The Equity Alliance (TEA), a statewide grassroots organization focused on building civic and economic power for the Black community, launched their inaugural strategic plan titled The BlackPrint on Sept. 28, National Voter Registration Day.
The BlackPrint is a comprehensive independent policy agenda to begin a critical conversation about reparations and securing democracy, growth, and power for Black Tennesseans over the next three years. The goal is to engage 125,000 Black residents and collect 75,000 surveys by January 2022. The BlackPrint presents an opportunity for Black Tennesseans to improve their quality of life through the mechanism of building and sustaining political and economic power.
Co-founder and Co-Executive Director Tequila Johnson said that the project is a way to strategically champion the voices of the everyday Black experience.
“No matter our color, background, or zip code, in America we value the freedom to self-determine our future and to have a say in decisions that impact our lives,” she said. “Often Black people are spoken for by a select, token few but rarely are we listened to directly.”
The Equity Alliance kicked off The BlackPrint with three regional events in: Nashville, Chattanooga, and Memphis.
In the midst of mishandling the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic, an economic crisis, the battle for voting rights, housing evictions, police brutality, and the fight for women’s reproductive rights at stake, TEA joins a growing list of national organizations challenging state legislators to help improve the quality of life for Black people. The BlackPrint agenda begins with a research-based survey to assess the needs, values, and policy issues in six categories:
- Housing and Environmental Justice
- Jobs and Economic Opportunity
- Criminal Justice and Public Safety
- Politics and Democracy.
TEA is partnering with the Vanderbilt University Peabody College Community Research and Action program and the Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion as well as Tennessee State University to develop the survey and analyze survey results and findings. TEA will deploy teams of organizers and canvassers across the state to engage 125,000 Black Tennesseans with the goals of collecting 75,000 surveys by January 2022.
Black Tennesseans are invited to participate in the survey online at <TNBlackPrint.com>.
Co-Founder and Co-Executive Director Charlane Oliver said she understands that Black people are a reliable voting bloc, whose value extends far beyond the election cycle.
“In order to empower, educate, and mobilize voters and build power, we must first get to the heart of the matter and explore the most pressing issues for voters, community members, and those often overlooked,” she said.