Skye Perryman

Just one week ago, we witnessed a grave assault on democracy in Tennessee.

Two Black state representatives, Justin Jones and Justin Pearson, were expelled by right-wing officials from the very body to which they were elected to represent their communities —  simply for lending voice to their constituents and fighting for what’s right.

And while both have since been reappointed, this attack on democracy illustrates the lengths the far-right will go to protect a narrow, harmful, anti-democratic agenda. 

The expulsion of Reps. Jones and Pearson also showcased the racism and white supremacy inherent in the right-wing movement’s unjust power grabs. Officials voted not to expel Rep. Gloria Johnson, who is white and explained the difference in treatment in one simple phrase: “It might have to do with the color of our skin.”

We need to be clear: moments like these do not come out of nowhere. Democracy depends on a government that works for all people — but a nationwide, far-right movement that does not represent the majority of Americans is seeking to wield power through expulsion, insurrection, and intimidation. 

We vividly saw this playbook at work in Tennessee — and we see it every day in our work here at Democracy Forward. 

Across the country, books have been taken off the shelves, libraries closed, health care banned, labor protections eradicated, wages depressed, and extremists are going as far as seeking to criminalize teachers, doctors, social workers, and librarians for doing their jobs. 

This is a pivotal time for American democracy. At Democracy Forward, we fight every day against efforts to undermine democracy and turn back progress — in the courts, in our communities, and across the country. 

It will take all of us in the days ahead to push back on those trying to write the last chapter of democracy, and it will take even greater determination to build a bold, vibrant democracy that works for all people. 

Thank you for being with us in this fight. We won’t rest until the promise of democracy is achieved for all.