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YWCA honors Nashville community leader; lifts up voices against violence

Stand Against Racism event focuses on intersection of voting rights, gun violence

by PRIDE Newsdesk
Community leader D. Billye Sanders was presented with the Carrie Hull Award from YWCA President/CEO Sharon K. Roberson.

YWCA Nashville and Middle Tennessee hosted the annual Stand Against Racism Community Rally and Advocacy Fair at Public Square Park and Metro Council Chambers on Sept. 28. This year’s theme, ‘Votes against Violence,’ underscored the critical intersection of voting rights and gun violence. Community leader D. Billye Sanders was presented with the Carrie Hull Award for her work on racial and civil justice. Her husband, Rev. Edwin Sanders, senior servant and founder of Metropolitan Interdenominational Church, opened the event which was moved inside to Metro Council Chambers due to rain.

Author, activist, and founder of Rise and Shine Tennessee, Maryam Abolfazli, provided keynote remarks to the packed Metro Council Chamber.  “We all hurt when there are guns everywhere. Guns have become an accessory item,” said Abolfazli. “We must engage in the stories of our lives, participate in elections, and vote.”

Nashville Youth Poet Laureate Lochlan Cook, a student at the Nashville School for the Arts, performed a spoken word piece: ‘Fire needs Fuel, Plants need Water, Violence needs Silence.’

Johna Jackson with the W. Crimm Singers led the audience in song. The selections included ‘This Little Light of Mine’ and ‘Lift Every Voice and Sing.’

Mayor Freddie O’Connell, a steadfast attendee to the annual Stand events, told the crowd that a chorus of voices will bring change. Vice Mayor Angie Adams, Councilwoman-at-Large Zulfat Suara, and Councilwoman Brenda Gadd attended the community event.

The YWCA Stand Against Racism Community Rally and Advocacy Fair featured an array of voting rights and community groups and advocates, as well as gun violence prevention champions.

The event was made possible through the generous support of The Harnisch Foundation and the Metro Human Relations Commission.

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