image shows the tennessee state flag flying against a blue sky

Fighting Back Against Book Bans and State Violence in Tennessee

The status quo in Tennessee is one of state violence and entrenched white supremacy, and millions of Tennesseeans are suffering.

On January 27th, nine cops murdered Landon Eastep in a highway execution in Nashville – firing more than a dozen shots at the unarmed man for walking near the interstate. Then, on Tuesday, Nashville City Council doubled-down on police violence by passing License Plate Readers to expand state surveillance of poor communities. Meanwhile, in rural Athens, Tennessee, the McMinn County School Board voted unanimously to ban the teaching of Art Spiegelman’s graphic novel about the Holocaust, Maus, sparking outrage from anti-racists and survivors across the world. 

This escalation of state violence and control in Nashville and weakening of public institutions in Athens is only possible because Rightwing extremists have spent millions of dollars and organized behind-the-scenes in Tennessee for decades. We saw the power of white supremacist organizing on display this week in Tennessee, but the same actors are working across the country to keep white people from joining in solidarity with neighbors of color. 

SURJ is meeting this challenge head-on with long-term organizing in working-class white communities to build the infrastructure, skills, and people power we need to defeat the Right for good. We are here for the long haul.