Group Uses Charleston Tragedy to Improve Mid-South

Posted by michael on Jul 19, 2015

(Memphis – WMC) — A group in Memphis is working to end violence by teaching leadership and diversity to teens.

After nine people where shot and killed inside a Charleston, South Carolina church, Bridges decided to use the tragedy to do good.

Bridges is a group dedicated to helping young people become successful adults.

The Bridge Builder Program is designed to bring together 7th and 8th grade students.

No matter their race or socioeconomic background, students from more than 140 schools take part in Bridges’ services every year.

“In my school, I learned a lot about diversity,” Sara Khouzam said. “When I came here [Bridges], we went over it a couple of times. We learned a lot about leadership and how to step back and how to come forward when needed.”

After the massacre in Charleston, a lot of the talk in Bridges groups centered around race relations.

“I’m concerned for my family, my friends,” Khouzam said.

The vice president of the Bridge Builders Program said the Charleston tragedy cannot be ignored.

“I think in the face of such tragedies, we can become paralyzed by our despair, but if you think about hatred as the result of fear and ignorance, the antidote to that is compassion, understanding, and trust. And so that’s really what we’re doing here at bridges,” Dana Wilson said.

Wilson also said in order to dismantle injustice and racism, everyone must work on stepping out of their comfort zone to create relationships and tolerance. 

“It is the work of all people–especially people who have not experienced racism directly,” Wilson said.

For more information about what Bridges does and how it improves the Mid-South click here or call 901-452-5600