MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Business executives, entrepreneurs and police showed up to the Hollywood Community Center Saturday, hoping to inspire young minds.
Helping young black men in Memphis reach their full potential was the idea behind the event.
Cynthia Lofties is the organizer.
“I wanted to see how could I impact the lives of those young African American males and older males who may be misguided and bring some successful African American men in front of them who been through the same challenges they face, who overcame those challenges,” said Lofties.
Memphis Police Director Mike Rallings was one of the speakers.
It was one of his first public appearances, since the shooting death of Brandon Webber Wednesday night in Frayser.
The 20-year-old died during an encounter with U.S. Marshals.
Dozens of officers were injured after some protesters became violent.
“A few days ago, in a neighborhood close by here, that was total chaos. That was anger and hatred geared toward my officers that had nothing to do with the event. That’s not acceptable,” said Rallings.
Rallings told the crowd that despite misconceptions, police officers are part of their communities.
“They're out in the community every single day trying to make a difference,” said Rallings.
Lofties says the shooting and protest highlight one of several problems facing black youth.
But she hopes events like this keep them focused on their dreams.
“As long as they have the mentality to work hard and be consistent and dedicated, they can do it,” said Lofties.