The changing face of Nashville was at the center of today’s State of Metro address. It was also the topic of a heartfelt and critical recitation by Nashville’s youth poet laureate.
Marie Shields reflected on a city that she feels has turned its back on people like her. She talks about Nashville as if it’s a beloved friend who has lost their way
At school, I see her talking to the white kids. She doesn’t sit at our table anymore. There’s this thing that goes on, this sense of segregation. I am considered a rarity. There’s this handful of melanin in every advanced classroom. The people of color here don’t fit in in their own diverse community.
Councilmember Zulfat Suara posted this video of the performance to Twitter, saying she was proud of the John Overton High School student.
Nashville 2021 Youth Poet Laureate-Marie Shields. Very proud of our youth. State of Metro Address pic.twitter.com/2I24MvHsj5
— Councilwoman Zulfat Suara (@zulfat4council) April 29, 2021
Shields ended her piece with a sense of hope for the soul of the city, saying, “We are Nashville, and we will not leave her behind.”
You can listen to her full performance here:
Mayor John Cooper largely focused on optimism in his remarks. He wants to spend more on city schools and affordable housing.
Several proposals would invest in the historically Black neighborhoods of North Nashville, including for a new transit center, and a record-level subsidy for Metro General Hospital.
Cooper noted that Nashville has its most diverse Metro Council ever. There has been scrutiny, however, of boards and commissions that don’t reflect the population.
Meanwhile, the largest proposal for the highly diverse Southeast portion of the county would create and staff a new police precinct.
Click here for more major takeaways from the mayor’s address.