Connect with us

Nashville Pride

COMMENTARY: Tennessee’s distorted moral narrative and commitment to voter suppression

NASHVILLE PRIDE — The current political climate in Tennessee is indicative of the entire country.

Published

on

By The Rev. Dr. Earle J. Fisher

On January 8, hundreds of lawmakers made pledges and took oaths evoking themes of freedom, justice, equality, fairness, propriety, peace and love. And with one hand on a sacred book and the other held high towards the Almighty, many of these lawmakers were lying straight through their faces.

They have absolutely no intentions of ensuring that the privileges enjoyed in predominately White and affluent counties and cities are also extended to some of the most rural, Black and impoverished ones.

This happened, in part, because despite claims to the contrary, most of our lawmakers are committed only to power and not justice.

The current political climate in Tennessee is indicative of the entire country. More than 50 years ago, Kwame Toure (known at the time as Stokely Carmichael) articulated the quandary of our democratic ideals and degenerative reality.

“There is a higher law than the law of government. That is the law of conscience,” he said.

Many of the tactics of nonviolence, he continued, had been rendered ineffective because in order for these methods to be most efficacious one’s opponent must have a conscience but “America has none.”

More than 50 years later, we still see the remnants and realities of the unconscionable amongst us.

We see a federal government shut down that is threatening to compromise workers’ ability to feed their families and citizen’s access to social services. Meanwhile, elected officials playing partisan politics that manufactured and sustains the shutdown are continuing to get paid.

We see a governor in Tennessee who finally granted clemency to Cyntoia Brown, but clearly didn’t do enough to help reform the racist and sexist criminal injustice system that further victimized her. This same system is still ruled by Corrections Corporation of America. The world’s highest for-profit prison corporation is an ongoing contributor to a plethora of Tennessee politicians’ campaigns, including governors, senators and county prosecutors.

We see a mayor in Memphis that refuses to disambiguate and disaggregate data regarding minority contracting that would reveal the reality that a city 65% Black (and that he claims is the No. 1 city for Black entrepreneurship) still cannot secure even 30% of city contracts with Black contractors. All the while, Black businesses still receive approximately one percent of all business receipts.

There is an undeniable tornadic wind of moral bankruptcy that continues to blow from some of the highest offices in our lands and seeks to redirect our attention away from the structural and substantive towards the spectacular and superficial.

Inequity is the frame upon which our unjust governmental order stands. Yet, we are told our appeals and actions requesting systemic change through criminal justice reform, fair waging laws, accessible and affordable healthcare and immediate equitable contracting are misguided and unrealistic. These demands are not radical. They are simply righteous, reasonable and rational.

And we can rest assured that anyone who is unwilling to address the substantive, structural and systemic will only continue to demand that we remain well adjusted to an unjust status quo.

This injustice is already being narrated through subversive dog-whistles coming from our governor elect. Asked to simply remove the bust of the slave trader and Confederate general Nathan Bedford Forrest that is displayed in the state capitol rotunda, Gov.-elect Bill Lee said it would be “white-washing history.”

This immoral and unjust governmental order is sustained through voter suppression.

Tennessee’s supreme court should take note from North Carolina’s that found voter suppression taking place with “surgical like precision.” Margaret Renki wrote in the New York Times likening Tennessee’s voter suppression tactics to “a slow-motion coup” which ultimately intends to “thwart the will of the people.”

We confiscate driver’s licenses from citizens who can’t afford to pay traffic fines.

We disenfranchise college students as well as those with felony convictions.

The Republican-led election commission in majority Democratic Shelby County has an executive director who blew the whistle of voter fraud throughout the November election, but has since not filed one suit to substantiate her claims. All these tactics (and more) disproportionally impact poor people and people of color and render us, at best, underrepresented.

Nevertheless, even with Tennessee being ranked 48th in ease of voting, through organizations like the Tennessee Black Voter Project, the Equity Alliance, #UPTheVote 901, Civic TN, scores of Black churches and grassroots organizations across the state, we still accomplished the highest midterm election turnout in almost a quarter-century, increasing turnout by 57% from 2014.

This is what an immoral and unjust political infrastructure fears: a well-informed, engaged, and inspired electorate. Therefore, my hope remains in the power of the people.

And until our local, state and federal legislators become champions for equitable access to economic empowerment, healthcare, educational advancement and to the ballot box, we cannot and will not allow any dissenters to claim any moral, religious, intellectual or political high ground.

We must call evil, injustice and collusion exactly what it is. Therefore, we will continue to organize, mobilize, agitate, write, march, preach, teach, pray, demonstrate, disrupt, and disturb the social and political order until it is legitimately reflective of one nation under God with liberation, equity and justice for all.”

(Rev. Dr. Earle J. Fisher is senior pastor of Abyssinian Baptist Church (Whitehaven) and founder of #UPTheVote901.)

This article originally appeared in the Nashville Pride

#NNPA BlackPress

Expressions of Faith: When things fall apart

NASHVILLE PRIDE — “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you,” Deuteronomy 31:6. When we stay humble and thankful unto God for just who He is in our lives, He will provide for us; He will take care of us, because He loves us. “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time; casting all your worries on Him, because He cares for you,” I Peter 5:6-7. Sometimes God is working on a plan for us that we may not be able to see nor even understand. When we trust and believe that He will never leave us nor forsake us, He can and He will make a blessing out of the broken.

Published

on

Minister Patti NIcole Wheeler, The Celebration Christian Center, Inc. is located at 1215 9th Ave. N., Nashville, Tenn. 37208. For more information, visit their website at www.celebrationchristian.online.

By Minister Patti Nicole Wheeler, Guest columnist, Nashville Pride Newspaper

Often in our lives we feel hurt or broken for a variety of reasons: People pass away. People walk away. We are laid-off. We’re fired, or we quit. Maybe we dropped out of school or we’re kicked out—or we didn’t have the money nor the grades to even start an education past the high school level. We currently have a job, but the money just isn’t enough. I could go on and on listing the innumerable things that could bring us down in our lives, but consider this:

1) Sometimes when things are falling apart, God may be planning something better for us.

I’m sure that we all remember the story of Joseph, the favorite son of Jacob. Because of jealousy, Joseph was sold to a band of traveling Ishmaelites by his own brothers. God was with Joseph and enabled him to flourish in that situation so much that he was able to save his family during a time of great famine (Genesis 37).

Joseph didn’t know why he was in that circumstance, but he trusted God. He listened to His voice and he was blessed in the mist of what seemed to be a broken situation. “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you,” Deuteronomy 31:6. When we stay humble and thankful unto God for just who He is in our lives, He will provide for us; He will take care of us, because He loves us. “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time; casting all your worries on Him, because He cares for you,” I Peter 5:6-7. Sometimes God is working on a plan for us that we may not be able to see nor even understand. When we trust and believe that He will never leave us nor forsake us, He can and He will make a blessing out of the broken.

2) Sometimes when things are falling apart, God may be trying to remove elements from our lives.

“If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed,” John 8:36. There are so many things that could hold us down or hold us back, preventing us from blossoming and growing, that we need Jesus Christ to help us break free from low self-esteem, addictions, jealousy, anger, envy, casual drugs-use, casual alcohol-use, casual sex and absorbing negativity. It is very difficult to be hopeful and positive when we constantly play video games, watch shows, listen to music, read literature and socialize with individuals that demonstrate violence, display negativity and pour conflict into us. Those are not nurturing energies. Those are not caring/loving spirits.

Not all friendships and relationships are “till death do us part.” Some people were only meant to be in our lives for a period of time. Some folks we were meant to help; some folks were meant to help us. Some folks are meant for the duration. We need to learn the difference between who is to stay, how long they should stay and then (if need be) find the strength to let them go. If a relationship is falling apart, maybe God is tearing down some old walls, and some old habits just to build something fresh and wonderful and new. Not all broken relationships were made to be pieced back together. Some relationships are like glass and are best left broken because we would only continue to hurt ourselves by trying to put them back together.

3) Sometimes when things are falling apart, God may want us to change our hearts so He does not change our situations.

Sometimes we need to carry the cross that we are bearing. If we try to lighten our load, we may lose some valuable tools that we may need for our journey. God knows what we need and how much we can carry, so we just need to trust Him. He will not give us more that we can bear, so we just need to trust Him. When we cannot see our way, God is guiding our every footstep, so we just need to trust Him. “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths,” Proverbs 3:5-6.

We can’t grow up or move forward if we remain in the same space. So remember: sometimes when things are falling apart, they may actually be falling into place.

(The Celebration Christian Center, Inc. is located at 1215 9th Ave. N., Nashville, Tenn. 37208. For more information, visit their website at www.celebrationchristian.online.)

This post originally appeared in The Nashville Pride

Continue Reading

Film

At the Movies: Spider-Man: Far from Home; Yesterday; andThe Fall of the American Empire

NASHVILLE PRIDE — Families going to the cinema with members who don’t particularly care for superheroes and haven’t kept up with the amazing Marvel Cinematic Universe do have films that will tickle their fancy, though, and two are real gems: Yesterday and The Fall of the American Empire.

Published

on

By Cass Teague

This first weekend of July, movie-goers have many choices. Chief among them, of course, is the Marvel Studios spectacular Spider-Man: Far from Home. Families going to the cinema with members who don’t particularly care for superheroes and haven’t kept up with the amazing Marvel Cinematic Universe do have films that will tickle their fancy, though, and two are real gems: Yesterday and The Fall of the American Empire.

First, though, Spider-Man: Far from Home is a rollicking adventure that will keep you thoroughly entertained at a high level of special effects (taking a dozen visual effects houses to render), with a few surprises along the way that will have you gasping, and leave you completely mind-blown at the end. Speaking of the end, you have to stay through the end of the credits, and I mean all the way through to the very end of the credits and they shut off the projector.

Samuel L. Jackson is awesome once again as Nick Fury, and along with Cobie Smulders’ Maria Hill, the S.H.I.E.L.D. duo intervenes when Peter Parker, our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, embarks on a class science trip to Europe. All the teenager wants to do is profess his love for MJ, but ya know, superhero stuff gets in the way. Tom Holland and Zendaya are heartwarmingly loveable as the two star-crossed potential lovers, and their story highlights the quandary that plagues Marvel superheroes – how to balance saving the world with trying to have a normal life.

Without massive spoilers, and there is plenty to spoil here, trust me, as you will see, just buckle up for the ride and enjoy this continuation of the MCU that honors all that we went through in the Avengers Infinity War and Endgame films. I suggest that you may want to try 3D, IMAX 3D, or dare I say, the incredible 4DX that puts you in the action, for this one.

So, if superheroes aren’t your thing, and you tag along to the multiplex with a group or family, try a musical fantasy or a French-language crime thriller.

Yesterday is hilarious, laugh out loud British romantic comedy film directed by Danny Boyle and written by Richard Curtis. The film stars Himesh Patel as a musician who, after an accident, finds himself as the only person who remembers the Beatles, and becomes famous taking credit for writing and performing their songs. Lily James, Ed Sheeran, and Kate McKinnon also star.

The Fall of the American Empire is a Quebec crime thriller film starring Alexandre Landry, Maxim Roy, Yan England and Rémy Girard. It is about a man (Landry) who, after an armed robbery in Montreal, discovers two bags with millions of dollars cash and is on a journey after he takes them. Based on a real 2010 Old Montreal shooting, this film is at times shocking and suspenseful, as it takes you places you may not want to go, but brings you back in one piece. Be prepared to read the English subtitles throughout.

This article originally appeared in the Nashville Pride

Continue Reading

Nashville Pride

Metro Council candidate Andre Southall suspends campaign, endorses Councilman DeCosta Hastings

NASHVILLE PRIDE — Andre Southall called Councilman DeCosta Hastings on Tuesday and told him he wanted to suspend his campaign and endorse DeCosta for re-election. According to sources, Southall said that he has observed all that Councilman Hastings has done for District 2, has seen his vision, and wants to help him “finish up what has been started.”

Published

on

By Pride Newsdesk

Andre Southall called Councilman DeCosta Hastings on Tuesday and told him he wanted to suspend his campaign and endorse DeCosta for re-election.

According to sources, Southall said that he has observed all that Councilman Hastings has done for District 2, has seen his vision, and wants to help him “finish up what has been started.”

Southall recognized some of the achievements that Hastings has brought to the district including the expansion of Clarksville Highway, affordable housing, and economic development.

Hastings said that he appreciates Southall’s support and that he looks forward to working with him during his second term.

“I am very glad to have his support to help win this election,” said Hastings. “District 2 has a lot of challenges to overcome and with his and the community’s support we will get there together.”

This article originally appeared in the Nashville Pride

Continue Reading

Subscribe to receive news and updates from the Oakland Post

* indicates required

CHECK OUT THE LATEST ISSUE OF THE OAKLAND POST

ADVERTISEMENT

WORK FROM HOME

Home-based business with potential monthly income of $10K+ per month. A proven training system and website provided to maximize business effectiveness. Perfect job to earn side and primary income. Contact Lynne for more details: Lynne4npusa@gmail.com 800-334-0540

Facebook

Trending