Reappointed to District 86 a week after being expelled by the GOP-dominated House, Justin Pearson takes the oath of office. (Photo: Gary S. Whitlow/GSW Enterprises/The New Tri-State Defender)

Now well familiar with the protocol, Justin Pearson was sworn in last Thursday (April 13) for the second time to represent Memphis-based Tennessee House District 86.

That was seven days after he and fellow representatives Justin Jones of Nashville and Gloria Johnson faced expulsion by the Republican-controlled legislative body for a House-floor protest pushing for gun-control legislation in the aftermath of the mass shooting at The Covenant School in Nashville.

Johnson narrowly survived. Pearson and Jones were kicked out, only to be reappointed by local government bodies pending special elections. Pearson’s message after being sworn in resonated with “Power to the People!”


Later, on the floor of the House, Pearson spoke against another in a series of bills affecting what schools can teach, this one including a discussion of the country as “irredeemably racist or sexist.”



Outsider the chamber afterward, Pearson joined a mostly Memphis-area crowd staking claim to “… our House.”



With the bill passed, Pearson addressed that significance and outlined a path forward.