Tennessee Senate forum THIS WEEK

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Email from Indivisible

It has been a heavy, heavy week for our state and our country. I urge all of your to read below as to how to be a white accomplices and deepen your anti-racism work. There are Tennessee organizations representing folks of color that have been on the fontlines, organizing and fighting back against our extremist state and federal governments. Please consider donating to The Equity Alliance your local community bail fund as we will continue to see civil unrest.

(Nashville | Knoxville | Chattanooga Memphis).Lastly, Indivisible and The Tennessee Holler will host the FIRST digital Senate forum with the Democratic candidates. In the midst of uprising and rebellion, we still have an election and Indivisible groups are working to ensure constructive primaries and highlight the policies of candidates that speak to the times.

Notable Items

THIS WEEK, watch the Democratic contenders running for US Senate LIVE via the Tennessee Holler on Thursday at 7 PM EST. Submit your question for the candidates!

The TN legislature is back in session, and we need to put pressure on them to expand vote by mail. Make some noise! 

Inivisible is excited to announce that rural advocate and comedian Trae Crowder will headline the National Rural Summit on June 27th. Register here!

A big thank to Liz McGeachy for her Norris Indivisible newsletter as I copied and pasted a few items.


CW (Content Warning) info in this email deals with the violent death of George Floyd at the hands of police in Minneapolis and the more than justified anger, rage, and pain felt by so many, but especially our black neighbors, friends, and family.

Many of you have reached out with questions and ideas on how to be a good ally right now. We’ve compiled some resources and I’d recommend sharing all or parts of this with your members. Here is a document with all the do’s and don’ts listed below. 

Many white organizers feel awkward or uncertain about how to show up to support black and brown communities under attack. And yet we all must show up. Even though it’s so much easier to stay quiet, well-intentioned silence is one of the many reasons our country has not moved forward. Below, we’re going to give you some tips and best practices so you can be the best ally possible. Know that you will make mistakes – know that you will not feel like you are doing everything right – but know this – by NOT showing up in these times, you enable the system racism that has plagued our country for years.

DO: Take action

This Indivisible guide is a starting point to show solidarity and take action. This google doc created by Nancy Latham of Indivisible East Bay also has great resources

DON’T: Post the videos of people being murdered

Black activists have said loud and clear that seeing these videos repeatedly on their feeds is triggering and harmful, take them at their word and don’t post graphic videos

DO: Check in with black and other POC in your group

Reach out and let them know you’re thinking about them and want to support them. Avoid saying things like “I get it” or “I totally understand,” while well-intentioned white people will never truly understand the pain and fear Black and Brown people live with. Instead, say something like “I can’t imagine what you’re feeling right now but I want you to know I support you and I’m here to help you through this” or “I’m never going to be able to fully understand what you’re feeling, but I would like to help support you as best I can and welcome a conversation about what that might look like for you.”

DO: Respond to clueless or racist posts (intentional or unintentional) and call folk in.

This is the time for your leadership to step up and address each post. We are not good allies unless we call it all harm, intentional or not, in all our spaces. Here’s a good article with examples of how to respond to the “Riots won’t solve anything” post: Article – Riots Never Solve Anything . Also, it is NOT the role of your POC members to address these posts, it is your role as a white organizer and leader. This is a moment you can move your group forward.

DO: Take safety precautions if you attend in-person events

Indivisible is not currently organizing or recruiting for in-person events, and we can’t make any guarantees about safety. If you choose to attend protests or other events, The Anti-Police Terror Project has identified best practices for safety. Know the risks and do what you can to minimize the risk for you and those around you.

DON’T: Speak to the press, instead redirect them to a Black person who wants to speak

As a white organizer, when the Press comes near, it’s our job to push the Press to someone from the impacted community, with their permission. Do NOT speak for the community. While it may feel flattering to be asked our opinion, our role is to have the community affected speak for themselves. Note that not everyone will be safe with their picture taken or name in the press, especially if police are becoming violent or making arrests, so ask before you redirect the press.

DO: Learn more about anti-racism and how to be an ally.

Start reading these books and resources:

White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack

Qualified Immunity: Explained

Anti-Racism Resources for White People

DON’T: Respond with “violence is not the answer” or post about the looting

Read this article and call in people who say this and similar things.It goes without saying that what is going on this week affects some in our communities more than others. Please think of and do for these affected community members what you can, and take care of each other as you do. 

Federal/National Indivisible

US Senate Forum

This Thursday, June 4 at 7 PM EST in partnership with the Tennessee Holler, join the Democratic candidates running for US Senate . In 2020, Tennessee will hold another US Senate race; but, unlike 2018, we won’t be in the national spotlight. It will be up to the grassroots to choose the candidate that best represents them! Tune in to hear where candidates Robin Kimbrough, Marquita Bradshaw, James Mackler, and Mark Pickrell stand on the issues.

Sign up for a reminder and  submit questions for the candidates through this link! 

National Rural Voices Summit

Sign up to attend Indivisible’s Rural Voices Summit this month, featuring comedian Trae Crowder (the “Liberal Redneck”) and other great stuff!In partnership with RuralOrganizing.org and People’s Action, this event will take place Saturday, June 27 from 11am to 5:30pm ET. Rural Indivisible groups, rural organizers, and other rural activists from around the country will be offering sessions on topics like rural coalition building, rural successes and failures, the power of the rural electorate, relational organizing, as well as some fun activities and self-care. RSVP for this exciting opportunity to build community with other rural activists today.

And… if you need a little more rural…Join Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition for the final installment of the Red & Rural Webinar Series.We will be joined by Emily Baird-Chrisohon, from the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition, who will walk us through how we can use deep, values-based canvassing to have transformational conversations, changing the narrative in our rural and red communities

Register HERE for the webinar on Wednesday, June 10, 8 pm ET / 5 pm PT.

State Legislature

TN legislature is back in session… time to turn up the pressure!

National Indivisible has created a great site specifically for Tennessee activists who are advocating for their right to vote safely amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

We need to be asking our legislators, the Secretary of State, and the Governor: “#HowManyBodies before you act?”

When the legislature reconvenes, they must work to adopt the policies of the Vote Safe Tennessee platform — voter registration by phone, extended registration deadlines, vote by mail, and extra accommodations for new and absentee voters, to name a few.

(See in particular, these two bills: SB0193 and SB0247.) Voters should not have to choose between their health and their right to vote ahead of the August 6th primary.

Check out their TOOL HUB for TENNESSEE RIGHT HERE and take action today!

Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper telling your neighbors to demand Tennessee legislators act now to protect your health and right to vote. Click here to send a letter.

Tweet at your legislators with the automatic Tweet Storm tool and ask them #HowManyBodies? Click here to start tweeting.

Record a video telling your state legislator to recognize the urgency of protecting Tennesseans’ health and right to vote. Click here to record your video.

Use the social media kit with graphics to pressure your legislator digitally to adopt the Vote Safe Tennessee platform. Click here for sample social media posts.

Check out ETSU’s polling on vote by mail!

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