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.
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.
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.
‘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 email@example.com.
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.
In Tennessee, July 1 is when bills that were passed and signed by the Governor usually take effect as law. We’ve got a rundown of laws you need to know about. We’re not surprised that some of our legislators continue to pass laws rooted in hate, fear, division and exclusion. We’ve highlighted a few of the good, the bad, and the ugly of what the Tennessee General Assembly passed this year.
The cost of expunging a conviction has been reduced from $350 to $180
Thanks to Rep. Raumesh Akbari (D-Memphis) and Sen. Mark Norris (R-Collierville), Tennesseans with a criminal record – many of whom live in poverty due to unemployment – will have a cheaper time getting their records expunged. It immediately became a law on May 25, 2017.
Gas taxes help to improve roads
Depending on how you look at this, the Governor’s IMPROVE Act will pump $248 million additional dollars into the budget to pay for 962 road construction projects in Tennessee. The law cuts taxes on groceries. It also gives $70 million to counties and $35 million to cities like Nashville to fund mass transit to alleviate traffic congestion.
The tax on a gallon of gas is going up by 4 cents on July 1, and then 1 cent each of the following two years, adding up to 6 cents total. The tax on diesel fuel is going up by a total of 10 cents over the next three years. The cost to register a vehicle in Tennessee will increase by $5 for passenger motor vehicles, $10 for buses and taxis and $20 for semis and tractor trailers. Electric vehicles will have an additional $100 registration fee.
HBCUs get some love by Love
Rep. Harold Love (D-Nashville) pushed a bill through that creates a new initiative and assigns personnel to assist Tennessee’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities with increasing enrollment, retention, and graduation rates by working with school presidents and administrators.
Adults in Tennessee can attend community college for free
Tennessee became the first state in the nation to offer all citizens – both high school graduates and adults – the chance to earn a postsecondary degree or certificate free of tuition and fees and at no cost to taxpayers. Take advantage of this!
Pre-K and Kindergartners cannot be expelled or suspended
A law by Sen. Reginald Tate (D-Memphis) and Rep. Raumesh Akbari protects students in pre-kindergarten through kindergarten (pre-K-K) from being suspended or expelled from school, unless the student’s behavior endangers another student or staff person.
Teachers are getting more money for classroom supplies
Currently, $200 is set aside for every public teacher in K-12 for instructional supplies. A new law removes the requirement that half of the funds be pooled and instead allocates the entire amount to each teacher for instructional supplies as determined necessary by the teacher.
Board of Parole must have experience
A Senate bill (SB275) ensures that at least one member of the Board of Parole has corrections experience. Go figure.
Police officers’ identities are protected
It is now a misdemeanor offense to release the identity of a law enforcement officer’s resident address to the public. This will make officer-involved shooting investigations that much more secretive.HB0560
Tougher penalties for crimes against law enforcement officers
People who target uniformed police, military or national guardsmen can face tougher sentencing. But wait, where are the laws protecting unarmed black men killed by police?
Protestors are NOT protected
Forget having your First Amendment right, now you can be fined $200 for blocking emergency vehicles during a protest. Wanna keep black and brown people from protesting? Make it a law. Seems like this has been directed at Black Lives Matter.
Pregnant women are banned from getting an abortion after 20 weeks.
Credit cards can charge 30 percent interest
A law increases the maximum annual interest rate that a bank may charge on credit card accounts from 21 percent to 30 percent. Yep, let’s keep poor people poor and enslaved to the lender.
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, “FelonyDisenfranchisement: 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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:
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!
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.