Inspiring and Developing Future Memphis Leaders Founded in 1989 by Pitt Hyde, The Memphis Challenge coaches talented, high achieving students of color, through leadership and professional development, preparing them to become future Memphis leaders.
The program currently boast an alumni and student network of more than 900 of the finest academic minds and career disciplines imaginable.
Operating as usual
Philanthropist, community activist, CEO, & proud Memphian - these are a few words that describe Memphis Challenge Alum Roshun Austin Class of ‘89. Roshun is the CEO/President of The Works, Inc. a community development corporation serving children, the elderly, and families in the South Memphis and Greater Memphis area.
Roshun grew up in the North Memphis/Hyde Park community and attended East High School. Her neighborhood was heavily impacted by the heroin epidemic, but against all odds, Roshun made straight A’s and attended Middlebury College in Middlebury, Vermont. She received a BA in Sociology/Anthropology in ‘93 and her masters in Urban Anthropology from the University of Memphis in ‘97.
The Works focuses on the revitalization of South Memphis through community engagement, economic development, and affordable housing. Their first housing complex, the Alpha Renaissance, opened in 2002 and serves low-income families. Today, The Works is building their 2nd housing complex dubbed the Renaissance at Steele and Renaissance Park. The Works also engages the community by offering classes on financial fitness, health & wellness, nutrition, and through the South Memphis Farmers Market. They are supported by activities like the beloved Glide Ride - a community biking event scheduled to begin in April.
Roshun is a quiet storm, but her contributions to her hometown speak volumes. Memphis Challenge is excited to salute Roshun Austin a semi-finalist for the Change Makers - Valuing Homes in Black Communities Challenge. This challenge is designed to foster a new generation of structural innovation and address the devaluation of homes in black communities. If selected, Roshun has a chance to win funding of up to $100,000. Earlier this year, she was honored with the 2022 Memphis Heritage Trailblazer Award for Neighborhood Revitalization. She serves on several boards, including Fourth Estate, Inc., Urban Land Institute, Memphis Chapter, and the Methodist Healthcare Foundation. The legacy continues as her daughter, Lailah Wilson, is also a Memphis Challenge alum. The salutes Roshun and her commitment to leadership and service.
Calling all Memphis Challenge Parents! Tonight we are hosting our MC Parent Workshop on Good Parenting Solutions - facilitated by MC Executive Director, Cassandra Webster 🎉!
Explore best practices on how to be the best navigator for your child by joining us tonight @ 7pm through Zoom or Facebook Live! Look forward to seeing you there!
Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama is a lawyer, writer, and the wife of the 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama. She was the first African-American First Lady of the United States. Through her four main initiatives, she has become a role model for women and an advocate for healthy families, service members and their families, higher education, and international adolescent girls education.
When people ask First Lady Michelle Obama to describe herself, she doesn't hesitate to say that first and foremost, she is Malia and Sasha's mom.
But before she was a mother — or a wife, lawyer, or public servant — she was Fraser and Marian Robinson's daughter. The Robinsons lived on the South Side of Chicago. Fraser was a pump operator, and despite being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis at a young age, he hardly ever missed a day of work. Marian stayed home to raise Michelle and her older brother Craig, skillfully managing a busy household filled with love & laughter.
A product of Chicago public schools, Michelle Obama studied sociology and African-American studies at Princeton University. After graduating from Harvard Law School in 1988, she joined the Chicago law firm Sidley & Austin, where she later met Barack Obama, the man who would become the love of her life.
After a few years, Mrs. Obama decided her true calling was working with people to serve their communities and their neighbors. She served as assistant commissioner of planning and development in Chicago's City Hall before becoming the founding executive director of the Chicago chapter of Public Allies, an AmeriCorps program that prepares youth for public service.
In 1996, Mrs. Obama joined the University of Chicago with a vision of bringing campus and community together. As Associate Dean of Student Services, she developed the university's first community service program, and under her leadership as Vice President of Community and External Affairs for the University of Chicago Medical Center, volunteerism skyrocketed.
Today, Mrs. Obama continues to support and inspire young people through her many acts of service and through the Obama Foundation.
Biography from https://barackobama.com.
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“Mama Nems” - Pearls of wisdom spoken by the beloved mother, Mama, Ma Dear, Big Mama, or Nana in your life. Growing up they were words that came up like rapid-fire in situations that only a “Mama Nem” could define.
Mothers are our first history makers and women of influence who nurtured and supported us through the good, the bad, and everything in between. Celebrate your Mother, Big Mama, Aunties, Gigi’s, and Abuelas by completing the phrases. Can you solve them?
Share your answers in the comments. Have a story to go along with your “Mama Nem”? Share it in the comments as well!
Shirley Chisholm (1924-2005) was the first African American woman elected to Congress where she served for seven terms beginning in Jan. 31, 1969 through Jan. 31, 1983. The daughter of immigrants from Barbados and Guyana, Chisolm had a significant impact on anti-poverty policy and educational reform. In 1971, she was a founding member of both the Congressional Black Caucus and the National Women’s Political Caucus.
Chisholm was also the first African American woman to campaign for the Democratic Party presidential nomination in 1972 with the slogan “Unbought and Unbossed.” Due to both racist and sexist opposition, she failed to win her party’s nomination, losing to anti-Vietnam War candidate Senator George McGovern. Always an advocate for poor, inner-city residents, Chisolm said, “I am and always will be a catalyst for change” and would go on to serve another 11 years in Congress.
Today’s spotlight is on alum Laura Zapata (MC Class ‘07). A White Station High School graduate armed with a BA in government from Dartmouth College. Laura is our History Maker as she defies odds and walks into spaces not typically held by women of color or of Latino heritage.
Laura’s path has been heavily influenced by her experience growing up as an immigrant in the US. When she was ten years old, Laura and her family moved from Colombia, South America, to Memphis, TN. Growing up as a Latino person of color, Laura made it her business to learn the culture and nuances of different communities, and it widened her worldview - particularly around immigration reform. In high school, Laura was involved in immigration reform and traveled to DC to speak with congressional leadership about immigration issues.
Fast forward 2012, this communications czar has crafted communications for high profile politicians such as the late Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid as his Deputy Press Secretary from 2011-13. Zapata served as 2016 Ohio Press Secretary for presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and 2018 Communications Director for TN governor Phil Bredesen. She was also Head of Global Communications for Uber Eats from 2017-18. Did I mention she did this all before her 30th birthday?
Today, Laura is the co-founder of Clearloop - a corporation dedicated to expanding access to clean energy by building solar projects that invest in minority and underserved communities. Laura co-founded Clearloop with former TN Governor Phil Bredesen and his former campaign manager, Bob Corney. In 2022, Clearloop’s first solar-powered project, launched in Jackson, TN, will be fully operational. It will produce enough energy to power 200 local homes.
Laura credits her time as a Challenger for making her the leader she is today. “All the different experiences the Memphis Challenge afforded me, from ToastMasters, interview prep, and conversations with leaders across Memphis, has allowed me to have a peek into who I could be and where my dreams could take me.” Laura is armed with a vision and a soul to leave our world a better, cleaner place for generations to come. Congrats, Laura Zapata. We salute your visionary leadership and innovation.
Dr. Dorothy Height was born on March 24, 1912, in Richmond, VA. Growing up, Height was an excellent student and speaker and won a college scholarship for her oratorical skills. She is a graduate of New York University, where she received a bachelor's in education and a master's in psychology.
In 1938, Dr. Height was hired by the Harlem Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA). Here she met her mentor and teacher, Mary McLeod Bethune, founder of the National Council of Negro Women (NCNW). The two worked closely together until Bethune's death in 1955. Two years later, Height would become the fourth President of the NCNW. Dr. Height served as the 10th National President of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. from 1946 to 1957. Height brought unsurpassed growth and modernization and carried the sorority to new levels of development, initiation eligibility, and social action through her term.
Height led the NCNW during the civil rights era of the 1950's-'60s and sought to improve the lives of women and families by working to establish affordable housing and homeownership programs, advocating for the desegregation of public schools, and lobbying for the appointment of black women into governmental positions. Dr. Height was an unsung hero like so many women of the movement. She helped organize the March on Washington in 1963 and was on the platform when Martin Luther King delivered his iconic "I Have a Dream" speech. Determined to create more opportunities for women, Dr. Height founded the National Women's Political Caucus alongside Shirley Chisholm and others in 1971.
In 1986, Dr. Height organized the first "Black Family Reunion Celebration" designed to reinforce the strengths and traditions of the black family. Held in 10 cities across the US for more than two decades, the event attracted over 12 million people. For her service, Height was awarded America's two highest civilian awards: the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1992 and the Congressional Gold Medal in 2004. Height passed away on April 20, 2010, but her impact remains. The Memphis Challenge salutes Dr. Dorothy Height. Godmother of the movement. Your legacy will never be forgotten.
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Memphis Reads is a community-wide read each year. We hope to change Memphis, one book at a time.
SisterReach is a Memphis, TN based grassroots 501c3 non-profit supporting the reproductive autonomy of women and teens of color, poor and rural women, LGBT+ and GNC folx, and their families through the framework of Reproductive Justice.
“Our FCPTSA partners with our teachers and community to support our school in providing the best educational experience for our children.
A proposed full-time, military academy serving grades 6-12. If you want to attend a Service Academy (ie West Point, Annapolis, etc), go direct enlistment, or tech career, this is the place! Tuition free. "Building Tomorrow's leaders Today"
Production Studio with the stars of yesterday, the stars of tomorrow and the stars of today; includi
Alyce Tarver Wells is a soprano based in Memphis, TN. Her music studio includes voice and piano.
Memories of a Massacre commemorates a wave of terror that in sweeping a mid-South city helped to cha
Equipping Leaders for Gospel Ministry
USISB is a specialized k9 TACT unit that assists in Investigations, apprehension, and search and seizures of s*x crimes cases nationwide with all agencies
BROADCASTING I is offered for students interested in either the Audio and Video Technologies sub-cluster or the Journalism and Broadcasting sub-cluster of the arts and communication cluster. The overlap in these industries is extensive as can be witnessed
Momentum Nonprofit Partners exists to build a momentum of the nonprofit sector to create equitable, measurable, and lasting change.
Lash Training Center