Vote Early, Vote Together: Events around Tennessee

What is #VoteTogether ?  According to the project's website:  #VoteTogether is a national campaign to increase voter participation by making voting fun and celebratory. At thousands of nonpartisan events hosted at and near polling places across the country, #VoteTogether partners will bring together families, friends and neighbors in a celebration of civic engagement and the act of voting."

Who is behind #VoteTogether? "#VoteTogether is an initiative of Civic Nation. Civic Nation is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to addressing some of our nation’s most pressing challenges through organizing, engagement and public awareness. It does this by working in partnership with the Creative Alliance which is a collaborative of 83 creative companies that do pro bono work for Civic Nation to turn ideas into action."

The TEP Foundation is pleased to work with Civic Nation and Civic TN to produce 6 #VoteTogether events in Tennessee to increase voter turnout in our state's LGBTQ and ally community.

Here are the links to our events.

October 20 in Johnson City:  Vote Together: LGBTQ Washington County.

October 20 in Murfreesboro:  Vote Together: LGBTQ Rutherford County.

October 20 in Morristown:  Vote Together: LGBTQ Hamblen County.

October 20 in Memphis: Vote Together: LGBTQ Memphis.

October 20 in Nashville:  Vote Together: LGBTQ Nashville.

October 27 in Knoxville:  Vote Together: LGBTQ.Knoxville.

Are other events planned?  TEP is not planning additional #VoteTogether events.  Other Civic Nation partners may be.

If you have questions about these events, contact us at [email protected] .

Where do I find information about early voting and election day times and locations?  You can contact your County Election Commission by going to this link and then clicking on your county on the map.









TEP Foundation welcomes 3 new voter registration coordinators


The TEP Foundation is pleased to welcome three new voter registration coordinators who will be working with the community to increase voter registration in Tennessee.  Phillis Lewis will serve the Memphis area.  Kathy Halbrooks will serve the Nashville area.  Lester Finuf will serve the Knoxville area.  We are hopeful that we can sustain the program through the voter registration deadline of October 9 for those who wish to participate in the November election.

If would like us to consider having a voter registration table at your event, email us at [email protected] .

If you wish to register to vote, you can do so online at this link.

If you would like to support our work with a contribution, you can do so at this link.

Build Power for Equality in the Coming Weeks

Please, join members of TEP across the state at these events to help build power for equality and celebrate the LGBTQ community:

August 14.  Knoxville.  TEP Knox, Anderson, and Blount Counties Committee Volunteer Thank-you Party.

August 17.  Nashville.  Early voting begins in the special election for Vice Mayor

August 18.  Nashville.  Voter Registration at Tribe.

August 20. Morristown.  TEP Hamblen County Picnic

August 22. Nashville.  Minority in Concert.  TEP is one of the hosts of this event.

August 28. Nashville.  Walk the Talk: Supporting our Transgender Youth.  Hosted by The Temple.  TEP is participating.

September 4. Murfreesboro.  TEP Rutherford County Social.

September 6. Nashville.  Election Day for special election for Vice Mayor.

September 8. Murfreesboro.  Boro Pride, a TEP Foundation event.

Other Ways to Help:

1. Register to vote online at this link or share the link with others.

2. If you are a member of Tennessee's LGBTQ community and have experienced job discrimination, please take our survey at this link

3. Make a contribution to support our government relations and advocacy work at this link.

Three Contract Positions: Voter Registration Coordinators in Knoxville, Memphis, and Nashville Areas

Title:  Knoxville Area Voter Registration Coordinator, Memphis Area Voter Registration Coordinator, Nashville Area Voter Registration Coordinator

Type:  Contract

Duration:  Month-to-month until October 15, 2018 as needed

Rate:  $670 per month

Reports to:  Tennessee Equality Project Foundation executive director and the TEP County Chair for the area in which you are working.

Description:  The three Voter Registration Coordinators will register voters in their cities and the surrounding areas at gay/LGBTQ bars (including bars/clubs that only admit ages 21 and up) and other public events such as festivals.  Applicants must be available to work nights and weekends. Coordinators will set up voter registration tables at these venues and events and actively engage people to register to vote.  The coordinators are responsible for registering voters in compliance with the terms of the grant through which the program is funded, including making weekly reports on results and upcoming plans.  Attending some training sessions is a requirement. No partisan activity or any activity supporting any candidate or campaign is permitted in connection with this position.

Tennessee Equality Project Foundation will provide Form 1099-MISC. The contractor is responsible for filing and payment of all taxes associated with the contract.

Preferred Education and Experience:  High school diploma or equivalent required.  Some college preferred. Experience with voter registration is preferred.  

Contact:  Submit resume and cover letter (pdf preferred) to [email protected]  by July 26, 2018.  No phone calls, no Facebook messages or other contact via social media.  Indicate in your email for which of three positions you are applying. 


Contract Position Open: State Preemption and LGBTQ Nondiscrimination Project Coordinator

Title:  State Preemption & LGBTQ Nondiscrimination Project Coordinator

Type:  Contract

Duration:  Month-to-month until December 2018 as needed

Rate:  $1250 per month

Reports to:  Tennessee Equality Project Foundation executive director

Description:  The State Preemption & LGBTQ Nondiscrimination Project Coordinator will research  and reach out to individuals across Tennessee who have faced LGBTQ discrimination in the workplace.  The coordinator will also assist the executive director in setting up public events around the state to provide education about “preemption,” or state interference with local laws and policies that protect members of the community, like anti-discrimination protections. In addition, the coordinator will help assemble a cross-movement coalition of state partner organizations for regular discussion of strategies around state interference with local laws on a diverse range of issues.  At the end of the project, the coordinator will develop a webinar and prepare an op-ed on these issues.


Tennessee Equality Project Foundation will provide Form 1099-MISC. The contractor is responsible for filing and payment of all taxes associated with the contract.


Preferred Education and Experience:  Bachelor’s degree and higher.  Research background and some event coordination experience are recommended for applicants.  Legal research experience is a plus, but not required.  Applicants called for interviews will be required to submit a writing sample.

Contact:  Submit resume and cover letter (pdf preferred) to [email protected]  by June 1, 2018.  No phone calls.

Why we are still fighting the anti-transgender bathroom bill

Why are we still fighting the anti-transgender bathroom bill?  You may have heard that the bill failed in the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday because it didn't get a second after a motion was made to consider the bill.  That is true.  But the House sponsor is still trying to find ways to advance the bill, and it is up for consideration on Monday in the House Finance Subcommittee.  So we fight on.

Show up on Monday:  If you can be at the subcommittee hearing on Monday at Noon in RED, please join us and RSVP at this link.  If you can't be there, encourage people you know to attend.  Share the event link on social media. 

Contact the SubcommitteeUse this new email campaign that we just launched last night to contact the subcommittee members.  It's quick and easy.  Occasionally the form doesn't accept some email addresses, but it accepts the vast majority. 

Business Opposition Helps:  If your small business or the company for which you work would like to speak out against the bill, contact me at [email protected] and I will be glad to point you in the right direction.

Your Support:  If you would like to make a one-time contribution to fuel our legislative work, you can give at this link.  We are grateful for all you do!

Chris Sanders

Executive Director

Entering the danger zone on the bathroom bill

Yesterday afternoon, the anti-transgender bathroom passed a key vote in the House Civil Justice Subcommittee.  Despite the opposition of the Governor, 77 clergy across the state, excellent points and questions by Representatives G.A. Hardaway and Bill Beck, and the testimony of a young transgender man, the bill moved forward.  And it's up for another vote on Tuesday next week!

Rush a message to the full Civil Justice Committee urging them to vote no.  We need to send so many emails that they can't ignore us.

If you have time to be at the committee hearing on the bill next Tuesday at 3:00 in the Cordell Hull Building in Nashville, RSVP here. Wear RED for visibility.  We really need to pack the House hearing room on this one.

If you would like to thank Governor Haslam for his opposition to HB2620 (the bathroom bill), you can call his office at (615) 741-2001. If you get the menu of options, press "4" for legislative. 

You can support TEP's legislative work with a contribution at this link.

We are grateful for your support. 

Chris Sanders

Executive Director

What is happening this week with discriminatory bills?

Yesterday there was an extensive discussion of the anti-transgender bathroom bill in the House Civil Justice Subcommittee, but they fortunately didn't seem to have the votes to pass it at that time.  So there may be amendments and the bill will be back on Wednesday, March 21.  The State Government Subcommittee didn't get to the Business License to Discriminate bill, so it is also back on the calendar for March 21.

Please, help spread the word that we need people to attend these hearings in red to show opposition.  Both take place at 1:30 on Wednesday at the Cordell Hull Building in downtown Nashville.  RSVP at the link.  If you can't make it, please share the link with friends.  Since the media is largely not covering these bills yet, we have found that not many people know the bills are moving.  We will have to get word out ourselves.

The clergy letter in opposition to the anti-transgender bathroom bill is still growing.  If you are clergy resident in Tennessee, send me your name and city of residence at [email protected] and we'll add your name.

If you would like to support our legislative work, please consider contributing at the link.

And continue spreading the word about online voter registration in Tennessee at this link.  It grows the power of the equality movement in our state.


Chris Sanders

Executive Director

Prepare for Hate Day on the Hill


Is "Hate Day on the Hill" a thing?  Not officially, but there are two anti-LGBTQ bills up for consideration on March 14.  The new anti-transgender bathroom bill will be up for consideration in the House Civil Justice Subcommittee and the Business License to Discriminate bill is up for discussion in the State Government Subcommittee. 

Both subcommittees begin at 1:30 p.m. Central Time.

How can you help?

First, if you are able to attend the subcommittee meetings at the Cordell Hull Building in Nashville, please, RSVP here

Second, use the form at this link to contact the Civil Justice Subcommittee to oppose the anti-transgender bathroom bill.  You can contact the State Government Subcommittee in opposition to the Business License to Discriminate bill at this link.

Third, if you know Tennessee based clergy who might sign the letter against the bathroom bill, ask them to email me at chr[email protected] with their name and city of residence. 

Fourth, RSVP for the April 3 Advancing Equality Day on the Hill here.  Discriminatory bills may still be moving late in the legislative session.

Consider supporting our legislative work with a $5+ contribution at this link.  If you prefer to make a one-time contribution, you can do so at this link.

Thank you for all your efforts to advance equality and fight discrimination in Tennessee.

Chris Sanders

Executive Director

Tennessee clergy oppose new bathroom bill

Clergy and faith leaders from around Tennessee oppose the new anti-transgender bathroom bill that is up for consideration on March 14 in the House Civil Justice Subcommittee.  If you are a member of the clergy residing in Tennessee and would like to add your name, email your name and city of residence to [email protected] .

The statement and names of the clergy follow:

"As clergy and leaders of faith communities, we oppose SB2480/HB2620. Using the resources of state government to defend school districts that engage in discrimination is opposed to our values and it undercuts the important work of building just communities in Tennessee."

Rev. Tim Kobler, Knoxville

Rev. Brandon Gilvin, Chattanooga

Rev. Jeff Briere, Johnson City

Rev. Thomas Kleinert, Nashville

Rev. Pamela Hawkins, Nashville

Rev. Bruce Spangler, Oak Ridge

Rev. Greg Bullard, Madison

Rev. Kira Schlesinger, Nashville

Rev. Chris Buice, Knoxville

Rev. Dr. Gordon Gibson, Knoxville

Rev. RJ Powell, Knoxville

Rabbis Philip and Laurie Rice, Brentwood

Rev. Amy Mears, Nashville

Rev. April Baker, Nashville

Rev. J. Peter van Eys, Nashville

Rev. Jon Coffee, Knoxville

Rev. Cynthia Andrews-Looper, Gallatin

Rev. Deven Hazelwood Johnson, Johnson City

Rev. Tim Bath, Murfreesboro

Rev. Paul Slentz, Nashville

Rev. Robert Early, Nashville

Rev. Dave McIntyre, Tullahoma

Rev. Joy Warren, Murfreesboro

Spiritual director Mary Linda McKinney, Nashville

Rev. Thomas A. Momberg, Memphis

Rev. Andrew Ward, Nashville

Rev. Dr. Patricia J. Pickett, Ashland City

Rev. Laura Bogle, Knoxville

Pastors Larry and Carolyn Dipboye, Oak Ridge

Bishop Melvin G. Talbert, Nashville

Rev. Ken Carroll, Chattanooga

Rev. Wayne Cook, Chattanooga

Rev. Nelia J. Kimbrough and Rev. R. Calvin Kimbrough, Jr., Nashville

Rev. Carolyn Coleman, Nashville

Rev. Ann Walling, Nashville

Rev. Judi Hoffman, Nashville

Rev. Denise Gyauch, Nashville

Rev. Lisa Gwok, Nashville

Rev. Tim Stewart, Mt. Juliet

Rev. M. Franklin Dotts, Hermitage

Rev. Anne McClure, Nashville

Rev. Dr. Jonathan L. Jeffords, Memphis

Rev. Nicole Krewson, Knoxville

Rev. Eric S. Greenwood, Jr., Nashville

Rev. Jametta Alston, Knoxville

Rev. Brandon Berg, Bristol

Rev. Michael Williams, Nashville

Rev. Michael Castellaw-Vaughn, Nashville

Rev. Dr. Diana L. Hynson, Nashville

Rev. Dr. Birgitte French, Memphis

Fr. Valentine Handwerker, Memphis

Community Minister Edith A. Love, Memphis

Rev. Ken Edwards, Old Hickory

Rev. Sandy Shawhan, Nashville

Rev. Katie Woodard, Clarksville

Rev. Viki Matson, Nashville

Rev. Anne McKee, Maryville

Rev. John Tirro, Knoxville

Rev. Mark C. Pafford, Smithville

Rev. Alaina Cobb, Chattanooga

Rev. Shelby Slowey, Nashville

Rev. Heather Harriss, Nashville

Rev. Nancy Speas Hill, Franklin

Rev. Floridia Jackson, Memphis

Rev. Susan Groseclose, Nashville

Rev. Paul R. Purdue, Nashville

Rev. Elaine Blanchard, Memphis

Rev. Lucy A. Waechter, Memphis

Rev. John Feldhacker, Nashville

Rev. Ingrid McIntyre, Nashville

Rev. Rebekah Gienapp, Memphis

Rev. William Stooksbury, Nashville

Rev. Dr. Bindy Snyder, Memphis

Rev. Vern Denney, Nashville

Rev. Dr. Matthew L. Kelley, Franklin

Rev. Holly Mueller, Nashville

Rev. Sara K. Corum, Memphis

Rev. Josh McClurkan, Memphis





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