Help me Celebrate the Big 5-0!

Many milestones of my life come in 5s and 10s, and besides turning 50 on Saturday, this year marks:

  • 25 years back in Memphis
  • 20 years in Memphis politics 
  • 10 years at Stand for Children – Tennessee

Throughout these years, my greatest privilege has been working alongside countless brilliant adults and youth to build real, lasting community power that will bring the changes we need for a brighter Memphis where all of us – especially Black youth, families, and communities – have the chance to thrive and live our best lives. I’m extremely proud of the impact and work that we’ve built together at Stand for Children TN over the last 10 years.This year, I’m hoping you can help me mark these milestones in a big way! Please help me celebrate with a special donation of $50 (or any multiple of 10 or 50) for my 50th birthday and 10th year at Stand. With your continued support, we can keep building true power and liberate ALL Memphians from the status quo that has kept us down for too long.

This picture of me and my parents reminds me of how I learned early on that sitting out is never an option: my mom and dad lived and breathed activism and community engagement. 

After the assassination of Dr. King, my dad (later differentiated as Big Cardell) helped organize a weekly student walkout protest (Black Mondays) that ended up leading to the first Black Memphis School Board Members. With Momentum Memphis, the Moral Budget Coalition, and the Justice & Safety Alliance, we’re continuing the fight for education equity by dismantling the lingering effects of segregation through fully funded public schools, ensuring our students learn comprehensive and truthful history, and breaking the school-to-prison pipeline. 

Many of you may know (or have seen around) my mom, Susanne, a true force for social justice. As a kid, she “dragged” me and my sisters to school board meetings, marches, and protests all around Memphis to fight for justice, equity, and building parental power to make sure all students received a high-quality education. She not only instilled in me the importance of ensuring everyone has access to education and opportunity, but also the importance of community strength. Early in my Memphis political career, you might have even seen me and my mom on opposite sides of campaigns, as I charted my own path to change based on the values and independence she taught me. I’m proud to continue building power through our coalitions and supporting values-aligned candidates from our endorsement process (where you can usually find Susanne sitting on the endorsement committee).

My parents taught me that change doesn’t happen alone, and it doesn’t happen in silos. Since coming back to Memphis 25 years ago, my most meaningful work has been building power in coalition with changemakers across the city. As I shift into the old guy in the room, I also look forward to supporting great new leaders rising up in our community. Even though we still have a ways to go before reaching those changes that will really move Memphis forward, I know we can get there together.  

To celebrate my 50th birthday, 10 year Standversary, and the legacy we all carry forward towards justice, please consider donating $50, $10, $100, $250 (or any multiple of 10 or 50) to Stand for Children Tennessee. Together, we’ll be the power we need to create a flourishing Memphis and beyond, now and for future generations!

Many thanks to all those who have walked this path with me, supported me, challenged me, fought with me, and helped me learn and grow!

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