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Erica Gilmore

I suppose no one was more surprised than me when I decided to run for a seat on the city council. My mom, Brenda Gilmore (member of Tennessee House of Representatives representing 54th district) has had a strong influence on me. I’ve watched her serve in public office for many years so serving is a way of life in our family. But I didn’t set out to be on the council.
After graduating from Whites Creek High School, I attended college in Washington DC.ErikaGilmore
When I moved back to Nashville after college, I made a conscious decision to live close to downtown. I found the cutest house, in the Hope Garden area, near the Farmer’s Market. I took great pride in purchasing my first house. But I’ll never forget my grandmother’s reaction when she came to visit—she started to cry. I remember asking her why she was sad, because I for one was extremely happy. Having grown up in Gallatin, my grandmother wasn’t comfortable in an urban setting. She was crying because she was concerned for my safety.
Where I saw potential and beauty in an area filled with diversity, my grandmother saw danger. Her reaction made an impression on me and from that point forward, I decided to get involved in my community so I could make a difference. I started with serving on my neighborhood association. I wanted my neighborhood to be a place where my grandmother wouldn’t be afraid.
Living in such close proximity to Nashville Rescue Mission’s campus for women and children, I encountered those struggling with homelessness on a regular basis in my neighborhood. As my concern for them grew, I found myself meeting with advocates for the homeless. This brought their humanity to light for me. I realized that I had a responsibility to them.
I also discovered the issue of homelessness was much bigger than just my neighborhood. This was an issue affecting our entire city. My experiences in serving my local neighborhood motivated me to get more involved and run for a seat on the council. I wanted to make a bigger impact. I saw my neighborhood and our city’s best days were still ahead. I wanted to improve the community and city I lived in because I believe deeply that we are a great city but we can be greater.
As a supporter and volunteer of Nashville Rescue Mission, I’ve seen this organization welcome over 60 years of helping the less fortunate in our community and undergo a beautification project with the help of many in our city to bring more beauty to our downtown area. The Mission does an awesome job with its resources especially when you consider they do not accept government funds.And while I wish there wasn’t such a huge need for the Mission’s services in Nashville, I am extremely grateful for the work they do and the people they help every day. Nashville Rescue Mission makes our city a better place.
Erica Gilmore represents the 19th district on the Metro Council, a seat she has held for eight years. The youngest woman on the council, Gilmore was elected speaker pro tem for the 2011-12 council year. Beyond her political aspirations, Gilmore taught for five years in Metro Schools and is an English adjunct professor at Fisk University and Nashville State Community College.

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