Equity Alliance holds listening tour for ‘Aye for an Aye’ campaign

The Equity Alliance’s Murfreesboro listening session.

The Equity alliance has launched its ‘Aye for an Aye’ campaign with a listening tour that stopped in Murfreesboro, Memphis, and Jackson.

Beginning Oct. 1, the state of Tennessee will start enforcing what has been called the country’s most aggressive civil and criminal penalties (up to a $10,000 fine and class A misdemeanor) on voter registration drives that submit deficient voter registration forms while conducting large-scale voter registration drives of 100 or more people.

“In 2018, The Equity Alliance and a coalition of partners turned in over 91,000 voter registration forms for Black and Brown Tennesseans,” said group representatives. “Six months later, politicians passed a law to punish, fine and criminalize voter registration drives like ours.”

The Aye for an Aye campaign is the group’s direct response to the state legislature’s new law that it says “attacks voter rights.”

As groups continue to fight the law within the courts, The Equity Alliance has vowed to fight the law on the ground.

In collaboration with other state-based voting rights organizations, The Equity Alliance Fund’ Aye for an Aye campaign seeks to register Black and Brown voters in legislative districts where House and Senate lawmakers voted ‘yes’ (aye) on the voter registration criminalization bill.

“For lawmaker’s who voted yes (aye) in the House and Senate to pass this law, we pledge to register 100 voters who commit to voting in the 2020 election,” said the group.

The purpose of the listening sessions is to educate attendees about the new voter suppression law and to move people to take action before the law goes into effect.

Tennessee currently ranks 45th in voter turnout, and 40th in voter registration, with Black and Brown citizens having the lowest voter turnout numbers.

The Equity Alliance proactively advocates for African Americans and other communities of color to have a fair and just opportunity at realizing the American dream.

They are a Nashville-based grassroots non-profit advocacy group that seeks to equip citizens with tools and strategies to engage in the civic process and empower them to take action on issues affecting their daily lives.