In Mississippi, a state with a 40 % Black inhabitants, the governor declared April as Accomplice Legacy Month. The poisonous venom of racism permeating the veins of our nation turns into extra conspicuous each passing day.
That’s why in Tennessee, a state fraught with racist historical past and a Capitol that only recently eliminated a bust of the primary grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, the state legislature’s vote to expel two Black lawmakers however exonerate a 3rd protester, a white girl, was par for the course.
Consultant Gloria Johnson of Knoxville was spared, however her two freshmen Democratic colleagues, Justin Jones of Nashville and Justin Pearson of Memphis, had been expelled, and endured essentially the most extreme penalty potential, for main the identical “disorderly” gun reform chants that briefly disrupted Home proceedings.
The vocal protest occurred three days after three 9-year-olds and three adults had been murdered at The Covenant College in Nashville.
Democratic Consultant Sam McKenzie of Knoxville, chairman of the Tennessee Black Caucus of State Legislatures, spoke to Knox Information late Thursday evening (April 6) after the vote. He was beat up, drained out, worn down.
“It is a unhappy day for the state of Tennessee as a result of I feel what occurred is the highlight of what we’ve been enduring was uncovered to the nation, actually to the world,” he stated. “There’s simply been a systemic push, a gradual drum beat of marginalization each as a Democrat after which, as you see right now, as a Black man.”
Tennessee is a state the place lawmakers wish to thwart efforts to honor John Lewis and as an alternative acknowledge Donald Trump. That is the state the place GOP Consultant Paul Sherrell suggests utilizing lynching as a type of execution.
The reality is there’s a nationwide assault on Black, Indigenous and other people of shade all through the U.S. Ladies’s rights are being obliterated by an uncaring energy construction. The oppression extends into the homosexual and transgender inhabitants. Political ideology and blatant racism have fused into a component of oppression not seen because the Jim Crow Period.
Earlier than he was ousted, Tennessee lawmaker Justin Jones drew a parallel between what he known as the state’s “darkish, darkish historical past” and what Republican lawmakers did in voting his ouster.
“What you’re actually displaying for the world is holding up a mirror to a state that’s going again to some darkish, darkish roots,” he stated.
“A state during which the Ku Klux Klan was based is now trying one other energy seize by silencing two of the youngest Black representatives and one of many solely Democratic girls on this physique. That’s what that is about, allow us to be actual right now.”
“What we noticed yesterday in Tennessee was an assault on democracy and really overt racism, as you may see the 2 youngest Black lawmakers had been kicked out, however our colleague, my pricey sister Gloria Johnson, a white girl, was not,” Jones stated. “We see clearly, the nation has seen clearly, what’s going on in Tennessee.
“That is what we’ve been difficult all session, was a really poisonous, racist work setting the place we aren’t even allowed to talk,” he continued.
“That’s why we went to the nicely as a result of the Speaker wouldn’t name on us (and) he turned off our microphones. He dominated us out of order any time we introduced up the problem of gun violence. After I went outdoors to help the protesters, he turned off my voting machine so I couldn’t even forged a vote on the Home flooring.
“That is what we’ve handled all session, and yesterday the nation was in a position to see that we don’t have democracy in Tennessee, significantly in terms of Black and brown communities.”
Don’t be misled. Tennessee is a mere microcosm of racism and bigotry all through the south and in different stretches of this nation in each overt and refined methods. The Chilly Warfare of Racism is underway, however there might be no simple submission. The extra Individuals confront, the more durable they may combat. That is just the start.
CIRCLE CITY CONNECTION by Vernon A. Williams is a collection of essays on myriad subjects that embody social points, human curiosity, leisure and profiles of difference-makers who’re forging change in a consistently evolving society. Williams is a 40-year veteran journalist based mostly in Indianapolis, IN – generally known as The Circle Metropolis. Ship feedback or inquiries to: [email protected]