Tennessee Lookout, 12/6/22
The Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition (TIRRC) was established in 2003 and The Equity Alliance in 2016. Until 2018, TIRRC, a nonprofit group, focused solely on direct services to immigrants including immigration legal services. But after the 2016 election, organization leaders realized they needed another tool for educating immigrants. “We were busing refugees to the polls (in 2016) and were shocked to find out that a lot of refugees were getting off the bus excited to vote for Donald Trump, but as a 501(c)3, we couldn’t do anything,” said Lisa Sherman Luna, executive director TIRRC and TIRRC Votes. “It was then “we realized that our communities needed a political home and political organizing to really understand the issues and where candidates stood on the issues.” Cue the formation of TIRRC Votes and a 2018 partnership with The Equity Alliance on the Black Voter Project, which resulted in 90,000 new voter registrations in Tennessee.