Black Caucus kicks off statewide tour

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - African Americans are working to improve their lives by getting legislation passed in Tennessee.

Tennessee Black Caucus kicked off a statewide tour in Memphis on Monday. Members of the caucus said the tour is a chance for legislators to meet with their constituents and talk about the best ways to improve Tennessee.

The tour plans to run through Bolivar, Nashville, Chattanooga, Knoxville, and rural middle Tennessee. Members said their objective is to highlight the issues in the African American community. Monday morning, the caucus presented to the audience the accomplishments the caucus has already accomplished with legislation.

"Reducing the federal expungement fee...creating transparency with the Tennessee bureau of investigation...and issues with the parole board," Akbari said when asked about her previous accomplishments.

Now, the caucus is looking for what can be included in the legislative agenda for the 2018 session. Topics brought up by members of the public ranged from education and car insurance to voter registration and criminal justice reform.

Mayor Jim Strickland made an appearance for a few minutes before leaving without formally speaking. Representatives from the Mayor's office said Monday was his first day back on the job after a bout with pneumonia.

Some citizens at the meeting brought up issues of accountability, saying accountability will help improve our communities.

"Hold our local officials accountable. So they don't just simply show up for a photo op and leave when there are some very important conversations to be made," Rev. Earle Fisher said.

Citizens said they're hoping this tour could provide an outlet for the public's voices to be heard.

"If we get together, then individuals can change the world," Ruby Jones said.

Caucus members said the tour will span the duration of the summer and have several social media updates for the public.

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