Memphis City Council Unanimously Backs Senator Blackburn’s Bipartisan AFTER SCHOOL Act

May 22, 2024

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Yesterday, the Memphis City Council unanimously passed a resolution in support of the bipartisan Advancing Frequent and Tailored Education to Rebuild Safe Communities and Help Orchestrate Opportunities and Learning (AFTER SCHOOL) Act, led by U.S. Senators Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.).

Memphis leadership, including Memphis Mayor Paul Young, Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris, and State Senator Brent Taylor, also announced support for the bill.

The legislation would establish a grant program for local communities to establish, maintain, and strengthen after school programs with the goal of reducing violent crime among juveniles. 

“Over the last several years, we have seen a concerning rise in violent crime among juveniles, including a recent increase in delinquent juvenile charges in Memphis,” said Senator Blackburn. “We know that 62 percent of violent crime by youth occurs on school days, and of those crimes, most take place after school. I am pleased Memphis leadership is overwhelmingly supportive of this bipartisan legislation to help strengthen after school programs in local communities that have been proven to help reduce juvenile crime rates and encourage positive youth development.” 


“We believe regular, organized after-school programs help to disrupt the cycle of violence and give young people pathways to more productive activities.  This act would help provide much-needed funding to facilitate these programs in our neighborhoods, giving our young people options that don’t currently exist,” said Memphis Mayor Paul Young. 

“Public safety and youth crime is a pressing issue for Shelby County residents. We know that if we could provide more quality after school programs, we could reduce crime and make our young people stay on track. Here in Shelby County, we implemented a program to provide free summer camp opportunities for youth in coordination with local churches and nonprofits. Through that effort, we know that there are dozens of community organizations who want to provide programming, but do not have federal support to do so. The AFTER SCHOOL Act could give us an opportunity to build on that approach and partner with our local school districts to make sure our young people stay out of trouble after school. I am proud to endorse this bipartisan bill and hope to see it signed into law soon. We need to do everything we can do reduce crime and expand opportunities for our next generation,” said Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris.

“At a time when juvenile crime and public safety are top of mind for Memphis residents, it's critical that positive youth development initiatives like after school programs flourish and grow.   That's why I'm proud to endorse Senator Blackburn's bill, the AFTER SCHOOL Act, which gets school districts the funds they need to expand these after school programs that are so successful in helping to reduce juvenile crime rates.  I hope that the United States Congress passes this bipartisan bill very soon. I am proud to partner with Senator Blackburn as we work together to Make Memphis Matter at home, in Nashville, and in our nation’s capital! The AFTER SCHOOL Act is a positive step in the right direction,” said State Senator Brent Taylor.

“I am pleased to support the bipartisan AFTER SCHOOL Act and appreciate Senator Blackburn’s advocacy for this work, which has the potential to spur economic and workforce development and to improve public safety.  I look forward to bringing a resolution to the Shelby County Commission for further bipartisan support for this bill,” said Shelby County Commissioner Brandon Morrison.     

“United Ways of Tennessee supports the AFTER SCHOOL Act and commends Senators Blackburn on her leadership.  The proposed afterschool program funding is greatly needed, and we know it can be put to good and impactful use to ensure that our struggling children and youth have the ability to thrive,” said Mary Graham, President & CEO of United Ways of Tennessee.

“Afterschool programs keep kids safe, inspire them to learn, give working parents peace of mind, and help students succeed in school and in life.  With nearly 25 million U.S. children who would be in a program if one were available, ensuring that we have strong, stable afterschool and summer learning programs for all students should be a high priority—and investments like those proposed in the bipartisan AFTER SCHOOL Act are a step in the right direction towards addressing the tremendous need for these important programs,” said Jodi Grant, Executive Director of Afterschool Alliance


  • The AFTER SCHOOL Act would establish a grant program, administered through the Department of Justice, through which localities can receive funds to establish, maintain, and strengthen these after school programs that are so effective.
  • Specifically, school districts may be eligible to receive these funds upon submission of an application in which they confirm that their county’s juvenile offense rate (the percentage of violent juvenile offenses as compared to the total number of violent offenses committed by all age groups) is more than 10 percent.
    • The school district must calculate this data by using the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program.

Click here to learn more about The AFTER SCHOOL Act.

Click here to read a copy of the Memphis City Council resolution.