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Vice President Flies to Tennessee to Meet the Ousted Black Lawmakers

Vice President Kamala Harris traveled to Nashville, Tennessee on Friday to meet the “Tennessee Three,” which include two young black lawmakers who were ousted from the Tennessee General Assembly after protesting on the House floor.

Dem. Rep. Justin Jones and Rep. Justin Person were expelled from the house, following an ousting by votes by Republican lawmakers, while a third member, a White female lawmaker, was spared by a narrow margin of one vote.

The “banishment” option of a fellow lawmaker is used by the House to expel a member accused of gross misconduct or corruption. The option has, however, rarely been used since the Civil War.

The Vice President delivered an impassioned speech advocating gun control at the Fisk University Chapel. She also met the expelled lawmakers, Justin Jones and Justin Pearson. Rep. Gloria Johnson, the third lawmaker who escaped expulsion was also present on the occasion.

“Let’s not fall for the false choice, which suggests that you’re either in favor of the Second Amendment or you want reasonable gun safety laws, we can and should do both,” Harris said.

Nashville was rocked by a school shooting last week, where six people, including three children, lost their lives at a Christian Elementary school. The Vice President referenced the mass shooting in her speech.

“The underlying issue is one that we are witnessing, over and over again, this community experienced it firsthand just 11 days ago,” she added.

The Vice President lauded the three lawmakers for showing courage and choosing to lead.

“And they understood the importance, these three, of standing to say the people will not be silenced, to say that a democracy hears the cries, hears the pleas, who hears the demands of its people who say that children should be able to live and be safe and go to school and not be in fear,” she said.

“We understand when we took an oath to represent the people who elected us that we speak on behalf of them,” she said. It wasn’t about the three of these leaders. It was about who they were representing. it’s about whose voices they were channeling. Understand that – and is that not what a democracy allows?”

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Written by Aliyah Collins