MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The Mid-South Peace and Justice Center has laid off their staff as the longtime non-profit civil rights group reshuffles and restructures their organization.
For three decades, the Mid-South Peace and Justice Center supported the rights of Memphians and helped others around the world.
Now, the center is announcing changes and its future is uncertain. However, the group assures the community they are not done helping.
The Peace and Justice Art Festival fundraising event was held Saturday in support of the center.
The event comes a day after the center posted a letter on Facebook announcing that all of their full-time employees have been laid off -- including their executive director for the past 11 years, Bradley Watkins.
“The work that Mid-South Peace and Justice Center has been doing has been critical to just that, to peace and justice in this community,” said Josh Spickler, Just City executive director.
Lawyer Josh Spickler, the executive director for the non-profit organization Just City, has worked alongside the Mid-South Peace and Justice Center on several projects.
“They've worked on so many issues. They've worked on homelessness issues, they've worked on transit justice issues, they've worked with kids involved in the criminal justice system. And they've always been a voice for what's right and good,” said Spickler.
The Mid-South Peace and Justice Center says fundraising has been a major issue.
The group has moved out of their offices and into a space inside the First Congregational Church.
A statement posted to their Facebook page reads in part:
"People power has always been central to the success of this organization. Your support has made many successes possible. Our dedication to a movement led by those most affected by injustice has not changed."
“They've taken a stand on issues and they don't back down. And that makes fundraiser even harder than it already,” said Spickler.
Spickler says the work the employees do at the Mid-South Peace and Justice Center is not going away, and he hopes the center continues to make an impact as the organization goes through these changes.
“Whatever is happening, it’s not because there’s not a need for them. They’re desperately needed in this space. Any organization that can put paid organizers into our community on a daily basis is critical,” said Spickler.