I heart Memphis


Elizabeth Boyer/Photography

A Memphis founded deli.

Everyday on the news, the same story appears in one form or another.

Images of local pedestrian shootings and killings, local business robberies, and other heinous crimes committed in Memphis appear on the screen. The stories are repeated by local news broadcasting stations, with the same information. Memphis is unsafe. Memphis is bad.

Memphis’s reputation has been damaged by the media and violent outliers, causing a loss of respect and love for the city.

Based on statistics from Forbes website, Memphis is ranked as the second most dangerous city in the United States. These ratings heavily influence where people choose to live and raise their families, as well as plant businesses. As well as keeping Memphis high school graduates here in the city.

The heavy burden of a bad reputation makes it difficult for outsiders to see the greatness of Memphis.

People have to realize statistics are just numbers, and every city has bad and good numbers. Memphis has so much to appreciate.

A few Memphis recommendations to tourists are usually, the Grizzlies, barbeque and  Graceland.

“Definitely Graceland, it’s one of the craziest things you’ll ever see,” Curt Rakestraw said.

As well as suggesting popular well known attractions to visit, the people of Memphis are helping their community by starting organizations and new projects. For example, Crosstown Arts is an organization dedicated to helping cultivate and grow a Memphis artists’ community, and Broad Avenue is a place that went from an empty space to one filled with unique clothing stores. Not only are community projects an attraction, but they are also being embraced with open arms by the people of Memphis.

“People are really making an effort to make Memphis cool,” Gin McDonald (10) said.

There are several well known attractions to visit in Memphis that are greatly impacted on the cities activities. One well known favorite is Shelby Farms, at a size of 4,500 acres, is one of the twenty largest urban parks in the United States. The park continues to expand with new events and activities for the community to enjoy such as Go Ape Zip Line & Treetop Adventure, and the several playgrounds.

For animal lovers, there is the Memphis Zoo. Spanning over 70 acres, the zoo is home to more than 3,500 animals, from over 500 species, with plenty of seasonal activities such as Zoo Boo and Zoo Lights to spend with the family or anyone you love to be around.

A classic favorite since 1928 is the Orpheum Theatre, one of the few remaining “movie palaces” of the 1920’s. With shows that come from all over the country, the possibilities are endless to what you could see at the Orpheum.

Memphis brings all families and friends together by sitting in a local coffee shop or restaurant.

But the real problem is keeping people in Memphis. With word spreading that Memphis is dangerous and that everyone is going to get shot by some gang if they walk outside their door, fear is ubiquitously found. Memphians are creating a negative mental figment and losing interest for the city in the process.

“As a person who grew up here and went to college somewhere else and came back, I understand that teenagers feel like there’s nothing to do in Memphis so they try to leave as fast as possible. But the thing is that there isn’t much for teenagers to do anywhere. So when they grow up and they come back they will hopefully see Memphis in a better way than they thought,” Rakestraw said.

Memphis is a beautiful city to call home, not a place to trash and disrespect. Memphis has shaped people into who they are with different forms of music and culture, such as music events in the summer at the Levitt Shell and local bands who perform at Otherlands, including some of White Station’s own. It is a part of people that shapes their character and their way of living.

“(Memphis) is definitely the reason I’m laid back and always trying to have a good time and I try to work to make my community a better place and try to encourage young people to see the good things about where they come from,” Rakestraw said.

Despite its violent reputation, Memphis has a lot to offer whether one is a parent, entrepreneur, or even a high school student: choose 901.