Civil Rights

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BREAKING: Judge strikes down TN limits on absentee voting due to pandemic

BY: - June 4, 2020

A Nashville judge ruled Thursday that voters under 60 may request an absentee ballot due to the COVID-19 pandemic, making Tennessee one of the last states to expand mail-in voting in the nation. The ruling by Chancellor Ellen Hobbs Lyle sets up a showdown in the state’s more conservative appeals court system. Plaintiffs, including Tennessee […]

WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 13: Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., votes to approve the second article of impeachment as the House Judiciary Committee holds a public hearing to vote on the two articles of impeachment against U.S. President Donald Trump in the Longworth House Office Building on Capitol Hill December 13, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick Semansky-Pool/Getty Images)

Cohen: Police violence, voter suppression are 2 ‘sides to the same coin’

BY: - June 4, 2020

WASHINGTON — As demonstrators continue to flood streets around the country to protest police brutality and racial inequality, communities of color remain disproportionately threatened by the COVID-19 pandemic and voter suppression, a Tennessee Democratic lawmaker warned this week.  The pandemic “has exacerbated pre-existing inequalities, disproportionately impacting African Americans among other historically disadvantaged people,” Rep. Steve […]

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Tennessee faith leaders react to Trump photo-op

BY: - June 3, 2020

Religious leaders from across Tennessee reacted to a White House tweet showing President Donald Trump’s response to protests that have rocked the country in recent days.  The video displayed in the tweet shows President Trump walking toward and standing in front of St. John’s Episcopal Church while holding a Bible in front of the church’s […]

A view of the crowd at a Nashville vigil for George Floyd. (Photo: Alex Kent)

National Guard lays down shields at peaceful Nashville vigil

BY: - June 2, 2020

A Nashville vigil for George Floyd, the Minneapolis man killed by police last week, drew more than 200 people and culminated with members of the Tennessee National Guard laying down their riot shields in a gesture of solidarity with the crowd. The group met at the Tennessee State Capitol, where they prayed and sang songs […]

Metro Police at a recent protest. (Photo: Alex Kent)

Weekend protests, riots rock state

BY: - June 1, 2020

  Peaceful protests over the weekend in Tennessee cities, including Nashville, Knoxville, Memphis, Chattanooga and Murfreesboro turned violent in several instances, with police dispersing tear gas and pepper spray to disperse the crowds and public and private property suffering damage. The Knoxville event remained calm, while both Memphis and Nashville had peaceful organized protests that […]

Nashville, Tenn. - A crowd outside Historic Metro Nashville Courthouse looks at fires inside the building. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Nashville riots: Historic Metro Courthouse burns

BY: - May 31, 2020

  An afternoon of peaceful protests organized by social justice groups to protest the killing on Minneapolis man George Floyd by police devolved into a night of riots in Nashville. Historic Metro Nashville Courthouse was defaced and set on fire and downtown tourist district businesses being broken into and robbed. Award-winning and two time Pulitzer […]

Nashville, Tenn., May 30 -"I can't breath" rally at the Legislative Plaza in Nashville. (Photo: Odessa Kelly)

Nashville courthouse burns as peaceful protest turns into violent riot

BY: - May 30, 2020

What began on Saturday as a peaceful protest assembled by social justice reformers, activists, politicians and faith leaders in response to the death of George Floyd last week in Minneapolis devolved into a violent riot that left Nashville in a state of emergency. Before the day was over, Gov. Bill Lee called in the National […]

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Commentary: Environmental racism hurts body as well as soul

BY: - May 27, 2020

Long before COVID-19 killed almost 100,000 people in the U.S., causing disproportionate suffering among poor and low-income people and communities of color, I was fighting another kind of disease that kills poor people and minorities: environmental racism.  I grew up near the Memphis Defense Depot, a military installation in the center of several black communities. […]

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Leaders of civic group give detailed economic recommendations to Cooper

BY: - May 21, 2020

Leaders with The Equity Alliance, a statewide non-profit focused on the civic and economic empowerment of the black community have released a detailed set of recommendations for Nashville’s spending of the $121 million of federal CARES Act funding  for economic recovery. Charlane Oliver, co-founder and co-executive director of The Equity Alliance  is a member of […]

Tennessee Black Caucus for Legislators (Photo: Facebook)

Black Caucus advises Tennesseans to withhold home addresses from public health officials

BY: - May 19, 2020

The Tennessee Black Caucus of State Legislators is advising Tennesseans to withhold their home addresses from public health officials conducting COVID-19 testing. The caucus has urged Gov. Bill Lee to rescind agreements to provide the state’s sheriffs and police chiefs with the names and addresses of every state resident who has tested positive for the […]

Dr. William Barber (Sean Rayford/Getty Images)

Poor People’s Campaign launches stay-at-home campaign

BY: - May 13, 2020

The Poor People’s Campaign, which has a Tennessee chapter, today launched a nonviolent protest to promote the plight of essential and low-income workers as states begin reopening the economy. Today’s virtual media conference was led by the Rev. William Barber II and featured workers speaking of having inadequate personal protective equipment (PPE.) A Dallas retail […]

An ambulance picks up a sick patient, (Cavan/Getty Images)

Release of health data to law enforcement raises privacy concerns

BY: - May 11, 2020

The release of private health information of Tennesseans who have tested positive for COVID-19 to law enforcement by Gov. Bill Lee’s administration is facing pushback from lawmakers, advocates for minority communities and at least one police force that originally agreed to get the information.  The Tennessee Black Caucus on Saturday called on Lee to end […]