Tami Sawyer, winner of the Democratic primary to represent District 7 on the Shelby County Commission, is not only a leader in the Black Lives Matter movement and a #TakeEmDown901 statue destroyer, she is also a graduate of St. Mary’s Episcopal elite and expensive all-girls private school in Memphis.
Tuition at the private school for the 2018 school year starts at $16,300 for kindergarten and increases to $21,660 for the senior year in high school. The base cost does not include fees for snacks, technology, facilities and some textbooks.
After graduating from St. Mary’s in 2000, Sawyer continued her elite private school education at the private, historically black Hampton University, with tuition, board and fees totaling over $36,000 a year for 2018.
Sawyer left Hampton University after two years, finished up her degree at University of Memphis and moved to Washington, D.C. to attend the historically black Howard University Law School. The cost of tuition, fees, and living expenses to attend Howard Law School in 2014 was $60,240. There is no indication that Sawyer completed her law degree and no listing was found under her name in the public attorney directory maintained by the Tennessee Board of Professional Responsibility.
Sawyer describes herself as a “social justice justice and education advocate” and has aligned her campaign platform with many of the same themes that run through the Black Lives Matter movement in which she has established herself as a leader. Working to “solv[e] the problem of inequity in our county” including opposition to funding for free condom distribution, Sawyer says she rejects the status quo:
Taking a stand against the status quo is never easy but as Frederick Douglass said ‘There is no progress without struggle.’ In order for Shelby County to develop and grow, equity in all areas from education to business opportunity to healthcare to criminal justice must be realized. For this to occur, strong leadership is required.
Co-founders of BLM openly admitted their intention to launch a radical resistance based on race and class struggle. In 2016, the BLM network joined the Movement for Black Lives and signed onto a platform of demands put forth by the coalition addressing the incarceration of black people and economic justice and political power for black people, to name a few.
Sawyer’s promise to work against the status quo professes to encompass the same range of issues.
In addition to her leadership role with BLM, Sawyer has been an introductory speaker for Nation of Islam anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan, feminist radical Gloria Steinem and Angela Davis, a former member of the Black Panthers and the Che-Lumumba Cluban, an all black branch of the Communist Party.