Status of Exclusion Rep. Justin Jones was expelled from office less than a week ago for taking part in a rally against gun violence. Still, the Metro Council of Nashville voted unanimously to reinstate him.
After the vote, Jones and Democratic state representative Gloria Johnson entered the House chamber hand in hand, Jones with a raised fist. The audience cheered for the two of them.
“I want to welcome the people back to the people’s house,” he said as he addressed the House. “I’m hopeful for the days ahead for Tennessee, not because of the actions of this body, but because of the actions of the people out there, the thousands gathered outside this chamber right now, who are calling for something better.”
“We will continue to be your voice here,” he said. “And no expulsion, no attempt to silence us will stop us, but it will only galvanize and strengthen our movement. And we will continue to show up in the people’s House.”
On April 9, Randi Weingarten posted a tweet on his official Twitter profile. Have a look at the whole tweet provided below-
This. "We called for you all to ban assault weapons and you respond with an assault on democracy," state Rep. Justin Jones told his Republican colleagues. https://t.co/P1l9f2kMaR
— Randi Weingarten 🇺🇦🇺🇸💪🏿👩🎓 (@rweingarten) April 8, 2023
On Thursday, a vote was taken and passed by a Republican supermajority in the Tennessee House to oust Black Democratic Representative Justin Pearson and Jones. Johnson, who also participated in the demonstration, avoided expulsion by a razor-thin margin.
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On Monday, protesters planned to gather at the state capitol when the House was called back into session. Jones promised to “continue to fight for our constituents” in an appearance with NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday.
Nashville’s Metro Council, the legislative body responsible for making the appointment, had a special meeting last week to discuss potential candidates. Some members of the Metro Council expressed their support for reappointing Jones to the state legislature.
“He is duly elected by the community, we have to uphold their wishes, and I 100 percent believe our body will vote to put my representative back in office,” Porterfield said told WTVF.
“The community duly elects him, we have to uphold their wishes, and I 100% believe our body will vote to put my representative back in the office,” Porterfield said before the vote.
On Wednesday, the Shelby County Commission will decide whether to reappoint Pearson, who represents Memphis.
Yet, even if both are brought back this week, it will only be for now. To schedule the special election required under the expulsion, Republican Governor Bill Lee must sign a writ of election. Only two people have been kicked out of the House of Representatives since the Civil War.
After a shooting at a Nashville school on March 27 killed three children and three adults, the Tennessee House voted to expel Jones, Pearson, and Johnson for advocating for tighter gun legislation on March 30 at the state Capitol.
Carl Quintanilla posted a tweet on his official Twitter account @carlquintanilla on April 10. You may read the entire tweet published below-
“We’ve been on a path toward greater ideological or partisan polarization for a long time.. But what is really unique about a handful of states, including #Tennessee, is the growing divide over the basic functioning of democracy.”@WSJ @GingerOtis https://t.co/wDfgJy0rW8
— Carl Quintanilla (@carlquintanilla) April 10, 2023
According to legislators, Johnson was spared the fate of Jones and Pearson, partly because she did not pick up a bullhorn and address the crowd. However, Johnson, a White woman, said she could avoid being voted out because she is a “60-year-old White woman and they are two young Black men.”
“I think our presence as young Black voices for our constituencies, people who will not bow down, those who will not be confirmed, that’s what put a target on us the day we walked in the Tennessee General Assembly,” Jones told NBC on Sunday. “I mean, this is the first time in Tennessee history we had a completely partisan expulsion by predominantly White caucus — all but one member of their caucus is white out of 75 members — and we are the two youngest Black lawmakers in Tennessee.”
We’ve included a tweet with more information below. This tweet shared by SEIU on April 8th-
Outrageous! Tennessee Republicans ousted two Black lawmakers (but spared one white lawmaker) who spoke out against gun violence. This is a blatant attack on our democracy and the ability of union members and Black voters to have our voices heard. https://t.co/J4ofkszUCh
— SEIU (@SEIU) April 8, 2023
The fight in Tennessee’s state capitol has captured people’s attention nationwide. Some call Jones, Pearson, and Johnson the “Tennessee Three,” On Friday, Vice President Kamala Harris rushed to Nashville to meet with them. Speaking at Nashville’s historically Black Fisk University, Harris was met with thunderous acclaim and many standing ovations after she claimed that Jones, Pearson, and Johnson were being repressed for fighting “for the safety of our children.”
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Frequently Asked Questions
How Did Justin Jones Get Expelled?
Jones, Pearson, and Johnson, dubbed the “Tennessee three,” risked expulsion for protesting gun control after three students and three staff members were slain in a shooting at The Covenant School on March 27.
When Was Justin Jones Expelled?
Republicans advocated for the drastic and unusual step of removing the lawmakers. Jones and Pearson were removed from office on April 6, while Johnson narrowly avoided expulsion by one vote.
What About Justin Pearson Tennessee?
Justin Jamal Pearson (born January 7, 1995) is a politician from the United States. He served in the Tennessee House of Representatives, representing the 86th district, which included parts of Memphis.