By Thomas Sheffield

The 84th NFL Draft will be held April 25-27 and the eyes of the world will turn to Nashville Tennessee.   The lives of many of people will be changed forever during these 4 days visiting our great state.  Some college players will become richer then ever as they become millionaires overnight.  For many athletes, this will be the highlight of their lives.  A dream come true as they celebrate with their friends and families.  Many of these athletes are black and have overcome the odds stacked against them.  And we Nashvillians will, for the first time, have a front row seat.  

The city has been buzzing since the announcement the NFL awarded Nashville as the host city of the 2019 draft.  The 2018 NFL Draft was held in Dallas and according to Destinations International’s Economic Impact Calculator, the 2018 Draft generated $125.2 million in economic impact for the Dallas region and $74 million in direct spending.  

What does this mean?  Will a rising tide lift all boats?  Will the Draft bring more economic impact to everyone in the city?  Will there be more changes for the city other than replacing dying cherry trees on 1st Avenue and around River Front Park?  Will the draft bring economic opportunity to minority businesses in our community?  Will the tax revenue generated by the draft be used to correct our aging infrastructure or go toward affordable housing in our city?  Will the draft bring future businesses and revenue through free advertising of the natural beauty of our city and state?  Or, will the economic divide get wider?  

It has become one of the most anticipated sporting events of the year.  The 2019 NFL Draft can be a turning point for our city.  This shared public event has the potential to bring this community together as we all try to add value to it.  The struggles we have shared, whether it is a mud slide on I24, daily traffic jams or the unfair treatment of the leader of the Board of Education, have a chance to be overcome by the draft.  Here is our chance, our moment, to say we are going to be a better community. Here is our chance to address the lack of parity through our city.  It is our chance to make our city greener and better.

There are other great things that deserve the world’s attention happening in north Nashville.  Whites Creek High School celebrated a ribbon cutting for a solar power station to reduce the school’s electrical costs by an estimate $5,000.  These bold steps have the potential to change the lives of hundreds of people in our community.  Meanwhile, students at Maplewood High, continue to learn in conjunction with NES with its outdoor lab.  Working together, we can make a difference in how our communities and citizens in this city are able to participate in the growth and add value to our community.  

Please feel free to contact me or you can follow me on Twitter @tcsheff. #Resist #WordsActionChange