What a rollercoaster of a week.
Honestly, it felt like a “best of times, worst of times” moment. The good news is detailed below, but we need to talk about what happened in Tennessee.
After the Covenant school shooting, where 6 people died including 3 nine-year-olds, three Democratic Tennessee legislators, Justin Jones, Justin Pearson, and Gloria Johnson, demanded that the legislature debate on gun reform. At the same time, a large crowd of protesters — both students and adults — came to the Capitol to protest.
They protested peacefully, passed security checkpoints, stayed in the public areas, caused zero damage, and there were no arrests. (So you can ignore the Republican pundits trying to equate this to January 6th.)
Unfortunately, the Republican Speaker of the Tennessee House kept turning off the 3 legislators’ microphones whenever they brought up the subject, so in return, they led a protest and chants by using a bullhorn on the legislative floor. It was this offense — a breach of “decorum” — that Republicans cited as the reason for expulsion.
In the end, the Republican dominated legislature expelled the two Black legislators (Justin Jones and Justin Pearson) but spared the white legislator (Gloria Johnson) by one vote. If you haven’t already heard them, do seek out the speeches Jones and Pearson gave when this happened. They are both incredible speakers — they should get national attention.
While the Republicans may have followed the rules of their own House, everyone sees this for what it is — an abuse of power to silence dissent by two young Black legislators who represent very diverse districts.
Republican legislators in Nashville are already working overtime to prevent that from happening (by threatening to pull funding for city projects) so we need to get loud about this. I encourage you to like/comment/amplify any social media posts or articles you see about this.
But there’s also one more thing we can do:
Call to Action
Let’s all donate to Justin Jones and Justin Pearson’s ActBlue accounts so they are in the best possible position to re-win their seats back, whether for the special election later this year, or for the next regular election in 2024. This link lets you donate to both of them at the same time. Thank you!
Wisconsin voters flipped their state Supreme Court on Tuesday when they voted in droves for Judge Janet Protasiewicz
Trump was arraigned in New York for falsifying business records with the intent to conceal illegal conduct connected to his 2016 presidential campaign
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer repealed the state’s 1931 abortion ban
SCOTUS has refused to reinstate West Virginia’s law banning trans athletes
The former Michigan GOP speaker admitted in court to taking bribes
Although a federal judge in Texas ordered a hold on the longstanding approval of mifepristone (an FDA approved, widely used abortion drug), later that same day a federal judge in Washington state issued a competing ruling, ordering that access to the drug be preserved. Also, the DOJ confirmed that it would appeal the Texas ruling.
Thanks. Made a donation to the TN legislators. The attack on their cities to prevent their reinstitution is yet another vile act. Watch your own cities. Our small county is already pushing the “Greater Idaho” scam to put horrible Idaho laws over 2/3 of Oregon and short term to use county resources to discuss those policies at our expense. Watch for similar things in your area, and particularly watch out for innocuously named “grass roots” orgs sponsored by corporations and GOP. It’s a standing GOP policy to attack LGBTQ and regulatory protections.
Thank you for supporting these legislators, Kathy.
Rep. Jones is my state representative. My city, my district, my voice. I supported his campaign before, and voted for him. I am furious over the obvious racial discrimination on display in TN this week. I have donated for him to run again in the special election. I have also called and emailed the Nashville City Council to choose Rep. Jones as his own temporary fill-in. 😊 and yes, when the special election comes up, I will vote for him again.
That’s fantastic, Cheryl. I saw this morning that one of the Metro Councilmen, Kevin Rhoten, say on Twitter that he has been inundated with emails from constituents, all demanding that Rep Jones be returned to his seat. He also said in his 7 years on the Council, he’d never experienced this kind of outpouring before. You are being heard. 👍🏼
I live streamed the Tennessee legislature on the day that Jones and Pearson were ousted. The way the Republicans spoke down to these 2 articulate men sent shivers down my spine. I really felt how black people are disrespected by the Tennessee Republican-led legislature.
And that has now been seen by the entire nation.