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Trials, Sugar, and SURJ

A Noura Jackson prosecutor case is heard, and a group wants whites to fight for racial justice.

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Prosecution on Trial

A state panel was to decide early this week whether or not to continue hearings on alleged ethical violations by a Shelby County prosecutor accused of withholding evidence in the Noura Jackson murder trial.

Shelby County Assistant District Attorney Stephen Jones was targeted for discipline by the Tennessee Supreme Court Board of Professional Responsibility (TBPR) in January on charges that he withheld a witness statement from Jackson's attorneys, evidence that could have helped her defense in the trial.

Jones asked a state board Thursday to drop his case, arguing that his actions were an "inadvertent mistake." The three-member board was to render a decision on the matter sometime this week.

Noura Jackson
  • Noura Jackson

Jackson was convicted in 2009 of the 2005 killing of her mother, Jennifer. The Tennessee Supreme Court overturned the conviction in 2014. Jackson took an Alford plea in the case in May 2015 and was released from prison in August.

Planned Parenthood Plans

Planned Parenthood Greater Memphis Region (PPGMR) announced last week it plans build a second health center to complement its existing center on Poplar in Midtown.

No location was revealed for the project last week, but $4.5 million has already been raised for the project's construction.

The news came during PPGMR's 75th anniversary gala last week.

Mobilizing whites

Cooper-Young Festival was the debut of a local group that aims to mobilize white people on racial injustice issues.

The Memphis branch of the national Showing Up for Racial Justice [SURJ] group formed after the July 10th protest on the Hernando deSoto Bridge.

"It was such a powerful moment in Memphis that I think people felt really inspired," said the Memphis chapter organizer Allison Glass. "If these folks are going to commit such a courageous act, then we as white people need to organize other white people to join this effort."

Memphis SURJ canvassed the festival crowd Saturday and sold Black Lives Matter yard signs to fund the Black Lives Matter network.

Sweeten Up

Sugar Services could get a whole new look and a new feel for pedestrians as a proposal for the South End industrial site would help blend it in with its residential surroundings.

A Downtown Memphis Commission (DMC) board was slated to review a $23,600 grant proposal from the South End Alliance (SEA) for a project that would "better screen the industrial use [at Sugar Services] and improve the pedestrian experience on adjacent sidewalks" around the corner of Tennessee and G.E. Patterson.

Sugar Services creates sugar products for soft drink manufacturers, bakeries, dairy companies, ice cream manufacturers, and cereal makers. Residences have grown up around the company, which was founded in downtown Memphis in 1969.

De-ghost town

The DMC wants to temporarily turn the vacant storefront at 101 South Main into a "multi-use space" that could be the home base for the Blue Suede Brigade and a space for pop-up retail, theater, comedy, music, and more.

The space was last rented by Peacock Travel Group and sits across the street from Aldo's Pizza Pies. A DMC board was to review the project this week. If approved, the group would move in in October and be out by January.

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