The advocacy group is called Citizens for Better Schools and the slogan will be "Vote Yes for School Unity."
Standing together in the lobby of the county building were the above plus Johnnie Turner, Harold Collins, Tomeka Hart, Martavius Jones, Russell Sugarmon, G. A. Hardaway, Thaddeus Matthews, Michael Hooks Jr., and others. Memphis Mayor A C Wharton briefly passed through the lobby before the proceedings began but hustled into an elevator. His position at this point is neutral, but Chism said "I think he should take a stand."
Flinn noted the large number of churches in Memphis, sometimes said to outnumber gas stations, and wondered, "If we have that many churches, how can we have so little faith in our community?"
Malone predicted her side will form "the most impressive coalition we have seen for a referendum in (Memphis) history."
Hardaway urged county school board president David Pickler, whose name recognition has gone off the charts in the last 30 days, to "sit down with Memphis City Schools and begin planning for a contingency transition."
Smith added a historical note and some gravitas to the event. She said 35 years ago when she was on the city school board a charter surrender vote failed by a single vote, with black and white board members NOT splitting along racial lines. She said today's opponents "know we are right and know we are going to win."