River City Rising Blog

Author and mother, CJ Kirkland, writes of her observations of people, events and experiences that have had an impact on her life in and around Memphis. Born in New York, raised in the Bahamas, and now a Memphian by choice, she truly has a multi-cultural perspective.

  • Crosstown Concourse; What's in a Name?

    • Monday, August 21, 2017
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    There is incomparable strength in a name that has survived near defeat, only to rise up and become more powerful than it ever was. Read More »
  • They Came, They Went, They Left an Imprint

    • Friday, August 11, 2017
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    This year the Memphis Film Prize had over 700 attendees who contributed in some way to the fruition of dreams and goals for all of the film festival’s participants. Read More »
  • Memphis Film Prize 2017 This Weekend

    • Thursday, August 03, 2017
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    “The first truth you have to understand about creative endeavors: the spark comes to life at the expense of the grind.” Read More »
  • Family and Philanthropy

    • Friday, July 21, 2017
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    Reentering the workforce after having my son had its challenges, primarily because of the limitations on how many hours I could work and how much time I could- or could not- physically be at my place of employment. Read More »
  • William Hawkins - Memphis Model in New York

    • Friday, July 14, 2017
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    He is a successful model whose face and body has graced countless magazine pages; he has walked the high fashion runway more times than many of his industry peers. I’d planned to sit down with him while here in New York but current projects have him overseas (as is to be expected!) Read More »
  • Elvis Flies Icelandair

    • Thursday, July 06, 2017
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    On my way to Iceland last week I saw a reference made in a brochure aboard that country’s national airline, Icelandair, which made me first smile then contemplate: contemplate about the impact our words and the legacies we form from those words have, beyond the borders of our own lives. Read More »
  • Memphis Hearts Bloom in Holland

    • Thursday, June 29, 2017
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    During my recent trip to The Netherlands I connected with Memphian Marisa Wittmann who is currently residing in this small, character-rich country that is bordered by Germany, Belgium and the North Sea. Read More »
  • Talk of Memphis in Paris

    • Monday, June 19, 2017
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    On a recent trip to Paris, CJ Kirkland discovers a fellow American who traveled to Memphis years prior and strikes up a conversation which aptly turns into a Memphis love fest. Read More »
  • Outage Leads to Lines of Hope

    • Monday, June 12, 2017
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    During the recent storm-related power outage in Memphis (the area’s third worst in history) more than 188,000 of us lost power. Read More »
  • Bodine Reflection of Growth

    • Tuesday, June 06, 2017
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    So as we parents enjoy our summer days and reflect on what this past year meant for our children and students, we can take comfort in knowing there are teachers such as Sara Hill, administrators such as John Murphy and educational environments such as the Bodine School providing our children the tim Read More »
  • BBQ Fest and Friendship 2017

    • Friday, May 19, 2017
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    After the tents have been taken down we will go our separate ways, knowing that we have our nostalgia to carry us until next year’s contest where we will once again convene on the river to make memories that don’t have to be romanticized. Read More »
  • Knowledge Quest Farm and Culinary Academy

    • Friday, May 12, 2017
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    Located in South Memphis, Knowledge Quest offers after-school programs to over 450 children in grades Pre-K through 12. Read More »
  • Team Tennessee Service Day

    • Monday, May 08, 2017
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    During the recent Team Tennessee Service Day held here in Memphis, thanks to a collaborative effort between Volunteer Memphis and Volunteer Tennessee, it was clear to me that the sources of joy at each recipient site were not the gifts but the givers. Read More »
  • Memphis Athletic Ministries and The Memphis Suit Project

    • Friday, April 28, 2017
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    A friend recently shared that her least favorite line of work had been retail. When asked why, she said partly because it was challenging to work with customers who became frustrated when clothing they tried on did not fit them well. They’d walk into the dressing rooms happy but leave feeling angry, Read More »
  • Socktober and Samaritan's Feet

    • Friday, April 14, 2017
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    Passover began for those who are part of our Jewish community, the state’s largest, as did commemoration of the days leading up to Easter observance, beginning with Maundy Thursday (or Holy Thursday as it is sometimes called). Read More »
  • Memphis Shelby PAL | River City Rising

    • Friday, April 07, 2017
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    The recently launched Memphis and Shelby County PAL (Police Activities League) is expected to serve over 7,000 children in ways that will nurture their innate talents and provide safe spaces for them in which to grow, under the guidance of law enforcement officers who will “serve as coaches, referee Read More »
  • Southaven VIPs Honored

    • Friday, March 31, 2017
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    Last year alone, the Southaven Police Department was gifted with 9,250 volunteer hours by members of the city’s Volunteer in Policing (VIP) program. Read More »
  • The Bridge

    • Friday, March 24, 2017
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    This month The Bridge celebrates its fourth anniversary and this week students commemorated Bridge Week on the Rhodes College campus. Read More »
  • Helping Hands of Porter-Leath

    • Friday, March 17, 2017
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    During a recent visit to the American Way Head Start and Early Head Start center run by non-profit Porter-Leath, I was reminded of the power placed and found in our hands. Read More »
  • Ballet On Wheels: Tutus in Transit

    • Tuesday, March 07, 2017
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    What the New Deal and movie theaters provided in their respective times of need, Ballet on Wheels Dance School & Company is now providing for many in our Memphis community. Read More »
  • Mid-South Mission of Mercy

    • Monday, February 27, 2017
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    This year over $1,000,000 in dental treatment and services was given by area professionals, including Dr. Chris Getman who closed his office (Getman Orthodontics) for a day so that he and his staff could be present to help. Read More »
  • Volunteer Odyssey Launches VolunteerCompass

    • Tuesday, February 21, 2017
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    The creation and launch of VolunteerCompass means that starting today, the way we approach volunteerism in Memphis will change and it will change in such a way as to infinitely increase the good that takes place within our communities and, maybe more importantly, within ourselves. VolunteerCompass Read More »
  • The School of Greatness: Lewis Howes

    • Monday, February 13, 2017
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    A former All-American football player, it was during the year and a half he spent recovering from a career-ending broken wrist that Howes began talking to and learning from leaders about their paths to greatness. Read More »
  • Rainbows and Hope

    • Friday, February 03, 2017
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    Recently, on an unusually warm January day in Memphis, I found myself at Rainbow Lake Playground in Overton Park surrounded by fellow Memphians who represented this goodness, peace, pride and diversity, leaving no doubt that the space was fully deserving of and living up to its name. Read More »
  • Bedrock Market & Café

    • Monday, January 30, 2017
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    Bedrock is the brainchild of owner and chef Brandi Marter. Opened in 2015, Brandi has taken the “healthy eating” concept to a level of its- and her- own. There is not a single dish I’ve eaten at the restaurant that I would not recommend Read More »
  • "Les Passees Cabaret" | River City Rising

    • Friday, January 20, 2017
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    There are several sections of sidewalk along East Parkway that are cracked and broken. It was only recently that I learned part of the reason for this is that massive tree roots have spread so widely, and are so strong, they are breaking through the concrete. When looking at trees I rarely think of Read More »
  • What Are You Doing For Others? | #MLKDay

    • Monday, January 16, 2017
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    As we celebrate the work and life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. this weekend we are reminded that even as much as there might be darkness, so there is also much light. Read More »
  • Lessons from StoryBrand

    • Tuesday, January 10, 2017
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    We have now entered the second week of the New Year and I am ready to put into action the resolutions I created for myself during the first week. Technically, the process could have begun on January 1 but I am a creative person... Read More »
  • Believe

    • Sunday, December 25, 2016
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    Every year, as part of our Christmas traditions, we watch the same series of holiday movies. This includes the original 1947 version of “Miracle on 34th Street”.... Read More »
  • The Principle of Giving - Principle Toyota

    • Friday, December 16, 2016
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    50 children from Winridge Elementary School were being granted their Christmas wishes a bit early this holiday season thanks to a collaborative effort between Principle Toyota, Walmart and Chick-fil-A. Read More »
  • Honest Hamilton's

    • Thursday, December 08, 2016
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    If you’ve wondered whether a company can be profit-based yet people-focused, Hamilton’s has given you the answer: yes. When someone truly sees and believes that you care about them more so than what you can get out of them, not only will they patronize your business... Read More »
  • #GritGrindGive

    • Thursday, November 17, 2016
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    Be part of the movement this year. As Jaclyn stated, it doesn’t matter what nonprofit you give to, or even how much; in fact, you can split your gift amongst several of them. Whatever choice you make, know that your act of giving is honored, no matter the amount. Read More »
  • Veterans Day

    • Friday, November 11, 2016
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    Today, I celebrate that God saw fit to change my heart and my life through the words and actions of a man, a Marine, who loves his country, defended his country, fought for his country and honors his country. Read More »
  • Thinking About Tinker

    • Friday, November 04, 2016
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    Every so often I walk away after having watched a film and find myself remarkably impacted, unable to get the narrative out of my consciousness. Whether it was a full-length fictional or documentary short, I find myself replaying scenes and reflecting on how the filmmakers have gotten me to see thin Read More »
  • IKEA Memphis Coming Soon!

    • Monday, October 31, 2016
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    A dear friend brought to my attention via social media that the Memphis-area IKEA’s opening day was announced, along with the side note that customers can begin lining up two days in advance to be part of the lucky first to enter its sliding glass doors. Read More »
  • Spooky Science Spectacular

    • Friday, October 21, 2016
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    ARMS (Autism Resources of the Mid-South), in collaboration with The Pink Palace Museum and sponsorship by the White Station Optimist Club, is determined to change engagement opportunities for autistic kids with their Spooky Science Spectacular. Read More »
  • Williams Tanzania Mission

    • Monday, October 17, 2016
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    After having called Memphis home for the past 25 years, Ralph and Twyla left on October 4 to build a new home in Tanzania. Read More »
  • Les Passees

    • Thursday, October 06, 2016
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    In preparation for my meeting with members of Les Passees to discuss the organization’s annual fundraiser, the Stock Exchange, I was directed to this year’s “storefront” in Bartlett. Storefront, in this case, is worth enclosing in quotation marks because after arriving I learn that the Stock Exchang Read More »
  • South Main Artspace Lofts

    • Friday, September 30, 2016
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    One of the biggest stressors that artists face is figuring out how to maintain stability while cultivating their craft without compromising their gifts. Thanks to Artspace, now Memphis will have a place for artists to focus on their craft. Read More »
  • Operation Feed's Success

    • Friday, September 16, 2016
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    Operation Feed is the largest annual donation drive for the Mid-South Food Bank. Read More »
  • Tupelo to Memphis

    • Friday, September 09, 2016
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    Like many I embarked on a road trip over the Labor Day Weekend. Our trip took us about three hours outside of Memphis, to a friend’s beautiful lakeside property in Alabama. Following a fun weekend with two boys who love like brothers (and thus sometimes bicker like brothers!) we headed west on U.S. Read More »
  • New Name Same People

    • Friday, September 02, 2016
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    The name cityCURRENT is new but the people behind the name are exactly the same. They are a small group of individuals whose desire to give back is so deeply ingrained it has taken root and infiltrated almost every aspect of the Memphis community. Read More »
  • Living By Example | River City Rising

    • Friday, August 19, 2016
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    Our words in the form of lectures and books can teach children what they want to be but it is in our actions they learn who they want to be. We aren’t always aware when they are watching us and it is in even the most common of circumstances that our treatment of others is setting an example. Read More »
  • National Night Out | River City Rising

    • Friday, August 05, 2016
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    There is power in sitting silently on our sofa with a neighbor whose husband has just been deployed for eight months. We sit next to her, void of words for this mother of three young children who has just said “see you soon” to their father, suppressing her fears in their presence but allowing them Read More »
  • Memphis Film Prize | River City Rising

    • Monday, July 18, 2016
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    This past Thursday, on what is usually a quiet evening for The Cove on Broad Avenue in Memphis, it was standing room only. Hopeful artists from every part of the film-making spectrum waited to hear the names of the top ten films vying to be winner of the 2016 Memphis Film Prize and its accompanying Read More »
  • The Big Onion | River City Rising

    • Wednesday, July 06, 2016
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    Last week, under the guidance of Memphis educator Lauren Boccia, four students from St. Agnes Academy visited New York City. Their focus was not to take a bite out of The Big Apple but to be part of The Big Onion project, during which they would “peel back the layers of New York” through service pro Read More »
  • MempHistory: Pinch District | River City Rising

    • Friday, June 24, 2016
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    There has been a renewed sense of hope for concrete plans to revitalize the area of downtown Memphis known as the Pinch District. Read More »
  • The Greatest Gift

    • Friday, December 18, 2015
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    Two Memphians once only familiar with each other by six degrees of separation are now bonded for life, through a life. They each arrived at a place of complete surrender by publicly facing private fears and it is through that surrender that they will give to our world one of mankind’s greatest gifts Read More »
  • "Back to School" | River City Rising

    • Thursday, August 20, 2015
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    Mid-South schools are officially back in session. For many teachers this means the beginning of another year during Mid-South schools are officially back in session. For many teachers this means the beginning of another year during Mid-South schools are officially back in session. For many teacher Read More »
  • Roxie's 365

    • Wednesday, October 01, 2014
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    Besides Barbecue, my husband’s favorite food is burgers. He’s so fond of them, in fact, that during our years touring the country he would seek out the best burger spots in each city. Most were forgettable, many were good, none were perfect. Then came Roxie’s. Read More »

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