Memphis faith leaders want to partner with elected officials to help youth

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Members of the West Tennessee African Methodist Episcopal Church held a community meeting Friday night with Mayor Lee Harris.

The goal  was to discuss ways to partner and address issues like crime, domestic violence and poverty among other topics.

“It’s to be a bridge builder, to start a partnership, between the AME church and county government and he’s the leader of county government,” Rev. Dr. Terri Strong said.

Members said they want to be part of discussions concerning the people who live in the communities they serve.

“We can no longer sit back and wait until happens and say ‘oh how bad that is’. We know what’s happening and we know what’s needed in our communities,” Dave Louis Adams Sr. of the AME Ministerial Alliance of Memphis and Vicinity said.

The mayor shared statistics about crime in Shelby County. He said there’s been an increase in crime committed by offenders under the age of 25. Currently, there are 65 kids housed in the detention center.

“We know that almost all of those kids have had a very serious childhood trauma already and need help,” Harris said.

That’s where members of the AME church want to get involved.

“We realize the mayor can’t just do it all by himself, that he needs the support of us and the community, just as we need his support and others in elected positions,”  Adams said.

They will start with volunteering at the new Youth Assessment Center and holding additional meetings with the mayor.

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