Statewide non-profit offers support to working-class families
For Immediate Release April 29, 2020
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – The Equity Alliance delivered financial support and supplies to four Chattanooga families in the East Brainerd area that lost their homes and belongings in the Easter Sunday tornado.
Residents of Middle and Southeast Tennessee have been hard hit by tornadoes and bad weather this spring. The Equity Alliance, a statewide non-profit, has marshaled efforts in Nashville and now Chattanooga to bring storm victims relief in predominantly black neighborhoods. Today’s recipient families in Chattanooga are currently displaced and living in hotels, rental properties, and a shelter.
The Equity Alliance leaders said natural disasters typically have a more devastating effect on the finances and quality of life of working-class families. These hardships are compounded by the financial downturn associated with the Covid-19 pandemic.
“This is a very difficult time for working-class families in Tennessee. Our communities have been destroyed by storms, and we live with the constant threat of sickness due to the pandemic. Those factors compounded by a historically bad economy means working people in Tennessee need help,” said Tequila Johnson, co-founder and co-executive director of The Equity Alliance.
Johnson added that in the aftermath of natural disasters, homeowners in economically disadvantaged areas are sometimes targeted by predatory real estate investors looking to buy damaged homes for well below market price. The Equity Alliance has built a network of property appraisers, mortgage bankers, real estate agents and other professionals to help homeowners make informed decisions.
“It is important that we level the playing field for every storm victim,” Johnson said. “Homeowners need to understand their options before making a decision to sell their property. We can connect Tennesseans in need with the right professionals so that they can make informed decisions.”
Our tornado relief efforts began with helping our North Nashville residents after the March 3rd tornado, but when a tornado ripped through Chattanooga over Easter weekend, we jumped into action to help out there as well. Our team was on the ground today distributing help to those that have been displaced, and checking in on the residents’ needs.
Our movement is bigger than Nashville, we are here to help communities of color all across Tennessee. If you or someone you know is needing assistance from the North Nashville tornado or the Chattanooga tornado, please have them fill out the Tornado Relief request form.
Watch the reaction of a Chattanooga families as we gifted them with $1,000 check and supplies to weather the COVID-19 crisis.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – In the wake of the devastating tornadoes that ripped through Nashville, The Equity Alliance is organizing two events to assist North Nashville residents in reclaiming their neighborhoods and protecting their property.
A massive cleanup and canvassing operation to protect the hardest hit areas in North Nashville will take place Sunday, March 8. More than 300 volunteers have already signed up to walk door-to-door to take inventory of the damages of each home and clean up debris.
The event is an effort to inform local homeowners and tenants of the organization’s community event taking place the following day to help them navigate their options for rebuilding their properties.
“It is important that residents in North Nashville understand their options before making decisions about their damaged homes and properties, “said TEA Co-Founder and Executive Director Charlane Oliver. “We have already witnessed first-hand elderly residents and others getting quick offers on the street by individuals looking to make a profit from their misfortune. We are asking for the professionals in relevant fields to offer their time pro-bono to these citizens to help them make the best decisions about their property.”
WHAT: North Nashville community clean up and canvass followed by homeowner’s meetings
Cleanup and Canvass – Sunday, March 8, 3 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Homeowner’s Meetings – Monday, March 9, 12 p.m. and 6 p.m.
WHERE: Lee Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church, 1200 Dr DB Todd Jr Blvd, Nashville, TN 37208
Councilwoman Kyonzte Toombs, District 2 (Homeowner’s Meetings)
Councilwoman At-Large Zulfat Suara (Homeowner’s Meetings)
Gene Burse, AICP, Metro Planning Department
Kelly Bonadies, DeLisa Guerrier, and Lee Mollette – real estate developers
Miranda Christy, Christopher Cotton, Jennifer Horne, Marcus Shute – attorneys
Jeff McGruder, Pinnacle Financial Partners
Jason Egly, Farmers Insurance Agency
Childcare, language interpretation services, and food will be provided.
About The Equity Alliance:
Founded in November 2016 by six black women, the mission of The Equity Alliance is to proactively advocate 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. Learn more at www.theequityalliance.org or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
Happy Juneteenth! Today is our Independence Day! A day to celebrate and reflect.
The Emancipation Proclamation ended slavery in the United States on January 1, 1863, but it was not until June 19, 1865, two and a half years later, that word reached Galveston, Texas that slavery had been abolished.
While this country has come a long way since June 1865, the work to ensure that Black people can exercise our full rights as citizens to shape this democracy to its fullest potential still remains.
That’s why today we are proud to announce our partnership with 12 Black-led organizations across the country and our national partners, Black Progressive Action Coalition (BPAC) and BlackPAC, to launch Black Citizenship In Action.
Over the next two years in states across the country, from Michigan to California and from Louisiana to Ohio, local partners like The Equity Alliance will hold local events that deepen our community’s shared understanding of our past and present, our rights as citizens, sharpen our analysis of the political landscape in which we are operating, and collectively develop winning strategies to demand a country that values our lives and strives toward justice and equality.
Monday, April 15 4:00 p.m. CT Tennessee State Capitol 600 Dr. MLK Jr. Blvd., Nashville, TN 37243
Please arrive at 3:45 pm CT. We will begin the rally shortly after. We will then walk to the House Chambers to let our state legislators know to oppose HB1079 before the floor vote at 5 p.m.
Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett is proposing new restrictions and penalties for voter registration drives in Tennessee.
Secretary Hargett’s proposal would create restrictive regulations and the country’s most aggressive penalties* for voter registration drives that don’t precisely follow their new regulations — up to a $10,000 fine and a criminal misdemeanor.
Although we have numerous concerns about specific provisions of the bill, we believe that, if enacted, the overall effect of the bill will be to deter third-party individuals and groups from engaging in constitutionally protected activity of helping others vote. It is the combination of seemingly innocuous preregistration requirements such as preregistration, training, certifying that one will obey the law, providing tracking numbers for mailing of registration forms, ensuring that there are no “deficient” forms—in the context of potentially draconian criminal and civil penalties—that will have a chilling effect on voter registration drives. The bill’s text and application are overbroad, confusing, ambiguous, and worst of all needlessly intimidating. Even with Representative Rudd’s proposed amendment that exempts unpaid individuals and groups registering voters from the bill’s requirements, the bill threatens to punish community members, faith groups, and civic organizations that, in good faith, lawfully run drives that register eligible voters who otherwise would not have registered.
ACT NOW! On Monday, April 15th, the full House of Representatives will be voting on HB1079 (Rudd), which seeks to impose restrictive regulations on organizations and community volunteers doing voter registration drives. If passed, this would create the country’s most aggressive penalties for voter registration drives that don’t follow the new regulations – up to $10,000 fine and a criminal misdemeanor.
At a time when our state has one of the country’s lowest voter participation rates, Tennessee should be looking for ways to encourage voter engagement – not suppress it. Instead of fighting for reforms that actually increase voter participation, like same-day registration and automatic voter registration at the DMV, this bill would penalize voter registration drives.
Will you take 1 minute to send a message to the committee members and urge them to keep voter registration legal in TN by voting NO on SB0971(Jackson)/HB1079(Rudd)?
Here is The Equity Alliance toolkit. It has talking points, messaging, event info on the Tuesday press conference, a link to the call to action tool to email all elected officials on the state and local committee, sample phone scripts and phone numbers for all legislators!
As a recap to Soul to the Polls and as we gear up for the next August midterm election, local prominent faith leaders will share about the importance of “Faith-Based Political Engagement” and their experience partnering with The Equity Alliance for Souls to the Polls. This month’s TEAm meeting will be a call to action for other faith leaders (of any denomination) to get involved with nonpartisan voter registration and turnout.
The Equity Alliance board members will also share upcoming initiatives and opportunities that guests in attendance can participate in for the August 2nd election. Come prepared to take action and get to work!
SPEAKERS: Pastor James Turner, II, New Hope Missionary Baptist Church and President of Interdenominational Ministers Fellowship (IMF) Pastor John Faison, Sr., Watson Grove Baptist Church Bishop Joseph Walker, III, Mt. Zion Baptist Church
Free and open to the public.
The Equity Alliance hosts a TEAm meeting on the last Tuesday of each month at 6 p.m. at Lee Chapel AME Church. Meetings are open to the public and interested volunteers.
THE EQUITY ALLIANCE & THE INTERDENOMINATIONAL MINISTER’S FELLOWSHIP TO HOST “VOTING IS LIT” COMMUNITY BLOCK PARTY
Nonprofit aims to increase African-American turnout during first Saturday of early voting April 21
Nashville, Tenn. (APRIL 9, 2018) – On the heels of releasing its inaugural Nashville Voter Guide with more than 929 downloads in its first two weeks, The Equity Alliance is now gearing up for its Community Block Party to energize the community during the May 1 primary election early voting period. The “Voting is Lit” Community Block Party will be held Saturday, April 21 from Noon to 4 p.m. at Hartman Park Community Center, located at 2801 Tucker Road near the Bordeaux Library precinct.
The event will include a kid’s corner, live performances, a Greek showcase and stroll off featuring local fraternities and sororities, music, food and a party bus to shuttle attendees to go vote at the Bordeaux Library. Robert “Black Rob” Higgins will be hosting along with local 92Q on-air personality DJ C-Wiz.
“There are several reasons that hinder voter turnout in Nashville, including lack of education and awareness of who’s on the ballot,” said The Equity Alliance Founder and Board President Charlane Oliver, “One of the steps we took this year was to educate the community by releasing the 2018 Nashville Voter Guide. The next step is to engage the community with programs and events like this one.”
Early voting has its advantages. Citizens can vote at any early voting location that is most convenient and can vote during a time that best fits their personal schedule. Through their partnership with the Interdenominational Minister’s Fellowship (IMF) to launch Souls to the Polls, The Equity Alliance will shuttle attendees to vote at the Bordeaux Library precinct throughout the event.
“Research has shown that when poll parties are held near a voting precinct in a predominantly African-American neighborhood, voter turnout is likely to increase,” says Tequila Johnson, The Equity Alliance co-founder, vice president and event organizer. “We are so appreciative of organizations like IMF. The support of the Nashville churches and other organizations across the city has been vital to our mission to build coalitions and alliances.”
The mission of The Equity Alliance is to increase minority voter participation and foster civic engagement. Tennessee ranks 50th in voter turnout and 40th in voter registration. In Davidson County, people of color live in precincts with the lowest voter turnout.
Established in January 2017, The Equity Alliance proactively advocates for communities of color to have a fair and just opportunity at realizing the American dream. As a Nashville-based, nonpartisan, 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, The Equity Alliance equips citizens with tools and strategies to engage in the civic process and empower them to take action on issues affecting their daily lives. Our work is achieved through four areas: Voter Registration, Voter Education, Voter Restoration, and Voting Rights. Learn more at www.theequityalliance.org or follow on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
‘The Great White Hoax’ Film Screening and Panel Discussion
The Equity Alliance invites you to a free screening of the short film, The Great White Hoax, on Thursday, November 30, at 5:30 p.m. at Lee Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church, located at 1200 Dr. D.B. Todd Jr. Blvd. in Nashville. Immediately following the screening, we will host a panel discussion featuring experts in politics, voter turnout, and community relations.
The panel will include: John Faison, Sr., Pastor of Watson Grove Missionary Baptist Church; Kristal Knight, Executive Director of Emerge Tennessee; Dr. Pippa Holloway, a local organizer and MTSU Professor of History; and Vonda McDaniel, President of the Central Labor Council of Nashville/Middle Tennessee and Vice President to the National Executive Council of the AFL-CIO.
The panel discussion will dissect the film in a nonpartisan way and provide insight and concrete steps on what community members can do to ensure more people are registered to vote, more people actually do vote, and more people are engaged in the political process.
Food will be provided by The Post East, Olive Garden, and Coco’s Italian Market.
Doors open at 5:30 p.m. The film starts at 6:00 p.m. Panel discussion begins at 7:40 p.m. Immediately following the panel, we will have a voter registration drive to register to vote onsite! The event is free and open to the public.
About The Film
The explosive, thought-provoking film features acclaimed anti-racist educator and author and Nashville resident Tim Wise. It explores how American political leaders of both parties have been tapping into white anxiety, stoking white grievance, and scapegoating people of color for decades to divide and conquer working-class voters and shore up political support.
The film’s primary focus is Donald Trump’s race-baiting 2016 campaign for the presidency. But it also widens its scope to show how Trump’s charged rhetoric about African-Americans, Latinos, and Muslims fits within a longstanding historical pattern, offering a stunning survey of how racism and racial scapegoating have shaped American politics for centuries.
John R. Faison, Sr. is the Senior Pastor of Watson Grove Baptist Church in Nashville, Tennessee, affectionately known as “The Grove,” where they endeavor to be “A GROWING church for GROWING people whom Christ will use in GROWING His Kingdom.” A native of Boykins, Virginia, Pastor Faison earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Virginia State University in Petersburg, Virginia and a Master of Arts in Practical Theology from Regent University in Virginia Beach, Virginia. He is currently pursuing a Doctor of Ministry degree at Payne Theological Seminary in Wilberforce, Ohio. Under Pastor Faison’s leadership, God is using The Grove to impact the city of Nashville and beyond with tremendous effectiveness. Since his arrival in March 2012, the congregation has grown from 300 to over 1900 members. Additionally, several innovative ministry initiatives have launched and powerfully impacted the community, making Pastor Faison a “go-to” resource for a city seeking to respond to its own unprecedented growth. He is a passionate advocate for community transformation and development, as seen in his work as an HIV/AIDS National Ambassador with the NAACP (theblackchurchandhiv.org), mentor in public school districts, advisor to several community organizations, and member of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Incorporated.
Kristal Knight joined Emerge Tennessee as the Executive Director in late February 2017. She brings a host of presidential and local campaign experience to the job. She began her political career as a Field Organizer for then-Mayor Adrian Fenty’s Washington, D.C. reelection campaign. From there. she served as a Regional Field Director for the reelection of President Barack Obama in 2012 in Philadelphia, PA and returned to D.C. to serve on his Presidential Inaugural Committee in 2013. Most recently, she worked on the Hillary Clinton campaign in 2016, helping with export operations to Virginia and Pennsylvania. She is passionate about expanding the opportunities for women and people of color in politics and has served on many local and community boards in Washington, D.C. A native of Memphis, Tennessee, Kristal holds a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Howard University and a Masters in International Public Policy from University College London in the UK.
Dr. Pippa Holloway is the author of three books, including Living in Infamy: Felon Disfranchisement and the History of American Citizenship (Oxford Books), and is a 2007 Soros Justice Fellow. She earned her doctorate in history from The Ohio State University, master’s degree in history from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and her undergraduate degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is a Soros Justice Fellow and Middle Tennessee State University Professor of History. View her full Curriculum Vitae here.
Vonda McDaniel is president of the the Central Labor Council of Nashville and Middle Tennessee and has recently been named vice president to the National Executive Council of the AFL-CIO. Vonda was elected to the leadership position by delegates at the National Convention of the AFL-CIO in St. Louis. Vonda, a United Steelworker member at the Bridgestone/Firestone Plant in La Vergne, has worked as president of the Central Labor Council since 2013. The council operates as a federation of multiple local unions representing more than 19,000 workers. In Metro, Vonda is serving her second term as a member on the Nashville Convention Center Authority after getting reappointed by Mayor Megan Barry in 2015.
CLOUD HILL DEVELOPERS SEEK COMMUNITY INPUT ON FORT NEGLEY, GREER STADIUM REDEVELOPMENT PROJECT
Bert Mathews to speak at The Equity Alliance’s Aug. 29 meeting
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Cloud Hill Partnership developers are seeking the community’s input on their plans to redevelop the old Greer Stadium property that sits adjacent to Fort Negley in south Nashville. Bert Mathews, one of three individuals leading the Cloud Hill development team, will address concerns and clear up misinformation during a community meeting Tuesday, Aug. 29 at 6 p.m. at First Baptist Church Capitol Hill, 625 Rosa L. Parks Blvd. The meeting is hosted by The Equity Alliance, a nonprofit advocacy organization that encourages people of color to be civically engaged voters.
Since Cloud Hill Partnership was awarded the bid in January to redevelop Greer Stadium, the group has been met with backlash from community groups who want to preserve the property as open green space and honor the unique history of Fort Negley. The Civil War-era fort is believed to be the gravesite of hundreds of former slaves and free blacks who fought and died while building the fort.
The Equity Alliance has invited a representative from the Friends of Fort Negley to attend the meeting to offer a balanced, historical perspective on the issue.
Charlane Oliver, board president for The Equity Alliance, will facilitate the discussion.
“We appreciate that the Cloud Hill team reached out to The Equity Alliance to lead a discussion on how to best honor the historical significance of Fort Negley’s past while shaping Nashville’s future growth,” said Oliver. “As a champion for creating informed voters, we want to ensure all interested parties are invited to the discussion.”
Community members are encouraged to bring questions. The meeting is free and open to the public. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
About The Equity Alliance
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. Established in January 2017, The Equity Alliance is a Nashville-based 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that encourages people of color to become active participants in government through Advocacy, Civic Engagement and Civic Leadership and empowers them to take action on issues affecting their daily lives in an effort to bring about equitable, systemic change in their communities. Learn more at www.theequityalliance.org or follow on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram
Want to know what criminal justice and education bills were passed and debated this year in the Tennessee General Assembly? How will the Metro Council’s budget affect you and your neighborhood?
Join us on Tuesday, July 25 at 6 p.m. at First Baptist Church Capitol Hill to hear first-hand from our state and local elected officials. In our effort to bring equitable change to communities of color by building informed, engaged minority voters, we’ll discuss everything from body cameras and teacher pay raises to new developments and traffic congestion. Bring your questions!
Confirmed Panelists include:
Rep. Brenda Gilmore
House District 54
Member House Finance, Ways and Means Committee
Rep. Harold Love, Jr.
House District 58
Member, House Finance, Ways and Means Committee
Member, House Education Instruction and Programs Committee
Councilwoman Erica Gilmore
At-Large Metro Council Member
Budget & Finance Committee Member
Councilwoman Tanaka Vercher
Metro Council Member for District 58
Vice Chair, Budget & Finance Committee
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Equity Alliance, a new 501(c)3 nonprofit organization focused on building informed and engaged minority voters, is hosting a voter registration drive Thursday, July 13 at 5:30 p.m. at the popular pizza spot, Slim & Husky’s Pizza Beeria.
Patrons who register on the spot will be entered to win a free Slim and Husky’s pizza.
Capitalizing on the long wait line, volunteers from The Equity Alliance will also conduct a three-question survey asking about previous voting behavior.
“There is a culture and mentality in the African-American community of believing that one’s vote does not matter,” said Board President Charlane Oliver. “We are interested in learning what factors drive this behavior, and how can The Equity Alliance improve our efforts to change the mentality around voting as a mechanism for social change.”
Tennessee currently ranks 50th in voter turnout and 40th in voter registration, according to nonpartisan think tank Think Tennessee.
In Tennessee, voters can be purged from the voter rolls if he or she fails to respond to notices to update their registration record over a period of two consecutive November elections. This can disproportionately lead to voter suppression in communities of color where there is a history of frequently changing addresses.
Patrons will have the opportunity to update their voter contact information during the voter drive. The event will end at sundown.
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. Established in January 2017, The Equity Alliance is a Nashville-based 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that seeks to eliminate policy barriers related to criminal justice reform, voting rights and public education; equip citizens with tools and strategies to engage in the civic process; and empower them to take action on issues affecting their daily lives in an effort to bring about equitable, systemic change in our communities. Learn more at www.theequityalliance.org or follow on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.