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A CLOSER LOOK AT: Jim Strickland: ‘More Memphians have hope now than four years ago’

NEW TRI-STATE DEFENDER — Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland is optimistic. With the October 3 election less than a month away, the incumbent, who is completing his first term as mayor, believes the city’s voters will choose “results over rhetoric” to re-elect him.

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“I guarantee more Memphians have hope now than four years ago.” – Jim Strickland, incumbent. (Photo: Karanja A. Ajanaku)

By Erica R. Williams

Updated: Profiles of all three of the leading candidates for Memphis Mayor are now live online.  Excellent reporting and writing by Erica R. Williams. Click to access the candidate of your choice:

Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland is optimistic. With the October 3 election less than a month away, the incumbent, who is completing his first term as mayor, believes the city’s voters will choose “results over rhetoric” to re-elect him.

“We have more progress to make, but the city has come a long way and we have seen results,” he said. “We’re now moving in the right direction.”

Adamant that the city has moved forward since he took office, Strickland isn’t taking all the credit, attributing the growth to combined efforts from city, county and state government.

Assessing his accomplishments and those of his administration, Strickland touted growth in economic development, universal Pre-K funding, police recruitment, and an increase in revenue for minority and women-owned businesses.

“The challenges that Memphis has had for decades are not solvable in three-and-a-half years,” he said. “I’d like another four years to tackle those issues.”

A stark proponent of growing minority and women-owned businesses, Strickland credits former city councilman and businessman Fred L. Davis for exposing him to some sobering statistics before he became mayor.

“I’ll never forget when he told me, ‘If I added up all the business transactions in the city of Memphis, one percent is spent with African Americans,” Strickland recalled. “That’s wrong on so many levels in a city that is predominately African American. If you want to grow the city, you have to grow black wealth.”

As mayor, Strickland and his team began focusing on growing minority and women-owned businesses. Since then, Black Enterprise magazine has named Memphis the #1 city for black-owned businesses. Leaders in other cities, said Strickland, have inquired about using Memphis’ model to grow their minority-owned businesses efforts.

The city’s Office of Diversity and Compliance has increased its contracts with minority-owned and women businesses to 20 percent. It was at 12 percent before Strickland took office.

Shelby County Commissioner Tami Sawyer, who is also running for mayor, has asked for the number to be re-calculated after Strickland and his team admitted that there was an error in the reporting earlier this year. In January during his State of the City address, Strickland said that spending was up to 24 percent, but it was later found to be 18 percent at the time. Strickland and his team said they’re confident that the current number is accurate.

Last year, the city launched The 800 Initiative, with a goal of growing the revenue of 800 minority-owned businesses by $50 million by 2023. And recently, city leaders declared that $50 million-plus is being spent with minority-owned businesses in the Cook Convention Center renovation project.

“This campaign needs to be about results and not rhetoric,” Strickland said. “My opponents talk about this, but they don’t have the record to support their rhetoric. (Former Mayor Dr. Willie W.) Herenton only increased it by 8 or 9 percent when he was in office. He says he has unfinished business; well, you need to be able get it done in 18 years.”

Strickland also referenced Sawyer and what he noted as her lack of success with minority-owned businesses.

“Commissioner Sawyer and the county’s MWBE (minority and women-owned business enterprises) business is only at 3 percent,” he said.

With Sawyer calling it “morally wrong” that the city does not allot any funding to Shelby County Schools, Strickland pushed back.

“Unless you are going to cut back on police services and fire services or raise taxes, it’s not going to be done,” Strickland said. “But we are giving back to education in other ways.”

Through a city and county partnership, Strickland was able to invest in universal Pre-K with no new taxes. The plan’s goal is to ensure that Pre-K is accessible to all eligible by the year 2020.

Fielding Herenton’s criticism that Strickland is weak on crime, the incumbent shot back that Memphis was listed as the leading U.S. city for crime in 2006, which fell during Herenton’s mayoral watch.

Earlier his year, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation released a report that cited “significant drops” in crime in Memphis, including decreases in robberies, property crimes, burglaries and domestic violence. However, homicide rates spiked to 14.5 percent.

“The data says that we are making progress and I believe that we would have made more progress if we would have had more police,” Strickland said.

His public safety plan consists of building the police force, increasing penalties for violent crimes, investing in youth through mentorship, jobs and programing, and expanding workforce re-entry programs.

The police department has hired close to 500 new officers since Strickland took office. He emphasizes that his approach to combating crime differs from his opponents.

“One says we don’t need police officers, which most residents will disagree with,” Strickland said of Sawyer.

“When my other opponent (Herenton) was mayor we had the highest crime rate in the country. And he’s also been quoted saying that there is nothing any mayor can do about crime. And I disagree with that.”

While he supports criminal justice reform as it relates to nonviolent offenders, Strickland said, “But we have to be tough on those who commit violent crimes.”

Overall, the city has momentum and is headed in the right direction, said Strickland, pointing to more than 24,000 Memphians who have gotten jobs since he became mayor.

“I am personally inserting myself in economic development,” he said. “I’ve been recognized for keeping ServiceMaster in Memphis, the St. Jude expansion that resulted in an additional 1600 jobs and the recent printing company Mimeo relocating its headquarters to Memphis.”

He’s expecting more opportunities to come to the city, putting more Memphians to work at livable wages.

“I raised the minimum wage that we incentivize to $13 an hour, which is a livable wage in Memphis,” he said. “But many of the jobs pay $16 an hour.”

The livable wage calculator issued by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology concluded that in Shelby County, $11 is a livable wage for an adult with no children. That number increases to $22, if there is a child in the household.

Strickland said that despite the challenges still evident, he’s optimistic about the future, if he’s re-elected.

“I guarantee more Memphians have hope now than four years ago,” he declared confidently. “We are ready to roll up our sleeves and tackle these challenges, but we also have to celebrate the good things.”

This article originally appeared in the New Tri-State Defender

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IN MEMORIAM International Soccer Icon Pelé Dies at 82

NNPA NEWSWIRE — Sometimes called “Pérola Negra” (“Black Pearl”), Pelé became a Brazilian national hero. According to Britannica, he combined kicking power and accuracy with a remarkable ability to anticipate other players’ moves. 

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Born Edson Arantes do Nascimento in Três Corações, Brazil, on Oct. 23, 1940, Pelé became soccer’s first superstar.
Born Edson Arantes do Nascimento in Três Corações, Brazil, on Oct. 23, 1940, Pelé became soccer’s first superstar.

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
@StacyBrownMedia

Pelé, the international star who was instrumental in three World Cup championships with Brazil across three decades and who energized U.S. soccer with the New York Cosmos in the 1970s, has died.

The 82-year-old legend had been hospitalized since November, and his doctors reported that Pelé’s cancer had advanced, requiring care related to renal and cardiac dysfunction.

He has been receiving regular treatment since doctors removed a tumor from his colon in 2021.

“Father. My strength is yours,” the international star’s son, Edinho, posted on social media.

Born Edson Arantes do Nascimento in Três Corações, Brazil, on Oct. 23, 1940, Pelé became soccer’s first superstar.

He led the Brazilian national teams to World Cup glory in 1958, 1962, and 1970.

In 1956, he joined the Santos Football Club, where he played inside left forward, winning nine São Paulo league championships and, in 1962 and 1963, the Libertadores Cup and the Intercontinental Club Cup.

Sometimes called “Pérola Negra” (“Black Pearl”), Pelé became a Brazilian national hero. According to Britannica, he combined kicking power and accuracy with a remarkable ability to anticipate other players’ moves.

“After the 1958 World Cup, Pelé was declared a national treasure by the Brazilian government to ward off large offers from European clubs and ensure that he would remain in Brazil,” Britannica researchers wrote.

On Nov. 19, 1969, in his 909th first-class match, he scored his 1,000th goal.

Pelé made his international debut in 1957 at age 16 and played his first game in the World Cup finals in Sweden the following year.

The Brazilian manager was initially hesitant to play his young star. But, according to Britannica, when Pelé finally reached the field, he had an immediate impact, rattling the post with one shot and collecting an assist.

He had a hat trick in the semifinal against France and two goals in the championship game, where Brazil defeated Sweden 5–2. At the 1962 World Cup finals, Pelé tore a thigh muscle in the second match and had to sit out the remainder of the tournament.

Nonetheless, Brazil went on to claim its second World Cup title.

Researchers said rough play and injuries turned the 1966 World Cup into a disaster for Brazil and Pelé, as the team went out in the first round, and he contemplated retiring from World Cup play.

Returning in 1970 for one more World Cup tournament, he teamed with young stars Jairzinho and Rivelino to claim Brazil’s third title and permanent ownership of the Jules Rimet Trophy. Pelé finished his World Cup career, scoring 12 goals in 14 games.

Pelé’s electrifying play and penchant for spectacular goals made him a worldwide star.

His team Santos toured internationally to take full advantage of his popularity. For example, in 1967, he and his team traveled to Nigeria, where a 48-hour cease-fire in that nation’s civil war was called to allow all to watch the great player.

Pelé announced his retirement in 1974 but, in 1975, agreed to a three-year $7 million contract with the New York Cosmos of the North American Soccer League and to promote the game in the United States. He retired after leading the Cosmos to the league championship in 1977.

Pelé was the recipient of the International Peace Award in 1978. In 1980 he was named Athlete of the Century by the French sports publication L’Equipe, and he received the same honor in 1999 from the International Olympic Committee. In 2014 the Pelé Museum opened in Santos, Brazil.

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COMMENTARY: Don’t Spread Yourself Too Thin: Avoid Burnout with These Simple Tips

THE AFRO — Although it cannot be medically diagnosed, burnout can lead people to lose their sense of self and feel as if they are not accomplishing enough. Since the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic, the American Psychological Association found that the risk of burnout has increased for workers due to extra stress, increased household demands and longer working hours. 
The post COMMENTARY: Don’t Spread Yourself Too Thin: Avoid Burnout with These Simple Tips first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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By Megan Sayles | AFRO Business Writer
Report for America Corps Member
msayles@afro.com

We’ve all heard the age-old saying that “hard work pays off.”  But, sometimes, working too hard can do more harm than good.

“Burnout” is a form of work-related stress in which an individual experiences physical, emotional or mental exhaustion caused by their job’s demands. It can also make workers feel distanced from their jobs and engender negative feelings about them, according to the World Health Organization.

Although it cannot be medically diagnosed, burnout can lead people to lose their sense of self and feel as if they are not accomplishing enough. Since the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic, the American Psychological Association found that the risk of burnout has increased for workers due to extra stress, increased household demands and longer working hours.

This makes it even more important for people to know the signs of burnout and the strategies to combat it.

Natasha Charles is the founder and CEO of Intuitive Coaching with Natasha Charles, a comprehensive life coaching and consulting firm. She created the business after gaining 20 years in senior administration roles.

Charles was motivated to open the firm in 2018 out of a desire to create a business focused on inspiring continuous improvement. There, she works with individuals and executives to create lives that they love and offers them personalized solutions to address critical work and business challenges.

“It’s really about thinking about you, the person, and all that you are,” Charles said. “People tend to be very focused on one aspect of their life, and a lot of times, it’s about their career, so it’s really about making space for all of your goals and all of your dreams.”

When someone experiences burnout, Charles said they could be actively doing their job while simultaneously worrying about their other responsibilities and priorities, whether personal or work-related. She also stressed that burnout can be experienced no matter what profession you are in and what you are being paid.

Aside from the physical and mental impacts of stress, burnout can impact finances if it causes an employee to take extended periods of time off or miss work, according to Charles. It can also reduce their productivity.

In the beginning of 2022, the term “quiet quitting” emerged, and for some, it’s being used as a method to avoid burnout. It involves individuals meeting the minimum requirements of their job descriptions, investing no extra time or effort than what is mandatory.

For Charles, quiet quitting is a signal that a person is not fulfilled by their job and may need to think about changing workplaces or careers.

“I get that people are not always able to up and quit, and it can take time to find what that next role is,” Charles said. “I would come from a space of encouraging the person to start thinking about what that is. What is it that you ultimately desire to be doing in your life and seeing your work?”

One of the most important steps in reducing and preventing burnout is educating yourself about the syndrome, so you can be aware of the warning signs, according to Charles. She also said it was crucial for employers to talk to their employees about it.

Awareness can help prevent the shame and guilt that comes with burnout and allow people to give themselves grace.

After a person has weighed whether they are experiencing burnout or not, they should think about how they want to confront it. This could include engaging in self-care, asking for extra support at work or home, and creating stronger boundaries between their personal and professional lives.

When burnout is impacting your performance, it’s time to consider making a career change, Charles said.

To ensure your work life does not invade your personal life, Charles said people need to assess the goals they have for all areas of their life. Once you’ve set goals, it’s easier to devise a plan and set the necessary boundaries to achieve them.

Charles also said it’s important to carve out time for yourself where you’re not constantly checking your phone or email for work reasons.

“There is life beyond your work. There is an entire world out there to be discovered,” Charles said. “There’s a world within us to be discovered as well, and I encourage everyone to invest in discovering those pieces.”

This article originally appeared in The Afro.

The post COMMENTARY: Don’t Spread Yourself Too Thin: Avoid Burnout with These Simple Tips first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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Tory Lanez Found Guilty in Meg Thee Stallion Shooting 

NNPA NEWSWIRE — The case fired up social media and highlighted the misogyny that still reigns in hip hop. Many on Twitter routinely attacked Megan, accusing her of lying among other vicious vitriolic comments.
The post Tory Lanez Found Guilty in Meg Thee Stallion Shooting  first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
@StacyBrownMedia

Canadian rapper Tory Lanez faces more than 20 years in prison and deportation after a jury in Los Angeles found him guilty in the 2020 shooting of hip hop star Megan Thee Stallion.

Lane, 30, was found guilty of three felony counts, including assault with an unregistered semiautomatic weapon, carrying a loaded gun, and discharging a firearm in a vehicle with gross negligence.

The case fired up social media and highlighted the misogyny that still reigns in hip hop. Many on Twitter routinely attacked Megan, accusing her of lying among other vicious vitriolic comments.

The 27-year-old Megan, whose real name is Megan Pete, testified that Lanez offered her hush money and didn’t care about her injuries and pain suffered because he shot her.

Lanez, who declined to testify, claimed there was another shooter, Pete’s friend who was also arguing with the hit maker as they drove home from a party.

“[Lanez] told me to dance,” Pete told the jury, adding that he also cursed at her following the shooting.

Sentencing for Lanez is scheduled for Jan. 27.

“You showed incredible courage and vulnerability with your testimony despite repeated and grotesque attacks that you did not deserve,” Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon said, referring to Pete.

“You faced unjust and despicable scrutiny that no woman should ever face, and you have been an inspiration to others across LA County and the nation.”

The post Tory Lanez Found Guilty in Meg Thee Stallion Shooting  first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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