Home Local News Arnold Hayes, Candidate for Metro Council At-Large

Arnold Hayes, Candidate for Metro Council At-Large

by PRIDE Newsdesk
Arnold Hays

My life experiences are what led me to run for Council At Large.

My journey began in the small-town of Calhoun, Alabama, located in Lowndes County — a place previously referred to as “Bloody Lowndes” because of the overt racism and violence against African Americans to maintain segregation.

A defining moment in my life occurred after the Selma to Montgomery March, when SNCC workers stayed in the county to assist in defending, mobilizing and registering Black voters. During this period, I attended mass meetings, and witnessed the first county African American candidates, since reconstruction, risk their lives to run for office. Faith in God is also important to my journey. Whether advocating for equity of the marginalized in the corporate world or social justice and/or police accountability in Nashville through the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), NOAH, the Community Oversight Now, or the NAACP. Fighting for those on the margins is in my DNA.

What will become of everyday people if we maintain the status quo and continue to elect representatives that care more about self-promotion than improving the community?  As economic prosperity continues, so should the care for those on the margins. There is nothing wrong with prosperity, but far too many poor and working people lack the basic resources of shelter, food and a living wage to continue to live in Nashville. 

What I witnessed on Christmas Day 2022 convinced me that it was time to do something to make change.  Seeing hundreds of people, left with no other choice, come to the Nashville Rescue Mission on one of the coldest days of the year is one of the reasons that I am running for Council At Large.  People like them and others deserve better, in a city of enormous wealth. 

A ‘Safer City for All’ cannot be achieved in a vacuum.  We need to work toward creating a public safety environment that is conducive to protecting both citizens and sworn officers.  Nashville is becoming more dangerous for all of us with assault weapons on the street, relaxed open carry laws, and a lack of background checks.  We need to do something — whether background checks, or banning assault weapons. 

Let’s acknowledge that policing is a challenging job, but police accountability is also important for a safer Nashville. 

We are entering year five of the operation of the Community Oversight Board and it is widely acknowledged that there have been some improvements in oversight of the police, including memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department (MNPD) and the Community Oversight Board (COB). As well as policy improvements, like the soft empty hand control reporting. 

Nashville is yet to effectively address the issue of mental health and policing. The co-response model with the combination of police and mental health professionals, was chosen instead of a community-driven model backed by seasoned advocates that centered the expertise of mental health professionals.  There needs to be more mental health funding that allows both police and social workers to do the jobs that they are trained for. 

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