MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Black Lives Matter protestors are calling for some Memphis business communities to step up and show more diversity.
Protestors said while some areas thrive, others like Orange Mound are left neglected.
The protests in Memphis over the last two weeks aren’t just about police reform, but also economics. Protestors are pushing for more black-owned businesses in areas around the city.
They said while black people live in Cooper-Young, the number of black businesses don’t reflect that. While Cooper-Young thrives, the historically black Orange Mound neighborhood struggles to get attention.
WREG reached out to the Cooper-Young Business Association for a response, and we are waiting to hear back
But it’s not just the Cooper-Young businesses; the protestors also want diversity at one of Cooper-Young’s biggest events: the Cooper-Young Festival.
One retail area in the city addressed the diversity issue on social media.
Laurelwood shopping center’s president Cory Prewitt asked any black-owned business looking for retail space to contact him.
“I think it’s a shame that the black community is not as represented as it should be … in the country and in Memphis in particular,” Prewitt said.
He said Laurelwood has no black retailers right now.
“I want things to change,” he said. “This has been going on for too long, where there is not a lot of black-owned businesses in East Memphis, and I just don’t understand why that has to be the case.”
He said recent issues made him look at what more he could do.
“I want to be part of the solution, rather than the problem,” Prewitt said.
Laurelwood said it has been getting a lot of response to its request for black retailers and has some promising prospects for its two available retail spaces.