“We Can’t Wait”: An Interview with Memphis Mayoral Candidate Tami Sawyer

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Tami Sawyer

In 2016 and 2017, educator, organizer, and Howard Law School Graduate Tami Sawyer was in her mid thirties, helping to lead #TakeEmDown901 — one of the most significant and successful organizations in the national push to remove public statues and landmarks commemorating Confederates and white supremacists, including Nathan Bedford Forrest. The organization quickly found itself taking on a historically white, male power structure in Memphis led in part by Mayor Jim Strickland. The success of #TakeEmDown901 to remove these statues in the face of a century of established state and local laws and organizations designed to protect them remains a remarkable achievement. Consistent media coverage of the struggle led to rumors of a Mayoral run by Sawyer to challenge Strickland. She quickly squashed these rumors, however, calling them a “political ploy” to make the organization’s work seem disingenuous or self-interested. She also noted the challenges…

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