On Thursday (April 6), Black Democrats Justin Jones and Justin Pearson made headlines after being expelled from the Tennessee House of Representatives following a protest that was sparked over gun control. As previously reported by REVOLT, a third politician, Gloria Johnson, who is white and also participated in the demonstration, was able to remain at her post after Republicans failed to secure a supermajority vote needed for expulsion.
Hours after the decision, many publicly expressed unwavering support for the aforementioned trio. Former President Barack Obama was among that group, as he took to social media to comment on the issue.
“This nation was built on peaceful protest. No elected official should lose their job simply for raising their voice – especially when they’re doing it on behalf of our children,” he declared on Twitter. “What happened in Tennessee is the latest example of a broader erosion of civility and democratic norms. Silencing those who disagree with us is a sign of weakness, not strength, and it won’t lead to progress.”
Following being removed from office, Jones blasted his constituents for what he feels is an attack on democracy as a whole.
“Moving forward, this is setting a precedent that any member that voices dissent or opposition can be expelled from the legislative body,” he said. “This is very unprecedented in Tennessee and this has never happened in our history. What the nation is seeing is that we don’t have democracy in Tennessee.”
He continued by revealing his immediate plans in the coming days and weeks. “If we don’t act, we have some very dark days ahead. So we have to respond to this with mass movements, nonviolent movements. I will continue to hold them accountable and demand action, because this isn’t about me, this is about trying to silence and expel the movement that we were trying to amplify on the House floor.”
Check out Obama‘s tweets below.