us but many generations to come.

STAND & VOTE 2020 – Sign up today to help us spread the word!

 Now more than ever, we must make our voices heard in the November 3rd election. From checking our voter registration status to knowing the nearest voting location in our neighborhoods, we must eliminate all possible obstacles that could negatively impact our voter experience within the next two weeks. We all have to make our plan to vote and stick to it!

That’s why we’re asking you to join us for our STAND & VOTE 2020: GOTV Member Phone & Text Bank! We’re going to look out for each other and ensure that everyone on our list is equipped with the information they need to make a plan to vote.

Phone banking sign-up times:

Thursday (10/22)- 6PM (Training)-8:30PM

• Friday (10/23)- 6PM (Training)-8:30PM

Saturday (10/24)-1PM (Training)-4PM

Text Banking sign-up times (Starting Next Week):

Monday (10/26)- 6PM (Training)-8:30PM 

Tuesday (10/27)10AM Training, texts throughout the day

Wednesday (10/28) 9AM Training, texts throughout the day

Thursday (10/29, Last day of early voting) 9AM-5PM

As Nov.3rd approaches, powers that be and naysayers will do all they can to discourage us from exercising our right to vote as citizens of this country. Never forget that YOUR VOTE MATTERS and that you hold power to decide how this country will operate for the next four years.

 We cannot afford to sit back and pass on our responsibility! Your voice! Your ballot!

The countdown is on until Election Day on November 3.

 But before we can cast our ballot for president, state representative, or school board member – everyone must be sure that they’re registered to vote. In past years, we’d go door-to-door or host voter registration events to make sure that everyone has a plan to vote. This year, things are different. So instead, it’s up to each and every one of us to spread the word and help friends and family register.

First, check to ensure your registration status is up to date by visiting our page on Proud Voter-Tennessee.

Then, reach out to a few people you know – for me, I know I owe a couple of family members and friends a call. Ask if they’re registered to vote. It’s that easy and can ensure that each of our voices are heard this upcoming Election Day.

You can also get involved by volunteering to help increase voter turnout! Stand has partnered with Continue the Dream – Voter Alliance to increase voter engagement by registering Memphians to vote and encouraging the largest turnout possible for this election. If you would like to help with voter registration and sharing critical voting information to all, please sign up here.

There is power in voting, and others are doing all they can to suppress our right as citizens to have a fair and equitable election. Never forget that YOUR VOTE MATTERSBe the change you seek by registering to vote today!

Happy Voter Registration Day!

Now more than ever, we must pay attention! Now more than ever, we must get involved! Now more than ever, we must vote! In the August 6 election, each of us will have an opportunity to shape the educational future for students in Memphis and Shelby County. Your participation in the Shelby County General Election is a chance to vote for education champions committed to building equity in education!

  • Get Involved – Check the opportunities (volunteer and paid) to get engaged in supporting these great candidates 
  • Vote – You can still register to vote by mail (until July 30) or find your polling location.

 Let’s start with the August election and carry this momentum through to November! Casting your vote for Shelby County Schools Board is one of the best actions that you can take toward improving the odds for all children in our community receiving the education they need and deserve.This election is too important to sit out! We believe that these candidates will be true education champions for the children of Memphis and Shelby County.

Whether you vote by mail, early vote (starting July 17), or find your way to the polls on August 6, make sure to exercise your right to vote and send a message to 10 friends to join you in voting!