Grassroots campaign tries to raise $250K cut from Memphis funding

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - A grassroots campaign is underway to replace $250,000 stripped from the city of Memphis' bicentennial celebration.

The campaign comes in response to state lawmakers pulled funding from Memphis because of the city's decision to remove Confederate statues last year.

Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland said he doesn't agree with the lawmakers' decision, but the 2019 bicentennial will go on with or without the state's money.

"This is the most vile, racist, you can boo all you want, but let's call it for what it is," Rep. Antonio Parkinson (D-Memphis) said.

Many in Memphis' delegation of state lawmakers exploded Tuesday against what they called a petty act. The Republican-controlled house stripped $250,000 from the city as retribution over Memphis taking down Confederate monuments by selling city parks to the nonprofit Memphis Greenspace.

"The state legislature wrote the law. We abided by the law, as I said, to the letter. The statues were removed completely 100 percent legally, and we think it was the right thing to do," Strickland said. "I disagree with their position, and I think most of Memphis is disagreeing."

Memphian Brittney Block organized this GoFundMe campaign to try and collect the money the city will miss out on.

By Wednesday afternoon, the page had collected more than $28,000.

"I'm hopeful that this campaign, no matter how much money we raise, regardless, we want people to know that we here in Memphis and people who support the community know what's best for the community," Block said.

Strickland calls the crowdfunding effort fantastic and says his office plans to meet with Block later this week.

"This is what our community wanted, and we're going to stand by that," Block said.

Block's fundraiser is being criticized by those who feel it was not right for the city to move the monuments.

Lee Millar with the Sons of Confederate Veterans said on Wednesday that he applauds state lawmakers taking action.

Millar's group is suing the city, and that lawsuit is currently in mediation.

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