On April 6, 2023, Tennessee lawmakers expelled Representatives Justin Jones and Justin Pearson from the legislature for leading a peaceful protest with Representative Gloria Johnson on the house floor following the tragic shooting at Covenant School that claimed the lives of three children and three staff members. Soon after the expulsion, Rep. Jones and Rep. Pearson were reinstated to continue their fight for their communities. We denounce this expulsion as racially motivated and view it as an attack on our democracy. This expulsion not only unjustly removed two lawmakers of color without adequate due process, but also disenfranchised their constituents effectively silencing thousands of voters.
FLOC stands in solidarity with our brother and sister bar organizations and our respective communities against further attacks on our democracy. We are grateful for the support of our fellow bar organizations as we continue our fight for justice and the protection of Constitutional rights and due process for all.
Please see our joint statement with PABA and TMBA with support from APABA-LA, Pinay Powerhouse, Cal-APABA, NFALA, and OCAABA.
Frances-Marie Angeles Prizzia
A quote from Mercedes Cook, PABA President: The undeniable racism and discrimination shown against Rep. Justin Jones and Rep. Justin Pearson is a stark reminder that the fight for equality, inclusion, and justice must be vigorous and steadfast. As Black-Filipino-Am and Black men, many obstacles were thrown in their path simply because of the color of their skin. They beat all odds to reach the House of Representatives and zealously advocate for their constituents, only to be told again that they don’t belong. Yet, throughout this experience, they demonstrated perseverance in the face of expulsion and courage in the face of oppression. That is great leadership to be admired and emulated. As the first Black and Fil-Am President of PABA, I am empowered by their actions and I am proud of PABA for its unwavering commitment to stand in solidarity against racism, discrimination, and all injustice. I stand with the Tennessee Three.