NASHVILLE, Tenn. (February 7, 2023) – The Tennessee Titans have chosen Joyce Watkins as their NFL Inspire Change Changemaker Award winner for the 2022-23 football season. In January 2022, after tenacious work by the Tennessee Innocence Project, 74-year-old Watkins was exonerated after spending almost three decades in prison for a crime she did not commit. Now, Watkins serves as a spokesperson and activist, bringing awareness to wrongful convictions.
For this football season, the NFL established the new Inspire Change Changemaker Award. Each NFL team selected a “changemaker” who is making a difference in their community through social justice work, either as an individual or along with a non-profit organization. As part of this award, the Tennessee Titans will donate $10,000 to the Tennessee Innocence Project. The Titans will also give Watkins an all-expenses-paid trip for two to the Super Bowl this weekend.
Watkins was also named the Wesley Mortgage Community Hero in December by the Tennessee Titans. She received 14 tickets to the Christmas Eve Titans game in Nashville. They shared her story on the big screen to educate the crowd and help others who are still in prison because of wrongful convictions.
“Joyce’s heartbreaking story of strength and perseverance is something everyone needs to hear,” said Jessica Van Dyke, Executive Director and Lead Counsel for the Tennessee Innocence Project. “There is no better gift in life than helping someone get their life back. We are so pleased that the Tennessee Titans chose to honor Joyce, and their monetary gift will help us free other innocent men and women currently in prison.”
Watkins is the first Black woman to ever be exonerated in the state and only the third woman in Tennessee history. Senior Legal Counsel Jason Gichner led the Tennessee Innocence Project team, which collaborated with the Davidson County District Attorney’s Conviction Review Unit, to pursue justice in this case.
Watkins and her boyfriend, Charlie Dunn, were wrongfully convicted of aggravated rape and felony murder in the 1987 death of her 4-year-old great niece. An investigation by the Tennessee Innocence Project and a report on the case from the District Attorney’s Conviction Review Unit brought the case back to court. Last January, both Watkins and Dunn were exonerated, cleared of all charges, and declared innocent. Watkins spent 27 years in prison and was released on probation in October 2015. Dunn died of cancer in prison after learning he was going to be released on parole. He never saw his name cleared.
Watkins said: “I always knew that one day I would get out. I would pray and ask God to put somebody in my life to help me prove my innocence, and it, too, came to pass.” She credits the Tennessee Innocence Project with her exoneration, especially Gichner, her lead legal counsel.
Titan videos of Ms. Watkins.
As a mother of two adult African-American sons and a grandson, I am saddened beyond words at the death of Mr. Tyre Nichols. I would like to express my deepest condolences to the family of Mr. Nichols. His mother, Mrs. Wells, has shown strength beyond measure as she fights for justice for her son. His senseless death is a reminder to all of us that real police reform is essential. For those who feel that police reform should be managed at the state level, I disagree. Passing the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act will provide a national standard that all police departments can follow. One aspect of the proposed bill creates a national registry, the National Police Misconduct Registry, to compile data on complaints and records of police misconduct. It also establishes new reporting requirements, including regulations on the use of force, officer misconduct, and routine policing practices.
I attended a church service on Sunday where the pastor referred to how events happening here in Memphis have forced us into the national and international spotlight. The first was the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King and now the brutal murder of Tyre Nichols. My hope and prayer is that through our grief, despair, and advocacy, finally federal laws are enacted to prevent another mother from grieving over the senseless murder of her child.
Rest in Peace Tyre.
The Carter Malone Group
(January 4, 2023 – Memphis, TN) The Board of Directors of the Women’s Foundation for a Greater Memphis (WFGM) is pleased to announce the selection of Shante K. Avant as its new President and CEO effective January 1, 2023. Avant, WFGM’s Vice President, will succeed Ruby Bright who retired on December 31, 2022, after leading the organization for 22 years.
“It goes without saying that after a five-month national search and interviewing many candidates, I and the members of our Board of Directors are absolutely thrilled that we determined that Shante was the most qualified candidate to serve as our new President and CEO,” said Marcia Bowden-Marche’, M.D., Co-Chair of the WFGM Board of Directors.
Avant has served the nonprofit sector for more than 26 years. She joined the Women’s Foundation as the Director of Grants and Programs in 2008. In 2011 she was promoted to Vice President and played a critical role in overseeing day-to-day operations, building relationships with community partners, and collaborating with local and national partners.
“In Shante K. Avant, we have chosen a proven leader with a deep understanding of how the Foundation operates and clear vision for the future. Shante possesses the qualifications and expertise to grow the Women’s Foundation into an even greater, more successful organization to create a lasting impact in the Memphis community,” said Gina Brewer, Co-Chair of the WFGM Board of Directors.
As President and CEO, Avant will oversee fundraising, operations and programming to ensure the organization is fulfilling its mission of encouraging philanthropy and fostering leadership among women while supporting programs that enable women and children to reach their full potential.
“I could not be more grateful to accept the position as President and CEO of the Women’s Foundation for a Greater Memphis. WFGM is an important resource for women and children in our community. We have supported thousands of Memphis residents and watched so many thrive. I am honored that I was chosen to lead this organization into the future,” said Avant. “Each morning, I wake up thinking about new ways to help the organization as we work towards ensuring economic securities for the women and families in Memphis. I am committed to working with our staff and board to take the organization to the next level.”
ABOUT SHANTE K. AVANT
Shante K. Avant is a native Memphian and holds a B.A. in Psychology and a M.S. in Social Work from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. She is affiliated with the Women’s Funding Network, Ford Foundation Fellowship, and a member of the University of Memphis’ Social Work Community Advisory Board. Avant currently serves as a Shelby County Commissioner representing District 5. She previously served on the Memphis-Shelby County School Board for nine years and was elected board chairman in 2017.
ABOUT THE WOMEN’S FOUNDATION FOR A GREATER MEMPHIS
For more than 26 years, the Women’s Foundation for a Greater Memphis (WFGM) has played a major role as a backbone organization aligning people, securing resources, and coordinating community-based services through a Two-Generation Approach to reduce poverty. The mission of WFGM is to encourage philanthropy and foster leadership among women and support programs that enable women and children to reach their full potential.
MEMPHIS, TN – Mrs. Louise D. Patterson, wife of the late Bishop Gilbert Earl Patterson, former presiding bishop of the Church Of God In Christ, Inc. (COGIC), died peacefully Sunday evening, November 20, 2022, at home.
Mrs. Patterson was a dedicated member and licensed evangelist with the COGIC denomination. As the first lady of the church Bishop G.E. Patterson founded, Temple of Deliverance COGIC, Evangelist Patterson recognized the international influence of her husband’s ministry. She was the founder of The Total Woman Women’s Conference, highlighting national crisis in the African American community. Her advocacy through this conference inspired women from across the country to take action against the social, physical and spiritual ills affecting our community.
“Mother Patterson, the beloved and highly-regarded widow of the late, former Presiding Bishop Gilbert Earl Patterson, was a refined and saintly woman of God, who served as a faithful leader of Bountiful Blessings Ministries and on numerous platforms within our national church,” said COGIC Presiding Bishop Drew Sheard. “She made an indelible mark in Christendom as a first lady, an advisor and mentor to women, evangelists, authors, and most importantly, a complete champion of holiness. Mother Patterson faithfully supported her husband and pastor, Bishop G.E. Patterson, throughout his life’s ministry, with a poise and dignity matched by few. She was an elegant gem within the Church Of God In Christ family who will be greatly missed. Lady Karen and I personally appreciate Mother Patterson’s genuine endearment and support of our family. On behalf of the General Board and the entire Church Of God In Christ family, we earnestly pray for the Patterson Dowdy families and the Temple of Deliverance church during this time of reflection and mourning.”
As president and CEO of the Bountiful Blessings Ministries, Inc., Mrs. Patterson, served as the general manager of WBBP radio station, president of Podium Records, and author of the book “A Rare Pearl.”
Funeral arrangements for Mrs. Patterson are as follows:
- Thursday, December 1st
- Public Viewing, 9 a.m. – 6:45 p.m.
- Local Memorial Service, 7 p.m.
- Friday, December 2nd
- Visitation, 8 a.m. – 9:45 a.m.
- National Homegoing Service, 10 a.m.
All funeral services will be held at Temple of Deliverance Church Of God In Christ, 369 G.E. Patterson Ave., Memphis, TN 38126. Her burial will be at Memorial Park Cemetery.
Mia Vickers, Niece of Mrs. Patterson
Karon Phillips, Family Friend
Willie Brooks, Board Member, Bountiful Blessings Ministries, Inc.
Media badges required:
Media interested in attending one of the services are required to have media badges. Please email names of reporters, videographers and photographers to Shernice Catron at email@example.com. Thank you.
MEMPHIS, Tenn. – The Memphis Urban League has been named a 2022 Bank of America Neighborhood Champion for their work in the Memphis community, removing economic barriers and advancing economic opportunity. Programs and services that are addressing Memphis’ workforce and economic development will expand, helping more people chart a path toward economic opportunity with help from a multi-year grant from Bank of America.
As a Neighborhood Champion, the Memphis Urban League will receive $50,000 in grant support and virtual leadership training delivered by experts in the nonprofit sector on topics like human capital management, increasing financial sustainability and storytelling.
“Nonprofits like the Memphis Urban League are the backbone of our community as they are on the ground working closely with individuals and families to understand the obstacles our community is facing and develop programs and services that will help alleviate or eliminate these barriers,” said Trevia Chatman, president, Bank of America Memphis. “It’s important that we direct not only capital but also the necessary resources and training to help position this nonprofit and their leadership team for long-term success.”
The Memphis Urban League’s mission is to assist African Americans, the underserved and economically disadvantaged, to expand economic opportunities and secure equality, power and civil rights. The Memphis Urban League provides direct services and features programs focusing on professional development and soft skills training.
One of their programs, Save Our Sons, is especially meaningful to Memphis Urban League’s President and CEO, Tonja Sesley-Fifer, after the passing of her brother. The Save Our Sons programs primarily targets African American males, ages 18 to 34, in Memphis and Shelby County. The purpose of the program is to advance workforce readiness by providing life skills, workforce training, financial literacy, family building, and health and wellness resources.
“The Memphis Urban League is grateful for Bank of America’s generosity in helping our organization to provide direct and wrap-around services through a variety of programs to those in need of our services,” said Sesley-Fifer. “We use a hands-on approach to meet people where they are, offering career counseling and trainings, while addressing barriers to employment. This grant from Bank of America supports our mission as we assist underserved and economically disadvantaged communities to expand economic opportunities and to continue our work of empowerment.”
In Memphis, three nonprofits have been selected as Neighborhood Champions since 2019, with the bank investing over $460,000 into these local organizations.
The invitation-only program is highly competitive, and organizations are selected by a committee comprised of community leaders and past Neighborhood Champion honorees.
The Neighborhood Champions program is an extension of the bank’s signature philanthropic initiative, Neighborhood Builders®, the largest corporate philanthropic investment in nonprofit leadership in the country. Through 2021, Bank of America has invested $6.3 million in 126 organizations within 42 communities through the Neighborhood Champions program.
Bank of America
Bank of America is one of the world’s leading financial institutions, serving individual consumers, small and middle-market businesses and large corporations with a full range of banking, investing, asset management and other financial and risk management products and services. The company provides unmatched convenience in the United States, serving approximately 68 million consumer and small business clients with approximately 3,900 retail financial centers, approximately 16,000 ATMs and award-winning digital banking with approximately 56 million verified digital users. Bank of America is a global leader in wealth management, corporate and investment banking and trading across a broad range of asset classes, serving corporations, governments, institutions and individuals around the world. Bank of America offers industry-leading support to approximately 3 million small business households through a suite of innovative, easy-to-use online products and services. The company serves clients through operations across the United States, its territories and approximately 35 countries. Bank of America Corporation stock (NYSE: BAC) is listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
(Memphis, TN – October 10, 2022) Marybeth Conley has been a fixture in the Memphis media market for 37 years. Recently, she retired from WREG-TV as co-anchor of Live at 9 to marry her childhood crush, Rick Woodall, and start a new project called Flip My Life. Today on her social media platforms, Marybeth starts sharing information about her new life and the new project. Rick, the building contractor and Marybeth, the television news professional, have not just teamed up for life, but for restorative justice.
“Today we start a short video series sharing information about the new Flip My Life series,” said Conley. “My husband Rick and I are committed to rebuilding abandoned houses and sharing those properties with those who need a second chance.”
The couple will take houses off the tax rolls and renovate them for people who are returning to their communities from prison. The Flip My Life series will tell the stories of good people who have done bad things and are working to redeem their lives.
Rick explains, “the pilot gives you an idea of what the series will be once it launches. It will explore issues in a returning citizens’ family life and history that contributed to incarceration. And we’ll cover how the people have held themselves accountable and are turning their lives around. Our goal is to help them in some small way by providing a place for them to stay while they’re doing that work.”
This week on Marybeth’s Facebook page Marybeth Conley | Facebook they discuss why they started this project. Here is a link to the pilot of Flip My Life Pilot.
The first renovation will turn a dilapidated house in Frayser into a transition house to be run by longtime re-entry non-profit Lifeline 2 Success. The cost to renovate the house and produce the first web series is budgeted at about $150,000. One major sponsor is assisting with material donations. Sponsorships and individual donations can be made available at the GoFundMe page https://www.gofundme.com/f/flipmylife.
Reports to: President/CEO
FLSA Status: Exempt
Position Summary: To coordinate and perform project management and public relations strategies for CMG clients ensuring that services are delivered on time and meet client expectations. The Account Executive is responsible for ensuring that the products that are produced are of a high standard and quality and handled professionally and confidentially.
Essential Job Requirements:
- Collaborates with the President/CEO to develop proposals for prospective and current clients. Participates in needs analysis and presentation of solution meetings as requested. Assists with identifying new opportunities with existing accounts
- Manages various client accounts or projects as assigned.
- Creates, implements and manages public relations and marketing strategies for CMG clients. Creates collaborative and productive alliances with client’s other partners
- Writes/develops materials for clients including news releases, articles, corporate materials, etc. Conducts research and editing for projects
- Compiles media coverage samples for clients from print, online and other media sources
- Research and pursue speaking opportunities for clients in alignment with public relations strategies managed by the President/CEO
- Follows quality control parameters for public relations work and related deliverables.
- Follows processes for project management, tracking, reporting, creative development and other efficiencies
- Maintains a project schedule and provides updates daily and weekly for account and operations team members. Provides reports for the President/CEO as requested
- Demonstrates strong knowledge of each area of agency resources, in order to evaluate and approve recommendations before they go out to the client. Maintains vast knowledge of competition, and latest trends
- Effectively analyzes and interprets consumer research and is familiar with a variety of advertising testing methods and their application
- Collaborates with the Creative Team to ensure that design services integrate with services and are delivered in a timely manner with a high level of quality
- Performs office support functions such as answering phones, preparing deliverables for clients, packaging or shipping project materials, entering project time on client billing form, preparing office for client visits, filing, etc.
- Perform other various job functions as may be assigned
Education and Experience:
- Bachelors degree or masters degree in public relations, advertising, or marketing
- 3(+) years of progressive growth experience in agency account management and/or mix of client side marketing and agency account experience in either a general or multicultural market advertising agency
- Possesses knowledge in each area of agency’s business (Media, Creative, Broadcast and Print production, Planning, Promotions, Public Relations, Event Planning and Finance) with emphasis on Public Relations and Marketing
Critical Team Competencies:
- Team player with strong communication skills and the ability to work across levels
- Interest and awareness of global social and political issues that may affect CMG clients
- Ability to work with and communicate effectively to diverse and minority individuals and organizations
- Professional demeanor, displaying personal integrity and lending credibility and respect to CMG
- Quick learner who can adapt and demonstrate flexibility in the work routine
The candidate must have:
- Excellent communication abilities with superior writing skills
- Strong analytical skills
- Proven project management skills; Excellent organizational skills
- Extremely detail-oriented and with effective good follow through
- Self-motivated with a high sense of urgency and accuracy
- Discretion in dealing with highly confidential information
- Capable of high performance in a fast-paced work environment
- Reliable transportation to and from office
- Able to sit at a desk and perform typical office functions daily
- Computer experience; Microsoft Outlook, Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel
- Preferred computer experience: Microsoft Project
- Able to work alone and in a group environment
- Familiar with general office equipment
- Health Insurance, Dental and Vision
- 2 week vacation – Year 1
Only Serious Inquires email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The National MED Week conference has officially kicked off, September 18- 24, 2022 in Washington, DC under the theme Power in Capital and Strength in Equity. On Wednesday, September 21, 2022 at 5:00 pm EST/6:00 pm EST, the 2022 national MED Week award winners from across the country will be recognized. The Tennessee Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) Business Center, operated by the Mid- South Minority Business Council Continuum (MMBC Continuum), is proud to have one of the eight national minority firm award winners as a client. The Carter Malone Group, founded by Deidre Malone, will be awarded the Minority Marketing and Communications Firm of the Year.
“We are proud to have one of our MBDA Business Center clients acknowledged amongst the elite firms being recognized nationally for the quality work that they provide on a local, regional and national scale,” said Jozelle Booker, operator of the Tennessee MBDA Business Center and president and CEO of The MMBC Continuum.
The Carter Malone Group is a long-time member of The MMBC Continuum and client of the Tennessee MBDA Business Center. The center is part of a national network focused on the scalable growth of minority firms. Malone is an experienced communications professional that has demonstrated her business savvy through the clients her firm serves, as well as her direct impact across the community. CMG represents over 25 active clients including; the Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority, the City of Memphis, Comcast, Rhodes College, and Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare.
“The MED Week Award is an incredible honor for The Carter Malone Group. In 2023, CMG will celebrate a milestone anniversary with the firm hitting the 20-year mark. We have won many awards over the years but this award means a great deal to me and my firm for a number of reasons. First, we were nominated by one of the hardest working agencies that supports minority businesses, The Mid-South Minority Business Council Continuum through the Tennessee MBDA Business Center it operates. From the president to my advisor, they are always available to guide and assist me. Second, I have an amazing staff who always goes the extra mile for our clients and me, and it shows in the quality of our work. Finally, this award reinforces the fact that minority businesses are successful and thriving. I am humbled by this honor and grateful to have such a strong voice in the Mid-South, the MMBC Continuum and Tennessee MBDA Business Center advocating for minority businesses,” according to Deidre Malone, president/CEO, The Carter Malone Group, LLC.
About The Mid-South Minority Business Council Continuum and TN MBDA Business Center:
The MMBC Continuum has been powering minority business growth for over 30 years. The agency is the economic accelerator for scalable stage II M/WBEs with the priority to foster and facilitate opportunities to grow their revenues locally, regionally and nationally. The MMBC Continuum operates the Tennessee Minority Business Development Agency’s (MBDA) Business Center under the U.S. Department of Commerce, which provides additional resources that serve as a driver for growth for minority firms across the state. The Tennessee MBDA Business Center is part of a national network that is focused on the growth trajectory of minority businesses and facilitates access to national public and private sector opportunities.
PHILADELPHIA—WHYY presents a new five-part, animated series Your Democracy all about the Constitution. Hosted by acclaimed constitutional lawyer and professor, Gloria J. Browne-Marshall, the series takes a “Civics 101” style approach to the text and can be found at whyy.org and on WHYY’s YouTube channel at https://bit.ly/3L9DZLc.
With episodes on criminal justice, citizenship, immigration and states’ rights, Your Democracy explores the U.S. Constitution and how it continues to impact our everyday lives. Whether viewed by students or adults in search of contemporary and relevant explanation of our laws, Your Democracy offers scholarly expertise constructed for everyone to grasp.
“We created “Your Democracy” to empower people,” says Gloria J. Browne-Marshall, a Professor of Constitutional Law at John Jay College of Criminal Justice (CUNY). “Knowing more about our Constitutional rights is crucial to living in this country.”
“Series like Your Democracy allow WHYY to do what we do best: dive deeper into important topics to unveil the nuances and lesser-known facts that complete the story. As with other WHYY podcasts and digital series, Your Democracy offers a robust and representative foundation that informs early and lifelong learning,” said Terri Murray, Chief Content Officer for WHYY.
Your Democracy is produced by Greater Philadelphia’s PBS/NPR affiliate WHYY and presented by The Sutherland Family Foundation.
WHYY is the leading public media organization in the Philadelphia Region, including Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and beyond. As an NPR and PBS station based in Philadelphia, WHYY produces more than a dozen local programs, such as Fresh Air with Terry Gross and Radio Times, while also bringing you long-time national favorite programs such as Antiques Roadshow, Morning Edition, and more. WHYY provides trustworthy, fact-based, local news and information and world-class entertainment to everyone in our community.
About Professor Gloria J. Browne-Marshall:
Professor Browne-Marshall teaches classes in Constitutional Law, Race and the Law, Evidence, and Gender and Justice at John Jay College of Criminal Justice (CUNY). Prior to academia, Gloria litigated cases for the Southern Poverty Law Center, Community Legal Services, and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Inc. Gloria J. Browne-Marshall has spoken on issues of law and justice in Ghana, Rwanda, England, Wales, Canada, South Africa and before the United Nations in Geneva.
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — The BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Foundation has selected six students from around the state as recipients of its 2022 BlueCross Power of We Scholarships. Since 2013, the BlueCross Foundation has awarded the scholarship to help increase representation in Tennessee’s health care workforce and address health disparities minority groups face. Each of this year’s recipients will receive $10,000 toward school tuition. To date, the foundation has awarded $345,000 in scholarships to 38 students.
“The BlueCross Power of We Scholarship is one way we’ve been working toward health equity,” says Ron Harris, vice president of corporate workforce diversity at BlueCross. “We are proud to support some of our state’s brightest students, and we hope they will use their unique insights and experiences to help deliver high-quality care for all Tennesseans.”
This year’s recipients are:
Destiny Bryant – Nashville
Senior, Nursing Major
University of Memphis
Audra Grace Crutchfield – Memphis
Junior, Nursing Major
University of Memphis
Brionna Cunningham – Jackson
Senior, Biology Major
Middle Tennessee State University
Bryson Hartsell – Knoxville
Junior, Therapeutic Recreation
University of Tennessee – Knoxville
Tzipora Hunter-Davis – Nashville
Senior, Nursing Major
University of Memphis
Zennia Nesmith – Chattanooga
Junior, Psychology Major
University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
The Power of We Scholarship is one of several education programs supported by the BlueCross Foundation, including:
- $1 million investment in the HCS EdConnect initiative in Hamilton County, which provided no-cost internet access to underserved students on free and reduced lunch, ensuring they could participate in virtual learning opportunities during the pandemic
- $500,000 to establish the BlueCross Technology Academies at Soddy Daisy and Red Bank High Schools in Chattanooga
- $500,000 provided over three years to STEP-UP Chattanooga to offer internships and job readiness training for students
The BlueCross Foundation will begin accepting applications for 2023 BlueCross Power of We Scholarships later this year. Recipients are selected in partnership with the National Association of Health Services Executives (NAHSE) – Memphis Chapter.
For the full stories and a video about this year’s BlueCross Power of We Scholars, visit BCBSTNews.com.
BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee is a taxpaying, not-for-profit health plan serving more than 3.3 million members in Tennessee and around the country. The Chattanooga-based company was founded in 1945 and has brought peace of mind to its members and local communities for more than 75 years. BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Inc. is an independent licensee of the BlueCross BlueShield Association. For more information, visit the company’s news center at bcbstnews.com.
About BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Foundation, Inc.
The BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Foundation, Inc. was established in December 2003 as a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation organized to promote the philanthropic mission of BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee. The foundation provides funding for the BlueCross Healthy Place program, which creates active, healthy spaces across Tennessee.