Tennessee State Representative Justin Pearson, one of two Democratic state representatives ousted on Thursday, went viral on Twitter for a speech he gave before the House vote on his expulsion.

Pearson, along with Democratic state representatives Justin Jones and Gloria Johnson, led hundreds of protesters on the floor of the Tennessee House on March 30 after a youth-led rally pushed for stricter gun laws in light of the mass shooting at The Covenant School in Nashville four days earlier.

Three Republican lawmakers resolutions presented on Monday to expel his fellow protesters, alleging that House Democrats had engaged in “disorderly conduct.”

Justin Pearson's fiery speech goes viral
Protesters gather at the Tennessee Capitol in Nashville to call for gun reform laws and show support for the three House Democrats facing expulsion. Two of the representatives were ousted on Thursday following a vote on the House floor after they took part in a protest over gun control measures last week.
Seth Herald/Getty Images

Jones and Pearson were expelled after the The GOP-controlled House voted on Thursday, while Johnson was spared ejection. Reuters reported that Johnson may have been spared because, unlike his two colleagues, he did not use a megaphone to lead chants during the protest.

Pearson, who represents Tennessee’s 86th District, including part of Memphis, delivered a fiery speech in the House of Representatives before the chamber voted on his ouster. A segment of the video, posted by the account. Acynit was viewed more than 2.9 million times at the time of publication.

“We and you are seeking to oust the 86th District representation from this House in a country that was built on protest,” Pearson said. “In a country that was built on protest. You, who celebrate the 4th of July 1776, set off fireworks and eat hot dogs, say that protesting is wrong, because you spoke out of character.

“Because you stood up for marginalized people,” he continued. “You spoke for children who can never speak again. You spoke for parents who don’t want to live in fear, you spoke for Larry Thorn who was killed by gun violence. You spoke for people we don’t want to worry about. In a country built about people who speak out of line, who spoke out of line, who fought out of line to build a nation.”

Pearson wrote a letter to his fellow House members on Monday assuming “full responsibility and accountability” for failing to follow decorum during the previous week’s protests, but said it was “impossible to sit idly by and carry on with business as usual.” when we saw the demonstration led by young people. .

Pearson also specifically mentioned Thorn, a former classmate of his, in his letter to his colleagues. Thorn, who worked for the Memphis-Shelby County School District, was shot and killed earlier this year. reported by WMC-TV.

Some people have speculated whether race played a role in the expulsion of Jones and Pearson. Johnson, who is white, said Reporters after the House spared her position that she and her colleagues, both black, may have had different results due to the “color of our skin.”

In a statement shared with news week Thursday night, the Tennessee Democratic party he said the ousting of Jones and Pearson “sets a dangerous new precedent for political retribution.”

“The day a majority can simply oust a member of the opposing party without legitimate cause threatens the fabric of democracy in our state and creates a reckless roadmap for GOP-controlled state legislatures across the country.” , reads the statement. “This is not only unacceptable, but a total collapse of our political system.”

President Joe Biden also condemned Republican members of the Tennessee House of Representatives after the vote to oust Jones tweeted that it was “shocking, undemocratic and unprecedented.”

“Three children and three officials shot dead in another mass shooting,” the president tweeted. “And what are Republican officials focused on? Punishing lawmakers who joined thousands of peaceful protesters calling for action.”

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