March sparks discussion of poverty in the Memphis community

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Memphis city leaders said the Black Lives Matter movement encompasses several causes.  Organizers said they're trying to make a systematic change, ending poverty, mass incarceration and more.

"It's not just about MPD and disproportionate contact of people of color because that's not the only thing. It's about poverty, it's about education, it's about priority of funding."

Pastor Keith Norman, President of the Memphis NAACP chapter, said all of this factors into last night's march and closure of the I-40 bridge.

Norman said we've reached a point where priorities need to be balanced and right now many people, especially in poverty-stricken areas aren't seeing that.

"We look and we see bike lanes being continuously put through neighborhoods where quite frankly people can't afford $200 and $300 bikes to ride."

In a statement, Mayor Jim Strickland also addressed some of the concerns of protesters saying in part, "as a majority black city, I recognize that Memphis is part of a larger national conversation about race in America, and how some of our citizens feel disenfranchised. To that end, I am hopeful that our city will remain part of the conversation in a way that is respectful and recognizes our humanity."

Norman said addressing poverty will help us with other problems we see in the city.

"We recognize poverty plays a big part in exasperating some of the condition we see that play out in the streets with violence and even with the homicides we face in Memphis."

WREG asked if the march was enough to really get leaders and lawmakers invested in making a long term changes.

Norman said it creates an agenda to collectively discuss problems.

 

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