It’s the time of year to count our blessings and celebrate our successes. As we get ready to say goodbye to 2018 and ring in a new year, I’m happy to share some good news from the past couple of weeks.
Ever since Nashvillians voted overwhelmingly on Nov. 6 to create a Community Oversight Board to oversee the actions of Metro Police, my team has been working hard to get the board and staff up and running. This week I was proud to announce my two board nominees.
Phyllis Hildreth is vice president for Institutional Advancement and Strategic Partnerships at American Baptist College and a former chief counsel in the Office of the Public Defender for the State of Maryland. She also knows what it takes to hire an executive director for a Metro agency after playing a key role in the Human Relations Commission’s search process a few years ago.
Bob Cooper is a widely respected former Tennessee attorney general whose extensive knowledge of the law and ability to work with people who have broad-ranging views will be huge assets to the board. He is currently a member of the Compliance & Government Investigations Practice Group at Bass, Berry & Sims.
Pending approval by the Metro Council (which also will make its own appointments) Phyllis and Bob will be tremendous additions to the Community Oversight Board. I’m grateful for their willingness to serve.
Nashville is full of makers and manufacturers, people who produce everything from chocolate and honey to furniture, clothes and automotive components. They bring innovation and creativity to our economy every day. But they don’t necessarily have the networks or the support they need to promote their products as widely as they might like, which limits their ability to grow and create additional jobs.
So the Mayor’s Office of Economic and Community Development, in partnership with an advisory board of manufacturing industry leaders, recently launched Nashville-Made. This public-private initiative will connect the city’s wide-ranging manufacturing community, offer programs tailored to strengthen local manufacturers and makers, train Nashvillians for good jobs and promote locally made products globally.
Our partners have committed to help us raise $200,000 in funding over the next few months from private sources. Members are being added now for the 2019 year. For more information, contact Audra Ladd in my office at 615-862-6027 or <audra.ladd@ nashville.gov>, or visit the NashvilleMade website.
Late last month, I talked about leveling the playing field for minority-owned and women-owned businesses by making significant changes to Metro’s procurement processes and regulations. I’m proud to say that the Metro Council voted unanimously Tuesday for legislation I fully support that would enact many of these changes.
The legislation, which is co-sponsored by an overwhelming majority of Council members, will take effect after a final Council vote next month. I’ll also be taking executive action to make our procurement process more equitable, more transparent and more effective.
This is just one of the ways I’ll be working to create equitable access to prosperity for all Nashvillians.
On Dec. 10, we reopened the Madison branch library after extensive renovations. I enjoyed celebrating the day with local officials and neighbors excited to get back inside. Two days later, I joined officials with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to celebrate the opening of a new Nashville office that will make it easier for immigrants to become U.S. citizens.
Also this month, I was proud to participate in two historical marker dedications: one downtown that pays tribute to early leaders in the local LGBT community and the other commemorating the founding of a 137-year-old African American church in Inglewood.
Each opportunity left me inspired and ever more committed to building a city that supports all its residents.
And on a more somber note, this past Saturday I joined local advocates and friends to remember more than 100 homeless or formerly homeless members of our community who have died in the past year. No one should have to live or die on the streets.
I’ll continue to push for permanent supportive housing and wraparound services to help those who are experiencing homelessness in Nashville.
This, too, is a vital part of our work to close the equity gaps in our city.
In closing, please join me in remembering one of our city’s heroes, Mary Louise Watson, who helped desegregate Nashville’s schools when she walked her daughter, Barbara Jean, to Jones School on Ninth Avenue in 1957.
Ms. Watson, who died Dec. 10 at the age of 99, held the steadfast belief that by doing good, we can force real change in this world. And she did. Our city today is better because of her.
I will write again in early 2019. I hope you find rest, joy and peace in these final days of this year.