“Elvis Week” is currently in full swing at Graceland in Memphis, and Black Lives Matter activists have announced they plan to “shut it down.”
The event started Wednesday, August 10, and ends on Tuesday, August 16.
Fox News reported that the Coalition of Concerned Citizens, which includes Black Lives Matter activists and other protestor groups, have announced a “mass demonstration” at Graceland, scheduled for 6:00 p.m. on Monday.
When asked why, they said since it’s “Elvis week,” they want to “raise awareness.” Black Lives Matter recently held another protest in front of Graceland, where some protesters were arrested for blocking traffic.
But why Graceland? A BLM leader said 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.”
Frank Gottie, a community leader, said, “We feel like we still haven’t been answered. They’re giving us the runaround.”
Activists had presented a list of demands to the city, but the city hasn’t met their demands yet, so they’re going after a popular event to raise awareness.
“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?”
The group has complained that a new resort-style hotel opened by Graceland hasn’t given enough money to their community – without commenting on how many jobs this hotel has created for the area:
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 450-room 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 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.”