Denigrating someone’s integrity

William T. Robinson, Jr.

William T. Robinson, Jr.

All too often, people make negative and hurtful remarks about someone based of speculation and conjectures from those around them. Many times these negative opinions are false and based on lies and not being informed of the truth. I am guilty of being an instrument in making statements based on conjectures without consulting with the object of contention.

Thus, I owe Sharon Hurt an apology and hope she accepts my sincere regret to what I referred to as drinking the punch of deception. The ironic part is that I have always considered Sharon a friend, but to succumb to supporting negative statements about her without conferring with her is unforgivable as well as hypocritical. I can only hope that others can learn from my mistake. This is a common practice that too many of us make. I offer no excuses because I was totally wrong.

Sharon Hurt is the president/CEO of J.U.M.P. (Jefferson Street United Merchants Partnership) and I bought into the negative feedback of people questioning the leadership and motives of Sharon in promoting and supporting the organization. The truth is that it was one-sided and I didn’t look to explore the full picture. It wasn’t until I was confronted by some knowledgeable people who were truly aware of Sharon’s dedication and hard work that I felt I had truly done her an injustice by not conferring personally with her. In my meeting and conservation with Sharon, I was made aware of things the common public didn’t know in reference to the fights made to secure funds and give J.U.M.P. the public recognition it deserves. Sharon has worked diligently to promote the businesses on Jefferson Street as well as bring in new Black-owned business.

J.U.M.P., through Sharon Hurt’s leadership, has invested in the North Nashville community, fighting to secure affordable housing in the Jefferson Street area. J.U.M.P. has been able to secure 10 homes through government funding to maintain affordable housing in the community. Sharon has promoted major venues, to bring recognition to Jefferson Street, encouraging support of Black businesses on the street and surrounding area. Everyone is aware of the annual Jefferson Street Jazz and Blues Festival, which will be celebrating its 15th year June 20, preceded by the 12th annual Bridging the Gap Mixer, June 19.

J.U.M.P. is committed to making a difference in the North Nashville community. J.U.M.P. secured a van to aid the elderly in the area go to and fro in their daily endeavors. To help combat crime and promote a clean and beautiful Jefferson Street, Sharon has offered jobs to youth to clean and maintain Jefferson Street and its surrounding areas.

Probably one of Sharon’s biggest and most sentimental projects was in attaining funding to showcase some of Nashville’s finest celebrants with the Walk of Fame. It is located under the overpass going toward TSU once you pass 21st Ave North. It definitely gives you a look at African Americans who were historically instrumental in promoting a Nashville we all can be proud of.

The number of people Sharon has personally helped is immense, but the public will never know because she isn’t one to blow her own horn. Sharon shared with me her vision for Jefferson Street and attested that it would be difficult in getting funding for historically Black building without community solidarity—and that we should be mindful of endeavors to split the Black community.

Sharon is a formidable foe when manifesting her passion for J.U.M.P. and the North Nashville community. Whether you personally agree with Sharon or not, I can contest from my talk with Sharon that her heart is in the right place, and that she has the best interests of the community in mind. I guess sometimes you have to understand that most people generally have the same goals or objectives, but have different opinions on how to reach the goal.

If you have any questions about J.U.M.P. or its direction, talk to Sharon she will be more than happy to accommodate you. Once again, I want to apologize to Sharon for drinking the punch without analyzing it. She is a real asset to our community and her dedication and hard work should be recognized.