Metro At Large Council Member Sharon Hurt knows what it’s like to be a Belmont student; she was one just six years ago.
Back at her alma mater after receiving a master’s degree in nonprofit leadership in 2010, Hurt shared autobiographical, personal stories of faith and failure with a room full of students and professors in the Massey Business Center during Wednesday’s convocation hour.
Memphis by birth and Nashville by choice, Hurt settled down in the city after graduating from Tennessee State University. After losing what she considered to be a dream job at Meharry Medical College, Hurt found herself with two house payments and three kids to support. When a job opportunity with the cash-strapped Jefferson Street United Merchants Partnership came knocking, Hurt accepted, taking a pay cut.
”My momma said 10 percent of something beats 100 percent of nothing, and I was happy to get that job,” Hurt said.
From there, Hurt said she immersed herself in the community and the causes of JUMP, and kicked off the first Jefferson Street Jazz & Blues Festival in 2000. The festival’s success and popularity made people take notice of JUMP, and Hurt.
“I guess when I had all these people start coming to my jazz festival, I think they started thinking I had influence in the community,” Hurt said.
And it was hard-earned influence she built through connections with a laundry list of organizations. The Nashville Women’s Breakfast Club, the Nashville Metropolitan Alumnae Chapter Delta Sigma Theta, the downtown rotary, the Vanderbilt University Black Cultural Center, Leadership Nashville and the Bellevue Chamber of Commerce are a few of the causes Hurt felt compelled to be a part of.
It’s no wonder this involvement had led some people familiar with Hurt’s work in the North Nashville community to think she had already been a politician when she announced her first political move in 2015.
Winning her first election, Hurt became a councilwoman at large, a position she said she never planned on taking but felt called to reach for.
And at the event, Hurt asked those in attendance to call her. Giving out her cell phone and work numbers, the council member encouraged attendees to pay attention to their local government, their most accessible form of change.
“Everybody gets excited about the presidential election, but it’s more important for you to be involved in your local elections,” Hurt said, closing with a reminder to the audience that no matter the outcome of the 2016 presidential election, Nashville’s councilmembers will be around to hear the voices of their constituents.
This article and photo by Jessica King.