VOL. 133 | NO. 11 | Monday, January 15, 2018
1968 Sanitation Workers on Way to NAACP Image Awards
The surviving city sanitation workers from the historic 1968 strike will be honored Monday, Jan. 15, with the NAACP’s Vanguard Award during the live telecast of the 49th NAACP Image Awards.
The ceremony in Pasadena, California, will air live at 8 p.m. Central time on TV One.
The awards are usually given in February but have been moved this year to coincide with the federal holiday marking the birth of civil rights icon Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the strike by the sanitation workers that brought King to Memphis, where he was assassinated that April.
The surviving sanitation workers were honored last week at the National Civil Rights Museum in advance of the Image Awards, one of several honors the strikers will receive this year.
That includes the city’s construction of I Am A Man Plaza next to Clayborn Temple at Pontotoc and Hernando. The church was a center of strike organization, and the streets outside it were where the sanitation workers’ daily marches to City Hall began.
Meanwhile, the museum will be open extended hours Monday for its King Day celebration, which normally brings an uptick in visitors.
The museum will feature a special museum tour with $5 admission and will be open extended hours of 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. The admission is $3 for those who bring a canned food donation for the Mid-South Food Bank, and admission is free with a blood donation to Lifeblood.
The museum tour includes the exhibit “From the Vault: Art in Action,” which includes original art centered around a theme of resistance and action through marches and demonstrations. The pieces are pulled from the museum collection, and many have never been exhibited before.
A community pavilion on the museum parking lot will offer various health services and screenings, and information about community and social justice groups. The King Day events also include a children’s activity tent and live entertainment in the museum’s Founders Plaza.
– Bill Dries
Thompson Asks for Suspension of Legislative Session for MLK Anniversary
Democratic state Rep. Dwayne Thompson of Cordova wants legislative leaders to suspend the current session of the legislature April 4 and 5 so lawmakers can attend events in Memphis marking the 50th anniversary of the sanitation workers strike and the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Thompson has made the request in a letter to House Speaker Beth Harwell and Lt. Gov. and Senate Speaker Randy McNally.
“Suspending the business of the Tennessee General Assembly should be a rare occasion,” Thompson said in a written statement. “But I feel this commemoration is justified as one of those times.”
– Bill Dries
Cohen Introduces Safer Streets Act
U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Memphis, has introduced the Safer Streets Act, which would create a new grant program that focuses on violent crimes in local communities. “The Safer Streets Act is intended to provide additional funding to address violent crime in places where the rate is significantly above the national average,” Cohen said in announcing the legislation.
Local governments with crime rates four times the national average would be eligible for half of the funds; those with three times the national rate would be eligible for 20 percent of the funds; and those with twice that national rate would be eligible for the remaining 10 percent of funds. “The bill also creates an emergency fund for units of local government that have spikes of violent crime,” Cohen said. The grants would be administered by the U.S. Department of Justice.
Grants could be used for hiring additional law enforcement officers, investing in surveillance equipment or implementing crime prevention programs.
“Violent crime,” as defined in the Uniform Crime Reporting Program, includes murder, rape, assault and other serious criminal offenses.
– Daily News staff
Beacon Center Outlines 2018 Legislative Agenda
Beacon Impact, the advocacy partner of the Beacon Center of Tennessee, says its 2018 legislative policy agenda will focus on getting lawmakers to address criminal justice reform, reduce occupational licensure requirements and explore Medicaid reforms. Beacon Impact believes the state Legislature can advance these policy solutions in those areas of focus:
• Reduce and eliminate red tape for the occupations where burdensome regulations have made it nearly impossible for low-income and blue-collar workers to earn an honest living. Some examples of occupations in need of reduced barriers include hair braiders, locksmiths and animal massage therapists. • Pass criminal justice reforms that save taxpayer money while also making Tennessee safer. In 2018, this includes working on Fresh Start legislation so that those with a criminal record cannot be denied a license for an occupation unrelated to the crime they committed. It also includes juvenile justice reform so that juveniles who commit crimes are treated more consistently and fairly across the state. Beacon Impact will also work to try to better incentivize positive outcomes in local jails, such as re-entry programs. • Explore Medicaid reforms that include work requirements and other solutions that improve the quality of care for those currently in the Medicaid system.
– Daily News staff