Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Council Committee Approves ‘Black Lives Matter’ Renaming

Posted By on Tue, Jul 21, 2020 at 3:47 PM

click to enlarge Memphis City Hall
  • Memphis City Hall

The Memphis City Council’s planning and zoning committee passed an amended form of a resolution that called for the renaming of a stretch of Poplar Avenue to Black Lives Matter Avenue.

The committee voted eight to four in favor of the amended form of the resolution with councilwoman Rhonda Logan abstaining. Though the committee unanimously agreed in the sentiment behind the resolution, conflict arose after, as an amendment called for a change in the location of the stretch of road and a street to also be named in honor of the late John Lewis. 

Through the resolution, the location and name of the stretch of road will be reviewed by an advisory committee established earlier in the day to assist the council regarding city of Memphis street, park, and place names. The resolution was initially proposed by council member Michalyn Easter-Thomas in a press conference Monday morning.

The council plans to use the Land Use Control Board to rename the stretch of Poplar between Front Street and Danny Thomas Boulevard.

“This particular stretch was chosen because it highlights where … we spend most of our budget and our citizen’s tax dollars and the target institutions in which we have the current capacity to change for the present and for future generations,” said Easter-Thomas.

Council member JB Smiley was critical of the committee’s decision, citing that they had the power to make a decision today.

“For far too long we have been pushing and kicking the can down for Black people to get what they deserve,” said Smiley. “What we are proposing today is simply telling Black folks your time for justice should be delayed. I cannot fathom why people, particularly in the city of Memphis, would want to delay what’s due.”

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