Rep. Justin Pearson Reappointed To Tennessee House Following Expulsion

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Democratic Rep. Justin Pearson has been reinstated to the Tennessee House less than a week after he and fellow Black colleague Justin Jones were expelled over a gun violence protest.

On Wednesday (April 12), the Shelby County Commission voted unanimously to send Pearson back to the House during a special meeting called by Mickell Lowery, the commission's chairman, per ABC News.

“The message for all the people in Nashville who decided to expel us: You can’t expel hope,” Pearson said after the vote. “You can’t expel justice. You can’t expel our voice. And you sure can’t expel our fight. We look forward to continuing to fight, continuing to advocate until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream!”

Pearson's reinstatement comes after the Nashville Metro Council moved on Monday (April 10) to reappoint Jones, the other lawmaker who was ousted from the state legislature after protesting gun violence on the House floor in the wake of the Nashville school shooting.

Democratic Rep. Gloria Johnson, who is white, also participated in the gun violence protest, in which the lawmakers were accused of breaking House decorum rules, but was spared from expulsion.

Ahead of Wednesday's reinstatement, Lowery said Pearson's expulsion "was conducted in a hasty manner without consideration of other corrective action methods.” Pearson and Jones will now serve as interim representatives of their respective districts until a special election is called.

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