A trio of suitors came to the Greenwood City Council Tuesday seeking its support for upcoming events.

First off, the council heard from Loretta McClee, who is organizing a Decrease the Violence Rally on May 4, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the stage in Whittington Park.

Last year, McClee held a similar rally to “end” violence. Given that violence has continued, with three gun-related homicides recorded so far this year in Leflore County, McClee said she’s lowered her expectations to decreasing violence instead.

She said she was partly motivated to host another rally after Jordan Lloyd, a Greenwood Middle School student, was shot and killed last month.

The rally, McClee said, will feature speakers who have either been incarcerated or are former gang members, including some from out of state, who will bring a message of peace.

“I just really want you all to be present,” McClee said to the council, saying it would show young men in the community that the city’s leaders care about them.

Council President Ronnie Stevenson said, “I’ll definitely come.”

Next up was John Ray, a Birmingham,  Alabama, promoter for the Down Home Blues and Old Fashion Fish Fry, scheduled for May 11 at Florewood Park.

The concert, Ray said, will feature a variety of musicians, including Bobby Rush, Willie Clayton and Nellie Travis. It will also have food from Larry’s Fish House, a restaurant based in Itta Bena.

Ray said he believes it “will be the largest blues event in the state of Mississippi.”

He said he has promoted the concert heavily outside of Greenwood. “I think we’re going to fill up all of the hotels, the restaurants. I think a lot of money will flow through here.”

He predicted that the concert would be the largest event Greenwood has hosted since the Mississippi International Balloon Classic in the 1990s.

Ray said he was not looking for financial support from the city this year, but if the concert is as successful as he predicts, he would be approaching the council next year about a donation.

“I just want your blessings. I want you to be able to see it and embrace it,” he said.

Ray has said that a similar concert at the Leflore County Civic Center in 2018 flopped, costing him $30,000.

Earlier this month, the Leflore County Board of Supervisors had first approved to use $13,200 in economic development funds to support the May 11 concert before later reversing that decision.

Last up was Brantley Snipes, executive director of Main Street Greenwood, who informed council members of two events.

She told the council about the upcoming Earth Day cleanup, scheduled for Monday from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.

The cleanup is being organized by the Rev. Giulianna Gray, an Episcopal priest who lives in Greenwood. It will have several groups cleaning up public areas and entryways into Greenwood, such as the Yazoo River Trail, Sgt. John Pittman Drive and Riverside Drive, Snipes said.

She said the city’s Public Works and Recycling departments have contributed buckets and trash grabbers for volunteers to use.

Snipes asked council members to help clean up and spread the word in their wards about the initiative.

Ward 6’s David Jordan told Snipes that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive is one spot in town littered with trash. Snipes said she would add that street to the sign- up list.

The sign-up list, bit.ly/2UJ0L5V, can be used to find the sites needed for trash pickup Monday.

Snipes also gave an update on Que on the Yazoo, a barbecue festival scheduled for May 3-4.

Snipes said there’ll be about 40 to 50 barbecue teams, with about 60 judges.

In other business, the council authorized the Police Department to pursue trying to acquire surplus property from the U.S. Department of Defense. The federal agency gives away excess supplies, such as small arms and ammunition, to state and local law-enforcement agencies.

The council also authorized the Police Department to execute a memorandum of understanding with Mississippi Action for Progress to allow police officers to provide security and traffic control for Gilliam Head Start Center’s annual parade. Moore said the memorandum will also allow officers to put on programs for the children to “let them know we’re not bad folks.”

Ward 1’s Johnny Jennings and Ward 2’s Lisa Cookston were absent from the council’s meeting.

• Contact Gerard Edic at 581-7239 or gedic@gwcommonwealth.com.

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