Here Comes the Klan
There is concern over the upcoming Ku Klux Klan rally, which is scheduled to take place this Saturday in Memphis. Many locals have expressed concern that it could lead to violence. Klan members are fulfilling the promise they made last month to hold a rally in protest against the name changes of Civil War themed Forrest Park, Confederate Park, and Jefferson Davis Park.
In contrast, a new group called “Memphis United” wants to openly address the issues of race and racism in the city, so it is hosting its own conference, the “People’s Conference on Race and Equality.” This grass roots effort sprang up on Facebook in response to the upcoming KKK rally.
“It’s easy to get mad and yell at somebody from across the street,” said Memphis United Organizer Brad Watkins. “But the next day, what’s really changed? We want to be looking at what’s moving forward in our city.”
The conference is scheduled to take place at the Memphis Fairgrounds Creative Arts Building, and will be held at the same time as the Klan rally. Their goal is to bring on a “real dialogue” about racism in the city. The conference will take place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. along with the “Heart of Memphis Peace Festival.”
The aim is to get people “in a community conversation about what it means to be racist, systematically, and all the environmental racism that’s going on in Memphis, and the sectioning off, and unconscious attitudes,” says University of Memphis student Kevin Newton. “We move forward and realize what we need to do is have people face the racism within themselves.”