Justin Jones’ exile from the Tennessee House of Representatives lasted four days, meaning he didn’t miss a session in the House. Jones and his compatriot, Justin Pearson, were voted out by the Republican-controlled House for leading a demonstration on the House floor calling for the implementation of gun-control legislation.
The protest was in response to a mass shooting at a Nashville school that left six people dead.
Justin Jones and his sister were raised in East Bay, California, by their mother, Christin
Justin Jones writes on his campaign website that he was born in Oakland, California, to Christine. He doesn’t mention his father’s name. However, the website states that Justin is ‘the grandson of Black, working-class parents from the South Side of Chicago and Filipino immigrants who migrated to California’.
Justin adds that Christine raised him and his sister in the East Bay while attending nursing school. He continues: “Growing up, his family, especially his two grandmothers, taught him the importance of community involvement, care for the environment, and spirituality.”
After civil rights leader Dr. Ernest Rip Patton died in August 2021, Justin posted a touching tribute to him, referring to Dr. Ernest as his ‘honorary grandfather’. Justin added: “There are no words sufficient enough to describe who Dr. Patton meant to me, the impact he made in my life, and the ways he showed up time and time again.”
In an interview on Morning Edition, Jones said youth and race were the reasons why he and Pearson were expelled from the house, a view shared by most of his supporters. Jones stated:
“We’re the two youngest Black lawmakers. I’m 27, Rep. Pearson is 28, and so we represent the voices of our generation. And race, most definitely. And I think Rep. Johnson said it, when she was not expelled and I was expelled — those were the first two cases heard — the news media asked and she said, ‘I think it’s because of skin color’.
Republican Gloria Johnson, a White woman, narrowly evaded expulsion. Republican Representative Brian Richey told CNN’s The Lead that Race had nothing to do with Jones’ removal. “[It] had nothing to do with the color of their skin,” he said. “I respect all three of them and their constituents that voted for them. I felt that they should stay.”