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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Bridge Builders #YOUnified2017 Unites Area Youth

Posted by knetzler on Jul 31, 2017

3,000 local students to participate in end-of-summer youth festival at Tiger Lane. Memphis, TN – On Friday night, Aug. 4, thousands of middle and high school students will converge on Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium’s Tiger Lane for the fifth annual Bridge Builders YOUnified end-of-summer festival. More than 3,000 local youth have already registered for the event. Designed to unite diverse youth from across the region in a positive and fun environment, the event will include group games, an interactive art project, food trucks, and a community action fair featuring 30 local organizations. BLDG Memphis’ “Mobile Front Porch” and Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland will be in attendance to solicit youth input on the city’s Memphis 3.0 comprehensive planning

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Bridge Builders COLLABORATE 2017 Summer Conferences Begin Today!

Posted by knetzler on Jun 12, 2017

BRIDGES’ legacy program helps local youth collaborate with diverse peers, unlock leadership potential, and become a force for positive community change. What does a student from Whitehaven have in common with one from Millington? What can a young person growing up in Collierville and another from Cooper-Young learn from one another? What does a teenager from West Memphis share with one from Germantown? And more importantly, how can they all work together to make Memphis better? They’re about to find out. Today marks the start of BRIDGES’ 29th annual Bridge Builders COLLABORATE program year, which unites more than 1,000 youth in grades 7-12 from more than 50 zip codes across Shelby

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Meet BRIDGES’ New Board Member, Amy Wright

Posted by knetzler on May 16, 2017

This spring we welcomed a new member to the BRIDGES board of trustees, Amy Wright. Amy is the co-founder and CEO of Macro Solutions, an information technology consulting company focused on enterprise application and agile solutions. She founded Macro Solutions in 2000 and has grown the company from a small consulting practice to a leading provider of technology services. Macro Solutions was recently included in the 2016 Inc. 500 list and was recognized by both Washington CEO magazine and Bisnow for being one of the fastest growing companies in the Washington, D.C., region. She has a B.A. from the University of Virginia and an MBA from Georgetown University. Amy also believes

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Better Know A BRIDGES Staffer: Receptionist Charlene O’Baner

Posted by knetzler on Apr 24, 2017

Family: Two adult grandchildren and 5 great-grandchildren in Memphis! Where do you live? In the East Memphis/Hickory Hill area. How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are? I just turned 74, but I feel 34! Where are you from/where’d you go to school? Memphis is home, and I attended Lester High School. When did you start at BRIDGES? Five years ago. What did you do before, and what brought you here? I worked in the hospitality field, supervising, sales and management positions in major hotel chains. A friend and former BRIDGES employee, Sherri Crane, asked me to help out while another employee was ill. I

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