April 4, 2023

Co-Executive Director of State Innovation Exchange (SiX) Statement of Solidarity with the Tennessee 3

Contact: six@fenton.com

This week, resolutions have been filed to expel Reps. Gloria Johnson, Justin Jones and Justin Pearson in the Tennessee State House for “disorderly conduct” after they supported gun safety advocates from the house floor. This attempt to expel these legislators is anti-democratic and disregards the will of the voters. 

In response, Neha Patel Co-Executive Director of the State Innovation Exchange (SiX), said:

“There is nothing ‘disorderly’ about courageously standing in solidarity with the people they are elected to serve, in opposition to the gun lobby that continues to profiteer off of an epidemic they have fueled. The Tennessee State Capitol is the people's house, and Reps. Gloria Johnson, Justin Jones and Justin Pearson exemplified leadership on the House floor this week by standing up for what’s right. At SiX we applaud these state legislators for their work. From Tennessee, to Oklahoma, to Florida, we are witnessing courageous lawmakers across the country standing with the people and defending our freedoms.

“Calling for gun safety within the people’s house is an example of our democracy in action. Expelling lawmakers is not. The State Innovation Exchange (SiX) stands in solidarity with Tennessee Reps. Gloria Johnson, Justin Jones and Justin Pearson, as they face the threat of expulsion. Gun violence harms people from all walks of life, but gun deaths disproportionately impact Black and Brown communities – communities many members of the Tennessee legislature are elected to represent. The attempts to expel Reps. Johnson, Jones, and Pearson show a dark truth in the light of day: there’s a strong, racist connection between fighting against gun safety and dismantling our democracy.”

“State legislators are on the frontlines of our democracy, determining the rules of who gets to vote, how those votes are counted, and what issues get prioritized for our communities in the years to come. Actions to strip away lawmakers from their duly-elected positions undermines the will of the people and represents a direct threat to our democracy everywhere. Any attempts to silence TN Reps. Gloria Johnson, Justin Jones and Justin Pearson for exercising their constitutional right to protest are anti-democratic.”

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