There is ample evidence that Shelby County Commissioner Tami Sawyer has sought to be a “servant leader” with impact for what she calls “marginalized communities.” The desire to do even more of that, she said, prompted a decision not to seek a second term.
Nearly a year ahead of ending her term on Aug. 31, 2022, Sawyer this week shocked many by detailing her plan to step away from the District 7 seat that she won with 81 percent of the vote on August 2, 2018.
“Because I also know first-hand what it takes to build relationships and trust within community as a candidate for public office, by announcing my decision to not seek re-election at this point in my term, I hope to allow district 7 sufficient time to come to know and choose a successor who is equally committed and prepared to continue this work with us to address the inequities that persist in our communities,” Sawyer said in a released statement.
Promising to remain an ally and voice for justice for families in district 7 and the Greater Memphis community at-large, Sawyer said her decision to not seek a second term is prompted by an intent to broaden her impact as a servant leader for marginalized communities in a new capacity.
She offered no specifics about that “new capacity.”
“I am immensely grateful to have the privilege to serve district 7 and humbled by the opportunities that I have had to work alongside community residents to bring about real change for families in an often-forgotten area of Shelby County,” Sawyer said.
“The work that I will continue following the end of my term as Commissioner will be focused on the communities that need us to hear them the most in Memphis and across the South, but are too often ignored by government leadership, collectively.”
Synonymous with the #takeemdown901 movement that galvanized grassroots support for the removal of monuments that saluted Confederate-era figures in two public parks, Sawyer built a national persona as an activist regarding social justice, ending systemic racism and “equality for disadvantaged black indigenous people of color.”
The first chairperson of the recently formed Shelby County Commission Black Caucus, Sawyer counts among her accomplishments efforts to help stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus, including an appointment to the Tennessee Health Department’s Minority Health Task Force.
In detailing her decision not to seek re-election, Sawyer noted having served as co-chair for the transportation task force and “a historic $2.5 million investment in the Memphis Area Transit Authority,” advocacy efforts to expand access to reproductive health products for girls and the sponsoring of legislation associated with a $1.5 million expansion of the Girls. Inc campus in Frayser.
“For almost eight years, I have had the privilege to serve Memphis as an activist, organizer and elected official and I am humbled to have been chosen by my district to be a servant leader during a time of momentous change and uncertainty in our country,” Sawyer said.
“During my last year in office, I look forward to continuing to fight for progress for Memphis and Shelby County and infrastructure building for policies that will bring equality to the South.”