Tennessee’s state legislature was called into a special session a few days ago and passed three bills. One of those was a bill aimed at protestors, who have been demonstrating 24/7 on Capitol Hill in Nashville for almost two months. The bill essentially makes camping on public property a felony in order to get them to disperse. One reason they are still there is that one of their requests has been to meet with Governor Bill Lee to discuss systemic racism in Tennessee, and he has refused. I am so unimpressed with this bill, this administration, and the governor’s refusal to even meet with his own constituents. I sent my thoughts to Governor Lee, choosing to focus here on his unwillingness to speak to the protestors. Below is an open version of that email. Feel free to use this language as is or edited if you also want to express your disappointment in this bill and add your voice to those asking for Governor Lee to listen. Send your thoughts to the governor here. Tennesseans can find your state legislator here.
I, like many Tennesseans, have been following the protest on Capitol Hill. I saw the article in the Washington Post today about the new legislation passed that essentially makes that protest a felony. (I am so tired of Tennessee only making national news when we do something ridiculous like this, by the way.)
I want to express my deep, deep disappointment in this legislation and specifically in your refusal to meet with the protestors, which I understand has been one of their requests since they began their demonstration two months ago. What are you in office for if you aren’t going to talk to your constituents? You have taken steps towards moving the bust of Nathan Bedford Forrest, which I was glad to see. Why is it that you will do that, but won’t speak to actual Tennesseans who are begging you to listen to them?
I am not registered with any political party and I am generally of the belief that from the state level down, party really doesn’t matter. Actions and impact matter. I did not vote for you in the last election. If you run for reelection, I am strongly inclined not to vote for you given your utter lack of willingness to even discuss systemic racism in Tennessee. Please meet with the protestors, who you are in office to serve.