The Equity Alliance proactively advocates for African Americans and other communities of color to have a fair and just opportunity at realizing the American dream. We are a Nashville-based 501(c)3 nonpartisan, non-profit organization that seeks to equip citizens with tools and strategies to engage in the civic process and empower them to take action on issues affecting their daily lives.
Sign our Petition to Restore Voting Rights to 421,000 Tennesseans!
in voter turnout.
Sadly, we also rank 40th in voter registration. In Davidson County, black and brown citizens, particularly those in North Nashville, live in precincts with the lowest voter turnout. This is not by accident.
We must flip this stat on its head.
The Equity Alliance proactively advocates for African Americans and other communities of color to have a fair and just opportunity at realizing the American dream. We are a Nashville-based grassroots non-profit advocacy group that seeks to equip citizens with tools and strategies to engage in the civic process and empower them to take action on issues affecting their daily lives.
What We Do
Monitor legislation, engage in policy research, and hold our state and local elected officials accountable.
Educate communities of color about the political process, about relevant economic, social, and political issues, and how impending legislation will impact their lives.
Engage and Empower citizens to take action and make their voices heard. We resist, persist, join forces, call, write, petition, assemble, and most importantly, vote.
Promote Civic Leadership by encouraging people of color to take leadership roles in shaping policy on the local, state and national level.
Create alliances with individuals and groups in order to present a united front against any economic barriers that seek to marginalize, disenfranchise, or discriminate against people of color and vulnerable populations.
Our work is rooted in a set of guiding principals:
ALL MEANS ALL
We believe that all men and women are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. We must pursue and protect these rights.
COLLECTIVE BUYING POWER
We believe that there is power in numbers. We seek to use our buying power to fuel our voting power.
EDUCATION IS THE GREAT EQUALIZER
We believe that when you know better, you do better. We seek to educate individuals and communities on how to become better informed, engaged, and productive members of society.
“Using our voting power as a weapon in the fight for social justice”
Because we believe that voting in every election is at the core of social change, our work is organized into the following categories:
Tennessee ranks 50th in voter turnout, according to a 2016 study.
Sadly, we also rank 40th in voter registration. In Davidson County, black and brown citizens live in voting precincts with the lowest voter turnout. This is not by accident. We must flip this stat on its head.
Civic engagement and voter participation are essential to preserving and protecting our democracy. But our democracy is systematically suppressing the vote for communities of color through voter ID laws, purging voters from the rolls, reduced polling times and early voting periods, and tough criminal penalties that increase mass incarceration rates.
According to a groundbreaking article in The Atlantic:
Most people adjudicated in the criminal justice system today waive the right to a trial and the host of protections that go along with one, including the right to appeal. Instead, they plead guilty. The vast majority of felony convictions are now the result of plea bargains—some 94 percent at the state level, and some 97 percent at the federal level. Estimates for misdemeanor convictions run even higher. These are astonishing statistics, and they reveal a stark new truth about the American criminal-justice system: Very few cases go to trial.
In Tennessee, 8.2% of the voting population are disenfranchised because of their criminal record. Our state further penalizes the poor based on how much money they have as a condition of getting their voting rights restored, driver’s license reinstated—which is necessary to vote, being released from jail on bond, or whether they can afford to take their case to trial.
Racial ethnic minorities, especially black Americans, played a pivotal role in Barack Obama’s 2008 and 2012 presidential wins. Now, newly released Census Bureau data confirm what many have anticipated: that both minority and black voter turnout took a decided downturn in last November’s elections
According to a Tennessean article, Nashville ranks No. 7 among large metros in wealth segregation and No. 10 among large metros when it comes to income segregation.
Wealthier people are more prone to live among themselves and poverty is more concentrated. This has implications for public safety, the quality of schools and access to good jobs.
That also has the potential to destroy the middle class, stall economic growth and concentrate poverty further.
Our aim is to remove policy barriers that make it difficult for persons of color to make their voice heard in the voting booth. We also aim to increase minority voter turnout through voter registration and education. Use online voter registration or download a Tennessee voter registration application and submit the application to your local county election commission. In order to participate in an election, a qualified voter must be properly registered no later than thirty (30) days before the election.
A felony conviction is life changing, and that’s putting it mildly. Imprisonment, restitution, and stigma are almost insurmountable obstacles for a formerly incarcerated person. The ways in which a conviction of this magnitude disrupts one’s life does not conclude at the end of a jail sentence or probation. Some states strip away the opportunity to … Continue reading The TEA on the Voter Restoration Bill
NASHVILLE, TN – On Wednesday, February 13th, at 2:45 pm, lawmakers, Matthew Charles, advocates and re-entry experts will gather at the Tennessee State Capitol complex in Nashville to discuss new bills (SB 589 / HB 547) that will streamline the voting rights restoration process to Tennesseans with felony convictions who have completed their sentences. The roundtable will … Continue reading The Equity Alliance Joins Legislators, Matthew Charles, Advocates to Discuss New Bills that Will Restore Voting Rights to Tennesseans with Felony Convictions