Who are the Tennessee Three?


According to the Gun Violence Archive, there have been 155 mass shootings in the U.S., and 75 children from the ages 0-11 that have been killed due to gun violence, in 2023 thus far. In that regard, we are only four months into the year. 

The issue with gun violence has been one that has sparked conversation every time there is a mass shooting. Most recently on March 27, a school shooting took place in Nashville, Tennessee at The Covenant school, killing six people. According to the Washington Post, there have been 377 School shootings since Columbine in 1999 meaning that 349,000 students have experienced gun violence since then. 

On account of this recent and most tragic event, three lawmakers from the state of Tennessee have been using their platforms to advocate for gun reform. Representatives Justin Jones, Justin Pearson, and Gloria Johnson took to the Tennessee House floor while joining protesters to stand in solidarity with the school and the community. They demanded that their legislature take action in stopping the growing gun violence in their state. 

After publicly protesting the House of Representatives, Jones and Pearson were both expelled from the House while Johnson survived the expulsion. When Johnson was asked why she thought this was.

“I think it’s pretty clear, I’m a 60-year-old white woman, and they are two young Black men,” he said.

The only two times that a representative was over sexual misconduct behavior and soliciting a bribe. This goes to show the severity of misconduct to be expelled from the house, it also makes evident the racial bias that went into the vote to expel. 

Both Jones and Pearson were reinstated by the local commission and their city’s metro council. 

In conjecture, it was interesting to see this process with the clarity that there are people who see the fight for gun reform for the sake of safekeeping for children as undemocratic. It is as scary as all the other things that are happening in this country. My earliest memory of a school shooting was the Sandy Hook shooting in 2012 and since then it almost feels like some unmanageable trend to go to a school and attempt to or kill people. It’s as if you are lucky that you haven’t had to experience it. We truly do live in a neoliberal dystopia that is growing in turbulence. I will say though, the Tennessee Three are a microbit of hope for humanity in this country.