News

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.

RSVP:

 

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

Repealing Obamacare Hurts Millions of Tennesseans

We need your help.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) just released a report estimating that 14 million Americans will be uninsured by the end of 2018 and 23 million uninsured by 2026. Medicaid, the program that insures millions of poor and disabled Americans, will be slashed by $834 billion dollars. And 1.27 million Tennesseans–including thousands of low-income, minority, disabled, young, and elderly residents–will be at risk.

Earlier this month, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the American Health Care Act (i.e. Trumpcare) to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), and the new law could make health insurance financially out of reach for some poor and sick Tennesseans. The bill passed without knowing the costs to taxpayers, without committee hearings, and without testimony from experts and stakeholders. The bill also punishes those with pre-existing conditions such as people with mental illness, cancer, heart disease, C-sections, victims of rape, sexual assault and domestic violence, and, mammograms

This bill is unacceptable. This does NOT bring more #EquityinTN. People’s lives are at stake.

Even worse, 13 white male Republicans who are meeting behind closed doors to draft their own version of the bill. Meeting in secrecy, with no women, minorities or bipartisanship at the table, is also not okay. Trumpcare must be stopped.

You have an opportunity to shape the outcome of a monumental piece of legislation. We have to work together to take a stand NOW. Here’s what you can do today:

  1. Write a letter.
  2. Call your Senators and tell them to vote NO on Trumpcare:
  • Lamar Alexander: 615-736-5129 (Nashville office) or 202-224-4944 (Washington DC)
  • Bob Corker: 615-279-8125 (Nashville) or 202-224-3344 (Washington DC)
  • Use this simple script.
  1. Retweet this.
  2. Share, Like, Love, and Comment on our Facebook post.
  3. Become informed. Read this New York Times article highlighting how each Representative voted. Does your Representative actually represent your interests?

Why does this matter?

  • 578,000 Tennesseans are expected to become uninsured under Trumpcare.
  • Tennessee’s children, seniors, and people with disabilities who rely on Medicaid will lose coverage under Trumpcare.
  • 27 million Tennesseans have pre-existing conditions, such as asthma, obesity, allergies, ear infection, and even rape.
  • Millions of Tennesseans will see huge increases in their premiums, including both those on the Marketplace and on employer-sponsored insurance under Trumpcare.
  • Millions of privately insured Americans will once again face lifetime and annual caps under Trumpcare.
  • The bill provides hundreds of tax breaks to families making over $250K per year.

Many of the same lawmakers who voted to pass Trumpcare found ways to exempt themselves from some of the most unpopular components of the law, such as keeping coverage for pre-existing conditions and coverage of essential health benefits. Self-serving politics is not okay. The lack of concern for the people who need health care coverage the most is not okay and does not bring more #EquityinTN.

The Equity Alliance believes in removing barriers that hinder the success of African-American and other communities of color. We believe in equipping citizens to engage in the civic process. We believe in empowering you to take action on issues that affect your lives. Join us. Let’s show our elected officials that we won’t stand for the status quo. Take action today!

Isaac Addae Joins The Equity Alliance Board of Directors

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We are pleased to welcome Isaac Addae to the board of directors for The Equity Alliance!

Isaac is an Assistant Professor of Business Administration in the College of Business at Tennessee State University. He is currently a Management Ph.D. candidate in the School of Business and Management at Morgan State University in Baltimore. He completed a B.S. in Electrical Engineering and an M.S. in Systems Engineering at Tennessee State University.

“Isaac brings a wealth of community institutional knowledge and will be a great asset to the board,” Board President Charlane Oliver said.

With regard to community impact, Isaac is very active in efforts to influence economic development across Nashville’s urban population. He is the creator of the Conscious Conversation community discussion series, an effort that focuses on galvanizing local citizens around common issues. Isaac is a co-founder of The Hub for Urban Entrepreneurship, a Nashville-based social enterprise responsible for supporting minority business owners through initiatives such as Black Entrepreneurship Week. He is also leaving the formation of a community change fund that will drive collective philanthropy in Nashville’s urban communities. From a global perspective, Isaac has been involved in developing schools within rural villages in the West African nation of Ghana through Save the Villages, a nonprofit organization he founded.

As a self-described change agent and social engineer, Isaac is very focused on utilizing his full potential to advance communities of color around the world. He aims to achieve this goal by innovatively integrating his academic and community-based efforts.

TEAm Meeting – May 30

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Mark your calendars for our first TEAm Meeting:
Tuesday, May 30, 2017
6 p.m.
First Baptist Capitol Hill
Ennox-Jones Center
625 Rosa L Parks Blvd, Nashville, TN 37203
Our TEAm Meetings will be held on the last Tuesday of every month. The meeting is open to all volunteers.
 
At this meeting, we will discuss our summer strategy, program opportunities, and fundraisers as it relates to Community Education, Civic Engagement, Coalition Building, and Policy Research.
Let us know you’re coming by emailing info@theequityalliance.org

REGIONS BANK PARTNERS WITH THE EQUITY ALLIANCE, CIVIC ORGANIZATIONS TO HOST FINANCIAL EMPOWERMENT SERIES

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                       
April 21, 2017

Contact: Charlane Oliver, Board President, The Equity Alliance
615-420-7545
info@theequityalliance.org

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REGIONS BANK PARTNERS WITH THE EQUITY ALLIANCE, CIVIC ORGANIZATIONS TO HOST FINANCIAL EMPOWERMENT SERIES

First of four workshops on April 29 to target North Nashville area residents

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – In celebration of National Financial Literacy Month in April, Regions Bank is teaming up with The Equity Alliance and five other African-American community organizations to host a Financial Empowerment Series focused on teaching financial principles that put Nashvillians on a path to financial independence. The first of four community workshops will take place Saturday, April 29 at the Nashville Public Library North Branch, 1001 Monroe Street, from 10 a.m. to noon. The event is free and open to the public.

The Financial Empowerment Series is hosted in partnership with Clerisy Circle, The Equity Alliance, The Hub for Urban Entrepreneurship, Knowledge Bank, Urban Enterprise Group and the Urban League of Middle Tennessee.

“Our goal is to make life better for our customers and communities, and empowering people through financial education is an important way we do that,” said Jim Schmitz, Middle Tennessee Area President of Regions Bank. “We are proud to team up with The Equity Alliance to host the Financial Empowerment Series.”

Taught by Regions Bank, the workshop titled “Money Matters” will discuss banking, building financial confidence, setting financial goals, identifying priorities, making the most of one’s income, and will include a hands-on simulation by Knowledge Bank.

“The Equity Alliance is thrilled to partner with Regions Bank and these respected community groups who work with predominantly African-American and low-income communities,” said The Equity Alliance’s Board President Charlane Oliver. “We know that North Nashville is one of the most economically distressed areas so we are excited to bring this workshop to the community in an effort to improve the upward economic mobility of its residents.”

The Financial Empowerment Series will be held once a quarter starting in North Nashville followed by events in August, November, and February 2018 in the four major quadrants of the city.

Register online here or visit www.theequityalliance.org. For more information, email info@theequityalliance.org.

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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 grassroots advocacy 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. Learn more at www.theequityalliance.org or follow on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

About Regions Financial Corporation
Regions Financial Corporation (NYSE:RF), with $125 billion in assets, is a member of the S&P 500 Index and is one of the nation’s largest full-service providers of consumer and commercial banking, wealth management, mortgage, and insurance products and services. Regions serves customers across the South, Midwest and Texas, and through its subsidiary, Regions Bank, operates approximately 1,500 banking offices and 1,900 ATMs. Additional information about Regions and its full line of products and services can be found at www.regions.com.

About Clerisy Circle
Clerisy Circle is a curator of learners who unify, empower, and invest in the black community. The group thrives on creating a community of people with diverse backgrounds who gather socially in order to advance professionally, culturally and economically. By seamlessly connecting influential leaders through events, volunteering activities, and business partnerships, the Clerisy Circle™ seeks to become the most comprehensive community of influential black leaders in the world. For more information, visitwww.clerisycircle.com or follow @clerisycircle on Instagram and Facebook.

About The Hub for Urban Entrepreneurship
The Hub for Urban Entrepreneurship (HUE) is a Nashville-based social enterprise that seeks to inspire, develop and promote entrepreneurship and economic development in underserved and underrepresented communities.  In November 2016, HUE launched the inaugural Black Entrepreneurship Week (BEW), a local annual celebration during Global Entrepreneurship Week.  To connect with the HUE team, follow online at www.blackentrepreneurshipweek.com or on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @blackentrepweek.

About Knowledge Bank
Knowledge Bank is a social enterprise focused on improving the financial literacy of youth and millennials. Our mission is to create a generation of financially knowledgeable, responsible and empowered youth through education, exposure and the development of healthy behaviors. Sign up for our newsletter at www.knowledgebanknashville.org and like us on Facebook.

About the Urban Enterprise Group
The Urban Enterprise Group (UEG) is a Nashville-based private equity fund that seeks to economically empower urban communities through financial education and securities investment. Our mission is to foster and promote economic development in urban communities.

About the Urban League of Middle Tennessee
Chartered on April 15, 1968, the mission of the Urban League of Middle Tennessee is to enable African Americans, other minorities and disenfranchised groups to secure economic self-reliance, power, parity, and civil rights. Efforts are focused in the following areas: Economic Empowerment, Youth & Education, Health & Quality of Life, Civic Engagement, and Civil Rights and Racial Justice. Learn more at www.ulmt.org.

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Money Matters: Tips for Creating a Realistic Budget

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Money Matters: Tips for Creating a Realistic Budget

Celebrating National Financial Literacy Month with tips you can use

April is National Financial Literacy Month and The Equity Alliance is focused on educating and empowering communities of color in Nashville to become more civically engaged in the political process as a means of ensuring more equitable economic, social, and political outcomes. When it comes to important money matters, we want to give you some helpful weekly personal financial tips to put you on a path to financial independence. This week is about Creating a Realistic Budget. Here’s how:

  1. Make a plan for your money.

A budget is simply a monthly plan that tells your money where to go. The formula should be this: Income minus Expenses equals Zero

 (Income) – (Expenses) = $0.00

Assign every dollar to a category. Major categories include Housing/Rent, Food, Transportation, Entertainment, Emergency Fund, and Debt/Loans

  1. Write down all of your bills and expenses for the month.

You have to see it, and your expenses have to match what you actually spend. How can you ever assess how well you’re doing financially if you have no idea how you’re actually doing. You’d be surprised where your money goes once you actually write down every expense, especially when it comes to entertainment and eating out. If you have children, factor in things such as birthday parties, summer clothes, doctor visits, and school field trips.

  1. Pay yourself first.

Make a habit to build your $1,000 emergency fund for unexpected expenses. You can even have a set amount automatically deducted from your paycheck and into your savings account.

  1. Execute the plan.

Use online and mobile resources like Mint.com, EveryDollar.com, Dave Ramsey’s Zero-Based Budgeting tools, or your bank’s online bill pay option to help you create a budget. Then, stick with it for at least 90 days to begin seeing your plan work.

  1. Don’t give up.

According to financial guru Dave Ramsey, personal finance is 80% behavior and 20% head knowledge. Of course, things come up. Impulse spending can be tempting. But be disciplined enough to keep at it.

Check back next week for more money matters tips from The Equity Alliance. Make plans to attend our Financial Empowerment Series presented by Regions Bank in partnership with Knowledge Bank Nashville, Clerisy Circle, Conscious Conversation, Urban Enterprise Group, and the Urban League of Middle Tennessee. The first seminar will be on Saturday, April 29, 2017 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Check our website and Facebook page for updated details on this upcoming event.

Bills #WeAreWatching This Week – March 6, 2017

Busy week in the Tennessee General Assembly. There are lots of bills that #WeAreWatching. This week, the bad bills seem mostly focused on anti-LGBT, anti-public schools, anti-reproductive rights, anti-immigration and any bills focused on further expanding our already lax gun laws.

There are good bills as well, including several focused on criminal justice reform, government transparency, and fairer elections.

How you can help:

  • Look through the bills and MAKE CALLS TO COMMITTEE MEMBERS! Especially when the committee members are YOUR representatives and senators. Calls can be quick, you can even leave voice mails at night! Call daily. Tell your friends to call, too!
  • Show up THIS AFTERNOON at the #MoralMondays Rally with signs, bill numbers, and your voice! Call out the bad bills BUT also thank the bill sponsors of the good bills! Bring friends!
  • Whenever possible, show up for committee hearings!
  • Share this post on social media!

March 7, 2017 – 1:30 pm

CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM

HB0297 / SB0265
Co-sponsors: Rep. Harold Love / Sen. Jeff Yarbro

Criminal Offenses – As introduced, reduces from a Class A misdemeanor to a Class C misdemeanor the offense of possession of a small amount of marijuana not in excess of one-eighth ounce; punishes the offense by imposing a fine of no more than $50. – Amends TCA Title 39, Chapter 17, Part 4 and Title 40.

What this means: Reduces simple possession of marijuana from a class A misdemeanor to a class C misdemeanor punishable only by $50 fine if the amount is one-eighth ounce or less. See fiscal note.

Committees: House Criminal Justice Subcommittee and Senate Judiciary Committee

 

CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM

HB0109 / SB1134
Co-sponsors: Rep. Antonio Parkinson and Sen. Sara Kyle

Controlled Substances – As introduced, increases the amount of marijuana possessed or exchanged under the offenses of simple possession or casual exchange from less than one-half ounce to less than one ounce; prohibits the inference of purpose of selling or otherwise dispensing when the substance possessed or exchanged was less than one ounce of marijuana. – Amends TCA Title 39 and Title 40.

What this means: The bill increases the amount of marijuana that one can possess or casually exchange from one-half ounce to one ounce; Increases from one-half ounce to one ounce the minimum amount of marijuana for which someone can be prosecuted for manufacturing, delivering, selling, or possessing with intent; Prohibits a jury from inferring that someone possessing or casually exchanging marijuana in an amount less than one ounce was possessing or exchanging for the purpose of selling or distributing. See fiscal note.

Committees: House Criminal Justice Subcommittee and Senate Judiciary Committee

 

CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM

HB0872 / SB1394
Co-Sponsors: Rep. Raumesh Akbari and Sen. Reginald Tate

Education – As introduced, prohibits the suspension or expulsion of students in pre-kindergarten and kindergarten unless the student’s behavior endangers the physical safety of other students or school personnel. – Amends TCA Title 49, Chapter 1; Title 49, Chapter 10; Title 49, Chapter 2; Title 49, Chapter 5 and Title 49, Chapter 6.

What this means: This bill prohibits the suspension or expulsion from school of a pre-kindergarten through kindergarten (pre-K-K) student unless the student’s behavior endangers the physical safety of other students or school personnel as determined by the director of schools.See fiscal note.

 

CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM

HB0636 / SB1253
Co-Sponsors: Rep. Raumesh Akbari and Sen. Mark Norris

Juvenile Offenders – As introduced, makes various changes to the expunction of juvenile court records, including creating a process for the expunction of juvenile court records for cases in which the juvenile successfully completed pretrial or judicial diversion. – Amends TCA Section 37-1-153 and Section 40-32-101.

What this means: Makes various changes to the procedure for expunging juvenile records. See fiscal note.

 

March 7, 2017 – 3:00 pm

PUBLIC EDUCATION

HB0126 / *SB0161
Co-Sponsors: Rep. Harry Brooks and Sen. Brian Kelsey

School Vouchers – As introduced, enacts the “Opportunity Scholarship Pilot Program.” – Amends TCA Title 49, Chapter 1.

What this means: This bill would create a voucher program in Memphis called “Opportunity Scholarship Pilot Program.” Authorizes eligible students to apply for and receive scholarships to attend participating private schools. See fiscal note.

 

PUBLIC EDUCATION/LGBT RIGHTS

HB0888 / SB0771
Co-sponsors: Rep. Mark Pody and Sen. Mae Beavers

Students – As introduced, requires students in public schools and public institutions of higher education to use restrooms and locker rooms that are assigned to persons of the same sex as that shown on the students’ birth certificates. – Amends TCA Title 49.

What this means: Would force all public schools and public colleges and universities to enact policies requiring people to use the restrooms and locker rooms that correspond with the sex shown on their birth certificate.  A similar bill was filed last year and withdrawn after protests and the Tennessee attorney general’s opinion that the legislation could cost the state upwards of $1.5 billion. No fiscal note available.

 

ELECTIONS/VOTING RIGHTS

HB0654 / SB1135
Co-sponsors: Rep. Larry Miller and Sen. Sara Kyle

As introduced, authorizes a person to appeal to the state election commission with five days the rejection of a provisional ballot; requires the ballot to be counted if the commission determines that the ballot was lawfully cast; requires the commission to promulgate rules establishing the procedures for an appeal.

What this means: Voters cast provisional ballots when denied the ability to vote in person because of an address issue, having been purged from voter rolls, or if they do not have a state-issued photo ID. This bill would help ensure these ballots are counted and not set aside – and sets up a procedure for appealing the vote not being counted. See fiscal note.

 

March 8, 2017 – 1:30 pm

CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM

HB0004 / SB0221
Co-sponsors: Rep. Antonio Parkinson and Sen. Lee Harris

Probation and Parole – As introduced, requires the board of probation and parole to meet and order the release of a parolee whose parole has been revoked and who has been reincarcerated as the result of being charged with an offense committed while on parole if that charge is dismissed. – Amends TCA Title 40, Chapter 28.

What this means: This bill requires the board of probation and parole to meet and order the release of an incarcerated parolee if the charges for which the parolee is incarcerated are dismissed. See fiscal note.

Committee: House Criminal Justice Committee