Act NOW to Get Our Fair Share

Pandemic Resources Available for Nashville Residents & Small Businesses

Our Fair Share Nashville powered by The Equity Alliance

Nashville:

You spoke, and your city officials listened.

Thank you for making your voice heard by taking the Our Fair Share Survey. The Equity Alliance is extremely proud of the work that the Our Fair Share team of canvassers and community partners poured into the campaign. Because of you, we were able to present 8,505 survey responses to Mayor John Cooper and Metro Government with a report that reflects the hardship, concern, and uncertainty faced during this Covid-19 pandemic by Nashville’s Black and Latino residents and minority-owned small businesses. 

Thanks to your participation, the Metro Covid-19 Financial Oversight Committee, along with Metro Council and Mayor John Cooper, allocated federal CARES Act funding for the following purposes:

Rent, Mortgage, and Utility Relief – $10 Million

$10 million to the United Way of Greater Nashville, to be disbursed to certain partner agencies for rent, mortgage, and utility relief. Call 2-1-1 to find an agency providing these funds.

Food Security & Nutrition – $2.5 Million

$2.5 million to Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee to provide more food to those impacted by COVID-19.

Small Business Relief – $5.7 Million

Other State & Local Resources Available

MDHA Emergency Housing Assistance Program
Short-term rent or mortgage assistance will be provided for up to 3-months in an amount of up to $1,400.00 per month to help low-income persons/households at risk of eviction or foreclosure due to a loss of income because of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.  
APPLY NOW

Tennessee Supplemental Employer Recovery Grant (SERG) Program
On October 7th, 2020, Governor Bill Lee announced the creation of the Supplemental Employer Recovery Grant (SERG) program, a small business relief program designed to reimburse eligible business owners for direct expenses or business interruption costs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The application window will open October 7, 2020 and remain open until December 29, 2020, or until all funds are depleted. Funds will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis.
APPLY NOW

Tennessee Department of Human Resources
Child care and services during Covid-19 are available at no cost.
GET HELP

Unemployment Benefits
Lost your job due to Covid-19? You may be eligible to collect unemployment benefits.
APPLY NOW

Good to Go Program
Good to Go is a hospitality safety program created by The Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp, in cooperation with Vanderbilt Health, Ryman Hospitality Properties and SERVPRO, to help businesses in every industry implement health and safety guidelines.
LEARN MORE

The Equity Alliance makes CARES Act spending recommendations to Mayor Cooper

Statewide non-profit offers framework for protecting working families, voters, minority small businesses and vulnerable populations

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Leaders with The Equity Alliance, a statewide non-profit focused on the civic and economic empowerment of the black community, offered Mayor John Cooper guidance on spending the $121 million of the city’s share of federal CARES Act funding for economic recovery.

In a memo delivered to a working group of community leaders Tuesday, The Equity Alliance Co-Executive Director Charlane Oliver outlined suggested spending to support economically vulnerable and at-risk members of the community. The recommendations included:

  • Increased funding for elections, including PPE for poll workers, bus fare for those without transportation, and more polling locations in minority neighborhoods;
  • Funding for Black-owned businesses, particularly owners with past criminal histories,  whose Small Business Administration loans were denied;
  • Direct payments to struggling working families to recoup unexpected household expenses;
  • Rent and mortgage relief payments for terminated and furloughed workers;
  • Stipends for temporary healthcare plans and COVID-19 testing fees;
  • 14-day quarantine housing and additional halfway houses for recently released prisoners due to Covid-19.

Oliver, a member of Cooper’s working group to address CARES Act spending, said black and immigrant residents, working people, and the economically disadvantaged have been among the hardest hit in Nashville during the economic downturn.

“To jumpstart our local economy, we believe in putting resources directly in people’s hands who have been most impacted. Mayor Cooper has an opportunity to right some past wrongs of previous Administrations by directing these funds to be spent to ensure that Black residents are neither disenfranchised from their civic right to vote nor left behind in the economic recovery. With Black Nashvillians making up 28% of the city’s population, we expect the CARES Act funds to be equitably and proportionately distributed to us,” Oliver said.

The Equity Alliance has been busy responding to economic inequities statewide in the aftermath of tornadoes that destroyed portions of both Nashville and Chattanooga. In addition to distributing more than $19,000 in cash assistance, the group has led efforts to educate homeowners in predominantly Black North Nashville with professional advice on the value of their damaged property. The organization also offered economic relief to black families in Chattanooga struggling to pay insurance premiums after the Easter Sunday tornado.

“The economic downturn brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated inequities in already distressed communities. This is a unique time in Nashville’s history, and it calls for bold leadership and unprecedented shifts in how we uplift historically black neighborhoods which were already struggling that will have the hardest time recovering from this pandemic,” said Tequila Johnson, co-executive director of The Equity Alliance.

The Equity Alliance’s recommendations to Mayor Cooper can be found here.

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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.

The Equity Alliance delivers financial support to Chattanooga tornado victims

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.”

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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.

On The Front Lines

We’ve been on the front lines since disaster struck on March 3rd. Here’s what we’ve been up to.

It’s been a little over a month since the March 3rd tornadoes ripped through North Nashville and parts of Middle Tennessee. I wanted to update you on what we’ve been working on since we sprung into action on Super Tuesday. 

Many of us are anxious about the COVID-19 pandemic that is crippling our healthcare system and our economy. Now more than ever it is critical to support our work to keep Gov. Bill Lee, Secretary Tre Hargett and state lawmakers accountable to the ever-changing dire needs our people face.

This is not the first time we’ve faced crisis and, through it all, we can build power together and demand that African Americans and other communities of color have a fair and just economic opportunities at realizing the American dream. 

TEA has built a track record responding to uncertainty with this infallible truth: power belongs to the People. 

That’s why TEA has been #OnTheFrontLines during this current crisis. Even in the midst of a Safe-At-Home order, we’ve shifted our outreach strategies and tactics to meet continual community needs. Here’s a review of what we’ve accomplished this month:

And this was just in the past 30 days.

But we know the road to recovery will be long as we face an impending economic downturn. That’s exactly why we were founded – to work with you, together, to build power for our people, for the long haul. That’s our model and will always be the way we do this thing: together.

We need your support. The 3rd Annual Black Women’s Empowerment Brunch is scheduled for July 25, 2020 where we will honor Black women #OnTheFrontLines. We would love for you to be involved now: pledge to sponsor a table, invite your friends and colleagues, or make a donation today.

I know these are uncertain times, but TEA is steadfast in what we’ve always set out to do. You can count on us to be #OnTheFrontLines, and we’ll stay there with your continued support. 

Yours in the movement, 

Charlane 

North Nashville Cleanup, Canvass and Homeowner Meetings Scheduled to Assist Tornado Victims

Call to action for attorneys, real estate and insurance professionals to advise residents

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
For media inquiries contact Clint Brewer at (615) 668-4535 or clintbrewer@imperiumstrategiesllc.com.

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

WHEN:

  • 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

WHO:

  • 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.

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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.

We’re Hiring!

Our TEAm is growing! We’re looking for dynamic, bold leaders to fill the following positions: Administrative Assistant, Statewide Organizer, Advocacy Campaign Manager, and Communications Intern. Check out our Jobs & Internships page for full descriptions.

Interested applicants are encouraged to apply by January 27, 2020 and submit a resume and cover letter to jobs@theequityalliance.org.

The Equity Alliance Appoints Four New Board Members

board-of-directors-2020

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Equity Alliance today announced it is expanding its board of directors with the appointment of four new members. Joining The Equity Alliance board are:

  • André Anderson, Jr., personal chief of staff to Bishop Joseph W. Walker, III, of the historic Mt. Zion Baptist Church;
  • Kelby House Garner, Ed.D., Executive Principal for Metro Nashville Public Schools Virtual School;
  • Shawn Joseph, Ed.D., former MNPS superintendent and associate professor of educational leadership and policy studies at Fordham University; and
  • Sylvia Rapoport, founding president of the Centennial Park Conservancy.

Charlane Oliver, co-founder of the Nashville-based nonprofit focused on voting rights advocacy and increasing civic engagement in communities of color, said these board additions mark an important moment for The Equity Alliance, which is approaching its third year of operation.

“These new members are exceptional leaders in Nashville who support the empowerment of black citizens and bring a special talent, dynamic energy and valuable perspective to our voter engagement work,” Oliver said. “As we enter a new season of growth and statewide expansion, The Equity Alliance is fortunate to have them on our team to develop robust programming for the 2020 Census and elections, strengthen our issue advocacy platform, and expand the electorate to be more inclusive for black and brown Tennesseans.”

About The Equity Alliance’s new board members:

Andre’ Anderson serves as personal chief of staff to Bishop Joseph W. Walker, III, at the historic Mt. Zion Baptist Church, where he manages the day-to-day operations of the executive office of the 30,000-member congregation. In September 2019, he launched The Siraaj Agency, a boutique consulting firm specializing in event planning, public relations and consumer engagement. He has provided strategic services for clients and national influencers, including former presidents, cabinet secretaries, members of Congress, local and national elected officials, civil rights activists, faith-based and nonprofit leaders across the country.

Dr. Kelby House Garner, a native of Brownsville, Tenn. and resident of Nashville since 1998, is a true servant leader with a passion for serving the community. Dr. House Garner currently serves as the Executive Principal for Metro Nashville Public Schools Virtual School. She also serves as an adjunct professor at Tennessee State University and Trevecca Nazarene University. House Garner studied educational leadership, earning both an Educational Specialist and Doctor of Education degree. She is a member of Olive Branch Church and the Nashville Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

Dr. Shawn Joseph currently serves as a visiting associate professor at Fordham University’s graduate school of education. His passion for equity and social justice has led him to serve in a number of positions in the world of education. He has been an English teacher, school administrator, central office administrator and superintendent in Maryland, Delaware and Tennessee. His work as the superintendent of Metro Nashville Public Schools resulted in schools that are more equitable and accelerated growth for all student groups in both reading and mathematics.

An award-winning educator, published author and researcher, Dr. Joseph’s focus centers on leading for equity, governance and the superintendency. He earned a doctoral degree in educational administration and policy studies from The George Washington University and a master’s degree from The Johns Hopkins University.  His bachelor’s degree is from Lincoln University, Pennsylvania, America’s oldest Historically Black College.

Sylvia Rapoport, born and raised in Nashville, is the Founding President of Centennial Park Conservancy, where she has increased the organization’s operating budget more than ten-fold and was responsible for launching two of the Nashville community’s free programs for families: Musicians Corner and Kidsville at the Parthenon. Additionally, she led a $30 million capital campaign to revitalize Centennial Park. Rapoport also serves in Congressman Jim Cooper’s office as a Criminal Justice and Sentencing Reform Fellow. She has served in volunteer leadership roles for more than 20 organizations including the Anti-Defamation League, Boston Children’s Museum, Nashville Children’s Theatre, Jewish Foundation of Middle Tennessee and the National Sudden Infant Death Syndrome Foundation. She studied art and history at the University of London with graduate work at Brandeis University.

These four exceptional leaders will join the organization’s current board members, who include: Isaac Addae, Honorable Christiane Buggs, Tequila Johnson, Dustin Jones, Honorable Kyontzé Toombs, and Mariah Williams.

 

Distractions


Photo: The Tennessean

Today, the Davidson County Election Commission voted 5-0 to clear the way for a referendum on the November 6th ballot for a community oversight board. This is a result of the months-long hard work by the Community Oversight Now coalition to add a Metro charter amendment for police accountability. After two black men – Jocques Clemmons and Daniel Hambrick – were gunned down in the back by two white Metro Nashville Police officers within 18 months, the public has once again called for police accountability.

As we said in our statement last week, we support a community oversight board for Nashville. But not everyone thinks so. The Nashville Fraternal Order of Police challenged the validity of the petition signatures today. Now that the ballot measure will go forward, they, yet again, intend to block citizens from engaging in the civic process by appealing the election commission’s decision.

We call these distractions.

On the state level, Governor Bill Haslam granted clemency to four Tennessee inmates last month. Meanwhile, he continues to ignore the national and local outcry to grant clemency for Cyntoia Brown. In response, we sent him this letter.

Does Gov. Haslam think we’ll forget about Cyntoia Brown? We call BS on these distractions.

Yesterday, President Donald Trump called his former White House aide – and the highest ranking black woman on his staff – a “lowlife” “dog.” He continues to ratchet up dog whistle rhetoric directed toward blacks and women. Stay woke, because that same day, Ben Carson, his Secretary of Housing and Urban Development pushed to bring back housing discrimination and segregation.

Again, the president’s tweets are all distractions.

Our recent political climate has been frustrating, to say the least. We get it. You’re feeling hopeless, indifferent, angry, and even defeated.

Stay woke. Be vigilant. Be encouraged. There’s a way out of this, and that’s to vote. Vote out those elected officials who don’t represent your values or value black lives. We want all people of color to have a fair and just opportunity at realizing the American dream. But we know the current status quo can’t continue.

Stay focused. November is coming.

Statement on Daniel Hambrick Fatal Officer-Involved Shooting

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 10, 2018

Like many others in the Nashville community, we were disturbed and outraged at the video released by Nashville District Attorney Glenn Funk of the fatal officer-involved shooting of Daniel Hambrick. The killing of black men and women at the hands of police is a serious matter, as it conjures up a decades-long history of Jim Crow era state-sanctioned racial violence by police in predominantly black communities.

There have been two officer-involved shootings less than two years apart under Chief Steve Anderson’s leadership. Countless other incidents and formal complaints involving black Nashvillians have previously gone unresolved or ignored. The community continues to be distrustful of his leadership based on his refusal or willful neglect to correct and rectify past grievances by residents. In order for any healing and trust to be restored, or for any effective change in policy to occur within the Metro Nashville Police Department, Chief Anderson must not be at the helm. Therefore, we call for Chief Anderson to step down, and if this does not happen, we call on Mayor David Briley to immediately remove him from his position. We also demand that individuals from marginalized communities in Nashville have input in the selection of a new chief.

The Equity Alliance aims 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. We applaud Nashvillians who use tools readily available to them to be engaged in the civic process. This includes the right to petition, the right to peacefully assemble, meeting with their appointed and elected officials and voting, to name a few. When local government impedes on our ability to be engaged citizens, we find this deeply problematic.

In the year leading up to Daniel Hambrick’s death, community groups, constituents and grieving families repeatedly sought meetings with Chief Anderson, only to be turned away and blacklisted. When Gideon’s Army released the evidence-based “Driving While Black” report, it was met with criticism and called “morally disingenuous” by Chief Anderson. When initial efforts to create a community oversight board were launched, local government officials conspired to bring the New York-based Policing Project to Nashville to diminish these efforts. When the Community Oversight Now coalition delivered to Metropolitan Clerk Elizabeth Waites twice the number of petition signatures required to place a proposed charter amendment on the November 6th ballot, she refused to do her job — paid by taxpayers — to certify the petitions. This act of defiance was met with no reprimand or accountability.

These are not merely isolated incidents. But rather collective evidence of a local government that has gone rogue from the people it’s supposed to serve. This is wrong.

During Mayor David Briley’s press conference, he called for a comprehensive review of policing practices. While we appreciate his commitment to working with community leaders to bring police oversight – a stark contrast from the previous administration, we believe his proposal to bring the Policing Project to Nashville falls short. Not only does this undermine the credible work that has already been done by local black-led community organizations, but the optics of this decision sends a message that local black-led groups cannot be trusted with resources to solve our own community issues. Therefore, we stand in solidarity with Community Oversight Now to support a community oversight board in Nashville and urge Mayor Briley to do the same. The signatures of more than 8,200 residents should not be ignored. This is what the people want.

Our hearts and deepest condolences go out to the family and friends of Daniel Hambrick and hope that justice is served for them.

 

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