HOLLER LIVE: REPAINTING THE ALCOA BRIDGE

After a wildly bigoted local lady went viral for harassing two gay teens in ALCOA, the community rallied around them to repaint the bridge. Watch our INTERVIEW.

TENNESSEE HOLLER FEST 2021

Highlights from our first ever TENNESSEE HOLLER FEST, featuring inspiring voices from across the state lifting up the issues we face – including STELLA PARTON, JUSTIN JONES, REP. JIM COOPER, REP. STEVE COHEN, THE EQUITY ALLIANCE and much more.

Here’s a quick highlight reel.

Watch the FULL VIDEO HERE and LISTEN TO THE PODCAST

A Trip to Montgomery

Sandy summarizes her trip to the Equal Justice Initiative’s Legacy Museum and “lynching memorial” and searches for signs of its mission in our state.

FULL PODCAST available on Apple Podcasts here, and wherever else you like to listen here.

Organizer Justin Jones on the RUN-OVER-A-PROTESTER Bill

“If something does happen to me, bring my casket outside the Capitol.” Activist Justin Jones on the RUN-OVER-A-PROTESTOR bill now revived by Lt. Gov. McNally, Gov. Bill Lee, and the Tennessee Republican Party.

 

OPINION: The Death of Anthony Thompson Jr. Was Avoidable

Opinion by Ali Pensky of Knoxville, TN

I am not a detective or a lawyer, but as a human being, I watched the video of seventeen-year-old Anthony Thompson Junior being shot and killed in his high school’s bathroom, and I have questions. As the officers approached Anthony, he begged, “WAIT” six times. By the time he could muster up another “WAIT” the officer had already shot him to the ground, and then, proceeded to handcuff him.  

As I watched the comment section of WBIR’s Facebook Live, many people wrote something like, “What did you expect? He brought a gun to school.” And then I thought of sixteen-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant who was killed by the police, and how people claim the shooting was justified because she had a knife and was in a fight.  

Too many police have proven to America that they will not do anything to deescalate a tough situation besides shooting their guns at children, so why are we still funding them at the rate we do? 

 It seems obvious that more money should be given to social services that will help with issues such as addiction, homelessness, and mental health. It seems obvious that police across the country need sufficient bias training. So why is the idea of defunding the police so threatening to so many white people? It is because this country only actually polices some people, and those who are not controlled, and in fact benefit from the current system of policing, want the system to stay the way it is. I am a white girl from an upper-middle-class neighborhood in Knoxville who went to a private high school. If a kid I knew was accused of hitting his girlfriend, he would probably get his friends’ dad who is a lawyer to make it go away. He would not get shot in the bathroom of his school, like Anthony Thompson junior. That is white privilege. That is why the killing of Anthony Thompson junior is absolutely not justifiable. 

The question of why the DA spent an hour going over tapes of Anthony’s girlfriend accusing him of abuse, is part of a larger issue. While an accusation of domestic abuse is serious, it has nothing to do with Anthony being shot to death by a police officer in his own school’s bathroom. The question of why Anthony was portrayed as a school shooter and portrayed as having shot the officer when both accusations are false is part of a larger issueThe picture that was painted of Anthony before the bodycam footage of the shooting was even released is disturbing and manipulative. It puts systemic racism on display. 

I have no doubt that the officers in that bathroom felt they were in danger, but in what universe does the officer deserve more sympathy than the dead seventeen-year-old? We need to dismantle that universe because it appears to have become our reality.  

I will never fully understand what it means to be a part of the Austin East community. But I stand with them and I believe the death of Anthony Thompson Junior was avoidable. I do not have answers on how to dismantle this broken system or make Knoxville safe for everyone, but if you are privileged enough to do so like myself, donate to the Austin East Foundation, which aims to help AE receive the same educational opportunities as other Knox County students. Purchase something on the AE’s staff wish list on Amazon. Support one of the local restaurants that are donating their proceeds to AE, such as Hard Knox Pizza or Likewise Coffee. Go to a protest led by Constance Every. Take a stance.

The “Third Death Penalty” is NO MORE in Tennessee

“TODAY MERCY WON. People told us this was impossible, but No Exceptions Prison Collective rejected that.” Rev. Jeannie Alexander celebrates a huge win in the Senate — after 6 years of work and input from 1500 prisoners, a life sentence with parole went from 51 yrs to 25 yrs before parole eligibility.

Not only was this a win, but it was a bipartisan blowout, 26-4. Sen. Bowling (R) was the lead sponsor, co-sponsored by Senators Gilmore (D) and Roberts (R), soon to be joined by Sen. Yager (R).

 

TNGOP Has ANOTHER Anti-Trans Bathroom Bill from Rep Zachary

What if we told you Rep Jason Zachary is running ANOTHER anti-trans kids bill, this one about school bathrooms? It’s true, folks. HB1233 sailed through committees under the radar. The Tennessee Republican Party’s #SlateOfHate is ENDLESS.

 

Reps Harris and Mannis Push Back on TNGOP’s Anti-LGBTQ Textbook Ban

“THIS WOULD ELIMINATE ME.” Reps Harris (D-Memphis) & Mannis (R-Knoxville) – the 2 out LGBT reps – push back on Griffey & the TNGOP’s ANTI-LGBTQ TEXTBOOK BAN.

It passed committee 8-7 (YES VOTES: Cepicky, Griffey, Haston, Hicks, Sparks, Warner, Moody, Weaver).

 

These GOP Senators Don’t Seem to Understand the Right to Protest

“Are you worried BLACK PLAYERS won’t come to Tennessee? Why didn’t you go talk to the players about WHY they were kneeling?”

We asked Senators Rusty Crowe & Jon Lundberg about Coach Shay being forced out of ETSU (by boosters & TNGOP) for standing with his players.

 

Testimony Against Rep Ragan’s Anti-Trans Healthcare Bill

Reps Jerry Sexton, William Lamberth, and Bruce Griffey have the AUDACITY to accuse Dr. Kristin Rager of testifying against Rep Ragan’s anti-trans youth healthcare bill for FINANCIAL INCENTIVES.
Interesting that they’d attack a DR for that but not business executives & developers.