#365daysofdarkness: Lonnell Matthews Jr.

Director of the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhoods & Community Engagement

Matthews is a native of Nashville, Tennessee who grew up in the Bordeaux community. He graduated from Martin Luther King High School and is a proud alumnus of Tennessee State University where he studied Accounting and Business Law. Lonnell’s career in youth development began over 15 years ago at the Northwest YMCA in North Nashville where he led empowerment programs such as the Y-CAP, Positive Beginnings, Black Achievers, Latino Achievers, Reach & Rise Mentoring, Step Up, NAZA Z and Fun Company.

Committed to North Nashville community, Lonnell Matthews, at age 27, became the youngest African-American elected to Nashville’s Metro Council, representing District 1. While completing an 8 year term, Lonnell served as the Speaker Pro Tempore, and chaired the Budget & Finance, Education, and Parks & Recreation committees.

Lonnell served as the District Executive Director of Youth and Outreach at the YMCA and as an elected official until his appointment to Mayor Megan Barry’s Administration in 2015.

As the Director of the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhoods & Community Engagement (ONCE) Lonnell served on the steering committee to create the Juvenile Restorative Diversion Pilot program in the Davidson County Juvenile Court. He was also tapped to developed the Mayor’s Youth Violence Summit. Lonnell successfully organized the Race Equity and Leadership dialogues, coordinated the Mayor’s Spring and Fall Clean Beautification Initiatives, and launched both the Metro Night Out and Mayor’s Office Shop Talks.

No stranger to public policy and its impact on the community, Lonnell coordinated the community advisory group tasked with developing a comprehensive policy for police worn body cameras. He was also instrumental in leading the project team for Nashville’s 3-1-1 reboot and the hubNashville initiative.

Lonnell and his family to continue to reside in Bordeaux community. He is a member of Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity and the Temple Church. Lonnell is the proud husband to Johani and father to his son Ari and daughter Pilar.

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