A Team of Rivals

When I joined Seeding Success in Memphis, TN, I was the third employee: the facilitator.  I, a black woman, would be the person managing relationships with the most diverse group of people involved in the effort.

Memphis, TN is a majority black city and our county-wide work focused on a majority black population. We had recently gone through a period of intense racial conflict around creating a county-wide school district. What had been two school districts – Memphis City and Shelby County – became one school district, and after months of legal battles, was fractured into 7 districts. The conflict exposed an antipathy for black children and families living in poverty and a preference for racially and economically segregated schools that are core to the identity of this deeply southern city.

The Memphis context may be distinct, but the work of improving cradle to career outcomes is similar across the nation. We are often talking about racial and economic inequalities that overlap, and, in my experience, these conversations tend to happen in rooms filled largely with white people leading collective impact efforts across the country.

Read more at StriveTogether.org.