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Stand for Children pushes ‘Put Education First’

Stand for Children has launched a city-wide campaign to engage community members in the transition process for the merger of Memphis and Shelby County Schools.  Stand for Children has launched a city-wide campaign to engage community members in the transition process for the merger of Memphis and Shelby County Schools.

The organization’s goal is to raise awareness of the need to put education first in decision making, and to encourage residents and elected officials to engage in direct and consistent dialogue to support all children and schools.

On Saturday (July 9), Stand for Children will host a community rally and campaign kick-off event at the Towne Center located at 915 E. McLemore Ave., in South Memphis.  A series of outdoor activities – set to begin at 9:30 a.m – have been coordinated to build public interest, momentum and support to ensure the community’s voice is included in the schools’ consolidation process.

“It has been four months since our community voted to support the schools’ merger,” said Kenya Bradshaw, executive director of Stand for Children in Memphis.  

“It’s time that we take action to demand that our leaders move forward and provide a transition plan that will take into consideration the best interests of all residents,” said Chavon Davis, a Stand for Children member and parent.

Stand for Children has taken the position that the community cannot wait while the courts decide how the transition will take place. The group argues that there must be a continued community dialogue focused on the issues that impact the quality of education of all current and future students in the Shelby County.

Saturday’s events include a community rally that will begin at 11 a.m outside of the Stand for Children office.  Shelby County Commissioner Mike Carpenter and Memphis City School Board Commissioners Tomeka Hart are confirmed speakers. Adults and children in attendance will be given the opportunity to voice their opinions on local education issues. There will be free food, live music and kid-friendly activities.  

 Stand for Children has also launched a new website (www.puteducation first.org) that will serve as an online forum. It is designed to empower residents to stay updated on the transition and remain engaged in the work that will need to be done to support students during and after the consolidation.

“The decisions that will be made over the next few months are critical, and our community cannot lose sight of the magnitude and importance of this issue,” said Bradshaw. “We are inviting anyone that is interested in learning more about how they can support the movement to put education first to join the campaign.”

(For more information, call Mark Sturgis, Stand for Children Organizer, at 901-336-8696.)

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