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Continuing the dream as One Memphis.

April 4, 2010

Martin Luther King lost his life to an assassin’s bullet in our city 42 years ago today.  The work to which he dedicated his life continues to this day, and his clarion call for justice, equality, and opportunity for all of God’s people resonates more loudly than ever.

Across Memphis, we are dedicated to reflecting on Dr. King’s legacy and doing what we can to live out his dream by serving our community.

Yesterday morning in southeast Memphis, the Hickory Ridge Mall reopened under the leadership of World Overcomers Outreach Ministries.  This mall, which was for many years a pillar of the Hickory Hill neighborhood, will flourish again a place of new commerce and renewed community.  I was proud to take part in their opening day festivities, and look forward to more good things to come from their hard work and investment.

The “Bank On Memphis” program that we began working on last week with the RISE Foundation and the Federal Reserve Bank will bring thousands of low-income and minority households into the economic mainstream.

High-quality, free public education, the most basic and fundamental of all human rights, received a major boost in Memphis this week from the Obama administration with the announcement of $500 million in Race to the Top funds for Tennessee schools.  Memphis and Shelby County will receive approximately $68.4 million to improve our public schools.  This comes in addition to the $90 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to improve teacher effectiveness in Memphis.

Our world-renowned National Civil Rights Museum is preparing to undergo a major expansion and renovation project, continuing the revitalization of downtown Memphis and helping us to share the story of the freedom movement with a new generation.

I will begin working in the months ahead with the leadership and members of AFSCME Local 1733 on a plan that will give employees real equity ownership in their organizations.  I believe in giving workers a stake and a voice in their work.  It is the only way that they can truly build real wealth and enjoy the benefits of working more efficiently and productively for the citizen of Memphis.

Over forty years ago, Dr. King said, The time is always right to do the right thing.” So much is going right in Memphis right now, but more remains to be done.  Today and every day, wherever you are and whatever you do, join me in working to keep his dream alive.  We can do it, together, as One Memphis.

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