MICAH religious leaders release charter of demanded actions for change

Religious leaders call for change to end racism and police brutality

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Tuesday morning, religious leaders from across Shelby County gathered outside Memphis City Hall to demand action from Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland to combat racism and police brutality.

Members of the Memphis Interfaith Coalition for Action and Hope tied a charter of demands for change to the fence surrounding Memphis City Hall.

Leaders in the religious community say they are tired of waiting and they want change now.

MICAH rallies in downtown Memphis

“We are here for equity and justice for all,” said Pastor Rosalyn Nichols, of Freedoms Chapel Christian Church.

Religious leaders who are apart of MICAH were passionate Tuesday morning in demanding change in Memphis.

“My prayer for you is that you do not go back to church and get on your knees until you stand up and demand that we want change now,” said Dr. Stacy Spencer, president of MICAH.

After an eight-minute and 46 second moment of silence, the same amount of time a Minneapolis police officer had his knee on George Floyd’s neck, MICAH leaders presented their Charter for Equality and Justice.

“This is the voice of people,” said Spencer. “Not from two or three people in the room but from thousands, 30,000 people in Memphis who say we want change now. We’re taping it to the gate.”

The charter, that MICAH leaders tied to the fence outside city hall, has four issues in which the group is demanding comprehensive action.

Those areas are:

  • Police Accountability
  • Criminal Justice Reform
  • Addressing Systemic Inequity
  • Corporate Responsibility

“All four of those things are equally as important they are like the walls of a home," said Nichols. “You cannot have a solid home if all of those walls are not addressed.”

“Taking that bold step to say this is what we believe, this is what we’re going to fight for,” said Janiece Lee, vice president of MICAH.

The chief communications officer for Strickland said in a statement:

The administration is working on reimaging policing in Memphis but we are not in charge of the criminal justice system, individual corporations or for education. While the city government does not provide direct funding for K-12 education, we do support children. The citizens of Memphis pay $260 million dollars in taxes for education. In addition, Memphis city government uses $60 million dollars for libraries, parks, summer jobs for youth and universal needs-based pre-K. Mayor Strickland or members of this administration have met with MICAH or a representative of MICAH on at least eight separate occasions in the last two years—including last Wednesday and Thursday. While we support Black Lives Matter and they’re right to peaceful protest, we do not support them covering city property with their signage. The signs will be taken down and returned to their owners if they would like them back.

MICAH leaders say they hope to have an extensive meeting with city leaders to discuss and implement change in their four areas of focus soon.

Copyright 2020 WMC. All rights reserved.