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Black Southern Women’s Collaborative Decries the Expulsion of Black Legislators From the Tennessee

MEMPHIS – The Black Southern Women Collaborative (BSWC) today decried Republicans in the Tennessee House of Representatives expelling Representatives Justin Jones (D-Nashville) and Justin Pearson (D-Memphis). BSWC member from Tennessee, Tameka Greer, who is the executive director of Memphis Artists for Change, issued the following statement: “The expulsion of Black legislators is an unacceptable travesty that should not be tolerated in a democracy. Black people from Memphis and Nashville now have no representative in the House of Representatives. This comes at a time when 1 in 5 Black people in Tennessee cannot vote due to felony disenfranchisement. Most of the folks are in Memphis. Additionally, Tennessee voters are being purged from the voting rolls, and most of the impacted people are in Memphis, and most are Black.

“Jones and Pearson were willing to enact the will of the communities that elected them, and now they have been removed. There can be no confusion: This is not only an attack on democracy but also an attack on Black people.

“Pearson is an activist and organizer who worked to oppose an oil pipeline in his community. He is concerned not only about the environment but gun violence – issues of concern to his constituents.

“The other irony in all of this is that three legislators protested the death of innocent babies who were killed at the mass shooting at The Covenant School in Nashville, yet only the Black legislators were removed. The racial inequity in this process is brazen.”


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