Need a Speaker?
If your organization (religious group, school, class, small group, civic club, book club, etc.) is interested in a presentation about the Connecting Memphis community storytelling project, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
There is no speaker fee for in-Memphis presentations. My only aim is to get the word out about the wonderful stories that the people in our city have to share.
--- Cindy Putnam McMillion
(image credit: Daniel Frederick, Light My Way Photography)
“We are like islands in the sea, separate on the surface but connected in the deep.” (William James, 1842-1910)
Connecting Memphis had its beginnings in August of 2014. After taking early retirement from the public school system, I turned my attention to a project I had contemplated for several years: photographing and interviewing the amazing variety of people who call Memphis home. The purpose of Connecting Memphis is to encourage understanding, compassion, and respect among people who differ in age, ethnicity, economic situation, or geographic location; to help us see each other as real people with real lives rather than as categories to be dismissed or feared or resented; and to provide an opportunity for people to tell their stories.
The hundreds of Connecting Memphis interviews and photos featured on the website and Facebook page allow us brief glimpses into each other’s lives and remind us of our common humanity.
Nearly every day I’m out with a camera and notebook talking to people in parks, neighborhoods, community centers, or wherever I might come across them. Most conversations are random encounters, although some are arranged in advance. With each person’s consent, his or her photo and interview is then posted online to be shared with all of us. Responses to interviews on the Connecting Memphis Facebook page have been overwhelmingly positive: a young woman recovering from an addiction receives words of encouragement from readers; comfort and kindness are extended to a man dealing with the loss of his mother; artists, dancers, teachers, writers, and volunteers receive notes of appreciation; mothers of children with special needs are given support; people moving to Memphis from all over the world are welcomed; children are celebrated; the elderly are reminded of the value of their experiences and their wisdom; those who have gone through life unnoticed are amazed that others in our city care about them and want to hear what they have to say.
Connecting Memphis reminds us that we need each other, and that each one of us matters. Let’s be about the business of breaking down walls of separation.
--- Cindy Putnam McMillion
On June 11, 2015, I had the pleasure of talking to Classical Music Host Kacky Walton about the Connecting Memphis photo / interview project.
"Cindy McMillion moved to Memphis to go to college and never left. She finds the good in Memphis every time she looks. She helps us find it every time we read Connecting Memphis, a sort of daily digital devotional of, by and for Memphians." --- David Waters, columnist, The Commercial Appeal
“Connecting Memphis is the perfect place to find inspiring stories about the beautiful people of this city we call the Birthplace of R & B. I look forward to learning more about the city I love through Connecting Memphis.” --- Tamara Parrish, Founder and Artistic Director of Bridging Souls Productions
“We truly appreciate you helping us highlight the many stories we have to share. Keep up the great work for Memphis!” --- Lori Jones Bramlett, Executive Director, DeNeuville Learning Center
"Whether by design or by choice, we are all Memphians connected with each other in many different ways. Connecting Memphis makes a difference and brings us all together in a more personal and intimate way through photo and stories." --- Wang-Ying Glasgow, Adult Services Coordinator, Memphis Public Library
“Connecting Memphis. Connecting Memphians. One Person, One Heart, One Soul at a time!” --- Sandeep Pednekar, Founder of India Fest; Member of the Shelby County Mayor’s Young Professionals Council; Co-Founder of the Greater Memphis Immigrant Task Force; Host of WUMR FM 91.7’s 1-Universe radio show promoting diversity and inclusion
"I strongly encourage all to ‘like’ the Connecting Memphis Facebook page and to bookmark the website as a way to see so many people who are trying to make Memphis a better place to live. So many interesting facets of life that can make Memphis a cultural center of the Mid-South." --- Ron Wong, Co-host of ESPN790’s Outdoors with Larry Rea; Board Member of the March of Dimes, Memphis Division, Tennessee Chapter; Board Member of the Commission on Missing and Exploited Children - Mid South
"As we get to meet the interesting people on the Connecting Memphis website and FB page, we figure out that no matter where you live in Memphis or how old you are or what color your skin is, we are not so different after all." --- J. Kim Ford, Library Media Specialist
"I love how Connecting Memphis is hearing, showing and telling real stories about real people living real life. The more we share authentic stories, the more likely it is that our hearts can be connected in ways that can bring relationships, healing and transformation.” --- David Jordan, Executive Director, Agape Child & Family Services
Connecting Memphis is about everyone being important. It's about how each person has something to contribute to society, that they matter. This project Cindy McMillion has started allows us to understand others and it makes us realize that many of us have a common bond, humanity. Cindy's compassion for people will touch your heart. ---Christy Hunter, Vice-President, Memphis Camera Club
“Cindy recently spoke to our youth group, telling stories from Connecting Memphis and sharing lessons she had learned in the process. Her presentation was riveting. One of our students texted me afterwards, ‘I could have listened to those stories all night.’ Defying the ‘teen attention span’, Cindy used her words and her photographs to bring truth and hope into a broken world.” --- George Welty, Youth Minister, White Station Church of Christ