Thursday, November 11, 2010

Why I Chose Memphis - A Memphian Call to Arms

I should be outlining for finals, but I can't resist answering the Memphian Call to Arms my friend Jessica posted over on Waves and Wires. Jessica recently had a post describing why, despite lucrative offers to work in DC and Baltimore, she stuck it out and waited for the right job opportunity to present itself in Memphis, because she wanted more than anything to be in this city. Given all of the hate that mass magazines of dubious authority spew in this city's direction (and which I won't be linking to, because I won't give them the satisfaction of traffic), Jessica's original post was an inspiring compilation of the reasons I reel off whenever anyone queries why I chose to stay in Memphis for law school, despite admission to several excellent other schools.

Quite simply, I stay because my Memphis is a city of hope. The best Memphians have a resilient spirit that says, "Take your lame attempts at journalism and stuff it, Forbes Magazine." Memphians truly care about their city; they seek out ways to better it by creating community and neighborhood organizations, outdoor amenities like the new Greenline, more farmers markets than you can shake a stick at. They try to repurpose old buildings, create community health organizations for the uninsured, and (are starting to) appoint intelligent, passionate people to public office. Our local alt-weekly, the Memphis Flyer, recently shed light on the challenges faced by the communities in the "old suburbs"--Raleigh and Frayser--and guess what? Those residents aren't giving up in the face of bad roads and abandoned malls. They're still full of hope that their communities can be turned around, just like downtown, South Main, Cooper Young, Broad Avenue, and many other parts of the city.

I am here because I couldn't live my life in complacency. There is work to be done here, and Jessica and my generation is right at the cusp of ascending into leadership roles in the city. I am here because the city needs people like us (not to sound conceited). If everyone smart, thoughtful, energetic, and creative moved away, what would the city have? What were my other options? I couldn't see myself picking up and moving to a random new city, not when the one before me had so much potential. Memphis has been my home since the fall of 2004 (I went to Rhodes College), and will be my home for much longer, I hope. I chose Memphis because there's work to be done and I want to be part of the doing.


  1. Does this mean you are truly never coming home to Florida??? What about the sand in your shoes? What about your mother? But alas, Having raised you I'm not surprised at your decision to stay in Memphis. But a mother always has hope.... non the less, we are proud of you. Follow the path God has placed before you and make a difference.

  2. Florida is my first home, so I know I'll never leave for good. Especially not if I can get the family rate when I come back to visit :)

  3. This is so inspiring and refreshing -fellow Memphian