#FreeCapitolHillTN. In the waning days of spring, a flyer floated among the web. It beckoned the people of Tennessee to create an autonomous zone at Capitol Hill. “FREE CAPITOL HILL,” it entreated. The humble request would inspire the hashtag #FreeCapitolHillTN, now spread across Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
It also inspired hundreds upon hundreds of individuals to reclaim the plaza, and thousands in the community to offer support. The hundreds began showing up on June 12, 2020 at 5:00PM, even as Governor Bill Lee threatened to subvert the movement before it began.
But it did begin, and over the last two weeks the numbers have fluctuated. So have the original demands of “THE PEOPLE” in response to triumphs, governors lies, deals between state troopers made and broken. Bill Lee has refused to communicate with protesters.
Protesters peacefully occupied a space on legislative plaza, asking for Bill Lee to fulfill four demands clearly placed on the entreaty and signs posted around the plaza.
#FreeCapitolHillTN Original Demands
- Defund the Police
- Demilitarize the Police
- Remove Racist Statues
- Fire Police Chief Anderson
Come prepared with food, water, tents, chairs, art, music, drums, noisemakers, pots & pans, + any other way to express yourself.
RECLAIM THE PLAZA FOR THE PEOPLE OF TENNESSEEThe entreaty invited people to bring food, water, supplies, and expression.
The Killing of George Floyd
Eighteen days earlier, a Minneapolis man brutally lost his life in response to an unusual police call over an allegedly counterfeit $20 bill. That man, George Floyd, became an unexpected symbol for police brutality in the United States. Racial tensions flared as his death sparked riots and protests which spread through the nation and world.
Since that day (May 25, 2020) thousands have protested at Legislative Plaza at the Tennessee Capitol. Protesters held signs and chanted many slogans including: Justice for George Floyd; No Justice, No Peace, Get Your Knee Off My Neck, Say Their Name, and Defund the Police.
Hope springs eternal.