Good morning Memphis where the city celebrated 901 Day on Wednesday with the annual — yet different due to COVID-19 — Exposure event on the plaza of FedExForum.
But, first, with 8,808 active cases of COVID-19 in Shelby County as of Tuesday, the fight against COVID-19 in Shelby County continues on multiple fronts.
The Rev. Keith Norman, pastor of First Baptist Church – Broad and vice president of government relations and chief community relations officer at Baptist Memorial Health Care, is urging Black churches to go virtual once again and to restrict other social events, our Katherine Burgess reports.
“I have been concerned all along that this variant is impacting the African American community,” Norman said. “We have to warn people to the vast number of deaths taking place so that people, if they’re not going to get the vaccination, will restrict their gathering.”
Next week, Southwest Tennessee Community College will move to virtual classes and operations, our Dima Amro reports.
The college announced Wednesday it will move online for five days following Labor Day to help lower the risk of COVID-19 infections associated with the holiday.
“This is a prudent measure designed to protect life and prevent a more serious disruption in our students’ academic progress,” said Tracy D. Hall, president of the college.
And, finally, with emergency rooms filling, our Tonyaa Weathersbee says poor Memphians need to get the vaccine as choices might need to be made about who receives care.
She writes in her column for subscribers: “Yet the easiest thing for people to do, especially people who are more likely to rely on emergency services, is to take the COVID-19 shot.
Because, if they swell the deluge of unvaccinated COVID-19 patients, and if that forces hospitals to resort to a system in which they have to use survivability as a gauge for prioritizing treatment, if they arrive at area emergency rooms too sick to recover from COVID-19, or other ailments, they may not get better.
Instead, many might wind up being sent home to die when a shot could have saved them.”
In Memphis, Hagerty critiques Biden
U.S. Sen. Bill Hagerty offered his usual critiques of President Joe Biden’s administration during a visit to Memphis Wednesday, our Sam Hardiman reports.
Hagerty raised alarm about inflation, illegal immigration at the U.S.-Mexico border and the pullout from Afghanistan, telling a crowd of Memphis businesspeople Wednesday that Biden had left behind a “cauldron of terror” in Afghanistan.
When asked, Hagerty declined to offer specifics about what he would do differently in Afghanistan, deferring to the Biden administration. “We can only have one foreign policy at a time. And my goal isn’t to try to compete against the executive branch right now.”
The future of 100 Main
Two Shelby County Schools board members are part of a five-person Memphis development team vying to revitalize the 100 North Main building, the tallest among the downtown skyline, our Laura Testino reports.
The request-for-proposal period on the building, owned by the Downtown Memphis Commission, closed Tuesday afternoon.
The group wants to see the building as a “revitalized retail, office, hotel and multi-family apartment property, as well as build a new mixed-use project on the adjacent available parcels with parking,” according to its proposal to the Downtown Memphis Commission, obtained by The Commercial Appeal.
CA releases 2021 diversity stats
For the second straight year, The Commercial Appeal announced its newsroom diversity numbers as we work towards a staff that represents the community we serve.
Executive Editor Mark Russell writes:
While we’ve made progress in several coverage areas, we have not moved the needle enough on newsroom diversity. In fact, our current level of staff diversity is just slightly higher — 22% — than it was when we made the pledge in August 2020.
It remains imperative that The CA’s coverage reflect the diversity of our coverage area. Our journalism is more authentically Memphis when we represent the whole of our community on our website, social platforms and in print. Such diverse coverage also affirms that this area has a mix of people who define the best of what Shelby and DeSoto counties offer.
Freedom Award honorees revealed
Michelle Obama is among the recipients of the 2021 Freedom Award, the National Civil Rights Museum announced Wednesday, our John Beifuss reports.
The Oct. 14 awards ceremony will be at the Orpheum in Downtown Memphis and presented as a livestreamed “virtual” event. The ceremony won’t be open to the public, but tickets to watch the show online will be available for purchase.
This year’s other Freedom Award goes to a collective honoree: The “Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for a Moral Revival,” an anti-poverty effort that carries on the economic justice mission of the original 1968 Poor People’s Campaign launched by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. The revived campaign is headed by William J. Barber II, 58, and Liz Theoharis, 45, who will receive the award on behalf of the effort.
Grizzlies to retire jerseys
For the first time in the team’s history, the Memphis Grizzlies will retire two jerseys this season and, fittingly, they are members of the Core Four, our Evan Barnes reports.
Zach Randolph, who spent eight seasons in Memphis and Tony Allen, who was in the Bluff City for seven seasons, will see their numbers rise to the rafters at FedExForum this year.
Dann Miller is the senior consumer experience director at The Commercial Appeal. He can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @dannmiller.