The Equity Alliance Joins Legislators, Matthew Charles, Advocates to Discuss New Bills that Will Restore Voting Rights to Tennesseans with Felony Convictions

NASHVILLE, TN – On Wednesday, February 13th, at 2:45 pm, lawmakers, Matthew Charles, advocates and re-entry experts will gather at the Tennessee State Capitol complex in Nashville to discuss new bills (SB 589 / HB 547) that will streamline the voting rights restoration process to Tennesseans with felony convictions who have completed their sentences.

The roundtable will feature the bill sponsors, State Senator Steven Dickerson and State Representative Michael Curcio, alongside Matthew Charles, a formerly-incarcerated activist who was recently released under the First Step Act, as well as prominent advocates and prisoner re-entry experts from The Equity Alliance, the ACLU of Tennessee, and Project Return. Over the course of the roundtable, participants will discuss the substance of the legislation, its potential to limit bureaucratic interference in the rights restoration process, and its impact on formerly incarcerated people living in Tennessee.

Currently, 320,000 Tennesseans with felony convictions, more than 8 percent of the state’s total voting age population, are disenfranchised by the onerous restoration process despite having already served their time and successfully completed their parole and/or probation.

The roundtable will be moderated by Colin Weaver, Director of State Affairs for Secure Democracy. Roundtable participants include:

  • Tennessee State Senator Steve Dickerson
  • Tennessee State Representative Michael Curcio (opening remarks)
  • Matthew Charles, formerly-incarcerated activist released from prison under the First Step Act
  • Tori Venable, State Director at Americans for Prosperity Tennessee
  • Hedy Weinberg, Executive Director of ACLU of Tennessee
  • Tequila Johnson, Co-Founder and Vice President of The Equity Alliance (opening remarks)
  • Bettie Kirkland, Executive Director of Project Return

The roundtable will be open to the press and the public.

WHAT:  Roundtable on Restoring Voting Rights to Tennesseans With Felony Convictions

WHERE: Cordell Hull Building, 425 5th Avenue North, Nashville, TN 37243

     Room information: Conference Room 5C, 5th Floor

WHEN:  2:45 – 3:30 pm, February 13, 2019

   

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.

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