On Monday April 10, Legislator Justin Jones of Tennessee was Reinstated by the Nashville Metropolitan Council with a vote. Legislator Justin Jones was previously ousted from his position a week ago by Republicans in the state legislature after protesting against Gun Violence on the house floor. This led to major backlash from supporters of Jones who originally voted him into office, claiming that his removal for protesting went far more than trying to silence a protest.
“He’s Black, he has our interests at heart, and he gets removed for protesting. That is racial,” said Angelo Tate, who identifies as a Democrat. “It makes us feel like our choice and our voice is not valued and we seem to be moving backwards politically.”
Last Thursday, Jones along with two other legislators Pearson and Johnson protested for the use of gun control measures in response to a shooting that occurred at a Nashville school which killed 6 people, three of them being only nine years old. This act broke house rules as well as their use of a bullhorn to be heard when they were not being recognized to speak in the moment.
Leaders of the house casted the protest as the form of a “Insurrection” and voted to expel both Jones and Pearson from the general assembly, Johnson survived her vote which she even suggested probably had to do with her race.
On Monday a group of 36 council members met and all unanimously showed their support in reinstating Jones, the council even suspended its rules to hold an immediate vote instead of the original month-long nomination process. Within less than hour, Jones was sworn in on the steps of the State Capitol, he then proceeded to entire the house chamber with his fist held high in the air which had supporters chanting Welcome Home! To him.
“I want to welcome democracy back to the people’s house,” Jones said in a speech on the House floor. “I want to thank you all, not for what you did, but for awakening the people of this state, particularly the young people. Thank you for reminding us that the struggle for justice is fought and won in every generation.”