Written by: Julian Mocine-McQueen, Campaign and Partnerships Manager
What do a food justice organization, the Memphis Bus Riders Union, an organization of and for homeless residents of Memphis, and a disability rights advocacy organization have in common? They are all working tirelessly to transform Memphis, Tennessee into the thriving and self-sustaining city they know it can be.
On September 29, Green For All joined the Center for Community Change and the Midsouth Peace and Justice Center to host the "Grassroots Organizers for POWER" training. The training took place over 3 days and was attended by more than 80 people representing over a dozen grassroots organizations who are working to build power and create long term change throughout Memphis.
Over the course of the weekend, we worked with participants to develop a shared narrative and a power-building strategy for the groups working to transform Memphis and hone the skills necessary to carry out effective tactics and gain real victories. As the weekend progressed, and we began to look at the power structure in Memphis, many groups identified shared goals, intersecting campaigns and specific ways to partner. By Sunday, the group formed a "movement circle" and agreed to meet regularly to help support their shared work moving forward.
Memphis is a city that has been hit hard by the financial downturn and in many places lacked real opportunities long before then. Despite these challenges, community organizers are not giving up the vision that we heard so eloquently throughout the weekend--that Memphis can be a leader in community-led development, in providing affordable and effective transportation, and food and shelter for all. It is clear that the people of Memphis have the know-how and are building the power necessary to create a city that is truly healthy and resilient. We are grateful to be a part of this effort and look forward to supporting the work that is already developing from this amazing group.