California Secretary of State Charges ‘Racism Alive and Well’ – Led to Expulsion of 2 Black Tennessee Legislators

Assemblymember Shirley N. Weber, Ph.D. (D-San Diego), Chair of the California Legislative Black Caucus, spoke to the unaddressed history of brutality and injustice against Blacks in America at a press conference/ courtesy photo from the Legislative Black Caucus

By Michael McCutcheon

SACRAMENTO, CA – Following the recent expulsion of Tennessee state lawmakers Justin Jones and Justin Pearson from the Tennessee House of Representatives, California Secretary of State Shirley Weber issued a statement reprimanding the decision and supporting the two young, Black legislators.

As reported by CNN, Democrats Gloria Johnson, Jones and Justin Pearson led a gun reform protest in the chamber of Tennessee’s House of Representatives in response to the recent mass school shootings. Just a week later the House began votes to expel them for rule violations.

Jones and Pearson were expelled with votes of 72-25 and 69-26 respectively. However, Johnson survived the vote with a tally of 65-30, because expulsion required a two-thirds majority to pass. Despite partaking in the protest, Johnson was not expelled which drew much speculation.

Johnson, who is white, speaking on the expulsions, said, “It might have to do with the color of our skin,” as Jones is Black-Filipino and Pearson is Black.

After their expulsions, Shirley Weber, California’s Secretary of State, charged in a statement,  “The expulsion of Tennessee Justin Jones and Justin Pearson reinforces the fact that racism is alive and well. Laws have changed, Confederate statues and flags may have been pulled down, but there are still those who will abuse their power to silence Black voices.

“However, the fact that these young African American men were willing to speak out for their constituents and risk the consequences is a reminder that the spirit of the Civil Rights movement and the cause of justice are also still alive.

“I applaud Justin Jones and Justin Pearson for responding to this shameful and undemocratic act by continuing to advocate on behalf of the people they were elected to represent. Let us hope they are restored to office soon.”

About The Author

Michael is a senior at CSU Long Beach majoring in Criminology and Criminal Justice. After graduating with a BS, Michael plans to attend grad school and receive his Masters with a thesis on interrogation techniques.

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