MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Monday, a coalition of black executive directors from Memphis nonprofits gathered to announce the next steps in their push for officials to make some major changes.
They want to see officials address issues of police brutality, over-policing, poverty wages, and systemic racism.
150 Mid-South nonprofit leaders urge local elected officials to do less talking the talk and more walking the walk.
“4 years ago, we were in this same place when we crossed the Hernando-DeSoto bridge and we’re in the same place 4 years later,” said Natalie McKinney.
McKinney is the executive director of Whole Child Strategies, Inc.
She’s seen this kind of outcry from citizens before but the difference, she said is this time they’re demanding action.
“It is our hope that in four years rather than lamenting the same challenges we are celebrating the results of these changes,” she said. “We can do this.”
In an open letter penned to officials two weeks ago, the nonprofits demanded a response to issues such as better education, poverty wages, and over-policing.
Since Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland announced a set of five police reforms that include the “8 Can’t Wait” standards for use of deadly force by police.
While it’s a start, Sarah Lockridge-Stekel of the Collective Blueprint said while this is a start, there’s still a lack of accountability that must be addressed.
“We want a response to our demands,” she said. “We know the police department and others have committed to a set of policies but we don’t have accountability procedures in place.”
The coalition said they’re not going away and plan to release reports that show updates and continue meeting in public spaces like Monday, so they can hear the public’s voices.
Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland released a statement:
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