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Happy Monday in Memphis, where we’re awaiting a pivotal Memphis City Council vote Tuesday on the Byhalia Connection Pipeline and mourning the death of influential former state lawmaker Roscoe Dixon.

But first, we’re revisiting a protest Sunday night on the National Civil Rights Museum’s plaza.

About 30 protesters gathered at the museum to condemn the recent killings of Daunte Wright, Adam Toledo and Anthony Thompson Jr.

The Sunday protest — a repeat of more than a dozen such protests last spring after George Floyd was killed by a Minneapolis police officer on Memorial Day — was nearly derailed before it started. Museum security officials at first told organizers they needed to move off museum grounds. After several minutes and a few phone calls, the security officers said the protest could continue on the plaza.

Activist L.J. Abraham, one of the organizers, said events nationwide as well as the Minneapolis trial of police officer Derek Chauvin triggered the protest.

“We are literally fighting for our lives. We had the three (fatal) incidents involving police that popped up over the last few weeks, but we have the same conditions in Memphis. The timing makes sense to have this protest now. And this won’t be the last one,” she said. 

Civil rights leader opposes Byhalia pipeline

Two days from a Memphis City Council vote that could determine the fate of a crude oil pipeline that would run through parts of South Memphis, more than 100 people joined a national civil rights leader in rallying against the project, our Dima Amro reports.

Memphis Community Against the Pipeline gathered Sunday afternoon with supporters and civil rights leader the Rev. William Barber at Alonzo Weaver Park in southwest Memphis to fight against the Byhalia Connection pipeline.

Black Lives Matter flags and signs saying “no oil in our soil” were held up throughout the crowd, as attendees chanted “power to the people” and “stop the pipeline” with drums and other instruments. 

Separately, former Vice President Al Gore registered his opposition — again — to the pipeline in a commentary he wrote for The Commercial Appeal. He once again called the pipeline a “reckless, racism ripoff.” 

Gore’s commentary said, in part, “On Tuesday, when the Memphis City Council votes on an ordinance to protect the city’s pristine water supply, it will be choosing between the future health and well-being of Memphis and the future profits of two Texas oil companies trying to seize the property of Black citizens in Southwest Memphis to transport $9 billion of crude oil per year from the fracking fields in Texas to tankers in Louisiana for export.”

Rhodes in space

Rhodes College’s research satellite project is among 14 selected by NASA to travel on rockets launching between 2022 and 2025. The recently announced group is the twelfth to have ever been selected, and it’s the first time Rhodes has launched such a spacecraft, our Laura Testino reports in this subscribers-only story.

NASA’s initiative accepts applications from K-12 and higher education as well as nonprofits and has sent a couple hundred of the small satellites, called CubeSats, to space over the years.

Rhodes’ project, named RHOK-SAT, will be testing solar cell technology in space.  

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Roscoe Dixon remembered for service

Influential Memphis lawmaker Roscoe Dixon, 71, last week, our Ryan Poe reports in this story that traced Dixon rise, fall and comeback after his conviction in the Tennessee Waltz corruption case.

Code Crew Making News

Memphis teenagers Johnathan Sherrill, Jayda Murray and Anaya Murray are reaching great heights with their tech skills, garnering national awards and empowering others with the products of their know-how, Emily Adams Keplinger reports in this story.

The three all take part in CodeCrew, a nonprofit that empowers children and adults to be tech innovators and leaders. 

Grizzlies get statement win

The streaking Grizzlies got a big win Saturday night over the Milwaukee Bucks, an elite team in the Eastern Conference, our Evan Barnes reports. The Grizzlies tonight face the Denver Nuggets, an elite team in the Western Conference.

Mark Russell is executive editor of The Commercial Appeal and you can reach him at mark.russell@commercialappeal.com, 901/529-2302. You can also follow him on Twitter: @MarkRussell44

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