April 26, 2013

An Open Letter to T.J. Simers

In reference to his recent LA Times article about Memphis.

Hi Mr. Simers,

Lifelong Memphian here. How are you? Probably not so good. Remember, you're in Memphis.

I’m sorry you’re so miserable in our city, but I’m willing to bet that despite your disdain, we’ve shown you some pretty good down home, Southern hospitality. I've always said Memphis is like your mother. You can get annoyed with her, but if anyone else says something out of line, that person's in trouble. You sir, were out of line in calling our city a rathole, among other hateful insults.

Have you taken a moment to check out the amazing things Memphis has to offer? Have you noticed how wonderfully kind and generous so many people are? Did you know that while Memphis has one of the poorest zip codes in the country, we're also one of the top cities for our size when it comes to charitable giving? I've worked in nonprofit--in this city--since 2007, and time and time again I've been humbled and appreciative of the willingness to give.

Have you checked out the Memphis Zoo, AutoZone Park, the Cooper-Young district, the green line or Shelby Farms? Did you look in awe at the beautiful FedEx Forum, or did you just focus on the things you chose to mock and insult? Have you taken a moment to chat with locals? Ask for recommendations? Eaten some mouth-watering BBQ? Or have you just run as fast as you could to hide out in your hotel room?

And please, PLEASE do not knock our police officers. They're out there every single day protecting our city--my friends, family, children, co-workers--MY city. Do they have difficulties? Sure. What major city doesn't? Do we have a lot of crime? Sadly, yes, but that's not something to make fun of, it's something to try and correct. Every police officer in this entire country is putting his or her life on the line every time they put on that badge because they're selfless men and women who want to do good work every day. I beg of you, respect those officers. They're doing a job that I doubt you're willing to do.

Please sir, take some time to see the good in our city. And for goodness sake, if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all. Bless your heart.


Emily Joyner

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