Radio collaboration has city leaders discuss community problems

Leaders discuss change in Memphis

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Four major radio stations at iHeartMedia Memphis joined over the airwaves Wednesday to continue discussions concerning police and community.

Interim Police Director Mike Rallings, Pastor Keith Norman, State Representative Raumesh Akbari, Rainbow/PUSH president Joseph Kyles, and musician Kameron Whalum were invited guests on the radio town hall.

Listeners and those watching via live web stream and Facebook submitted questions and comments online.

"Community comes before policing," said Rallings. "We can have those conversations at the same time. Some people have tried to accuse me of trying to ignore the conversation about law enforcement."

"We have to shut down the bridge and we have to show up to your meetings, because at this point, what else do you want us to do?" asked Whalum.

TN State Representative Raumesh Akbari responded to Whalum's question with one word: vote.

He said voting can help make change without inciting violence.

"When you become a part of that element that is destroying your neighborhoods and your communities, then that is when the conversation ceases," Akbari said.

Joseph Kyles of Rainbow/PUSH called for an end to what he calls economic apartheid in city contracting.

"We should not have $500 million coming through with less than 3 percent being spent with African-American companies," Kyles said.

iHeartMedia vowed to continue the conversation through a series of town halls, as Pastor Norman pushed protesters to remain peaceful.

"We have to walk that line very carefully, and make sure we are training and organizing for reasonable protests with an agenda," Norman said.

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