And We’re Back! Tennessee Rep. Justin Pearson Reinstated Days After Being Expelled

And We’re Back! Tennessee Rep. Justin Pearson Reinstated Days After Being Expelled

HuffPost reports Tennessee Rep. Justin Pearson has been reinstated after being expelled for protesting gun violence. With a 7-0 vote, the Shelby County Board of Commissioners reinstated the young politician one day after fellow expelled Democratic colleague, Rep. Justin Jones, who represents the Nashville district, was reinstated.

With a packed crowd inside the County Administration Building witnessing the vote, cheers and applause filled the room before Pearson, 29, representing the Memphis district, made a speech. “Let’s get back to work!” he shouted. “You can’t expel our voice, and you sure can’t expel our fight.” Pearson and Jones had their seats taken away briefly after GOP legislators called the protest “disorderly behavior” that “brought dishonor to the House of Representatives.”

A third lawmaker, Democratic Rep. Gloria Johnson, who joined in protesting for gun control after a mass shooting in Nashville, was saved from expulsion by a single vote.

Republican leaders threatened to cut funding if Pearson was reappointed. Black Enterprise reported legal counsel, including former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, sent a letter, warning GOP legislators about retaliation. “In so acting, the House Republicans not only wrongfully stripped these representatives of their rights as duly-elected legislators but also disenfranchised the voters they were elected to represent,” the letter said.

Johnson, a supporter of Jones and Pearson, expressed how happy she was that Pearson was given another chance. “I’m so glad Memphis did what was right,” Johnson said. “I’m just absolutely thrilled. Justice was done today.”

Pearson told The New York Times that he is thankful for the outcome and ready to keep going. “I am feeling determined and thankful with the actions of the Metro Council and the movement of people who are rising up around the issue of gun violence and injustice in our state and in our country, who are acting to do something in this moment.”