America’s Largest Corporations Must End All Political Donations To Extremist Tennessee Lawmakers Who Voted To Expel The Tennessee Three

April 10, 2023

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Community Justice Action Fund, Guns Down America, March For Our Lives, Newtown Action Alliance, and Giffords are urging corporate America to end political donations to the Tennessee state lawmakers who voted to expel Rep. Justin Jones and Justin Pearson for demanding that the General Assembly take action to prevent gun deaths.

America’s largest and most recognizable brands, including Amazon, Coca-Cola, Verizon, Kroger, all which have donated tens of thousands of dollars to anti-democratic lawmakers in Tennessee, should instead donate the equivalent of their past contributions to local organizations working to reduce gun violence in the state.

“America’s largest corporations, particularly those who claim to support democratic ideals, have a choice: stand with the overwhelming majority of your customers who support democracy and free speech or continue to back anti-democratic extremists who expelled two young Black leaders for demanding a conversation about gun violence in Tennessee,” said Igor Volsky, Executive Director of Guns Down America. “Now is the time for companies to not only rethink their corporate contributions to Tennessee GOP leaders like Jeremy Faison, Cameron Sexton and William Lamberth, but to contribute to state-based community violence intervention programs instead.”

“With more than a thousand Tennesseans killed by gun violence each year, and three children and three staff brutally murdered in a Nashville school, voters are demanding action. Elected on a promise to improve Tennesseans’ lives, Reps. Justin Jones, Gloria Johnson, and Justin Pearson had the courage to keep their word, stand with their constituents and fight to stop gun violence. Last week’s stunning and anti-democratic campaign to silence the opposition showed Tennessee Republicans are willing to risk the lives of Tennessee’s children to appease the gun lobby. Unless and until that changes, responsible corporations should suspend their donations to GOP leaders like Jeremy Faison, Cameron Sexton, and William Lamberth, and re-direct those contributions to the Tennessee groups and leaders who are actually working to save lives from gun violence,” said Allison Anderman, GIFFORDS Law Center’s Senior Counsel & Director of Local Policy.

“Corporations can't speak out of both sides of their mouth and say that they value our lives and demand action on gun violence while also propping up extremists who undermine democracy," said Natalie Fall, Executive Director of March For Our Lives. “Tennessee has one of the highest rates of gun violence, as well as some of the loosest gun laws. Leaders like Speaker Cameron Sexton and Rep. William Lamberth are fueling this violent status quo, and threatening the very pillars of our democracy by expelling duly elected representatives. It's time for corporations to put their money where their mouth is and redirect their contributions away from these corrupt leaders and towards community violence intervention programs that, unlike the Tennessee Republicans, actually aim to tackle gun violence.”

Greg Jackson, Executive Director of Community Justice Action Fund said, “Corporations must unite against the suppression of free debate and vital conversations surrounding gun violence prevention in Tennessee, especially when it concerns those most affected. By expelling Reps. Justin Jones and Justin Pearson, the Republican-led Tennessee House has chosen to disregard the voices of over 200,000 Tennesseans who elected these courageous Black lawmakers. As gun violence remains the leading cause of death for children and teens in the United States, and the number one cause of premature death for Black men, the dismissal of these dedicated representatives is a stark reminder of the systemic silencing of survivors' voices and the communities most impacted by gun violence. Community Justice calls on corporate America to take a stand against the unjust expulsion of Reps. Justin Jones and Justin Pearson by ending political donations to the Tennessee state lawmakers who sought to silence Tennesseans' calls for comprehensive gun violence prevention measures and redirecting their financial support to local Tennessee organizations that work tirelessly to reduce gun violence and promote community safety.”

“U.S. corporations must stop fueling the gun violence epidemic in America by donating to state lawmakers like Tennessee Speaker Cameron Sexton, Representative William Lamberth, and Representative Jeremy Faison who are willing to sacrifice the lives of our children and our democracy for blood money for the gun industry,” said Po Murray, Chairwoman of the Newtown Action Alliance. “We also urge the corporations to publicly denounce the unjust racist expulsion of two black Representatives in Tennessee, support state and federal gun control measures to honor the victims who were impacted by the Covenant School shooting, and help the communities recover, heal and prevent gun violence instead of funding the gun lobby lap dogs. Those of us from Newtown, Connecticut know too well what their community is going through.”