Mass Incarceration and Civil Rights


American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) – TN

Black Lives Matter Nashville #BlackLivesMatter was created in 2012 after Trayvon Martin’s murderer, George Zimmerman, was acquitted for his crime, and dead 17-year old Trayvon was post-humously placed on trial for his own murder. Rooted in the experiences of Black people in this country who actively resist de-humanization, #BlackLivesMatter is a call to action and a response to the virulent anti-Black racism that permeates our society. #BlackLivesMatter is working for a world where Black lives are no longer systematically and intentionally targeted for demise.

Democracy Nashville Organizes support for a 2015 Ban the Box charter referendum in Davidson County (Nashville, TN). The referendum seeks to remove the question regarding criminal conviction history (also referred to as the “Box”) from Metro Nashville government employment applications. To learn more or to get involved, contact or 615-802-8453.

Feminism in a Prison Nation A group of feminist prison abolitionists who seek to educate themselves, the Nashville Feminist Collective, and the community about the intersections of race, gender, sexuality and the prison-industrial complex (PIC), to amplify the voices of incarcerated and formerly incarcerated women and the issues they face, and mobilize Nashville Feminists against intimate partner, sexual and state violence against women of color and women in poverty through coalition building, supporting and participating in local grassroots initiatives, and developing policy briefs on proposed legislation in the state of Tennessee.

Justice for Jefferson Street This is a campaign created in April 2015 to protest an initiative of Nashville Mayor Karl to relocate the downtown Metro Nashville Police Headquarters onto Jefferson Street without having solicited input from the community.

Showing Up For Racial Justice (SURJ) Nashville SURJ Nashville is a chapter of Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) a national network of groups and individuals organizing all people, but particularly White people, for racial justice. Through community organizing, mobilizing, and education, SURJ moves people to act as part of a multi-racial majority for justice with passion and accountability.

Healthy & Free Tennessee and SisterReach are partnering on the “Healthcare Not Handcuffs” campaign to decriminalize pregnancy outcomes in Tennessee. In 2014, SB 1391 was enacted amending Tennessee’s fetal homicide law to include prosecution for the illegal use of a narcotic during pregnancy if a child is born harmed by or addicted to the drug, despite opposition by medical professionals. In 2015, an attempt to expand the law to include meth, failed. SB 1391 “sunsets” (expires) on July 1, 2016.

Nashville Student Organizing Committee (NSOC) is made up of students from Fisk University, Vanderbilt, TN State, and Belmont. They have protested Tennessee’s voter ID laws which exclude student IDs but allow gun carry permits as official ID to vote, and filed a federal lawsuit. For more information contact

No Exceptions Prison Collective A grassroots initiative in Nashville, TN, dedicated to transforming the social segregation of prison by advocating that no exceptions be made to the abolition of slavery. Their collective draws on partnerships with various actors and peacebuilders in the community. Through collaboration and perseverance, they plan to organize themselves and others toward the end of mass incarceration in Tennessee and beyond. To that end, they created Families Acting in Resistance (FAIR) in 2015 or organize families of those incarcerated. Contact Directors Rev. Jeannie Alexander or Michael McRay for more information or about how to get involved.

R.E.A.C.H. Coalition (Reciprocal Education And Community Healing) Educators, students, artists, writers, social reformers, people of faith, and death row prisoners. R.E.A.C.H. Coalition aims towards restorative and transformative justice, as alternatives to our current system of retributive justice. Their ultimate goal is to abolish the death penalty without fueling mass incarceration, by dismantling the structures that give rise to violence on all levels. Contact them at for more information.

League of Women Voters Nashville This group’s focus has historically been on voting rights. In Nashville, they’ve begun to work on voting rights restoration for those formerly convicted of a felony. They have co-hosted educational workshops with the ACLU.

Interdenominational Ministers Fellowship

NOAH (Nashville Organized for Action and Hope)
Oasis Center’s R.E.A.L. Program (Reaching Excellence As Leaders)
Tennessee Students and Educators for Social Justice
Gideon’s Army: Grassroots Army for Children
NAACP Nashville (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People)
Tennesseans for Alternatives to the Death Penalty
Grassroots Leadership TN
League of Women Voters Nashville

Children’s Defense Fund – Nashville
The Help Center Nashville
Project Return
Nashville Black Covenant Coalition
Dismas House
Jonah’s Journey a ministry of Christian caregivers who provide temporary or long-term care for children of mothers who are incarcerated or unable to care for them for any number of reasons.


Concerned Citizens for Justice
Struggle Sisters


Memphis United