Reverend Al Sharpton joins consolidation fight - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reverend Al Sharpton joins consolidation fight

By Jamel Major - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Controversial civil rights leader Al Sharpton joined the consolidation fight in Memphis and Shelby County.

Reverend Sharpton already hit the Mid-South radio airwaves asking voters to vote against consolidation. Thursday, he will be in Memphis to fight in person.

"Anytime you have a national figure such as Reverend Sharpton come into town, that definitely raises the antennas and we need the momentum," said Van Turner with the Shelby County Democratic Party.

The Office of American Federation of State County Municipal Employees Local 1733 invited Sharpton to speak.

The organization released a statement saying "AFSCME L1733 is thrilled that a national leader shares our opposition to consolidating the city of Memphis and Shelby County. Consolidation is bad for the working people and bad for our community. L1733 will continue to fight for the working people of this community."

The Shelby County Commission voted to oppose the proposed consolidation of county and city government. The local Democratic Party is also not supporting the current proposal. Members said it does not go far enough.

"The plan that's being presented doesn't have what's being looked upon as full consolidation, meaning the schools are left out," said Turner.

Brian Stephens with Rebuild Government is a supporter of consolidation.

"Al Sharpton is not from this community, he's not going to get to vote on this issue," said Stephens. "He doesn't understand the concerns here, so I'm curious to know if he's gotten all the facts."

Action News 5 was unable to reach Sharpton's office for comment. He is scheduled to speak at 10:30 a.m. Thursday.

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