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Apr 7, 2023

National Coalition on Black Civic Participation and Black Women’s Roundtable Issues Statement in Response to Unjust Expulsion of Black Tennessee Lawmakers by the Tennessee State Legislature

WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 7, 2023) – The National Coalition on Black Civic Participation (NCBCP) and Black Women’s Roundtable (BWR) released the following statement in response to Republican lawmakers in Tennessee unjustly expelling State Representatives Justin Jones and Justin Pearson. The expulsion came after both representatives utilized their first amendment rights and participated in protests against the state legislatures’ lack of action on gun safety measures in the wake of the recent mass shooting that killed 3 children and adults at a Christian school in TN.

Melanie L. Campbell, NCBCP President and CEO stated:

"The unjust expulsion of TN State Representatives Justin Jones and Justin Pearson by GOP TN legislators is racist and is an assault on democracy. It also sets a dangerous precedent and undermines the voices of the constituents who elected Representatives Jones and Pearson, who represent a new generation of public servants, who were doing their jobs by speaking out on behalf of their constituents. This legislative action is part of a larger attack on our rights and freedoms and must be viewed and addressed as a call to collective action for all who believe in a just and inclusive democracy to come together as a ‘coalition of the conscience’ to fight to save our democracy from peril.

“Further, the TN state legislatures action is another example of a move to take the country backwards to a ‘states rights’ and ‘Jim Crow’ Era that has a goal to destroy our representative democracy and replace it with an autocratic government structure that is ruled by white nationalists. Their goal is to erase Black history, silence the voices of Black and brown people and stop a new generation that believes in voting rights, reproductive rights, LGBTQ+ rights, workers’ rights, gender, economic & environmental justice for all people."

The NCBCP stands in solidarity with TN State Representatives Jones and Pearson and a new generation of all those in Tennessee working towards fair, safe and just representation, particularly for Black communities who have been historically disenfranchised. The organization stands with Representatives Jones and Pearson and demands that their voices be heard.

It is a state of emergency and a moral imperative to stand up to those who seek to undermine our democratic institutions and call on all lawmakers to reject dangerous ideologies that lead us closer to authoritarianism.

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The National Coalition on Black Civic Participation (NCBCP) is one of the most active civil rights and social justice organizations in the nation “dedicated to increasing civic engagement, economic and voter empowerment in Black America.” The Black Women’s Roundtable (BWR) is the women and girls empowerment arm of the NCBCP. At the forefront of championing just and equitable public policy on behalf of Black women, BWR promotes their health and wellness, economic security & prosperity, education and global empowerment as key elements for success. Black Youth Vote is the youth-led civic leadership, training and organizing arm of the NCBCP. For more information on the NCBCP’s Unity 2020 National Campaign go to unitycampaign.org.

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