Every election season, I take my children with me to the polls. I show them how the process works and tell them who I’m supporting and why. I explain how people before them made great sacrifices so that we could have the right to vote.

For generations, women and people of color in this country were denied a voice. And still today, there are some elected officials who try to stop us from exercising our right.

Don’t let them win. Vote!

I hope my kids – once they turn 18 – never take their right to vote for granted. I hope you won’t either.

At such a critical time in our country, voting is a simple yet powerful way to make your voice heard. It really can make a difference for your children and your community.  

With all that’s going on right now in Memphis, in Tennessee, and across the U.S., we can’t afford to be silent.

For too long in America’s past, entire groups of people were denied a say. This election, let’s all use our voices to write America’s future.

Make a plan to vote today.

With early voting for the Shelby County general election in full swing, now is a good time to reflect on the importance of voting and the role that it plays in shaping our communities – present and future. Politics at every level can often play out more like a poorly written television drama than the solemn workings of a democracy, so it is easy to become cynical or apathetic about it all and believe that your vote won’t make a difference. However, the results of local elections have a particularly big impact on our daily lives. 

On August 2, we will be electing the people who will set the policies and budgets for everything from land use, transportation, and public infrastructure to affordable housing, economic development, and public health. And, of course, public education. Our four Momentum Memphis platform areas, for example, are issues that are largely determined at the local level and will therefore be directly affected by the county election results.

As you head to the polls, remember that your vote is more than a numerical unit toward the overall sum. It is an affirmation of the principles of democracy and a direct, personal statement about how you want your community to be – not just for yourself, but for your children. It is an opportunity to convey your concerns and priorities to the people who can ultimately do something about them. It is an essential supplement to the advocacy work that you already do. If those reasons don’t already convince you, here’s one more – the simplest and most compelling reason that we can come up with:

Vote because you can.

Early voting continues through Saturday, July 28. Election Day is Thursday, August 2. Don’t miss your opportunity to make an impact.

Learn more about the power of your vote in our extended edition, “Because You Can.”

Stand for Children Tennessee proudly endorses the following slate of education champions in the Shelby County general election on August 2, 2018.

Shelby County Mayor: Lee Harris

Shelby County Board of Commissioners:

Mark Billingsley, District 4

Michael Whaley, District 5

Willie Brooks, Jr., District 6

Tami Sawyer, District 7

Mickell Lowery, District 8

Reginald Milton, District 10

Eddie Jones, Jr., District 11

Van Turner, District 12

Brandon Morrison, District 13

These candidates were selected by a diverse committee of dedicated, passionate students, parents, and community leaders through a multi-part endorsement process. Each of them have demonstrated a deep understanding of the issues that affect local students and families and have been identified as advocates who will make funding decisions that prioritize the educational needs of Shelby County’s youth.

Their commitment to improving student academic achievement and helping all young people reach their full potential will make them ideal allies in our mission to ensure that all children graduate from high school prepared for college or a career. Now is the time to elect education champions who share our commitment to the future success of our community’s youth.

Get ready for the Shelby County general election by registering to vote — or updating your registration — by July 3, 2018. Beat the crowd and cast your vote early during the early voting period, July 13-28. The date of the general election is August 2.

Make your voice heard on Election Day.

Stand for Children Tennessee is proud to endorse education champions who are committed to helping improve student outcomes, advocating for necessary and equitable funding to address student needs, and increasing potential for college and career success.

Stand endorsed candidates undergo a multi-step process with our committee of experienced, dedicated leaders and parents.

First, candidates were asked to respond to a questionnaire to assess their knowledge of the education landscape in Memphis and Shelby County and measure their support (or lack thereof) of issues affecting our students and families. Following that, each were invited to in-person interviews with the committee.

Of those interested and interviewed, our diverse committee selected seven candidates for Stand’s endorsement. Learn more about each candidate and their commitment to advocacy and service:

Michael Whaley, District 5

Willie Brooks, District 6

Tami Sawyer, District 7

Dr. Rosalyn “Roz” Nichols, District 9

Reginald Milton, District 10

Eddie Jones, District 11

Van Turner, District 12

Visit www.shelbyvote.com to find your district, polling locations, and complete voter registration. Thank you for your support of these education champions.

Interested in volunteering efforts to support these candidates? Contact us at [email protected] — tell us you’re ready to help!

This Letter to the Editor was published in The Tennessean on December 16, 2016.

I am a proud Metro Nashville Public Schools parent, and I have had the privilege of working with Stand for Children as a parent member for over a year now.

I have watched with dismay as Stand and its staff have been dragged through the mud. Stand is a nonprofit organization that is doing great work in this community. I am appalled that the school board race devolved into political antics, slander and bullying of good people who have worked to improve educational outcomes for our children and wanted to serve this community as elected officials. What kind of example are we setting for our children?

All children deserve an equal opportunity to succeed in life, and education is the key that unlocks the door to success.

I am appreciative of the work Stand does, empowering parents to engage in opportunities to advocate for children in Nashville.

Challenging entrenched incumbent officials is a daunting task, but several courageous leaders across this city stepped up to the plate. Each of them ran respectful, thoughtful, and vigorous campaigns, and each of them made us incredibly proud to support them. Tonight those candidates fell short of victory, but we are prouder than ever of the leadership they’ve shown.

These races have been hard-fought and at times trying for all candidates and their supporters. That’s because the stakes for 86,000 students are so high. At Stand, we believed new leadership was of the utmost importance to improving outcomes for students, and we devoted enormous time, energy, and resources to electing that new leadership. But no one’s support could match the heart and soul that these candidates, their families and supporters poured into these races.

Now the campaigns are over, and we are committed to finding common ground. We should work together to support Dr. Shawn Joseph’s vision, ensure that there is a high-quality school in every neighborhood, and ensure that schools and families have the resources they need from pre-K through graduation. We should all work towards the same goal: a high-quality education for every child in Nashville.

The Tennessean calls the Nashville school board race the most important local election of 2016, because “improving the quality of education among all the Metro Nashville public schools is the most pressing issue facing the city.”

We couldn’t agree more.

So you know what to do voters. Get INformation.

Early Voting: Friday, July 15 – Saturday, July 30

Sonny West Auditorium @ Howard Office Building
700 2nd Ave S, Nashville, TN 37210

Friday, July 15 | 8 am – 6 pm
Saturday, July 16 | 8 am – 4 pm
Monday, July 18 | 8 am – 6 pm
Tuesday, July 19 | 8 am – 8 pm
Wednesday, July 20 | 8 am – 6 pm


Thursday, July 21 | 8 am – 8 pm
Friday, July 22 | 8 am – 6 pm
Saturday, July 23 | 8 am – 4 pm
Monday, July 25 | 8 am – 6 pm
Tuesday, July 26 | 8 am – 8 pm
Wednesday, July 27 | 8 am – 6 pm
Thursday, July 28 | 8 am – 8 pm
Friday, July 29 | 8 am – 6 pm
Saturday, July 30 | 8 am – 4 pm

Belle Meade City Hall | 4705 Harding Pike, Nashville
Bellevue Library | 720 Baugh Rd, Nashville
Bordeaux Library | 4000 Clarksville Pike, Nashville
Casa Azafran Comm. Ctr. | 2195 Nolensville Pike, Nashville
Edmondson Pike Library | 5501 Edmondson Pike, Nashville
Goodlettsville Comm. Ctr. | 200 Memorial Dr, Goodlettsville
Green Hills Library | 3701 Benham Ave, Nashville
Hermitage Library | 3700 James Kay Ln, Hermitage
Madison Library | 610 Gallatin Pike S, Madison
Sonny West Auditorium | 700 2nd Ave S, Nashville
Southeast Library | 5260 Hickory Hollow Pkwy, Ste 201, Antioch

General Election: Thursday, August 4

Stand for Children endorsed five candidates who are knowledgeable, experienced, and focused on the success of all students in Nashville.

Sharon Gentry (District 1)
Jane Meneely (District 3)
Miranda Christy (District 5)
Jackson Miller (District 7)
Thom Druffel (District 9) 

Join us in standing up for the new leadership Nashville students need!

Stand for Children is committed to ensuring that every child in Tennessee has access to, and is prepared for, a college education. This is why we support experienced, dedicated, and focused leaders who are committed to innovation in education and aligned with our vision to make quality public education available to all children.

In this year’s upcoming election, stand with these candidates in your district:

Christy Sigler (District 34) – As a lawyer specializing in child welfare, she is committed to fight for high education standards.

Beth Cox (District 45) – With a proven track record of working for students as the Chairman of the Sumner County Board of Education, she is focus on finding and retaining the best teachers for our children.

Will Lockhart (District 47) – As the husband of a kindergarten teacher, he has made high quality public education a top priority and understands the importance of working to close the achievement gap.

Sam Whitson (District 65) – With 5 grandchildren in Tennessee public schools, his focus is on college and career readiness for all students.

How do we know that these candidates will be a stand-out voice for our children?

We endorsed them after reviewing their responses to a candidate survey, conducting phone interviews, and reaching consensus within Stand for Children Tennessee’s Statewide Endorsement Committee. 

Help us spread the word that these candidates speak for us on education and stand with us to ensure that every child receives the education they deserve.

 Stay tuned for more information about the 2016 election!

Why wait until November 4th to vote?  Who knows what will come up that day – work is busy, your kid is sick – you run around all day and then all of a sudden the day is over and you missed the window to make it to the polls. Trust me, I’ve been there. So I ask again, why wait until November 4th to vote when you can vote early?

It’s simple – just find the the closest early voting site here.  Early voting is open until October 30th.

And don’t forget, we have endorsed seven education champions who we think will go to Nashville and be advocates for kids and schools.  

If you’re in their district, I urge you to give them your vote!

**Paid for by the Stand PAC of Tennessee**

It’s election time, again, everyone! 

As you know, Stand for Children is committed to ensuring that every child in Tennessee has access to, and is prepared for, a college education.  The policies that are passed in Nashville impact children from Memphis to Johnson City and everywhere in between.  That’s why we believe in electing strong leaders to the state legislature who will be champions for strong public schools. 

We looked across the state and found seven candidates who we believe deserve your vote in the November 4th election. 

If you live in one of these districts, I urge you to vote for these candidates who share our belief in great education for all children.  If not, take a minute to research the education platform of the candidates in your district and ask this simple question – will they be a champion for your child and the children in your community?

See you at the voting booth,

Cardell Orrin
Memphis Director

P.S. Early voting started yesterday – why wait until November 4th to vote when you can go anytime between now and October 30th.  Find your early voting location here.

**Paid for by the Stand PAC of Tennessee**