Memphis & Inequality

For many years the topic of inequality has been raised, but nothing actually done to change it. It is kind of like a relationship with a significant other. Have you ever sat back and let things happen that you know you were not satisfied with, but you did not want to alter the relationship, so you dealt with it? Memphis and its inequality reminds me of this kind of relationship, particularly when we look at where our money is invested. Recently Memphis City Schools shut down 4 elementary schools in the southwest corner of Memphis, forcing students to walk further, catch the bus, and/or parents to change their schedules and drop the children off at school and pick them up. This hurt many parents and it caused a drastic change in the lives of all of those involved including the students, parents, teachers, and other staff members. Closing down the schools will save about $4.2 million a year, mainly in the salaries of the staff. Imagine being told, as a teacher, that your school will be closed and you will be displaced. You did not have a choice in the decision and nothing you say can affect what is already in affect.

On the other hand, to attract tourists, the City of Memphis gave Bass Pro Shops $30 million to transform the Pyramid into a megastore and resort. While I understand the store will bring jobs to the city, I question whether or not it really costs that much to rebuild that location. Could we have awarded that money to the schools they shut down instead? Tennessee Department of Transportation officials awarded a $109.3 million contract to the reconstruction of the interchange in East Memphis. Repair the roads, but take away the schools. We have so much money to invest, but why not invest it into the education of our future? If this is the result of not having enough money, what will happen if we run out of money again? Do we shut down more schools to compensate for it? We as citizens of Memphis have to be more aggressive when it comes to anything hindering us from moving forward and really growing as a city.

It amazes me how we go to football or basketball games, and we scream for people we do not know. We pay a good amount of money to support the teams, but we are quiet when it really matters. We choose not to vote because we feel our vote will not count. We sit back when it hurts the worst but we get mad at the decisions others make for us when we had an opportunity to select who we wanted in office. Inequality is very well alive in Memphis. The question I raise is, what can we do to make inequality in Memphis a thing of the past?

We must come together and create a firm foundation for our city. Focus on what’s more important to our future. If you take away the things that mean the most to the citizens of Memphis, you run them out or cause the city to crumble. We need to invest to into our people and reach out to those who need help the most.

2 thoughts on “Memphis & Inequality

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