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Now is the time to be “For” transit

The undersigned advocates for equity and inclusion and various members of the Nashville for All of Us steering committee support the transit plan and encourage everyone to vote “For” the referendum between now and May 1st. While there are a variety of needs we must address as a city to stem the tide of gentrification, inequity, and poverty, creating a mass transit system in Nashville is one of the most drastic steps we can take to reach that goal.

Nashville cannot hope to manage the enormous population boom that it will experience over the next 20 years without mass transit. If we cannot move people around affordably and efficiently, we will cease to progress as a city; Nashville will have truly failed its residents, businesses, and visitors.

As difficult as that would be for everyone, the brunt of that failure would be felt by those who make this city work; by those who serve in Nashville’s robust hospitality industry; by those literally changing the face of Nashville through development/construction; by the teachers who prepare our kids for the future, the first responders who keep us safe, and the healthcare staff who care for us; by those taking a huge risk to start their own businesses; by those paid minimum wage, struggling to make ends meet; by those working in the civic/social sectors of our society who assist those in great need; and by our friends, family, and colleagues who are trying to make a life here.

Like many Nashvillians, we are frustrated that this referendum does not include a comprehensive plan and funding source for affordable housing. Yet, we believe this transit plan will address one of this city’s most intractable barriers to equity and inclusion. Therefore, voting against transit’s success now, in the hopes that we will get both transit and affordable housing at some point in the future, is a risk we just cannot take.

That being said, the fact that Nashville has not come up with a comprehensive affordable housing plan that will confront the overwhelming need this city has is incredibly disappointing. We need to hold our government representatives and business/community leaders accountable for this delinquency. If we can push through a transit plan with a price tag in the billions of dollars, we can come up with an affordable housing plan at a fraction of a fraction of that cost. Creating mass transit is only one battle we need to win to banish the inequities in Nashville’s current infrastructure. However, it is a critical first step.

Also, while we respect the opinions of those folks who have legitimate issues with the transit plan, we cannot respect the motivations behind the out-of- state interest groups funding the (Lee Beaman supported) campaign to kill the referendum. N4AOU faced these same people when they tried to pass English Only. Now, just like then, their goal is to stifle progress in this city. Now, just like then, most of their funding is coming from out-of- state interest groups with the help of a handful of locals. Now, just like then, they are misstating facts and trying to confuse voters. But, if you are tired of hearing different groups saying they’re right and others are wrong, you don’t have to listen to anyone’s opinion (theirs or ours). Go to the following link, read the transit plan, and decide for yourself: Transit Plan link.

When Nashville for All of Us was developing the white paper for equity and inclusion during the Nashville Next process, we talked to people who had trouble finding and keeping jobs and accessing necessary goods and services due to the lack of a mass transit system. One refugee who had been in the city just over a year was quoted in the report saying, “Not having a car is like not having feet.” If that was true six years ago when the report was created, imagine this city in the coming decades as it grows by hundreds of thousands of people.

The future is in your hands, Nashville. So, get out and vote!

Kenny Byrd
Mark Eatherly
Stephen Fotopulos
Tasha French Lemley
Mohamed-Shukri Issack Hassan
Dan Hogan
Tom Negri
Avi Poster
Randy Rayburn
Chris Sanders
Pat Shea
Renata Soto
David Taylor
Hedy Weinberg
Stephen Zralek

This statement is the opinion of the individuals listed above. Nashville for All of Us as a group has not taken a position on the transit vote.

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Vote for a welcoming Nashville on August 4

It is time once again to make your voices heard in support of a welcoming and inclusive Nashville!  Early voting is now taking place in the races for Mayor, Vice-Mayor, and Metro Council, and Election Day — August 4 — will be here soon.  These elections will help chart the course for our city’s future.  Use your votes in all of the races and keep Nashville a city in which every voice is heard!
Nashville For All of Us recently asked all of the candidates in Metro elections to join us in our commitment to ensure Nashville is a productive, just, and welcominig city where all residents are valued. We asked the candidates to affirm the following pledge:
As a candidate for the Nashville Metro Council, I pledge that I will support a Nashville that is built on shared values and aspirations; is committed to inclusivity, equality, and the ethical and moral treatment of all residents; encourages and values the contributions of all citizens; makes its services and benefits accessible to all; embraces every resident’s inherent worth and dignity; and encourages civil and respectful public discourse among its residents and their representatives.
 
We are pleased that these candidates have committed to supporting this vision for our city:
Candidate Office Incumbent (I) Candidate Office Incumbent (I)
Karl Dean Mayor I David Glasgow District 18
Diane Neighbors Vice Mayor I Erica Gilmore District 19 I
Megan Barry At-Large I Curt Wallen District 19
Renard Francois At-Large Buddy Baker District 20 I
Jerry Maynard At-Large I J. Gower Mills District 20
Donald Ray McFolin At-Large Mary Carolyn Roberts District 20
Don O’Donniley At-Large Seanna Brandmeir District 22
Ronnie Steine At-Large I Emily Evans District 23 I
Sajid W. Usmani At-Large Jason Holleman District 24 I
Lonnell Matthews, Jr. District 1 I Sarah Lodge Tally District 24
Frank Harrison District 2 I James Michael Kaminski District 25
DeCosta Hastings District 2 Sean McGuire District 25 I
Brady Banks District 4 Chris Harmon District 26
Eugene Batsuk District 4 Greg Dooley District 27
Scott Davis District 5 Travis Danker District 28
Priscilla Eaton District 5 Tanaka Vercher District 28
Dave Rich District 6 Arnett H. Bodenhamer District 29
Hans Schmidt District 6 Karen Y. Johnson District 29
Peter Westerholm District 6 Vicky Tataryn District 29
Anthony Davis District 7 Isaac Okoreeh-Baah District 29
Nancy VanReece District 8 Vivian Wilhoite District 29
Darren Jernigan District 11 I
Jason Potts
District 30
Steve Glover District 12 Fabian Bedne District 31
Anna Page District 16  I James Widrig District 31
Sandra Moore District 17 I Markeith Braden District 32
Burkley Allen District 18 Jacobia C. Dowell District 32
Carter Todd District 34 I
A “Nashville for All of Us” is not just a place to live, but a way of life for our city.  It is built on shared values and aspirations.  It is committed to inclusivity, equality, and the ethical and moral treatment of all Nashvillians.  It encourages and values the contributions of all residents to their community and makes its services and benefits accessible to all.  It embraces and defends all persons’ inherent dignity.  It is a vision that will be a reality when we all speak up.
Speak up for Nashville; speak up for all of us.  Get out and vote!
For more information on early voting and the August 4 election, please visit Nashville.gov.
Sincerely,
Nashville For All of Us Steering Committee Members:
Alistair Newbern, Chair
Stephen Fotopulos
Renata Soto
Krissa Barclay
Lisa Pote, Secretary
David Taylor
Kenny Byrd
Kathleen Murphy
Hedy Weinberg
Sonnye Dixon
Tom Negri
Anderson Williams
Mark Eatherly
Avi Poster
Stephen Zralek

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Silent march April 19 to mark 50-year anniversary of Looby bombing, march

Aprilteenth Silent March

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Stand Up against SB63

The Steering Committee of Nashville for All of Us (“N4AOU”) issues this statement to urge Tennesseans to stand up against Tennessee Senate Bill 63 and Tennessee House Bill 262 and any other efforts reminiscent of the English-Only Charter Amendment that was defeated last year in Nashville. Nashville voters made their voices heard that such “English-only” efforts undermine tourism and economic development and send the wrong message to and about our community.

We urge all members of the Tennessee General Assembly to vote no against these measures and other “English-only” efforts. We encourage N4AOU members, supporters and friends to voice their opposition to their representatives in the Tennessee legislature. Those interested can learn more about the SB63 and HB262 drivers test measures here.

Further information about N4AOU and its mission can be found at
http://www.nashvilleforallofus.org

Sincerely,

David Briley
Kenny Byrd
Sonnye Dixon
Mark Eatherly
Stephen Fotopulos
Dan Haskell
Tricia Hersfeld
John Lamb
Debby Dale Mason
Kathleen Murphy
Tom Negri
Alistair Newbern
Tom Oreck
Avi Poster
Lisa Pote
Floyd Shechter
Renata Soto
John Tighe
Hedy Weinberg
Stephen Zralek

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The new mission

Happy anniversary of the historic vote to end the battle over English Only!

On the heels of that victory in January 2009, many of us asked the question, “What’s next for Nashville for All of Us?

Quite simply, our work is not done! As a city with so much promise, Nashville must continue to “fight the good fight” to remain a welcoming community for all of its residents. Our work last year called us to instant action, which we took with great success. Now, we are in the unique position of remaining a collaboration of diverse voices that can continue the important conversations of our time.

To that end, the steering committee for Nashville for All of Us (N4AOU) has been working to establish a more formal structure through which to engage in our work on an ongoing basis. We are writing to inform you that N4AOU is transitioning to an organization with the following mission:

We are an independent, diverse community coalition that challenges each other’s perspectives and informs and shapes public policy to promote a productive, just and welcoming Nashville for all.

Please consider this letter an invitation to continue on as part of that community coalition. We hope that, with the continued input of the diverse voices that made our initial effort a victory, N4AOU can serve as a table to host the conversations necessary to identify and address new issues relating to prejudice and exclusion in our community.

First and foremost, however, we hope that you will bring your voice, your ideas, and your energy to these critical conversations and to continuing the work of Nashville for All of Us. If you are interested in being a part of the discussion of N4AOU’s next steps, please click here to complete the attached brief survey to let us know what issues currently faced by our community are important to you. Completing the survey should take no more than 5 to 10 minutes of your time.

If you prefer not to move forward with our new direction, simply click the “opt out” link at the bottom of any e-mail we send you, and we will remove you from our mailing list.

We hope you will join us in the discussion of N4AOU’s next steps and the continued conversations about the future of our shared community. We look forward to your participation as our work progresses.

Many thanks,

Stephen Zralek
Chair, Nashville for All of Us

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Tears of joy at inauguration viewing, with support for Nashville for All of Us

buttonThis photo (4/16 in a Tennessean slideshow of local viewings of Tuesday’s inauguration) captures Nashvillian Thenita Jones in tears of joy at the Belcourt at the moment of the inauguration of President Barack Obama.

Jones is wearing two inauguration buttons and also a Nashville for All of Us button.

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Tennessean of the Year Bob Fisher on record against English Only

Bob Fisher

Bob Fisher

Bob Fisher, president of Belmont University, was named Tennessean of the Year by the Tennessean newspaper.  Here is an excerpt from the story:

Largely, thanks to his leadership in bringing the state’s first-ever presidential debate to Belmont, Fisher now has another accolade to add to the walls — or the floor, as will probably happen: the 2008 Tennessean of the Year, as determined by readers and The Tennessean’s editorial board.

Fisher is one of nine local university presidents who signed a joint statement in opposition to the English Only charter amendment.

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