A photo illustration of a a man dressed as Santa in front of a barbecue restaurant.
A man dressed as Santa Claus on Beale Street holds his hands up in solidarity as protestors march by during a 2014 Black Lives Matter protest. Photo by Andrea Morales for MLK50

In this our last newsletter of Twenty Twenty-two,

it is time to reflect on what MLK50 did do

to move forward on our mission of dismantling systems of power,

to bring justice through journalism, to stop laws that devour

the opportunity for Memphis workers to live well and to thrive.

To do that, our small, mighty crew sought to often deep dive.

So here are some stories we told and the impact we had,

and the things we uncovered, all the happy and sad. 

A photo illustration of a Black woman in her kitchen.

There was artist Victoria Jones sharing wisdom, hard learned.

We bore witness to her turmoil and her joy, so hard-earned.

A photo illustration of a woman using a bullhorn.

We honored a community voice and her lasting foundation

of a vibrant legacy borne from collective liberation.

A photo illustration of a white man wearing a rain poncho pulling at his beard.

We covered the unhoused, in ways you could see

the flaws in support, their ignored humanity.

A photo illustration of a Black man wearing a face mask.

We asked those most affected what they need in a DA;

we described the thrill of victory when it arrived on Election Day.

A photo illustration of a judge gesturing.

We observed judges in court as they handled evictions;

then we created a guide to help navigate that affliction.

A photo illustration of a Black woman on her patio.

In Parkway Village, we observed the toll of white flight,

then relayed how NIMBY-ism stokes the affordable housing plight.  

A photo illustration of a person in their kitchen with a bag of vegetables.

We explained how inflation is forcing food-related deep cuts,

A photo illustration of a smiling Black woman.

and celebrated our fifth, despite a former hater’s incorrect gut,

that told him supporting low-wealth folk was foolhardy.

(He didn’t know that Wendi C. shines like GloRilla with Cardi.)

A photo illustration of a Black man sitting in his car with a pen in his mouth.

We said farewell to a reporter, saddled by student debt;

did another guide so talking to us won’t cause you to sweat.

That’s just a fraction of what we did in this year

and a fraction of what we’ll keep doing as long as we’re here.

We’ll keep holding leaders accountable for all their bad acts.

We’ll keep illuminating the truth, using data and facts.

We’ll keep believing in workers and the strength that they own,

and their grace and their dignity and the resilience they’ve shown.

We’re grateful to do this work, feel blessed for this opportunity; 

now, to use some words of Dr. King: Happy holidays, beloved community!

Adrienne Johnson Martin is executive editor of MLK50: Justice Through Journalism. Contact her at adrienne.martin@mlk50.com

This story is brought to you by MLK50: Justice Through Journalism, a nonprofit newsroom focused on poverty, power and policy in Memphis. Support independent journalism by making a tax-deductible donation today. MLK50 is also supported by these generous donors.

Got a story idea, a tip or feedback? Send an email to info@mlk50.com.