After weeks of discussion and preparation, a community wide social justice organization comprised of a wide cross section of area and national organizations has been formally announced in Memphis. The community coalition known as The Coalition for the Organizational Protection of People and Equal Rights (COPPER) was formally launched at a meeting last week in Memphis. Bishop E. Lynn Brown, a spokesperson for the organization, said that the lockout of workers at the Memphis Kellogg cereal plant was the impetus for the formation of this new community organization which consists of labor, faith-based community leaders, civic and social organizations.
“The lock out of 220 families by Kellogg has done a number of things in this community. First and foremost it has ravaged the lives of 220 hardworking families. The elimination of their paychecks and health insurance because they would not take what Kellogg wants to impose upon them is a travesty. But the Kellogg action has done so much more; it has awakened people of good will to the evil that has occurred and continues to occur due to an imbalance of power in our communities”, said Bishop E. Lynn Brown spokesperson for the coalition. “Sometimes people, organizations and our political leaders tend to doze off as people without power in our community are pushed around, disregarded and exploited by those who possess the power”, he said. “This coalition of leaders on every level is now here with eyes wide open and we have seen enough of the tragedy that comes from un-confronted power; no more.”
Bishop E. Lynn Brown, on behalf of the coalition, went on to say that, “the coalition will recruit other community conscience members and will hold accountable political and corporate leaders in the community that have benefitted by treating our citizens and their families as mere cogs in the gear box of their political or corporate careers. We will support leaders who support fairness in our community and we will continue to expose those that cater to the rich, wealthy and powerful at the expense of those who work to support themselves and their families.”
COPPER has numerous plans to address the Kellogg lockout, but it is also ready to address other community injustices being heaped on Memphis Area citizens on their short term and long term agenda. Representatives of the coalition will be at City Council and at the Mayor’s office in the next few days advocating for the assistance of elected leaders to make a meaningful effort to end the lockout of Kellogg workers.