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.