My City, My Soul – Meka Egwuekwe

In our city, “soul” isn’t just a word. It’s a feeling, it’s a movement, it’s a vibe. As Memphians, we wear soul with pride. Our city isn’t just the birthplace of musical icons or the city where food, music, and culture come to life.

Our city’s soul is described by generosity that knows no bounds and the thousands of Memphians building community with each other on the daily. It’s the activism that’s stirring in our hearts, pushing each other and the world to see better and do better. It’s in the limitless innovation fueling insatiable curiosity and so, so much more. Memphis has always been a place of big hearts and even bigger ideas, where the spirit of soul finds its home. So, when you see your fellow Memphians’ faces across the city, you see a mirror reflecting our collective pride.

We’ll be sharing stories of how your fellow Memphians connect with our city through food, fitness, music, and so much more! Be sure to keep an eye out for billboards across the city featuring some familiar faces!

Meet Meka Egwuekwe

Raised in South Memphis, Meka explored computer programming on his own and, after recognizing the transformative power of technology in his own life,  committed himself to paving the way for people of color in computer science education, starting right here in the city. He helped bring the nonprofit CodeCrew to life in 2015, has influenced over 10,000 K-12 and adult students, and championed computer science education legislation–impacting over one million kids in Tennessee.

About Code Crew

CodeCrew is actively transforming Memphis through programs that instill students with the fundamentals of information and computation. Their curriculum delves into understanding digital systems and equips students with the skills to apply this knowledge through programming and software development concepts. The organization’s offerings encompass diverse initiatives, including summer camps, after-school programs, in-school elective classes, internships, and special events.

Since its beginning, CodeCrew has empowered over 11,800 students to code through a variety of channels, including summer camps, after-school programs, in-school electives, and exposure events. With a focus on inclusivity, 92% of the 800 students served weekly are black and Latino youth, 44% are female coders, and, overall, 85% of students are more likely to pursue computer science studies. Impressively, 79% of CodeCrew students write their first line of code through the organization’s initiatives!

The Collective Blueprint

This great nonprofit works to ensure that young Memphians ages 18 – 30 are equipped with the essential skills they need as they are paired with training providers (like CodeCrew) to enter careers in various professions.

The Memphis Grizzlies

Not only are the Grizzlies the most fun team to watch in all of professional sports, but they are arguably the most community-engaged big league team in the country (including supporting CodeCrew and so many others).  Mentorship, grit, and grind are equally in the DNA of this team.  How can you not love them?

The National Civil Rights Museum

This hallowed ground is one of the most important institutions in the country and a consistent endpoint to virtually every recent protest for justice our city has seen in the past couple of decades.  No place epitomizes the continuously streaming call to action more than the NCRM.

The Tailors’ Union / The Pocket

This is not only one of my favorite places to go for live music, but it is one of the top places I bring out-of-town visitors for a side of Memphis that transcends the stereotypes too many have about our great city.  This is a first class place to relax and enjoy great company.

Ms. Bertha Rodgers Looney

This small, soft-spoken woman is a living giant amongst us, one of the Memphis State Eight who in 1959 desegregated what is now the University of Memphis.  Not only do I honor the sacrifices that she, her classmates, and their families endured, I love and appreciate her being one of my mother’s very best friends since they first met in the 1950s.  Too many stories to share here!

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