Transparency, Accountability and Collaboration
Since being elected, I have held monthly “Coffee and Conversations” (or “Queso and Conversations”) where citizens can sit down with me and share their concerns about our community, vocalize their hopes for it, and ask me any questions. These listening sessions have been incredibly helpful and have brought ideas that were easily implemented to help better our community. From as simple as inviting our city schools’ student community to take part in our Comprehensive Development Plan to hearing where additional garbage cans might be needed or where people are speeding and need more traffic signage, these meetings have allowed me to have real conversations with our citizens over a cup of coffee. I have had as few as 1 person show up and as many as 12. Each conversation vitally important. Each conversation teaching me something new. I believe this is democracy at work. I was looking for pictures to show of them, and I realized that I typically bring my son to them… and they’ve been held so often that it was fun to see him grow monthly over these past 3 years.
Jefferson Street Park Basketball Courts
YOUR VOICE MATTERS.
After hearing from a citizen about the condition of the basketball courts at Jefferson Street Park, I went to work to raise $25,000+ dollars in in-kind and cash donations to invest into these courts. Upon realizing the dream of the citizens, I then worked to dedicate these courts in honor of Tennyson and Naniva Holmes. This would not have been possible without the voice of ONE citizen advocating for their community and without the many people who donated money, goods, and their sweat equity into making this happen.
As the 2021- 2022 Downtown Liaison, I worked to send quarterly newsletters to our local downtown business to gain input from them on their needs from our city. I’ve been working to identify 3 main requests from these business owners and will advocate for funding for those requests. One of the requests has been involving beautification and the expansion of the footprint of the downtown. I worked to source winter banners locally so that we could decorate for the holiday season and include areas in the footprint.
Joe Moon Way
I was blessed to have the opportunity to work for Joe Moon in the mid to late 90s, but I had known him for years as I spent hours at the pool each week. To be asked to bring a resolution to our board to honor him meant so much to me. My goal was to ensure we created an event that truly honored the kind, loving, GIVING man he was- to appreciate his humor, selflessness, and ability to inspire those of us who needed to have someone believe in us. I was honored to take this resolution to the board.
Relationship Violence Intervention Work
As a domestic violence survivor, this initiative is incredibly personal to me. Upon being elected, I began to serve on the county’s Domestic Violence Fatality Review Team. Through the work on that committee, I recognized an intervention opportunity to partner with our school system and a local non-profit. Through the city schools, Haven of Hope director Kellye Gilbert and I facilitate informational sessions with 7th and 8th grade students focused on healthy relationships, warning signs of unhealthy relationships, and bystander training. The goal is to help interrupt the cycle of violence that many students might one day experience. I also have written editorials to share my experience to to debunk some myths surrounding relationship violence.
DEI Community Work
There are many underrepresented people in our community, which is why Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is so important.
The COVID pandemic helped shine a light on those that are in need. Several initiatives have sprung from this. In conjunction with the Community Council of Diversity and Inclusion, I hosted a COVID Townhall in an effort to address racial disparities in vaccination rates.
Tullahoma Emergency Shelter-DEI work also includes the socioeconomically disadvantaged in our community. I see a significant need in supporting our socioeconomically disadvantaged members of our community. The statistics speak for themselves here. I’m so proud of our community for coming together on this project. The Tullahoma Winter Shelter Project opened in December 2021 and will remain open through the end of February 2022 to serve as emergency shelter during the winter months. I partnered with local non-profits and churches to provide a warm, safe place for people to shelter, some supplies and food for them during these coldest months. We have served more than 23 people. Some of those people have found permanent housing, some have found jobs, and almost every one has found community. This came about from 5 people saying “We want to do something to help those in need without homes” and is a testament to the work that can be done in a community.
Mental Health Care Advocacy
In an effort to destigmatize seeking mental health care, I wrote a series of editorials detailing my experience seeking mental health care. Believing you practice what you preach, I joined the Walk Committee for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s Inaugural Coffee County Out of the Darkness Walk. I created and led “Team City of Tullahoma team” to being one of the top fundraising teams on the AFSP’s inaugural Coffee County event in 2021.