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The National Black Council of Elders Stand with the Tennessee Three!

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(NBCOE) National Black Council of Elders: Ref: IMROT/09042023/HE-MK
Presiding Elder, Mwalimu Kabaila

TO: Tennessee Legislator Majority Leaders:

William Lambeth
Jack Johnson
Cameron Sexton

SUBJECT: Immediate Apology and Reinstatement of Tennessee Legislators Justin Pearson and Justin Jones!

Dear Mr. Lambeth;

The National Black Council of Elders hereby makes the following statement in support of the two legislators in the state of Tennessee, of African ancestry, who, while faithfully and courageously executing their responsibility to represent, advocate for, and establish policy as duly elected representatives in the Tennessee state legislature.
Specifically in this case, these dedicated representatives, along with other legislators and thousands of citizens of Tennessee, young and old, civilly and non-violently demonstrate within the state legislature for policies to reduce mass murder and death in their state by banning assault weapons of war - which had been used on March 27, 2023 to murder 3 children and three adults in a Nashville, Tennessee school.

For their demonstration, Representatives Justin Jones and Justin Pearson have been unlawfully dismissed and unethically removed from office by the Tennessee state legislature, in a blatantly racist and retaliatory act. The clear racist tactics of the Republican supermajority in the Tennessee legislature demonstrated their heinous disregard for African American and other voters who elected these two representatives in their districts. We see these tactics as divisive and potentially destructive of the right of political representation, a bedrock of our Constitution.

We hereby call for the immediate reinstatement of Tennessee Democratic Reps. Justin Jones and Rep. Justin Pearson. The racist nature of the legislative proceeding to expel Representatives Pearson and Jones, and which also rejected the expulsion on a white legislator protesting actively and directly along with Representatives Pearson and Jones is a clear, willful, blatantly racist and shameful act by the Tennessee state legislature.

The act of the legislature is reminiscent of the Jim Crow racist, a strategy used to thrust white supremacist ideas and practices, entrenched in the power and the mechanisms of the state, in the face of equality seeking and justice-fighting people of the State of Tennessee, and the citizens of the United States unjustifiably and illegally.
These measures smack in the face the hard–fought victories of Africans in America including the Civil Rights Movement and the enactment of the Voting Rights Act, which sought to ensure fairness and greater equity in the electoral process in every corner of the United States. However, this action by the electoral body in the State of Tennessee disenfranchises voters by saying it doesn’t matter who you vote for and what they fight for because if we don’t like certain aspects of what they do, we can, and will simply remove them from office.

This is unacceptable and will be challenged by every measure possible loudly and boldly. 

The National Black Council of Elders stands beside Tennessee Democratic Rep. Justin Jones and Rep. Justin Pearson, and again call for their immediate reinstatement and restitution including a formal apology from the legislative body.

Sincerely Yours,
Mwalimu Kabaila, Presiding Elder
National Black Council of Elders (NBCOE)


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