2020 All-America City – Franklin, TN

Franklin seeks to preserve and confront its history while creating an inclusive and shared plan for the future by engaging in dialog with, and seeking feedback from, all residents.

Franklin is bringing the community together to authentically reflect on its history, even the hardest aspects related to the experiences of African Americans before, during, and after the Civil War. With an eye towards the future, Franklin supports healthy lifestyles for residents of all ages and abilities and seeks to destigmatize mental health issues. Their inclusive approach to addressing the past and planning for the future can be seen in their featured projects.

Franklin Tomorrow’s On The Table
Results of recent surveys conducted by the City of Franklin show almost all residents rated their quality of life as excellent or good – 97 percent combined. Citizens also ranked Franklin as excellent/good for honesty and confidence in city government.

Results like this do not come easily, it requires community engagement from across the city. Much of this engagement comes from Franklin Tomorrow, an organization designed to engage residents, foster collaboration, and advocate for a shared vision for the city.

Franklin Tomorrow implemented On The Table to engage more citizens in civic conversations while discovering a deeper understanding of the needs and passions of the community. More than 100 community leaders volunteered and committed to hosting an On The Table event either in a public venue, workplace or in their private home. Events brought people together over a meal to discuss what’s good in the community and how they can preserve or improve the situation.

First held in 2018, approximately 1,000 people from more than 30 ZIP codes in and around Franklin participated, with more than 400 completing the post-event survey. Data from this survey was presented to the public as well as to community and elected officials and factored into the work of organizations like Franklin Tomorrow and the Williamson County Health Department.

In 2019, the second annual On The Table concluded its week of conversations with a new event, “Engage Franklin.” Fifteen area nonprofits participated in the event and spoke to attendees about ways to become engaged in directly serving the community.

The Fuller Story
Since 1899, Franklin’s Public Square has been home to a monument honoring Confederate soldiers who fought in the Civil War. Earlier conversations about the monument have drawn criticism from both those wishing to see it remain and those hoping for its removal. In 2018, several local leaders worked closely with the city to develop The Fuller Story, an initiative to deal with Franklin’s past, including the controversial Civil War statue.

The spot where the statue stands marks the spot where the old courthouse once stood and where African Americans were bought and sold in a slave market. After several conversations with stakeholders, elected officials and residents, a compromise was reached that two African American history markers would be placed on the sidewalk circling the statue. Three additional markers and a U.S. Colored Troops statue would go on the Public Square near the historic courthouse.

The new markers were unveiled by the Fuller Story organizers in October of 2019 as hundreds gathered reverently on the Public Square. The markers represent the Franklin Riot of 1867, U.S. Colored Troops (USCT), Reconstruction, the Courthouse/Market House, and The Battle of Franklin.

One of the original organizers, Battle of Franklin Trust CEO Eric Jacobson, had this to say, “If they learn something here [let it be] how this community embraced its entire history — white, black, U.S., Confederate, North, South, the whole thing, the big, ugly mess that it was.”

In a separate effort, a local battlefield preservation group erected a headstone to honor those who died while enslaved. The stone makes note of those who came to Tennessee from Africa, only to be enslaved until the Civil War’s end.

Get Fit Franklin and the Blue Ribbon Panel 

Get Fit Franklin
The City of Franklin was recognized as one of three Healthier Tennessee pilot communities through the work of the Get Fit Franklin (GFF) project, which encouraged residents to be physically active.

Pilot communities were required to establish wellness councils and develop community events that support physical activity, healthy eating, and tobacco abstinence.

The existing Get Fit Franklin (GFF) committee met regularly and in partnership with other governmental, health, and interested organizations and individuals to create a variety of activities related to healthy eating, reducing tobacco use, and increased physical activity. Activities have included the Mayors’ Healthy Cook-off, a weekly walk at Harlinsdale Farm, a quarterly Walk MOORE with the Mayor, and increased attention on topics related to health at Franklin Tomorrow’s Breakfast with the Mayors. GFF has also participated in health fairs and community health initiatives and initiated projects to increase access to healthier food choices.

Blue Ribbon Panel
Based on discussions with residents and agency representatives, Franklin Mayor Dr. Ken Moore became concerned with the number of suicides in the county and city each year.

He created a Blue Ribbon Panel of local agencies and subject matter experts to identify root causes and develop strategies to address the city’s mental health.

The task force is in the process of drafting a plan to address the following objectives:

  • Educate and alert community groups about signs & symptoms;
  • Compile community resources;
  • Develop a referral clearinghouse; and
  • Create a plan for referring those in crisis.

Additionally, a group of community-based agencies and local residents is working to develop a suicide prevention plan to address results revealed in the Community Health Needs Assessment.

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