#WeCantWait to End Racism

Aug 31, 2019 | Young, Gifted & Green Blog Series | 0 comments

A Public Response to the Bigotry of Memphis Magazine

August 31, 2019

Memphis Magazine 

65 Union Ave 2nd Floor

Memphis, TN 38103

To Kenneth Neill and all Memphis Magazine Staff,

My name is LaTricea D. Adams, proud Memphis Native, educator, graduate of Memphis City Schools and The University of Memphis and founder of the first and only African American and Latinx environmental justice and civil rights organization focused on the eradication of lead which also provides services in my beloved city.  My accomplishments to help people is a pure reflection of the heart and soul of the city I love, Memphis. I along with local, state and national leaders are disappointed, angry and simply disgusted by your recent portrayal of the 3 main contenders for the position of mayor for our great city. Concerned Memphians and supporters of the city across the country are simply appalled by the bigoted imagery that “monstrously” represents our current Shelby County Commissioner and Memphis mayoral candidate Tami Sawyer.  This is not a representation of the Memphis we love. This representation brings back the nightmares of Jim Crow and blatant racism and bigotry from our not so distant past. While we all have freedom in our democracy, I would like to think that we also have the freedom and access to humanity. Mr. Neill, the depiction of Commissioner Sawyer in the cover of the recent publication of Memphis Magazine is dehumanizing and simply hurtful. As an expert in your field, we are confident that you know the social and psychological implications surrounding imagery and the impact that it makes on the culture and climate of cities and communities.  Reflecting on the pain and anguish this cover has caused throughout the city, are these your sentiments of Memphis…the Bluff City…where we pride ourselves on #GritNGrind? Can we expect people to really #Choose901 if they come into contact with such derogatory representation in our local media? Additionally, this recent publication has caused major speculation and circulation of false information, which is both dangerous and unequivocally damaging to the social perceptions of our city at-large.  

Mr.Neill, as a group of concerned leaders in the great city of Memphis and from across the country, we beseech you to deliver an immediate apology in public forum (preferably a press conference) to Commissioner Tami Sawyer and members of the black community.  Additionally, we would like to address your need for cultural awareness through implicit bias training for you and your staff. The Memphis Urban League Young Professionals provides stellar, implicit bias training that you may seek. Furthermore, we would love to meet with you and your staff in person to engage in open dialogue and collectively take next steps for preventing anything similarly to occur again.  

Yours in Solidarity, 

LaTricea D. Adams, MAT, Ed.S.  | Founder CEO & President, Black Millennials 4 Flint  president@blackmillennials4flint.org 

Joshua Perkins | President, Memphis Urban League Young Professionals  president@memulyp.org 

Michalyn Easter | Founder, Our Grass, Our Roots info@ogormemphis.org 

Shahidah Jones | The Official Black Lives Matter Chapter-Memphis 

Lea Webb | Co-Founder, Black Millennial Convention 

Dr. Wes Bellamy | Co-Founder, Black Millennial Convention 

Charlane Oliver & Tequila Johnson  | The Equity Alliance 

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