Community Conversation meetings to help bridge gaps

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- In the wake of the protest that closed the I-40 bridge back in July, Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland said he wants to keep his promise to meet with the community.

"I don't know how much progress we've made. I know we've talked a lot," said Strickland. "We are going to put more thought on how to moderate it and have it smaller so that people can have their voices heard. The biggest frustration at the big one at Greater Imani Church was there were so many people there who didn't get to talk. Therefore, we couldn't hear what they had to say."

Appearing on Live at 9 Wednesday morning, Strickland talked about a series of meetings he's planning called Community Conversations.

He said the aim is to better engage Memphians in dialogue about social issues involving police relations, jobs and poverty.

"One thing that we are going to have differently that I think is needed, we are going to have people inside city government and outside city government who provide services to the public there."

Days after the Hernando Desoto Bridge protest, Strickland and his administration met with community activists, but some criticized the effort for not being responsive enough to their concerns.

The mayor said the upcoming meeting will be different.

"Hopefully, everyone will get their voice heard, but I think most people realize in an hour and half meeting, their problems won't be solved. We can talk about them and I can learn. I am not perfect and don't have all the answers. I have a lot of them, but I can learn and do things better."

The Frayser Community Develppment Corporation will host the first meeting at Martin Luther King Jr. Preparatory High School located at 1530 Dellwood.

The meeting is scheduled for October 25 from 5:30 to 7 p.m.