In Memphis Saturday, protesters took to the streets - the latest in a series of demonstrations this week. (Photo: Gary S. Whitlow/GSW Enterprises)

A fourth day of protests in Memphis

An image from the fourth day of protests in Memphis following the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minn. (Photo: Gary S. Whitlow/GSW Enterprises)
(Photo: Gary S. Whitlow/GSW Enterprises)
(Photo: Gary S. Whitlow/GSW Enterprises)
(Photo: Gary S. Whitlow/GSW Enterprises)

Nashville protesters set fires, topple controversial statue

NASHVILLE (AP) — Protesters in Tennessee’s capital set fires inside and outside a courthouse Saturday night and toppled a statue of a former state lawmaker and newspaper publisher who espoused racist views.

Nashville Mayor John Cooper declared a state of civil emergency after protesters set a fire inside Metro Courthouse. The flames were quickly put out.

Demonstrators also made their way down Broadway Street, famed for its plentiful honky tonks, as well as the historic Ryman Auditorium — known as the mother church of country music. A few small fires were lit near the the national historic landmark, which was built as a tabernacle in 1892 and restored in 1994, but those were quickly extinguished by firefighters.

Thousands had rallied near the state Capitol starting in the afternoon to protest police brutality and racism. The demonstration turned violent after darkness fell, with protesters breaking windows in government buildings and causing other property damage. READ MORE


A message from the Memphis Urban League President

by Tonja Sesley-Baymon —

Across the Urban League Movement, we are appalled by the injustices that continually deteriorates the moral fiber of our country and specifically, OUR communities of Color.  Time and time again, far too often, we witness the inappropriate actions and racism of authority figures, law enforcement, and self-appointed vigilantes that Blacks have endured for generations.

We cannot allow ourselves to become numb to these harsh realities and inappropriate actions.  There must be accountability in this continuing narrative of racially motivated violence that plague our communities.  America stands at a crossroad. The choice is clear – do we have the will and the determination to finally rise above four hundred years of bigotry and racism?  Unhealed wounds bandaged and glazed over by the acceptance of inaction and narrow-mindedness that choke the promise of freedom and true equality; the essential essence that launched and guided us throughout our history.

I cannot and do not condone intentional damage and destruction to property and senseless lawlessness.  I do however affirm that the literal and figurative incidents of past injustice will provoke outrage. It does not matter if injustices come packaged as overt acts or unspoken assumptions.  It makes no difference if a false sense of superiority is fostered by ignorance or fed by hate.

What we are seeing are people who are tired of feeling powerless. If you want peace, you must use your power to access and guarantee justice – not just for you but for all of us. We heard your critique of Colin Kaepernick as he peacefully kneeled, but we don’t hear you loud enough when an officer kneels on the neck of George Floyd, murdering him in broad daylight in the middle of a busy neighborhood. What would have been the story if there were no cameras?

When we are accused, justice is swift. However, when we are the victims, justice is nowhere to be found. In addition to no longer tolerating intolerance, we also must protect and empower boys and Men of Color and our entire community.  The color of our skin cannot make us an easy target. As a nation, we must do better … and as recent events remind us, we have to do so! Racism and inequality towards anyone are intolerable …Save Our Sons!

 


Rep. Steve Cohen calls for Congressional Action

Rep. Steve Cohen

Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09), Chairman of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, today released a video statement in response to the recent killings of African Americans in rural southeast Georgia, Louisville, and Minneapolis.

See Congressman Cohen’s video remarks on the situation here.