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, 


U.S. Judge Blocks Tenn. Law Attacking Rights of Voter Registration Groups

NASHVILLE — The Equity Alliance applauded a federal judge’s decision to block a Tennessee law restricting the rights of voter registration groups from taking effect.

In her opinion granting an injunction, U.S. District Judge Aleta Trauger wrote: “There is simply no basis in the record for concluding that the Act will provide much benefit to Tennesseans, and even less reason to think that any benefit will come close to outweighing the harms to Tennesseans (and non-Tennesseans) who merely wish to exercise their core constitutional rights of participating in the political process by encouraging voter registration.”

The Equity Alliance issued a statement after her ruling:

We are overjoyed by U.S. District Judge Aleta Trauger’s decision to block Secretary of State Tre Hargett’s law that unfairly imposes criminal and civil penalties on groups who engage in constitutionally protected voter registration. Judge Trauger saw this baseless and unconstitutional law for what it truly is: voter suppression in its ugliest form. 

This is a giant win for voting rights advocates who fight to ensure that every citizen has a voice. 

Make no mistake about it, this victory is a result of the unstoppable work of The Equity Alliance, a Black-led organization, and the Tennessee Black Voter Project, which submitted about 91,000 voter registration forms for Black and brown Tennesseans in 2018. We are relentless and unapologetic in our pursuit of a fair and just America for all Black citizens. 

Having persevered through 400 years of slavery, Jim Crow laws, and oppressive segregation, black people’s ability to vote and exercise free agency in this country is directly tied to our full personhood, dignity and humanity.

Today’s victory underscores the need for The Equity Alliance to fight back against attacks on our voting rights. We hope Secretary of State Tre Hargett reads every word of this opinion and heeds the court’s advice to make voter registration simpler in Tennessee and to work with voter registration groups who are protected by the U.S. Constitution.

We applaud Judge Trauger’s ruling and look forward to getting back to the necessary work of registering Black voters and advocating for their voting rights.

U.S. Judges Denies Tennessee’s Motion to Dismiss Lawsuit Challenging Voter Suppression Law

The Equity Alliance Applauds Opinion

NASHVILLE – The Equity Alliance, a plaintiff in the lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of a state law targeting voter registration drives with penalties and fines, issued a statement today following U.S. District Judge Aleta Trauger’s ruling against the state of Tennessee. In a 63-page opinion, Judge Trauger denied the state’s motion to dismiss the case — allowing the case to proceed.

Charlane Oliver, president and co-founder of The Equity Alliance:

Judge Aleta Trauger’s ruling in favor of proceeding with The Equity Alliance’s lawsuit against Secretary Tre Hargett’s voter supression law affirms the argument we’ve been making all along. If additional training is needed, the state should have produced new instructions for groups that believe in the power of voter registration. The state should be investing its resources in improving our low voter participation rates instead of suppressing voters. Tennesseans do not want or need a burdensome law that slaps well-meaning groups like The Equity Alliance with irrational $10,000 fines or puts our organizers in jail for making mistakes on forms. While today’s ruling against the state is a victory, we know there is a long path ahead for this lawsuit to prevail and for voter registration groups to receive justice. 

2019 Nashville Voter Guide is now available!

Nashville will soon choose candidates to lead our city for the next four years. And as all the candidates will tell you: our city’s future is at stake and YOU have the power to decide which candidate’s vision is best for your family and our community. 

Early voting starts July 12 at the Howard Office Building downtown and goes until July 27. Election Day is Aug. 1.  

To help with your voting decision, The Equity Alliance is proud to provide you our 2019 Nashville Voter Guide — a free, nonpartisan, public resource for Nashville voters to make an informed choice on Election Day. 

In this guide, you’ll find unbiased candidate profiles, websites where you can find more candidate information, a description of what each elected office does, polling locations and hours, voter ID requirements, a description of Davidson County’s new voting machines, a reminder to fill out your Census form next year and much more. 

Visit www.NashvilleVoterGuide.com NOW to download your FREE copy. 

Thank you to our community partners, DENOR Brands and Public Relations and 529 Graphics, our volunteers and distribution partners for making the 2019 Nashville Voter Guide a quality product and resource for our community. 

If you find this information helpful, consider supporting The Equity Alliance with a contribution

Read it. Download it. Share it with others.

The Equity Alliance Aims to Spotlight Unsung Leaders at Black Women’s Empowerment Brunch

Saturday, July 20, 2019  |  11:00 AM – 1 PM   |   Rocketown

Prepare to be wowed at this year’s Black Women’s Empowerment Brunch for an inspiring, high-energy fundraiser hosted by 92Q’s radio personality Sissy Brown and featuring live music, a spoken word performance by artist Tia Smedley and a powerful keynote speaker.

The event will also feature a live auction with art donated by acclaimed Nashville painter James Threalkill.

Attendees will enjoy a plated meal, mimosas, a cash bar, networking and great conversation — all for a great cause. Proceeds are tax-deductible and help support our programs and initiatives.

Last year’s sold-out event brought together more than 400 community leaders, corporate executives, elected officials and black women from all walks of life to honor the contributions black women are making to politics, government and society.

Join us to honor black women as Pioneers in Politics and Unsung Sheroes!

Empowerment Brunch General Admission – $100
Empowerment Brunch ticket holders will be treated to entertainment, engaging speakers, a plated brunch, mimosas and networking with inspiring black women.

Thank you to our sponsors:

Unity Sponsor
Vanderbilt University 

Media Partner
BAM! Social Business 

Event Production Partner
Phoenix Forrester Events

Phil Bredesen to attend Black Women’s Roundtable Sept. 19


September 17, 2018

Contact: Kyonzte Toombs, Esq.

615-971-6786, theequityalliancefund@gmail.com



Black Women to Sound Off on Roe v. Wade, Issues with Phil Bredesen

The Equity Alliance Fund to gather 30 voters for Black Women’s Roundtable Sept. 19

WHO:                Governor Phil Bredesen

Kyonzte Toombs, The Equity Alliance Fund Board President

Charlane Oliver, The Equity Alliance Board President

30 black women voters

WHAT:              Black Women’s Policy Roundtable. In an effort to leverage our collective voice for the November midterm election in Tennessee, The Equity Alliance Fund – the 501(c)4 advocacy affiliate of The Equity Alliance – and its Black Women for Tennessee coalition is hosting a Black Women’s Policy Roundtable with Governor Phil Bredesen, candidate for U.S. Senate. The roundtable will gather 30 college-educated, black women registered voters to sound off on issues of concern to them and how they want to see their issues championed by Gov. Bredesen, if elected.

WHEN:              Wednesday, September 19, 2018 – 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.

WHERE:            Urban League of Middle Tennessee, 50 Vantage Way, Suite 201, Nashville, TN 37228

WHY:                 As one of the largest and most loyal voting blocs, black women in Tennessee refuse to have their vote and their voice taken for granted. The central issue will be women’s health and reproductive rights and the vulnerability of Roe v. Wade if Judge Brett Kavanaugh is confirmed to the U.S. Supreme Court. Viewpoints shared will be related The Equity Alliance’s Fund Four-Point Policy Agenda: Economic Equality, Education, Criminal Justice Reform, and Voting Rights/Protecting the Ballot. This is the second of two events scheduled with the Bredesen campaign. The first took place on Saturday, July 14 at City Winery, where Gov. Bredesen addressed an audience of more than 400 black women and community leaders at the inaugural Black Women’s Empowerment Brunch hosted by The Equity Alliance.

About Black Women for Tennessee

Black Women for Tennessee is a statewide nonpartisan coalition consisting of 25 black-women-led and women-led organizations and more than 600 individual black women committed join forces to register voters, inform voters, and get voters to the polls for the November 2018 midterm election. Learn more at theequityalliance.org/blackwomenfortn.

About The Equity Alliance Fund

The Equity Alliance Fund is the 501(c)4 affiliate issues advocacy organization for The Equity Alliance, a Nashville-based 501(c)3 nonprofit 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. Our work focuses on Voter Registration, Voter Education, Voter Restoration, Election Protection, Civic Leadership, and Voting Rights Policy. Learn more at theequityalliance.org.

This is a closed, private event. Invitation only.


#BlackVotesMatter: We’ve Got Something to Say About the Alabama Senate Race

Yesterday, the voters of Alabama voted on the right side of history, electing Doug Jones to the U.S. Senate in what was a controversial race against an accused pedophile and bigot, Roy Moore. In a staunchly conservative state, the outcome was far from decisive and was contingent on whether African-American voters in the Black Belt would turn out to vote. Indeed, they came out in record numbers since 2012 with 98% of Black women and 93% of Black men going for Doug Jones. Black voters spoke collectively in a resounding voice to reject systemic oppression and changed the course of history. The nation witnessed that Black Votes Matter.

Source: Washington Post

Worth noting is the significant role that Latino men and women played in giving Jones the extra boost over the finish line.

It is clear that people of color made a difference.

Black voters, particularly Black women, have demonstrated loyalty to the Democratic Party for many years, and we are now witnessing the power of courting this demographic in elections. It’s time to stop taking the Black vote for granted. The Democratic Party owes Black voters in Alabama a HUGE thank you.

Doug Jones has a long history with the black community that motivated voters, given his work as a federal prosecutor who successfully took down two members of the Ku Klux Klan for the notorious 1963 bombing of a Birmingham church that killed four black girls. Deep engagement, long relationships, and lots of trust with black and brown voters is what should gain our vote.

Let this be a lesson to Tennessee politicians that people of color hold the keys to winning any election. Also, let this be a lesson to Black voters in Nashville: when we show up to the polls, we win elections!

And remember: our responsibility as informed and engaged citizens does not end at the voting booth. Voting is just the first step. Holding our elected officials accountable while in office is where the real victory is won.

Order Your Black Votes Matter T-shirt Today!

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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 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. Donate online.

Dr. Pippa Holloway to speak on ‘felony disenfranchisement’ at June 27 meeting


Soros Justice Fellow and Middle Tennessee State University Professor of History Pippa Holloway, Ph.D. joins The Equity Alliance at its June 27 TEAm Meeting to present her talk, “Felony Disenfranchisement: Past, Present, and Strategies for the Future.” The meeting begins at 6 pm at First Baptist Church Capitol Hill, 625 Rosa L Parks Blvd, in the fellowship hall.

Pippa Holloway will discuss her research on the racial motivations behind the expansion of felony disenfranchisement in the post-Civil War South as well as laws in Tennessee today that deny voting rights to a startlingly high number of ex-offenders. Why is Tennessee so far behind the rest of the nation? What strategies have brought changes in other states?

Dr. 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. View her full Curriculum Vitae here.

The Equity Alliance is committed to restoring the voting rights for Nashville’s most vulnerable and disenfranchised communities. As one of our core issues, voting rights are critical to ensuring Africans Americans, Hispanics and other persons of color become productive members of society. Dr. Holloway’s presentation is a great first step to understanding the deep-rooted barriers that keep persons of color oppressed and their vote suppressed.

The TEAm Meeting is open to all volunteers and interested parties. For more information, contact us at info@theequityalliance.org.



Your Gift is Now Tax-Deductible

Help us build minority voting power in Tennessee.

The Equity Alliance has great news to share. We have received 501c(3) tax-exempt status!

Most non-profit organizations understand the importance of achieving this status. For The Equity Alliance, this means we have been recognized by both the State of Tennessee and the federal government as an organization that is mission-focused rather than profit-focused. Our mission to proactively advocate for African Americans and other communities of color to have a fair and just opportunity at realizing the American dream is our primary concern.

That alone is the end goal. And we’ll use our voting power to do it.

For you, this means that the donations you contribute to The Equity Alliance will go towards achieving our mission rather than boosting profits for shareholders. Most importantly, your donations are tax-deductible. We count it a privilege to have supporters like you who believe in the work of The Equity Alliance and are just as committed to improving communities.

This summer, we plan to knock on as many doors as possible to register voters, talk with residents, and collect survey responses. This is all leading up to a report we aim to publish on minority voter turnout in Nashville. To accomplish, this takes resources and manpower.

Will you support us by giving $20 today?

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Thank you for supporting our mission.

Yours in the Fight,

The Equity Alliance Team