Justin Pearson reinstated to the Tennessee House after his expulsion

Justin Pearson, a Tennessee Democrat who was ousted from elected office by his Republican colleagues in the House of Representatives for protesting gun violence at the state Capitol, was reinstated to his seat in the Tennessee House on Wednesday.

The Shelby County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to fire Pearson back to the House, in a decisive rebuke of the Tennessee Republican Party’s extraordinary decision to expel him and another Democratic colleague this week last.

Pearson gave a powerful speech right after the reinstatement vote, rallying his supporters and sending a message to the lawmakers who voted for his expulsion.

“What we’ve shown here in Shelby County, what we’ve shown here in Memphis, Tennessee, with my fiance, my brothers, my family, my parents, my family here, is that we don’t speak alone “Pearson said. “We speak together. We fight together.

“And so the message for all the people in Nashville who have decided to evict us: you can’t evict hope. You can’t evict justice. You can’t evict our voice. And you certainly can’t evict our fight.” he said to cheers.

“We look forward to continuing to fight, to plead, until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream,” Pearson continued. “Let’s get back to work.”

The 28-year-old lawmaker was sworn in Thursday morning in front of the state Capitol.

Pearson, who represents the Memphis area, and another Democrat, Justin Jones, who represents Nashville, were expelled from the House Thursday for protesting gun violence after three 9-year-old children and three adults were killed in a another mass shooting in Tennessee. Rep. Gloria Johnson, a Democrat who also participated in the protest, survived expulsion by a single vote. Pearson and Jones are young black men serving their first terms in the House; Johnson is a white woman serving her fourth term.

Republicans had accused them of a serious violation of House decorum by peacefully protesting, and House Speaker Cameron Sexton went so far as to compare their actions to the violent insurrection of January 6, even though he did not There was no violence, no property damage and no arrests.

Jones was reinstated to his seat by the Metropolitan Nashville and Davidson County Council on Monday. Surrounded by a swarm of supporters, Jones then returned to the Statehouse and took the oath of office on the Capitol steps.

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