Lonnell Matthews grew up in the North Nashville and Bordeaux communities. He graduated from Martin Luther King High School and Tennessee State University. At TSU he studied Accounting and Business Law. His extensive career in youth development began over 15 years ago at the YMCA of Middle TN, where he led empowerment programs such as the Y-CAP, Positive Beginnings, Black Achievers, Latino Achievers, Reach & Rise Mentoring, Step Up, NAZA Z and the Davidson County Fun Companies.
In 2007, at age 27, Matthews became the youngest African American elected to the Metro Council, representing District 1: he was re-elected in 2011. While completing his eight years in office over the maximum two terms, he served as the Speaker Pro Tempore, President of the Black Caucus, and he chaired the Budget & Finance, Education, and Parks & Recreation committees. While on the Metro Council, Matthews sponsored legislation to create the city’s procurement non-discrimination program, establish an after school program for Middle school students of MNPS and implement Metro-wide domestic partner benefits.
His professional experience has prepared him for the challenges inherit in the position of Juvenile Court Clerk. As the Director of the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhoods & Community Engagement (ONCE) Matthews served on the steering committee to create the Juvenile Restorative Diversion Pilot program in Davidson County’s Juvenile Court. He is also on the steering committee for the Positive and Safe Schools Achieving Greater Equity (P.A.S.S.A.G.E.) initiative to address ending the school to prison pipeline through school discipline reform. He was a key leader in the Mayor’s Youth Violence Summit where he developed the strategic vision for the program, authored the summit reporting and coordinated with both Juvenile Court Judge Sheila Calloway and Criminal Court Clerk Howard Gentry to implement the actionable items.
As Mayor Barry’s Senior Advisor on Public Safety and Criminal Justice Policy, Matthews also serves on Metro’s Community Correction Board, Criminal Justice Planning Steering Committee, Office of Family Safety Advisory Board, Juvenile Court Probation System Review Committee, Juvenile Court Master Plan Stakeholder Advisory Group and Youth Violence Prevention Task Force. He successfully organized Metro’s Race Equity and Leadership dialogues, coordinated the Mayor’s Spring and Fall Clean Beautification Initiatives, and launched both the Metro Night Out and Mayor’s Office Shop Talks.
No stranger to public policy and its impact on the community, Matthews coordinated the community advisory group tasked with developing a comprehensive policy for police body worn cameras. He was also the Executive Lead Sponsor of the project team for Nashville’s 3-1-1 reboot called hubNashville.
“It really takes a village to raise a child. Please vote for Lonnell Matthews for Juvenile Court Clerk and let’s rebuild the village!”
The primary election is Tuesday, May 1. 2018; early voting runs April 11th through 26th.