It’s been the summer of protests, and now another one is planned.
The Coalition of Concerned Citizens, including Black Lives Matter protesters and others groups announced their plan to “Shut Down Graceland.”
Protest leaders say the mass demonstration is planned for 6:00 PM Monday. They said they specifically chose Graceland because it is Elvis week and they know it will raise awareness.
Leaders say they also chose Graceland because “it demonstrates one of Memphis’s most common forms of financial inequality and because the site has ties to…the death of unarmed teen Darrius Stewart.”
We feel like we still haven’t been answered,” said Frank Gottie, a community leader. “They’re givin us the runaround.”
If carried out, the Elvis Week demonstration will be the third high-profile protest by Black Lives Matter and other groups in the last month.
Most recently in front of Graceland, where some protesters were detained for blocking traffic.
At the time, activists said they wanted their demands met by the city, which they admitted would take time.
Mayor Jim Strickland just responded this week to questions from the first community meeting. Gottie is skeptical of the timing.
“They had 30 days to respond, but they responded right before Elvis Week,” said Gottie. “Elvis Week must be really important, because I got a lot of phone calls. Homeland security and everybody. [They said] don’t go to Elvis more than 20 deep, you can’t go there. But how they going to say that when it’s welcome to the public?”
Gottie said he doesn’t know how the demonstration will play out, but knows he’ll be there and hopes he sees someone else as well.
“If I see the mayor out there protesting with me, then I might sit down somewhere,” said Gottie.
While leader said the demonstration is scheduled for Monday, they also told FOX13 those plans could change and it could happen anytime.
In a statement Coalition of Concerned Citizens said,
“The demonstration, set for Monday at 6:00pm, is planned as a peaceful show of solidarity, unifying the people of Memphis against systems that promote poverty, violence and economic disparity. Graceland was chosen as a protest site because it demonstrates one of Memphis’s most common forms of financial inequity and because the site has ties a prominent case of police brutality that resulted in the death of unarmed teen, Darrius Stewart.
Graceland recently opened The Guest House, a new 450room resort style hotel in the heart of the African American community of Whitehaven. The project cost more than $120 million dollars to build and received upwards of 78 million dollars in public funding and tax breaks. Project developers and city officials promised Whitehaven residents the project would be an economic boon to the community, but as has been the case for decades, residents have seen little if any of that money “trickle down” into the middle-class neighborhood’s economy. This is not an uncommon story.”