Contact: Phone: Fax: Email: Dr. Yvonne D. Nelson (901) 396-6300 ofc; (901) xxx-xxxx cell (901) xxx-xxxx (call first) Dr.YDNelson@dimans.org XXXX McCorkle Road Memphis, TN 38116-3923 iLoveShelbyCounty.com/graveselementary-school PRESS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE SARS-CoV-2 Creates Need to Protest from Cars Residents in opposition to child labor factory being placed at former school site MEMPHIS, Tennessee, May 6, 2020: The Shelby County Board of Education and Made in Memphis, LLC c/o Elvis Presley Enterprises have refused to meet with neighboring residents since November 2019, yet pushed forward on April 6, 2020, to have the former Graves Elementary School repurposed into a two-story, 146,000 sq. ft. factory that would produce customizable jewelry, collectibles, and other memorabilia made by youth in operation through an affiliation with Shelby County Schools. The so-called vocational technical training facility is being described as a creative opportunity that will create living wage jobs for future graduates of Shelby County Schools and the area in general and that will increase property values in the area by removing the currently vacant school structure that closed in 2014. The original 11-acre site was situated in a quiet neighborhood with the purpose of serving children who lived in the area. It has no past or current public transportation access and would create an increased and excessive amount of foot, vehicle, and truck traffic in the area. Furthermore, the area is surrounded by warehouses and factories which have exploded in the past and as recently as April 11th when the nearby 48Solutions pallet company burst into fire “just after midnight” taking approximately four hours to be brought under control. “It’s like here we go again,” said McCorkle Road Neighborhood Association dba Whitehaven Community Development Corporation President Dr. Yvonne D. Nelson. “Back in August of 2006 the chemical plants Pro-Serve and Industrial Biocides Corp. both exploded just down the street on Brooks Road. It was said that people who drove their cars through the resulting dust storm had to have them decontaminated. Who was responsible for decontaminating the air we had to breathe? No one, we just had to all go inside that day.” The nonprofit group DI’MANS, Inc. wants Graceland, Elvis Presley Enterprises, and Made In Memphis to stop destroying the place they call home. They have a plan, but no funding, to repurpose the school into a selfsustaining, person-centered community center, but the school was left in a deplorable state by the Board. “It was almost as if the crooks stole the things that were nailed down before the things that weren’t,” said Nelson speaking of the HVAC, plumbing, wiring, kitchen appliances, and more. “I went on a tour of the school in January 2015, and I am in possession of pictures of what it looked like right after it was vacated. The Board of Education never intended to use this property to benefit this neighborhood again. Those sentiments clearly showed in their actions then and has recently been stated in writing in their own minutes.” Nelson said she tried to present her idea for repurposing the building to the Board of Education; however, she was only given a minute and a half to speak instead of the normal three minutes typically allowed. “They didn’t want to hear anything I had to say, whether it was what was best for the community or not and now we’re facing the same problem with Graceland. It’s a shame that this happens in black communities and so often.” The Peaceful Vehicle Protest will take place all day, between 7am and 7pm, on Wednesday, May 6, 2020, at the southwest corner of Graves and the northeast corner of Lakeview at Winchester Road in Whitehaven. ###

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