Lori Spicer is board members of MPACT Memphis:

Memphis is the place I have always called home, even though I left in 2000 to attend undergrad at UTK, to complete graduate school at UF, and work at a nonprofit in DC – and return home in August of 2007 for my current position at the Greater Memphis Chamber. I love this city, I want to see it thrive and I want my fellow citizens to share in these same sentiments.

Memphis is currently faced with its fair share of ills and we need the community to rise and address some of these issues. Our government, education system and crime are the issues at the forefront of our problems. We need dedicated, innovative leaders in our government who are not afraid of change and who bring novel ideals to the table. Our education system needs to truthfully work to have “no child left behind” and develop some consistency in the opportunities, resources and teachers dispersed among all the schools.

There is a noticeable difference in these areas and I would like to see the same exposure and opportunities offered to all students, not those who live in a particular neighborhood or from a particular class. Our children are our future community leaders, business executives, and government officials and we need to ensure they are armed with an adequate education and unique exposure to flourish and reach their goals. Our youth need to be exposed to things that help them become “out-of-the-box thinkers” and that is something they may not see or be introduced to in their home life.

The crime in our city has increased tremendously and I think there are a lot of things that attribute to this. Our youth are becoming more involved with crime because we have stripped them of all of their fun and social outlets: the Mid-South Fair (inner city youth will not be able to reach the fair if it is placed outside “the loop” or city limits), Liberty Land, Adventure River, Celebration Station, now Jillian’s, many local skating rinks and community centers. Our youth are bored and their idle time is being given to crime. Also our police force needs to focus on concentrated areas. When housing projects are demolished with the hopes of improving the city, we must consider that the individuals causing the crimes are dispersed amongst the city, but not eliminated.

In addition, we need to place more of an emphasis on attracting young, talented professionals. This is the one demographic that we are lacking the most and we have to ensure that all of the above are improved, but also that we breed a culture of diverse social and cultural outlets, which we are lacking. This weekend I was in DC and I had two individuals identify with the Civil Rights Museum and commented on how great it is as well as our Zoo, but that the prior needs to become more interactive and that the museum itself needs renovations.

I am confident that Memphis can reach this potential that it has sought after for years, but it is going to take our community to make this idea come to fruition.

With that said we need a city-wide campaign that reunites us all and that transforms our media to deliver positive messages to our residents. There are so many great things and some many things to be proud of, but many people are unaware.

I love this city and I will continue to work with individuals who seek positive change and who want Memphis to be great, not good!