Berkeley Talks

Tennessee Rep. Justin Jones to graduates: 'The world needs your imagination'



In an impassioned keynote address to graduates of UC Berkeley's Goldman School of Public Policy, Tennessee state Rep. Justin Jones urged them to do three things: disrupt, dismantle, discover."We are here to disrupt, not just in word, but with our very presence," he said at the May 14 ceremony. "I come standing with my ancestry. I come in a building as a first non-white member to represent my district. I come as the youngest member. I come as somebody who they said, 'You cannot come with long hair and hoop earrings." But you can see I'm my full self because we have to disrupt these systems of white supremacy and of patriarchy and of plantation capitalism that have hijacked our nation and that for too long have been the dominant voice."Last month, Jones and fellow lawmaker, Justin Pearson, were expelled from the House by the chamber's Republican majority after leading a group of students in a protest demanding gun reform. It was in response to a recent elementary school shooting in Nashville that left six dead,