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Memphis Urban League launches new Bernal E. Smith II Empowerment Center

Memphis Urban League, a non-profit, nonpartisan, community-based organization that provides direct services and policy advocacy to help individuals and communities reach their full potential, has launched its Bernal E. Smith II Empowerment Center.

The center is an extension of the the Memphis Urban League’s “Save Our Sons” Initiative, with thanks going to the generous support of Towanda Peete-Smith, the wife of the late publisher of The New Tri-State Defender.

As a board member of the Memphis Urban League, Smith was a huge supporter of the Save Our Sons initiative. He had a tremendous commitment to mentoring young men in the African-American community.

Smith worked tirelessly to create economic opportunities for young men and he did so in style. Keenly aware that he was considered a public figure, Smith was always distinguished in his dress.

“He liked to be sharp,” Towanda Peete-Smith said. “He had the biggest closet in the house and would joke, ‘You want your man looking good when he goes out.’”

Peete-Smith has decided to donate over 150 suits, ties, shirts and countless pairs of shoes to the Memphis Urban League’s “Save Our Sons” Initiative. The impactful program is designed to advance the workforce readiness of African-American males ages 18-34 by providing workforce essentials training and addressing the mental health and wellness of male participants.

“We are honored to accept the donation of these items and even more excited about what they will mean to recipients,” said Tonja Sesley-Baymon, chief executive officer of the Memphis Urban League.

The grand opening of the Bernal E. Smith II Empowerment Center is set for 11 a.m. on February 28th at the Memphis Urban League, 413 N. Cleveland. Attendees are encouraged to bring additional professional clothing to donate.



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