If anyone ever doubts the passion of Memphians for their community or the reservoir of talent being applied to solving its problems, the question was answered with the thoughts and resolutions for 2024 that I have been posting for all of January.  (Thanks to my friend Jeff Hulett for suggesting it was time for a reprise of resolutions like the ones I posted in 2009.)

The commentaries provided in the last four weeks by the men and women surpassed all expectations.  They were hopeful, provocative, challenging, insightful, and community-focused.  A prevailing theme that emerged was the collective seriousness that Memphis needs to deal with its intractable poverty.  Underpinning that theme was the sense of urgency that now is the time to make significant progress on this and other issues and we should refuse to let this opportunity pass.  As I was reminded recently, there are even die-hard Memphis champions who are using more tempered language about their optimism and because of it, this is a dire time and requires the city to align on the crucible of messaging and action.

I am deeply grateful for these men and women for their serious and meaningful thoughts about Memphis and their individual contributions to move the city ahead.

In case you missed the thoughts and resolutions posted here in January, here they are:

Michael Allen, executive director, Memphis Botanic Garden – “A new energy and a willingness to push the envelope.”

Jen Andrews, CEO of Shelby Farms Park – “Hopes for my City.”

Ward Archer, founder of Protect Our Aquifer – “A few small repairs for Memphis in 2024.”

Roshun Austin, president/CEO at The Works Inc. – “Finally, I wish we’d all spend more time finding ways to love our neighbors.”

Robert Bain, civic activist – “I insist on being observantly optimistic when appropriate and pessimistic when needed.”

Darrell Cobbins, president/principal, University Commercial Real Estate LLC, former chairman of MLGW board of commissioners, 100 Black Men of Memphis, and New Memphis Institute – “Hopefully, it is now evident to all that a more community-centered, balanced approach is what is so desperately needed.”

Congressman Steve Cohen – “A city that grows peacefully and helps all achieve their potential.”

Chris Davis, Memphis troublemaker and former staff writer for Memphis Flyer – “I resolve not to mistake online activity for activism.  Gotta show up.”

Elena Delavega, Professor and DSW program director, University of Memphis School of Society Work and co-author of Memphis Poverty Fact Sheet – “A living wage implemented in Memphis and in all of Tennessee.”

Shannon Dixon, principal of Shannon MB Dixon Consulting – “Empathy and understanding we all need to care for one another in a consistent and loving way.”

Anna Mullins Ellis, president and CEO of New Memphis – “Take some time to reflect.”

Rev. Earle Fisher, pastor of Abyssinian Missionary Baptist Church – “God is working out deliverance for Memphis.”

Marlon Foster, chief executive officer, Knowledge Quest – “A place where all children are extended opportunity.”

David French, president, Memphis Brand – “Let Our ‘Soul’ Guide The Way.”

Bill Ganus, business and real estate developer – “Memphis needs a mentor!”

Jim Gilliland Jr, principal at Diversified Trust and member of $450 million for Memphis – “Five Hopes for Memphis.”

Eric Gottlieb, co-founder of Overton Park Alliance and Rhodes College professor – “If we each do a little, we can all do a lot.”

Austin Harrison, assistant professor of Urban Studies, Rhodes College – “Push our local leaders to make Memphis a city that chooses people first.”

Jeff Hulett, principal at Jeff Hulett PR, freelance writer and musician – “I never in a million years thought Memphis would be my home, but it’s part of me now and I’m not going anywhere.”

Kenya Johnson, director of programs and operations, Leadership Memphis – “By giving back and lending a helping hand, we can collective foster a stronger, more connected, and thriving community.”

Jessica Lotz, executive director, Innovate Memphis – “No one has a monopoly on good ideas.  That means the most effective solutions come from the people they’re meant to serve.”

Dennis Lynch, transportation, Sierra Club Tennessee Chapter and Chickasaw Group – “Can we focus on a positive result for each interaction?”

Adrienne Johnson Martin, executive editor of MLK50 – “I’m a big believer in speaking things into existence.”

Tonya Meeks, writer and consultant – “The #1 problem in Memphis is poverty.  If we address that, then we inherently address crime.”

Shelley Moore, author of Through a Blue-Eyed Lens: A Memphis Memoir – “Unless and until we honest address the connections between untenable crime rates and staggering poverty rates, , all of us will continue to suffer the consequences and ramifications of living in a city so terribly divided.”

Paul Morris, president and managing partner, AGCOMI and RL Partnership and former president of Downtown Memphis Commission  – “We Choose Memphis.”

Steve Mulroy, Shelby County Attorney General and former prosecutor – “Pray for Peace.”

Elizabeth Rouse, president and CEO of ARTSmemphis – “We are figuratively and literally setting the stage for our future.”

Gary Shorb, executive director, The Urban Child Institute – “We join forces to do all we can to improve third grade literacy.”

Josh Spickler, executive director of Just City – “We Know What Reduces Crime.”

Marvin Stockwell, consultant and host of Champions of the Lost Causes – “Our city is at an exciting and hopeful junction point of possibility.”

Ernest Strickland, president/CEO, Black Business Association of Memphis – “A commitment to elevate Memphis.”

Jessica Taveau, president and CEO of Epicenter Inc. – “I want our fellow citizens to know how to support local entrepreneurs.”

Glen Thomas, director of strategic marketing and communications, Memphis International Airport – “Continuing to relentlessly pursue new air service.”

Susan Adler Thorp, principal at Susan Adler Thorp Communications – “…there’s always hope…  Without hope we lose the need to give meaning and purpose to our lives.”

Owen Traw, urban studies and philosophy student at Rhodes College from Portland, Oregon – “As we welcome a new mayor of our beautiful city in 2024, I call on him to look at our city’s car-dependency and call it what it is: a public health crisis.”

Bruce VanWyngarden, senior editor of Memphis Flyer and Memphis magazine – “Let’s shoot for the moon.”

Tomeka and Russ Wigginton, respectively founder and principal of HarWigg Group and president of National Civil Rights Museum – “Accelerate our progress of stepping fully into our greatness.”

Natalie Wilson, executive director, Overton Park Shell – “ My hope is that we take ownership of our own contribution to our city’s vibrancy, uniqueness and also our challenges.”

Emily Yellin, journalist and author who has been writing about racial injustice for decades – “It’s The Poverty, Stupid!”