Memphis City Council member proposes changing stretch of Poplar Ave. to Black Lives Matter Ave.

Black Lives Matter Avenue proposal

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The Memphis City Council is considering a proposal to change a section of Poplar Avenue to Black Lives Matter Avenue.

This comes as some Memphians protested Monday in the name of Black Lives Matter.

Memphis City Council Member Michalyn Easter-Thomas hosted a press conference Monday afternoon surrounded by activists, state representatives and fellow city council members.

Her proposal would officially and permanently rename Poplar Avenue between Front Street and Danny Thomas Boulevard to Black Lives Matter Avenue.

Memphis City Council members discuss proposal to rename part of Poplar 'Black Lives Matter Avenue'

“This street renaming is symbolic,” said Easter-Thomas. “Symbolic of what Black people have been forced to endure in this country since its inception.”

The four-block area that would be renamed includes the Shelby County Justice Center and the Shelby County Jail.

“This particular stretch was chosen because it highlights where our deepest and darkest secrets lie,” said Easter-Thomas. “It shows where we spend most of our government budget.”

In midtown Monday, dozens of protesters carrying Black Lives Matter signs came to the McDonalds on Union Avenue to protest against low wages for fast-food workers.

Tiffany Lowe, an employee of KFC on Jackson Avenue, was one of the organizers of the Strike for Black Lives, an event happening in 25 different cities across the country.

“Corporations are saying Black Lives Matter and it’s clear we don’t matter at all,” said Lowe. “They won’t give us health care benefits, no hazard pay and they won’t raise minimum wage.”

Lowe, a member of the Fight for 15, an effort to raise the salary of fast-food employees to $15 an hour, says she approves of Easter-Thomas’s proposal to rename part of Poplar Avenue.

“I think that is wonderful, we need to wake up this city,” said Lowe. “If they can get us said out of their mouths that black lives matter than maybe it’ll get in their head that black lives do matter.”

Easter-Thomas says the street renaming has nothing to do with the Black Lives Matter organization.

“This is I bigger than that,” she said. “The street rename is a cry out for Memphis to see us, to fight for us.”

The Memphis City Council is scheduled to discuss the renaming of Poplar Avenue during its meeting Tuesday afternoon.

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