When there is talk about things changing, people often point to Shelby County Commissioners.
Not this time, because the real changes are happening upstairs on the 11th floor in Mayor Lee Harris’s office.
The list is too long to write down here.
Sixteen of them are women, nine of them women of color.
According to Special Mayoral Assistant Danielle Inez, “We don’t have any figure heads in the County Mayor’s Administration. Everybody here has a real purpose, and a real responsibility and a real commitment to do the work.”
Inez says all Mayor Harris wants is an administration that looks representative of what all of Shelby County looks like.
A government that reflects the differences in people.
Those that are hired are told what they are expected to do.
“The reason why they are here,” says Inez, “… is they came from diverse backgrounds. We want you then to refer people from your network, refer them in so we can get these people into Shelby County Government.”
People are getting hired because of their qualifications, and what they can do, Inez says.
You want an example?
Try the new head of the Office of Shelby County Emergency Preparedness, Brenda Jones.
When asked how many years has she been in law enforcement, she laughed.
“Oh my gosh, don’t do the math,” she said. “Over 40 years in law enforcement. 28 in the Memphis Police Department, 14 for the department of Tennessee Safety and Homeland Security.”
Different voices, and faces, result in different solutions, according to Danielle Inez.
“If you have diversity in representation you obviously are going to have diversity in approach,” she said.