NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — On Tuesday, several different minority groups went straight to Capitol Hill in order to address a series of bills many believe target minorities.

“We’re here because we believe in democracy, whether you’re white, Black, or Brown Tennesseans, are all represented in this city,” said State Sen. Charlane Oliver (D-Nashville).


Outside on Legislative Plaza, the protest came after a slate of bills filed by lawmakers, that would affect the LGBTQ+ community.

“Tennessee has passed the most LGBTQ bills nationwide since 2015, and this has to stop. Enough is enough,” said Phil Cobucci, the Founder of Inclusion Tennessee.

Now, two more are on the verge of passing this year. One would ban children’s transgender therapy.

The other would potentially criminalize some drag shows. Democrats have been firm in their opinion, that the bill would infringe on First Amendment rights.

“Extremist legislatures are continuing to attack the very existence of the same community that has fought so hard for acceptance and dignity,” said Dakerri Rhone, with the Human Rights Campaign.

Supporters of the bill argue their focus is on “protecting children” and not attacking the LGBTQ+ community.

“It’s not about Tyler Perry dressing up as a woman, and performing at TPAC, it’s not about canceling anybody, it’s not even about telling drag performers that they can’t perform, it’s simply saying you cannot simulate sex acts in front of a child,” said State Sen. Kerry Roberts (R-Springfield).


The proposed Third Grade Retention Law would require a child to repeat the third grade if they do not score high enough on state reading tests. Opponents of the bill say it has the biggest impact on Black and Brown children who may fall behind.

“When you talk about six-week summer school for children, but they got to be 90% present. We know that a lot of the kids that are in low income, that are Black and Brown babies, we know one of the issues they have in the way, is they are either tardy, they miss a lot of days out of school so we don’t want that to be a hindrance,” said Gloria J. Sweet-Love, President, NAACP.

“If an individual can’t read or do third-grade math when they’re in the third grade, they don’t need to proceed onward,” said Lt. Gov. Randy McNally in a previous interview.


One of the most talked about pieces of legislation aims to change the name of Rep. John Lewis Way. The bill would change a portion of the street to be named after Donald Trump.

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“We think that’s a travesty, we think that’s a travesty to change John Lewis Way, a man that came to this city and march for the rights of others to be even, to be served at the lunch counter a honorable man,” said Sweet-Love.