34 Years Later Living the Legacy

Black Lives Matter Members Tikila Rucker and Pastor Steven Bradley


January 23, 2016, Mid-South Peace & Justice Center held it’s annual Gala.  The Banquet held was at the First Congregational Church.  The atmosphere was enriched by music from Grammy Award Winner Kirk Whalum & JazzEclecticFolk.  Attendees of the MSPJ Gala included various politicians, religious leaders, community activists, race strategist, Memphis Bus Riders Union members, and members of the newly formed Memphis Black Lives Matter Chapter.

Professor Robinson               {Rhodes College} & Cynthia Bailey {MBRU}
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Mother King Freedom Bus Rider

Keynote Speakers included Zandria F. Robinson and Elle Hearns.  Robinson, a Rhodes College Anthropology/Sociology professor, known for her bold tweets which sparked an educational dialogue on Social Media about race and terrorism, presented an abstract of her dissertation on feminism, black liberation, sexual assaults, and Intersectionality.

Professor Zandria Robinson

Professor Robinson’s offered a powerful platform which engaged, entertained, and educated the attendees.  Explaining the herstory of the black woman’s fight and differences between how sexual assaults are viewed between white women and black women, one could only wonder what the next step would be in the black woman’s fight for racial equality, especially since the statistics exemplify not much has changed in Memphis over 34 years.

Enlightenment on these matters included an awareness of rape and domestic violence against LGBT and black women.  Professor Robinson’s conveyed a radical standpoint that interpreted new titles, definitions, and issues which are now plaguing the black community.   The professor’s discussion of the Intersectional theory illustrated how its study of overlapping or intersecting social identities and related systems of oppression, domination or discrimination is currently affecting blacks.  Listening to Professor Robinson one could only anticipate what the next fight for black women would be, but it did prepare the attendees for the next keynote speaker.

Elle Hearns

Elle Hearns, a Columbus native, trans freedom fighter, graced the platform with an undeniable eloquence that became easily acceptable by the diverse group.  Opening chants of “Black Lives Matter”, the group was placed at ease by Hearn’s poise and confidence.  Hearns, Central Regional Coordinator of GETEQUAL, delivered a tear dropping recollection of how a domestic dispute resulted in a false arrest due to her family and the arresting officer’s transphobia.

Her reflections of how she thought she was going to have to fight for her life in jail left a somber hush throughout the church.  She was fortunate to know that she would have meals and didn’t have to be homeless like many other transgender persons.  In an intimate dialogue, Hearns detailed how intersectionality is consistently the reality that blacks and transgender persons face.

After Hearn’s had been imprisoned, she was placed in solitary confinement because she requested special housing.  As a transgender person, in an all male facility, the request for special housing forced her to be housed in a high-security unit with other inmates, murderers, etc.  In this housing unit, she discovered other transgender prisoners who had also been discarded by society and their families.  Listening to Hearn’s story, one could only sympathize and wonder how she coped with being imprisoned under such horrendous circumstances.

Hearns then asked the question “Would all the black-trans women please raise your hand?”  She was the only person with her hand held high, and the solemn silence could be felt when she stated: “This is what erasure looks like and it doesn’t bring you peace or joy.”  Hearn’s pictorialization of the systematic oppression could be felt throughout the First Congo Church whose mission is-

 We believe that God created the world and that every single one of us has good work to do in life.  We believe that our “good work” has to do with living in ways that reflect God’s agenda of love, joy, compassion and hope for the world and all its creatures, even in the midst of struggle. We believe that Jesus showed us how to do this. He had radical trust in the Goodness of God and our ability to share God’s agenda of life for the world. We can have this trust and share this agenda, too, by following in his way. We believe that we feel more alive when we’re living from our sense of connection – with God, with each other, and with life itself.  

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First Congregational Church

Some were left speechless by Hearns remarks, but the mood was lightened by the comparison of Jesus to a black-trans woman.  The reiteration of the importance of understanding the vulnerability of homosexuality as well as the isolation, discrimination, and hatred that blacks endure, at the hands of a police state was compelling.  Hearn’s ability to turn the negative experience into a desire to organize communities and strategically counteract violence against blacks gives her a platform to strengthen unity amongst each other.

Meeting in a church allowed people from different walks of life to stand on a neutral ground and be immersed in an authentic intercultural experience.  It is important that all blacks and non-blacks understand that our past does not determine our future and that the socioeconomic statuses must allow us to emerge different perspectives to encourage those who do not understand each other, and assist in fighting all issues that bring about a better Black America, because all Black Lives Matter.

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Andrea Morales Civil Rights Photographer assembles MSPJ members with speaker



Remembering King’s Dream BLM Wakes Up Memphis



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Auction Block 

On January 18, 2016, the City of Memphis held its annual King Day celebrations.  Members of Black Lives Matter, Memphis Bus Riders Union, Mid-South Peace & Justice, and various sororities and fraternities participated in the annual King Parade organized by Dr. Isaac Richmond.

Auction Street historically known for it’s immoral, social, and economic degradation where Blacks were sold into bondage to the highest bidder is where all participants assembled by the slab.  Drums were beating as a remembrance of our African Culture that some have forgotten.  The Reclaim King March preceding the parade, which was led in prayer by Meredith Pace of the Mid-South Peace and Justice Center on the auction block. The Reclaim MLK March began on the same street that our ancestors were sold as slaves,  arrested, beaten, and killed.

Tanzi Rene Tikeila Rucker and youth

The purpose of the March is to illustrate the lack of change that Memphis still maintains with its low wages, economic inequities, deprivation of liberty, poverty, and relentless police brutality.
The Reclaim MLK March allowed various organizations, diverse groups, and the children to  participate together in an open stance demanding equality, justice, and democracy for all Memphians.  This unity and solidarity has been absent for many years in the annual parade but this year, an undeniable, symbolic, posture of empowerment was delivered to this generation and the City of Memphis.  The sentiments of change could be felt as each marcher listened to the words of Martin Luther King, which echoed through the loudspeakers in the streets.

“When all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: Free at last! Free at last, Thank God, Almighty… Free At Last!

Despite the 30 degree temperature,  warmth radiated a sense of pride and unity, which could be felt throughout all of downtown Memphis, and identified by the demographic of King’s dream, an almost reality in Memphis, TN.

#blacklivesmattermemphis MBRU

On this day, we were undivided with a prayer where all races, genders, cultures, and ages joined hands with a newfound Negro Spiritual.  During the Reclaim MLK March, different participants chanted, “Blacklivesmatter”, “Transit, not Trolleys”, “Show me 15”, “We Young, We Strong, We Are Marching All Day Long, and “No Justice No Peace, No Racist Police”.  “What Do We Want Justice, When Do We Want It, NOW!”

The echos could be heard all the way to the Grizzlies spectators at the FedExForum.  The parade concluded where the Honorable Dr. Martin Luther King took his last breath and shed his blood for all people to have the right to unite, and exercise our Freedom of Speech, in a city known for its right wing oppressiveness.  This Reclaim MLK March was monumental, and we are sure Dr. King should be proud.  Despite the National Civil Rights Museum making this day a corporate segregation to generate revenue, with it’s separate agenda, Black Lives Matter and others woke up the sleeping city of Memphis Tennessee.  We will continue to organize, chant, rant, and rave until this city understands that BLACK LIVES DO MATTER, and we need more than integration to bring about this multilateral transformation.

End Ice Mid South Peace & Justice

We want the racial reconciliation, same access, same treatment, and equal opportunities that other races have, by all means necessary.

Be sure to like us on Facebook and Follow us on Instagram & Twitter. Stay tuned for more protest, events, marches, information, and awareness.




BLM Memphis Chapter Protest Police Brutality At City Hall in West Memphis


West Memphis police recently tried to stop our right to protest and threatened to take BLM Memphis members to jail for utilizing our freedom of speech.

It is important as a group that we continue to support this movement. No matter what the weather or climate they don’t think about how cold it is when they kill a black person.

Please continue to show up to the parade in all black on January 18, 2016, to show your BLM support and Honor Dr. King letting him know the Dream is still alive, but we will wake up the city and continue the fight against racism and murder of Black lives. Join us where they use to sell blacks into slavery at the Auction Block across from the North End Terminal, at the corner of N. Main and A. W. Willis. We are marching in the parade to The National Civil Rights Museum. Real change comes in numbers not notoriety every black person’s life matters and in Memphis, it is important that we show them we matter, and we will not be oppressed! The goal is to promote change, and the consensus is that it is long overdue.

For more information stay connected and be sure to hashtag all events #blacklivesmattermemphis





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