Up to date, 1:03 p.m. 4/7/23 with feedback from the Michigan Legislative Black Caucus.
A letter signed by 267 legislators throughout 35 states, together with 22 Michigan lawmakers, stood in solidarity with three Tennessee legislators going through expulsion for main an April 3 protest in opposition to gun violence.
Regardless of that, Tennessee’s Republican-controlled Home of Representatives on Thursday voted to expel two Black lawmakers, Rep. Justin Jones and Rep. Justin Pearson, whereas narrowly failing to oust a 3rd Rep., Rep. Gloria Johnson, who’s white. The contentious vote got here every week after the three Democrats led a gun reform protest within the chamber following a mass capturing at a Nashville faculty.
Stockard on the Stump: World watches Home kick out two reps for 15 seconds of protest
The letter, despatched by State Innovation Alternate (SiX), mentioned it was “anti-democratic” to silence the lawmakers for exercising their constitutional proper to protest.
“There may be nothing ‘disorderly’ about courageously standing in solidarity with the individuals we’re elected to serve, in opposition to the gun foyer that continues to profiteer off of an epidemic they’ve fueled,” said the letter. “The Tennessee State Capitol is the individuals’s home, and Representatives Justin Jones, Justin Pearson, and Gloria Johnson exemplified management on the Home flooring this week by standing up for what’s proper.”
The expulsions, the first-ever in Tennessee State Home historical past for allegedly violating Home guidelines, observe incidents in Florida and Oklahoma the place lawmakers had been arrested and stripped of their committees, respectively, for opposing assaults on their constituents’ elementary freedoms.
“Let’s be clear, the vote to expel Reps. Gloria Johnson, Justin Jones, and Justin Pearson is simply one other anti-democratic effort to silence the American individuals for talking out in opposition to the devastating penalties of gun violence,” mentioned Neha Patel, Co-Govt Director of the State Innovation Alternate (SiX). “Calling for gun security throughout the individuals’s home is an instance of our democracy in motion, expelling lawmakers for standing for what they consider in is just not.”
No matter Thursday’s expulsions, Patel says SiX will proceed to struggle for the rights of lawmakers to overtly advocate for the rights of their constituents.
“Gun violence impacts all of us, particularly the Black and brown communities many legislators in Tennessee signify,” mentioned Patel. “Finally, these sorts of actions current clear and current hazard to our nation and our democracy, and we should not enable it.”
The next Michigan legislators, all Democrats, signed the letter:
Rep. Noah Arbit (D-West Bloomfield)
Rep. Erin Byrnes (D–Dearborn)
Rep. Tyrone Carter (D-Detroit)
Rep. Betsy Coffia (D-Traverse Metropolis)
Rep. Emily Dievendorf (D-Lansing)
Rep. Kimberly Edwards (D- Eastpointe)
Rep. Jenn Hill (D-Marquette)
Rep. Jason Hoskins (D-Southfield)
Rep. Sharon MacDonell. (D-Troy)
Rep. Donavan McKinney (D-Detroit)
Rep. Jason Morgan (D-Ann Arbor)
Rep. Veronica Paiz (D-Harper Woods)
Rep. Natalie Value (D-Berkley)
Rep. Ranjeev Puri (D-Canton)
Rep. Carrie Rheingans (D-Ann Arbor)
Rep. Phil Skaggs (D-East Grand Rapids)
Rep. Lori Stone (D-Warren)
Rep. Penelope Tsernoglou (D-East Lansing)
Rep. Dylan Wegela (D-Backyard Metropolis)
Rep. Jimmie Wilson Jr. (D-Ypsilanti)
Sen. Stephanie Chang (D-Detroit)
Sen. Erika Geiss (D-Taylor)
The Michigan Legislative Black Caucus (MLBC) on Friday issued a press release calling the expulsions of two Black Tennessee lawmakers “unconstitutional” and “one more instance of the systemic racism that also exists on this nation—even within the halls of legislative energy.”
“The Common Meeting narrowly voting to protect the seat of the one white girl of the ‘Tennessee Three’ was a blatantly racist motion, rooted in Jim Crow techniques,” mentioned Rep. Amos O’Neal (D–Saginaw), MLBC government vice chair.
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