Posted on February 28, 2024

Memphis Mayor Meets with High-Ranking Gang Leaders to Ask for Ceasefire

Joyce Peterson and Lydian Kennin, WMC, February 27, 2024

Memphis Mayor Paul Young met face-to-face with the city’s highest-ranking gang leaders two weeks ago and asked them for a ceasefire. The gang leaders, said the mayor, agreed to put their guns down and stop the killing if certain conditions were met.

Young opened up about his meeting with Memphis gangsters during a panel discussion Monday night about youth workforce development at the Community Foundation of Greater Memphis. The mayor said gang members told him they want good-paying jobs and the training needed to get those jobs.

“My ask for them in that conversation,” Young said, “was can we get a seven-day ceasefire? Just seven days where there’s no shooting no killing? And they said, ‘Yeah, we would be willing to do that,’ and they gave me a couple of caveats.”

Young said the gangs wanted assurances their enemies would agree to the ceasefire.

“The other thing they said was, ‘Well, you know, our young guys, they need money,’” said the mayor, “They need money in their pockets. That’s the way you can change it.”

Gang members, said Young, want good jobs, and the upskilling needed to get them.

The packed room he addressed at the Community Foundation of Greater Memphis was celebrating JPMorgan Chase donating $272,500 to The Collective Blueprint, a nonprofit that helps unemployed young people find a successful career path.