The Look in Brief

Crowd protests GOP-drawn congressional maps on MLK Day

By: and - January 18, 2022 6:00 am
Odessa Kelly, Democratic candidate for Congress in District 5, speaks Monday at a protest of new congressional district maps. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Odessa Kelly, Democratic candidate for Congress in District 5, speaks Monday at a protest of new congressional district maps. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Concerns over COVID-19 and lingering snow from a weekend storm halted several Middle Tennessee events traditionally held on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day to honor the late civil rights leader, but more than 100 people turned out in Nashville to protest new GOP-drawn congressional and legislative district maps.

The Nashville Justice League, which is comprised of The Equity Alliance, TIRRC Votes and the Central Labor Council of Middle Tennessee, sponsored “Fight Back, Stop These Maps!” at the Tennessee Capitol.

On Wednesday, legislative leaders unveiled maps of new Tennessee congressional districts that showed Nashville’s 5th District will be carved up into three parts. In a statement, the Nashville Justice League said: “It is clear that with the maps presented the goal is to dilute the minority voting and political power in Davidson County specifically. The proposed redistricting maps presented by the TN GOP break the minority vote in Davidson country upwards of three ways diluting the political power and eliminating fair representation for Black and brown voters.”

North Nashville, a historically Black area, will under the new plan be included in District 7, currently represented by Republican Congressman Mark Green. East Nashville will be included in District 6, which extends north to Kentucky and as far east as the Cumberland Plateau, while the new District 5 extends south, taking in Maury County.

Speakers included 5th District Democratic congressional candidate Odessa Kelly and Charlane Oliver, co-founder of The Equity Alliance, a grassroots organization dedicated to building Black economic and political power.

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John Partipilo
John Partipilo

Working as a photojournalist for 40 years, Partipilo has won awards such as NPPA Best of Photojournalism and nominated for two Pulitzers. His photography has also been featured in national and international publications. Most importantly Partipilo’s work is about people — people in their different environments and people in their different stages of life. That’s the heart of his work. To him people are so important, because they all have a unique story.

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Holly McCall
Holly McCall

Holly McCall has been a fixture in Tennessee media and politics for decades. She covered city hall for papers in Columbus, Ohio and Joplin, Missouri before returning to Tennessee with the Nashville Business Journal. She has served as political analyst for WZTV Fox 17 and provided communications consulting for political campaigns at all levels, from city council to presidential. Holly brings a deep wealth of knowledge about Tennessee’s political processes and players and likes nothing better than getting into the weeds of how political deals are made.

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