This week, the Tennessee NAACP hosted its Legislative Day on the Hill. Each year, the Tennessee State Conferences of Branches of the NAACP meets to galvanize members from around the state, and to support and oppose legislation by the state that effect and impact people of color. The annual event was held virtually this year, with the mission ‘Mobilized to Manifest the Mission.’
“In the middle of a pandemic we must push to insure that the inequities in the health care system that have been exposed by the greatest pandemic in the last century, are addressed,” said Gloria Jean Sweet-Love, president of the Tennessee State Conference NAACP in opening remarks for the event.
“We must ensure that the poverty that has been uncovered, the housing inequities, job inequities and food inequities are addressed and not forgotten or put on the back burner when this crisis is over. We must ensure that our state has a plan to help those small businesses that have lost their footing because of the pandemic. We must make sure that our elected officials understand that the effect of the pandemic in Black and Brown communities are quite different than what is happening in the majority community. We must make sure that they address the stifling poverty and lack of affordable housing present in communities across this state.
“I ask that each of you be persistent with your legislator. You speak for the voiceless. You must tell their stories and make their case for them. We must hold each one of our elected officials accountable to the people of their district. Our fight for civil Rights and Social Justice is not the work of the past but a constant and daily struggle to make our democracy work for all people.”
Legislative items on the agenda include election law reforms, redistricting fairness, contracting opportunities with the state, renaming of legislative Plaza to the Ida Bl. Wells-Barnett Plaza and an exemption for death row defendants from the death penalty based on intellectual disability.
The national NAACP organization is also celebrating its Founders Day, with Friday marking 112 years of the NAACP’s fight to advance justice for all.
In 1909 W.E.B DuBois and a multi-racial coalition established the NAACP as an organization for the Black community and their allies from across the political spectrum to fight for human rights and equality.
“They recognized something that rings true to this very day,” said Derrick Johnson, president/CEO of the NAACP.
“The NAACP has seen a lot throughout the years from lynchings across the Jim Crow South, to the Civil Rights Movement—to Brown v. The Board of Education, and now the fight to end police brutality, expand voting rights, and address the exacerbating economic and health realities facing our Black communities due to the coronavirus pandemic. This organization is about the role we all must play in the fight for justice.
“Whether you’ve signed petitions, attended meetings or protests, or funded this essential work by making a monthly contribution—we continue to bend the arc of the moral universe toward justice together.”