MEMPHIS, Tenn. – A new initiative called “Inspiring Young Men of Color” focuses on bridging the opportunity gap which Mayor Wharton claims young men in Memphis face everyday.
Patrick Payne believes life has its challenges when you are a young black man growing up in Memphis.
Payne said the “Inspiring Young Men of Color” initiative is going to help change that.
“It’s like trying to get folks to stay out of trouble and have them together as one. Young black males as one,” Payne explained.
“Education, employment, health and justice,” Memphis Mayor A C Wharton shouted out.
Much like the national initiative, Memphis’ plan is looking to fight racial disparities and give young people a chance.
“Generally when you focus on young men of color, the first thing you look for is, okay, where are the police officers, where are the folks in charge of the prisons and jails,” Mayor Wharton said.
The initiative flipped the idea and called on agencies, businesses, communities, and leaders across the city.
Each team member is like a finger working together to make a fist and pack a punch.
“It’s just long overdue,” Delvin Lane, with 901 B.L.O.C., said.
Lane said the problems that need fixing are clear.
“Violence and the violence derives from a lot of different reasons,” Lane explained. “Money, lack of respect, lack of unity, lack of everything.”
While the task will not be accomplished fast or easily, people like Payne hope it will make a difference.
“People I be around, I don’t want them to go down the wrong way,” Payne explained.
The group plans on monitoring the success of this initiative by using the same set of metrics the Memphis Gun Down program uses.