Nashville, Tenn. (TN Tribune)–Yesterday, on Sunday September 25th, Congressional Candidate Odessa Kelly joined leaders from the Democratic National Committee Black Caucus to host a voter engagement rally in North Nashville in support of her campaign. The rally featured a lineup of several prominent Black leaders of the local Democratic Party as a means to fight back against what they see as a blatant attempt to silence Black voters through redistricting. Veteran Party members urged attendees to show up for the midterms, emphasizing the discriminatory policies and lawmakers on the ballot that would impact the community for years to come. 

“The urgency of getting people out to vote? That’s our responsibility to fix. A lot of people can’t see what’s over the hill. There’s a lot of apathy in the state. But we’re going to fix that,” Kelly assured the audience. “The Republicans have done everything they possibly can to cheat. They’re racist, they’re greedy, they’re homophobic, they’re godless and they are selfish. That is not the America that I want to live in. It is going to take every single last one of us to get the victories we deserve.” 

District 2 Metro Councilwoman Kyonzté Toombs agreed, criticizing decades of failed policies and urging attendees to show up in November to change that.

“Politics is not a sprint, it’s a marathon,” said Councilwoman Toombs. “The things you see happening in our country didn’t happen overnight. It starts with gerrymandering… that sets the stage for the policies we don’t want to come to fruition. They gerrymandered Nashville but…we’re going to vote for Odessa Kelly and we’re going to make sure we fight for the people so that we can have a country that works for us instead of against us.” 

State Senator Erica Gilmore applauded Kelly’s goals for criminal justice reform, denouncing the system that leaves community members disenfranchised and left out of the political process.

“Odessa will work to expunge records. Many of us have people in our communities that have made mistakes and can no longer work or vote, but if their records were expunged they could be part of that population,” said Sen. Gilmore. “Odessa is my friend. She’s a friend of the marginalized. She’s a good friend of Nashville. And we need to make her a whole friend of the state of Tennessee. And we can do that by going to the polls and voting on November the 8th.”

Candidate for State Senate Charlane Oliver pointed to the importance of electing community organizers like Kelly and subsequently holding them accountable.

“I’m a firm believer in making sure that you’re in the community if you want to serve the community,” said Oliver. “Odessa Kelly has done that…Watch her feet, and put Odessa Kelly in the seat. I am proud to call her a friend and I will be proud to call her my Congresswoman.”

MNPS School Board Chair Christiane Buggs also heaped praise on the TN-07 hopeful.

“She has been on the front lines long before there was any kind of political party coming to ask her if she’d consider running,” said Buggs of Kelly. “She grew up in Nashville and wants to see our city thrive.”

Link for video of remarks