Patricia Billie Miller


Patricia Billie Miller



April 8, 2023

Connecticut Black and Puerto Rican Caucus Releases the Following Statement Regarding the Expulsion of Tennessee Lawmakers Justin Jones and Justin Pearson

HARTFORD, CT – The Connecticut Black and Puerto Rican Caucus released the following statement in response to the expulsion of two Black lawmakers from the Tennessee legislature. The Republican-led legislature expelled state Representatives Justin Jones and Justin Pearson and took an additional vote to expel state Representative Gloria Johnson following their lawful protest of lax gun control policy contributing to a nationwide crisis of school shootings and gun violence. Rep. Johnson narrowly avoided expulsion.


“I stand in support of the Tennessee Three, brave Black legislators Representatives Justin Jones, Justin Pearson and Gloria Johnson who were subjected to an expulsion vote for exercising their freedom of speech, speaking out against gun violence, and representing their constituents with class, strength and passion,” said Chair Senator Pat Billie Miller (D-Stamford). “They are calling what happened yesterday a ‘political lynching.’ The actions of the Republican-led Tennessee legislature to expel Rep. Jones and Rep. Pearson and taking an additional vote to expel Rep. Johnson, are disgraceful, racist and dishonorable. It is a blatant show of utter disregard for the opinions of their Black counterparts and the many constituents who share the same sentiments. Instead of expelling those who disagree with them, I strongly encourage the Tennessee legislature to direct their focus towards addressing the real issues Tennesseans face and trusted them to rectify.”


The Tennessee Three participated in protests alongside residents just days following the tragic shooting at the Covenant School, a private Christian school, where six people were killed, three of whom were children. Historically, it is rare for members of any state legislature to be expelled for matters not concerning serious misconduct.


“Today I fully recognize the privilege that comes with serving the State of Connecticut,” said Vice Chair and state Representative Antonio Felipe (D- Bridgeport). “Being the youngest member of our General Assembly and more importantly the BPRC I am ashamed of the Tennessee GOP for silencing the two powerful black voices of Justin Jones and Justin Pearson. The two youngest voices Representing their state. They have been used as a smokescreen to distract Tennesseans from the real issue that these brave, passionate representatives spoke out for in the first place. I commend Representative Gloria Johnson for standing alongside these men but the fact that she remains paints a full picture. This was clearly an act of racism but more importantly it was an act of fear. Young voices of color are rising up across this country, more and more of us are being elected to represent a generation that has never been represented before. We are unapologetic, we are ready to break the wheel and we do not accept the notion that we must fit a mold or an archetype. There is a future to be shaped across this country and in the best interest of that future this cannot be the last we see of Representatives Jones and Pearson.

The Connecticut BPRC stands in full solidarity with their fellow elected officials in Tennessee. If we stand by idly and ignore acts of blatant racism, we would not be fulfilling our duty to those who elected us to protect their freedoms. We hope that the Tennessee legislature truly unite to address gun violence rather than continue down the path of silencing those who are fighting to keep students and families safe.