NASHVILLE, TN — The new year is off to a great start as we continue to create ways for more residents to share in our city’s prosperity.
On January 3, the Metro Council unanimously approved our Equal Business Opportunity Program legislation, which will level the playing field for minority-owned and women-owned companies seeking contracts with Metro government. For far too long, Metro stood by and allowed significant disparities in the awarding of Metro contracts. It was well past time for the city to take action. So we did something about it.
I’m grateful to the Metro Council, especially primary sponsors Tanaka Vercher, Sharon Hurt and Scott Davis, and to everyone else who worked with my administration to make this happen. Along with executive actions I’m taking to improve procurement regulations, this ordinance launches a new era in Metro.
Recently, the Council confirmed my two nominees to the Community Oversight Board, which will oversee the actions of the Metro Police Department. Former Tennessee Attorney General Bob Cooper and Phyllis Hildreth, a vice president at American Baptist College and former chief counsel in the Office of the Public Defender for the State of Maryland, will be tremendous additions to the COB.
I look forward to seeing the Council’s own appointments to the board. My team will continue to assist with the COB’s startup operations while working to help MNPD implement body and dash cameras this spring.
Honoring a King and remembering hope’s victory over fear
Next week, we’ll celebrate the short but immensely powerful life of one of our nation’s greatest leaders, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. King not only inspired Nashville’s civil rights leaders in the late 1950s and early ’60s but also relied on them for advice and praised them for the organizational strength and unrelenting courage they displayed during the lunch counter sit-ins and the Freedom Rides.
Now it’s our turn to honor King’s profound legacy by continuing to work for equal rights, equitable prosperity and economic justice. The federal holiday honoring Dr. King is Monday, but we remember his life and work every day.
Next week we’ll also mark the 10th anniversary of voters’ defeat of the “English-only” proposal, which would have denied services to many residents and visitors. It was a critical moment in Nashville history, a time when we chose hope and unity over fear and division. It seems safe to say that if we hadn’t passed that test, Amazon, Major League Soccer and many new Nashville residents wouldn’t have given our city a second thought. Conexión Américas co-founder and executive director Renata Soto and I will share more about this important vote in The Tennessean on January 22.
Around the city
When you get right down to it, government exists to serve the people, and hubNashville simplifies that connection. This system has handled more than 122,000 requests since its inception, making it easier for citizens to report problems and request services. Thank you to WPLN for featuring the Hub in a recent story. We will be using Hub data in the upcoming budget process. Speaking of the budget, you can submit your ideas through the Hub via the website or the app.
Summer is closer than it seems, especially with our recent cold snap. The Opportunity NOW portal is now open for youth to apply for summer jobs. Young people ages 14-24 can go to ON.nashville.gov and create an account or log in to the one they’ve already created. The deadline to apply for summer positions is March 18. Summer opportunities are paid, last six weeks and provide training and development for youth transitioning into their first employment experiences. It’s an incredible opportunity for Nashville’s young adults to gain valuable work experience, develop useful skills and earn a paycheck. I strongly encourage all eligible and interested youth to apply.
Nashville Reads is underway! This program is led by the Nashville Public Library and its partners, including my office. This year’s citywide “read” is Hidden Figures, Margot Lee Shetterly’s biography of the African-American, female mathematicians who helped NASA complete some of its most important missions at a time when their skills weren’t appreciated by everyone, simply because of their race and gender. I hope you’ll read the book with friends, family members or a book club and talk about it together. You can find more information about Hidden Figures and Nashville Reads events online here.
Finally, January 21-25 is No Name-Calling Week, a national effort to end name-calling and bullying in schools. Nashville is proud to join this cause and work to ensure that every child can go to school focused on learning, growing and making friends. Thanks to the Metro Council for supporting this work with its vote Tuesday night.
I hope you’ll enjoy the long weekend. Please take time to reflect on what we still need to do as a city to realize Dr. King’s dream of a society in which no one is judged by what they look like, where they came from or who they love. I hope to see you Monday morning at the annual MLK Day youth rally at Jefferson Street Missionary Baptist Church, followed by the march to Gentry Center at Tennessee State University.
Mayor David Briley