Over the past month, many Shelby County citizens confused with a whirlwind of emotions have gathered their composure to begin one of the most strategic plans to deal with the new federal administration that will take office in less than nineteen days. Many Americans unsure of what the future holds with an inexperienced president, who managed to offend every group, except for rich white men, have decided to be proactive. These citizens refuse to accept the expressed changes Trump assures he will bring to our country. They may have the white house, but fellow Memphians demand we will control our local and state government. You got us Trumped up! Move on Memphis.
Make America great again. The slogan that seemed to help Donald Trump waltz into the white house has prompted fear and terror in conscience hearts because no one remembers when America was great except those who were the founders and holders of white supremacy. By Trump’s standards, for the country to be great, that means some of us will be going back to an era in which we considered life in America hopeless. President Obama ran his campaign on hope and change, and despite what many white supremacists felt about our president his approval ratings were higher than any other president elected and the country was moving forward. Healthcare for all passed, Wall Street Reform, Ended the War in Iraq, Eliminated Osama Bin Ladin, Repealed Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, Turned the Auto Industry Around, Reversed Bush’ Torture Polices, and Improved America’s Image Abroad, that is the change that came with Obama as president. With the country clearly divided on what is great and what is not, all one can do in Memphis is organize and put pressure on those who currently represent us.
On Monday, BLMM spearheaded by the CCC participated in a die-in at, Mayor Jim Strickland’s front yard in 17 degree blistering cold temperatures. The mayor refused to open the door. The action was in response to the mayor’s continual lackadaisical responses to the Coalition’s requests and refusal to take them serious as well as his colluded decision with Graceland to use military trucks and block a public highway. Mayor Strickland’s actions, funded by tax dollars, prevented protestors entry of Graceland in August during Elvis Week. The mayor alluded that the die-in was just trespassers seeking attention and that the coalition was not there with him yesterday to feed the homeless.
New Black Panther Party member Shango Jakuta stated that “The mayor is a liar” His organization feeds the homeless routinely. He personally helps save young black boys from gang violence with his Save Our Streets program and that just because the news doesn’t cover the work they are doing doesn’t mean that they are not doing work. Mayor Strickland’s statement has nothing to do with why the CCC did a die-in in his front yard, of an upscale neighborhood. “There was a clear message and the mayor missed it.” If the bodies were really dead, maybe he could understand what plagues the rest of Memphis which is poverty and crime. The murder rate reached a record 220 last week, and people are homeless because they don’t have jobs and money.
On Tuesday, BLMM along with Moveon.org showed up on private property at Senator Bob Corker’s office located at 100 Peabody Place. After 15 mins of playing music, holding signs in the cold, at the rally participants were invited inside the warm building to share their views. Accompanied by attorneys, doctors, nurses, a veterinarian, teachers, and veterans this open door invitation from Nick Kistenmacher, Corker’s senior field representative gave participants a sign of hope that their views may be accurately representative in the upcoming session. He listened attentively and promised to relay our concerns. He stated that “If Obamacare is repealed it would need to be replaced.” He also admitted that he is also on Obamacare and by law, all Senate staff has to maintain that coverage. He was satisfied with the coverage.
The consensus of the group is important that we hold all representatives accountable regardless of party affiliation and that they understand all people regardless of their walk of life need healthcare and that this country cannot be great without that factor. This intergenerational, collaborative effort, of different professionals and citizens, illustrates that we can come together with lawmakers and begin a dialogue to make legislation that will make America better.
On Wednesday, Pursuit of God Transformation Center located in Frayser held a Child Support Town Hall Meeting. Citizens were able to voice their concerns and ask questions about specific Juvenile Court matters. Senator Lee Harris and State Rep. Antonio Parkinson attempted to mediate the conversation which became heated when numerous citizens became agitated with the insufficient answers to their questions from the broken system.
Judge Dan Michaels did not attend the event even though he was listed as an invited panel guest. Attorney Tom Coupe of the Judicial Action Center filled in his place and listened attentively to the complaints. Rep. Parkinson offered no concern as to why the new Juvenile Court’s Judge’s position had not been filled even though the Shelby County Commission has appropriated the funds for the position. There was an overwhelming concern about the backlog of court dates, unprofessionalism from clerks and employees and the limited rights that grandparents currently have at Juvenile Court. This platform gave citizens an opportunity to hold elected officials accountable as well as offer suggestions for the legislative session January 2017.
All three of these actions illustrated how citizens can effectively an ineffectively create a dialogue. It is important that representatives listen to their constituents because they are elected officials. BLMM pride itself in knowing all of its members and allies are registered voters who will not allow elected officials to maintain offices if they do not accurately represent all citizens. As we continue to move forward, Memphis must build more relations with disenfranchised voters, so we can hold elected officials on a county, state, and federal level accountable to the people. You got us Trumped-up!!!!!!! #blmm #C3, #moveon.org