MEMPHIS, Tenn. — In the wake of community concerns surrounding the Greenlaw Community Center and the Memphis Police Department's plans to move a unit into the center as part of the proposed juvenile abatement program, a councilwoman is making promises against the idea.
Councilwoman Michalyn Easter-Thomas of District 7 said she will "ensure accountability on all sides that a detention center does not happen at Greenlaw Community Center."
After a meeting on Tuesday held to discuss the future plans of the center, Easter-Thomas said Chief "CJ" Davis and herself prioritized coming to a solution after hearing feedback for "possible paths forward."
"At this meeting, I heard first hand how the community was not in support of a youth detention center, and how the community wants access to a safe and resourceful place for youth in the community," Easter-Thomas said. "Even though Greenlaw Community Center has not been a Parks Division operated center since pre-Covid, there is an effort to provide youth and families with a wide array of opportunities."
Easter-Thomas has also requested the following in an "effort to come to beneficial solution and "implement an action plan" with the organizations involved:
• Activity and attendance reports from Greenlaw to be presented at Council meetings to publicly show activities
• Identify organizations and service providers to serve the Greenlaw and Uptown community, and have them approved by MPD for community center use
• Requesting $250,000 to go directly towards community-led activities supported and hosted at Greenlaw.
"The funds, if approved in our Budget vote by June 27, will be available to support organizations and service providers who would like to meet at Greenlaw and utilize the space for community activities," Easter-Thomas said.
This funding was also said by Easter-Thomas to be for Fiscal Year 2024 and will be reviewed next year for renewal and/or increase.
The councilwoman also stated the following:
At our next council meeting, a discussion will be held on the support required for youth who may be out after curfew in the Memphis City Council’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee led by Committee Chairwoman Rhonda Logan.
As your elected representative, and neighbor, please contact our office so we can further engage in conversations around the future for our youth, safe communities, and access to services. This is an ongoing conversation, and although not easy, it will prove to be worthwhile.
Our children are depending on us to work together to create a BIG and BRIGHT FUTURE for them in this City. We will not let them down.