Watch: A conversation with Memphis City Councilmembers JB Smiley, Jr. and Michalyn Easter-Thomas

Two newly minted Memphis City Council members, Michalyn Easter-Thomas and JB Smiley, Jr., see Memphis, and the U.S., as occupying a moment in history that might not come again.

They believe the dialogue and unrest over systemic racism could lead to change in how Memphis, a majority Black city, is policed, is educated and what priorities its government has.

Easter-Thomas and Smiley are among the five new members of the City Council, who were sworn in for the first time in January.

They are also among the members of council who have pushed for Memphis Police Department transparency; asked Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland to create a community task force that would advise the search to replace MPD Director Mike Rallings; and used the bully pulpit to raise awareness of the racist allegations made about Flight Restaurant & Wine Bar.

In a 40-minute online interview with The Commercial Appeal, Smiley and Easter-Thomas discussed their learning curves since joining the council; the dynamic between the council and Strickland; what they want to see in the person nominated to succeed Rallings and how the current unrest becomes actual change.

For the full story and video visit the commercial appeal’s website at the link below: https://www.commercialappeal.com/story/news/2020/06/22/jb-smiley-jr-and-michalyn-easter-thomas-discuss-race-memphis-city-council-and-mpd/3221831001/