“Faith in Memphis”: A Morning with Memphis’s New Mayor, Paul Young

I was so glad when my friend Pat Morgan (in photo with Mayor Young, at left) called to invite me to her church, Calvary Episcopal in downtown Memphis, this morning to hear our new mayor, Paul Young speak. Pat had known Paul for years, and they are both big components for those experiencing homelessness in Memphis. Read more about Pat in my blog post from last July, “One Woman’s Battle to Break the Cycle of Homelessness.” And here’s a great article about Paul and his family, “Meet the Youngs,” written by David Waters and published in Memphis Magazine.

Mayor Young spoke to a standing-room-only crowd in the Great Hall at Calvary between their two worship services this morning. He was introduced by Associate Rector Rev. Katherine Bush, and interviewed by Anna McQuiston, who has worked with Young for many years. He addressed the five pillars of his campaign and other issues which are on the hearts and minds of many Memphians and took questions from the audience. I was so impressed with his comments and how honest and genuine he is. “Faith in Memphis” was recorded here . . . although the feed cut off near the end.

I was excited to meet Paul and thank him for the wonderful letter he sent me, endorsing my anthology, Memphis Cares: Homelessness, Hunger, Mental Illness, and Incarceration, coming later this year from Vanderbilt University Press.

He cares about all the issues that are close to my heart, as you can tell from his letter. And as Waters wrote in his article about the Youngs:

[Paul’s half-brother] William Jr., who suffers from paranoid-schizophrenia, has experienced many years of living unhoused in the Nashville area, despite the family’s diligent efforts to help him find shelter and healthcare.

“It’s been tough for him and for everyone,” Paul says. “And it’s given all of us a first-hand view of how complicated an issue like homelessness is, and how it impacts not just individuals but whole families and communities.”

Paul encouraged all of us to be involved in our communities to improve schools, businesses, and the important ministries carried out by Memphis’s 2000 churches.

The text from Mayor Young’s letter is difficult to read in this image, so I’m including it here:

Memphis Cares: Homelessness, Hunger, Mental Illness, and Incarceration presents a compelling narrative that intertwines personal anecdotes, historical context, and a forward-looking perspective on how to address societal challenges faced by our community. While doing so, the authors celebrate our rich heritage, our culture, and the individuals and organizations doing the work to make our city better.

This manuscript sheds light on the realities of Memphis’ struggles with poverty, crime, and social injustice while championing the city’s collective empathy and activism as beacons of hope. While we still have much work to do, I thank each of you for being committed to our community and our city and working to make it a great city for all.


Paul A. Young, Mayor