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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