MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Justin J. Pearson is back at work in the Tennessee Legislature after Republican leaders voted him out for violating House rules.
With his right hand raised, District 86 Tennessee State Representative Justin J. Pearson was sworn into office. The 29-year-old reflected on how far they had come.
“It was just one week ago that we sat in the state house on the well of democracy and were persecuted,” Pearson said.
Pearson, expelled for leading a protest for stronger gun reform, says he’s ready to get back to being a voice of the people.
“How we can still have courage and hope and faith in this democracy in Tennessee? Well, I believe William Cullen Bryant is right. That truth crushed to earth will rise again,” he said.
All eyes are on the young lawmaker, and many people see him as a new voice in a movement.
Pastor Keith Norman worked beside Pearson in many local efforts. He said Pearson is shining a new light on the issue of gun control and having the voices of young people behind it may finally lead to change.
“He’s the candidate who can do those kinds of things that we need. He inspires and informs that’s often lacking in politics today,” Pastor Norman said.
Many like Pastor Norman are already talking about his political future and making comparisons.
“If we compare him to Obama, if we compare him to Christ, if we compare him to Malcolm X, we can compare him to anyone, but he’s Justin Pearson,” he said.
For now, he has to be re-elected to permanently fill the seat he once won.
“We are showing this state and this country the only way forward. And I gotta tell you the good news. We are gonna win,” Pearson said.