Justin Jones for TN52 is a grassroots campaign fighting for working people in our community.
Our communities are working longer hours for lower wages while corporations make record profits and executives collect million-dollar bonuses. Our city has become a playground for the wealthy few while a vast majority of us struggle to pay rent, buy groceries, and afford basic healthcare.
We are challenging a political system that has catered to corporate interests for decades. We believe that healthcare is a human right. We believe that young people should not have to live their entire lives under the burden of student loan debt. We believe that all should feel safe and welcome in our country and our communities. We believe that we must end mass incarceration and end for-profit prisons. We believe that environmental justice is a defining fight of our generation and it must be led by the communities who suffer most from our continued inaction—black, brown, indigenous, and working class.
Our country needs a political revolution. We need new leaders who have the courage to step up and join the conversation to reimagine entire systems.
If we want the kind of change that we are proposing—protecting our democracy, ensuring high quality public education, fighting for environmental justice and immigration rights, providing healthcare for all people in our state—we need a movement. This is about the courage to reimagine our state, build a just society and fight for a livable planet for ourselves and our children. This moment demands a new generation of leaders ready to fight for what matters in the People’s House.
Justin Jones is an activist, graduate student, and community organizer in Nashville. He graduated from Fisk University with his B.A. in Political Science and is completing his Master of Theological Studies at Vanderbilt University.
Born in Oakland, California, he grew up in the East Bay where he attended public school and learned at an early age the importance of speaking up for equality for all. His mother, Christine, raised Justin and his sister while putting herself through nursing school. He is the grandson of Black, working-class grandparents from the South Side of Chicago and Filipino immigrants who migrated to California. Growing up, his family, especially his two grandmothers, taught him the importance of community involvement, care for the environment, and spirituality.
In high school, Justin served as his city’s Youth Commissioner and began organizing for the civil rights of students and policies that ensured racial equity, environmental protections, and inclusivity. In high school, he found himself on the front lines of organizing in Oakland following the murder of Trayvon Martin and during student campaigns to repeal nationwide Stand Your Ground laws.
His activism has brought him from the streets of Oakland to Ferguson, Missouri; from ceremonies of resistance in Standing Rock to a 62-day sit-in outside the Tennessee State House.
Justin came to Fisk University in 2013, where he received the John R. Lewis Scholarship for Social Activism. Inspired by its legacy of the student-led movement for civil rights, Justin became involved on campus and in community groups and spent his four years organizing student campaigns for the expansion of healthcare in Tennessee, the repeal of restrictive state voter ID laws, and community accountability in cases of police brutality. He served on the Board of Directors of the Tennessee Healthcare Campaign and has led actions at the Legislature, and across the South, for the expansion of Medicaid. In 2015, Justin helped to coordinate a federal lawsuit and served as a plaintiff against the State of Tennessee for its restrictive voter ID laws that targeted students. During the racial justice uprisings in the Summer of 2020, he served as a strategist and direct-action organizer for the People Plaza’s 62-day sit-in outside the Tennessee Capitol calling on the Governor to advance policies of racial justice.
Justin has been arrested over a dozen times for nonviolent protests and is a recipient of awards from the Tennessee Human Rights Commission, ACLU of Tennessee, Tennessee Alliance for Progress, Fisk University Alumni Association, and the Vanderbilt Organization of Black Graduate Students, and the Nashville NAACP.