MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - A Memphis mother seeing huge racial disparity in Memphis decided to bridge the gap by building relationships between young people who see our city very differently,
"I never realized that Memphis had sections that were really Third World,” said Becky Wilson.
It was that eye opener and awakening 30 years ago that motivated Wilson to take action by creating an organization that aims to unite and inspire young people to transform their community.
Wilson offered a bridge to leadership and diversity by pledging to touch the lives of thousands of young people across the Greater Memphis area with a very basic format that focuses on three key principles.
"Develop their leadership skills, and develop better race relations and community activism,” Wilson said.
This idea started as an experiment with 40 young people from Northside High School, a public, predominantly African-American school with Briarcrest Christian School, a private, predominantly white school,
It’s all part of an effort to allow students to get to know each other and to discover their commonalities and understand their differences.
What happened next was an unexpected trickledown effect that spread from students to families.
"Young people who participated as a Bridge Builder went home and then their siblings, their brother, their sister, their cousin wanted to sign up because they saw the difference that it made in their lives,” Wilson said.
And make a difference they have.
"Being in over 160 schools here in the Greater Memphis Area serving nearly 1,200 students a year,” said Freddy Dickerson, recruitment coordinator for Bridge Builders.
A mother motivated by her children to seek out diversity has changed, is changing, and will continue to change the lives of young people in and around Memphis.
Congratulations, Becky Wilson! You are our Mid-South Hero.
“My children all have friends from all over and they are unencumbered with a lot of the prejudices that my age group came along with,” Wilson said. “And so I’m gratified to see that at my home it made a difference.”
If you know someone deserving of the title Mid-South Hero, nominate them here.