Fighting crime in Memphis with fatherhood

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Gunshots, burglaries and drug dealing. Some say the solution to these problems start at home.

Tuesday, an international fatherhood conference was held at the Memphis Hilton, hoping to change our city one father at a time.

A Memphis pastor helped bring the conference here, but he’s not the only one trying to change Memphis by turning men into fathers.

They are two men with similar stories.

“My father was a drug dealer and when he died when I was 14, I was missing something ,” said Oliver Williams, a pastor and executive director for the Hope Center at Grace.

“He wasn’t exactly around when I was a young man,” said MeiAngelo Taylor, a Memphis police officer and founder of Men R.O.A.R.

Both men are trying to prevent stories like this one:

“It sounded like seven or eight,” said Chris Taylor in Frayser. “It was a lot of gunshots.”

A young man in Frayser Monday said gunshots are a way of life.

“I was very terrified by it, but it happened over here and that’s normal,” said Taylor.

“It’s not just the way it is,” said MeiAngelo. “We live in a state of young people who are basically having an identity crisis. You know half of your family, you know half of who you are.”

MeiAngelo and Oliver are two men who don’t even know each other, yet they are both on the same mission. They want to get men in Memphis who have children to step up and be fathers to help change the community and reduce crime.

“Without having someone that can connect you to what your purpose is and kind of bring you through all rites of passage, you’ll spend a lot of time making mistakes,” said Oliver.

Oliver helped bring the International Fatherhood Convention to Memphis and said, “People are here from at least 30 states from all over the world.”

The day before Father’s Day, MeiAngelo is bringing another conference to town to help young men.

“Two people working together is better the one person trying to do it on his own,” said Jeffery Johnson, the executive director of National Partnership for Community Leadership out of Washington D.C.

If you know someone who should go to the Fatherhood Empowerment Conference hosted by MeiAngelo Taylor, it’s happening June 14 at the World Overcomers Outreach Ministries Church, 6655 Winchester Road, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

It’s free and all are welcome.

You can register by emailing meiangelo@yahoo.com or call 901-654-7979.

Light breakfast and lunch will be served.