Father Don Mowery: 1931-2018

Posted by knetzler on Jun 13, 2018

The entire BRIDGES family mourns the loss of the Reverend Donald E. Mowery, who passed away yesterday, June 12, at age 86. Our thoughts are with his wife of 35 years, Julie, and their extended family. For generations, the name “Father Don” has been synonymous with selfless dedication to the lives of young people in Memphis. A Yale Divinity School graduate and ordained Episcopal priest, Father Don came to Memphis in 1963 to lead a new social service ministry called Youth Service Inc.—the precursor to the modern-day BRIDGES USA. Father Don’s leadership in our organization spanned more than 30 years, and it’s because of his incredible heart for youth that

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Bridge Builder Janiya Douglas Earns Princeton Prize in Race Relations

Posted by knetzler on May 08, 2018

White Station High School senior and Bridge Builders CHANGE Fellow Janiya Douglas is one of 28 high school students from around the United States named as winners of the 2018 Princeton Prize in Race Relations. The students were honored during the annual Princeton Prize Symposium on Race held on the Princeton University campus. The awards recognize young people who have demonstrated a commitment to advancing the cause of positive race relations and who have worked to increase understanding and respect among all races. The winners participated in a two-day program on campus that included presentations and a celebration of the 15th anniversary of the founding of the prize. The Princeton Prize

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Scenes From Memphis Students’ Rally Against Gun Violence

Posted by knetzler on Apr 21, 2018

View scenes from the Shelby County Schools walkouts on the Memphis Flyer’s News Blog.

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“Our Walkout Declaration” By SCS Students

Posted by knetzler on Apr 09, 2018

We, Shelby County School students, have seen violence in our schools firsthand. We have seen people with mental health issues and family trauma put second to testing, attempting to make us more “orderly.” We have seen LGBTQ+ youth, immigrants, survivors, and students with learning disabilities be silenced, forced into spaces where they feel unsafe, and denied the counseling and the support that they need. We have seen our classmates be sexually assaulted and harassed by other youth and adults in our schools and then be blamed for it. We have become numb to the loss of friends and classmates to gun violence, jails, drugs, and suicide. We have come to

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Watch: Bridge Builder Hali Smith Speaks At MLK50 Commemoration

Posted by knetzler on Apr 05, 2018

“Youth are being suspended and expelled at alarming rates. They are pushed into the streets, then into jail cells. It is time we dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline, because as a system, we’re creating our own community’s worst nightmare.” From the main stage at the April 4 MLK50 Commemoration at the National Civil Rights Museum, Bridge Builders CHANGE Fellow Hali Smith, a member of the Educational Justice cohort, spoke on the youth-led movement for restorative justice in schools.

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Representing The Future Is Now: As Seen Through Our Black And Brown Youth

Posted by knetzler on Mar 28, 2018

by Jeremiah Chapman | March 26, 2018  Now, more than ever, we must encourage youth to step into leadership. This is the way to cultivate power in our communities that need their voices heard. I had the opportunity to attend the Youth Action Summit (YAS18) in Memphis, Tennessee, hosted by BRIDGES, an organization that supports students in opportunities to find their voice. This “unconference” brought together a group of vibrant high schoolers ready to expand their networks, building bridges between themselves to create social progress. In the wake of Parkland and the powerful March for our Lives this weekend, we have seen the movement when students come together and get national attention for demanding

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BRIDGES Debuts National Summit For High School Youth

Posted by knetzler on Feb 15, 2018

200+ young organizers for social change convene in Memphis for the inaugural Bridge Builders National Youth Action Summit, Feb. 22-25. Youth organizers and activists from Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Baltimore, Albuquerque, San Francisco and other cities will converge on Memphis for the inaugural Bridge Builders Youth Action Summit (YAS), a national convening by and for youth leaders for social change, Feb. 22-25. YAS is an invitational “unconference” designed and led by its high school age youth participants, including Bridge Builders CHANGE fellows from the host organization BRIDGES. At a time when student activism on issues such DACA, gun control, and environmental protection is proving more powerful than ever, the inaugural

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The National Civil Rights Museum and BRIDGES Present MLK50 Youth Convening Featuring International Environmental Activists

Posted by knetzler on Oct 25, 2017

More than 350 local high school students are expected to participate in Our Time, Our Voice, an MLK50 Youth Convening on Nov. 10. Internationally recognized activists Xiuhtezcatl Martinez and DJ Cavem will headline the event. Co-hosted by the National Civil Rights Museum and BRIDGES, the free event will feature workshops, speakers and networking opportunities to develop and amplify youth voice and promote the Youth Voices platform for the museum’s MLK50 Commemoration. Workshops will focus on youth engagement in nonviolence training, conflict resolution, community change, and social justice issues directly affecting youth. Xiuhtezcatl Martinez is a powerful voice in the environmental justice movement and a lead plaintiff in the youth-led environmental class

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Dismantling White Supremacy

Posted by knetzler on Aug 14, 2017

We at BRIDGES are deeply saddened by the tragic loss of lives in Charlottesville, Va., over the past weekend and sickened by the brazen displays of hatred, bigotry and violence perpetrated by white supremacists there. As we process our emotions, however, we must also remember that words are only a starting point. Express your grief and anger on social media. Use the hashtags, share powerful messages, and sign the petitions. Initiate courageous conversations with your loved ones, colleagues and classmates about hate speech and violence and its impact on you as an individual and on our collective society. But do not make the mistake of stopping there, thinking you’ve done

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Take The BRIDGES Pledge On Immigration

Posted by knetzler on Aug 11, 2017

By Cynthia Ham A version of this piece appeared in the Aug. 10, 2017, edition of The Commercial Appeal.  “I am a Bridge Builder. I am a leader who can lay aside individual, social, economic and cultural differences to work for the benefit of all.” That’s the pledge more than 1,100 students take each year as part of our youth leadership programs at BRIDGES. Knowing what you know now, as an adult, could you take that pledge? Could you live it out daily, in a truly impactful way, on a complex, controversial issue like immigration? Try it for a moment. Take your political affiliations and your policy preferences, your cultural heritage,

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