An open letter to local elected officials and corporate leaders signals the presence of a new black-led coalition of local nonprofit leaders with a list of “measures to stop police brutality and reverse the effects of entrenched systems of poverty and inequality.”
The group announced its presence on Monday (June 15) saying in a media release that a call to action had been made in “solidarity with organizers and activists demanding an end to systemic racism and police brutality in Memphis and across the nation.”
Signed by 100-plus leaders of local nonprofits, the letter lists eight demands for addressing police brutality and increasing police accountability, including banning chokeholds and reallocating police department funding toward community health and crisis response.
Five other demands call for tackling the Greater Memphis’ stifling-high poverty rates. They include corporate living wage commitments, renewed investment in public education and ending money bail and other fines.
Embedded in the letter is a challenge: that city and county mayors, legislative bodies, law enforcement heads, the district attorney and the Greater Memphis Chamber (among other recipients) “respond to recent events not only with words but with clear actions for positive change by June 26, 2020.”
Cardell Orrin, Memphis director for Stand for Children, signed the letter.
“All of us felt the challenge of responding to the issues of police violence, related protests, and what we can do as a community to develop and change,” he said.
“While many of us have made statements, we wanted to come together as a nonprofit community to raise the issues further, present a set of demands, and work together to advocate a path forward to a better city and county.”
Sarah Lockridge-Steckel, CEO and co-founder of The Collective Blueprint, said, “Collectively, our nonprofits represent and support thousands of Memphis residents and we know that many of the issues our organizations address stem from systemic and structural racism. However, nonprofits are a stopgap, a makeshift solution.
“We ask local government and business leadership to join us in creating a city where all residents are treated with dignity and humanity and are provided with opportunities to thrive.”