Graceland, Elvis Presley’s home in Memphis, in 2010. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
The Memphis Coalition of Concerned Citizens, including Black Lives Matter protesters and others groups, announced their plan to “Shut Down Graceland.”
Protest leaders say the mass demonstration is planned for 6:00 PM Monday. They said they specifically chose Graceland because it is Elvis Week and they know it will raise awareness.
Leaders say they also chose Graceland because “it demonstrates one of Memphis’s most common forms of financial inequality and because the site has ties to…the death of unarmed teen Darrius Stewart.”
Memphis officer Connor Schilling said Stewart had attacked him before the officer fired shots. A grand jury declined to indict Schilling.
If carried out, the Elvis Week demonstration will be the third high-profile protest in the area by Black Lives Matter and other groups in the last month. Most recently in front of Graceland, where some protesters were detained for blocking traffic.
At the time, activists said they wanted their demands met by the city, which they admitted would take time.
Mayor Jim Strickland just responded this week to questions from the first community meeting. Community leader Frank Gottie is skeptical of the timing.
“They had 30 days to respond, but they responded right before Elvis Week,” said Gottie. “Elvis Week must be really important, because I got a lot of phone calls. Homeland security and everybody. [They said] don’t go to Elvis more than 20 deep, you can’t go there. But how they going to say that when it’s welcome to the public?”