The Heart of Memphis event, set for Saturday, March 30th, at Tiger Lane, is not so much a counter event to the KKK march planned for that same day downtown as it is a celebration of Memphis, says Kevin Kern of Elvis Presley Enterprises.
"We are one Memphis," Kern says. "This is to tell our story."
The Greater Memphis Chamber, the Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau, the city of Memphis, and civic organizations have come together to create the Heart of Memphis in roughly 15 days. Tiger Lane has been lit up in green and blue lights (green to connote the grassroots effort of the event, blue for the Tigers and the Grizzlies), and there will be an Easter egg roll, a food truck rally, live music, and appearances by Elvis as well as the Easter Bunny.
Part of Heart of Memphis is the People's Conference on Race and Equality presented by Memphis United, a collective of individuals and organizations. According to Brad Watkins of the Mid-South Peace & Justice Center, the conference is designed to address larger issues of inequality. There will be workshops on privilege, grassroots organizing, and more. The point is having a serious dialogue on matters that affect everyone.
Says Watkins, "If this is the start of a renewed focus on shaking off the legacy of racism in Memphis, then there's some good of the Klan coming here after all."
Heart of Memphis, Saturday, March 30th, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. at Tiger Lane (heartofmemphis.com, @HeartofMem).