Jasmine Taylor

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JT Taylor


Jasmine (JT) Taylor is a Tennessee activist. Since May 2016, she has been the Operations Coordinator at The East Tennessee Peace and Justice Center.

PSA

Jasmine Taylor is the contact for the UTK Progressive Student Alliance.[1]

PSA/UCW protest

On Friday, 30 2013, members of United Campus Workers and Progressive Student Alliance banded together in front of the Torchbearer in protest, stopping some students walking to class in their tracks.

An expression of several goals related to worker's rights, the rally espoused current UCW initiatives such as raising salaries to a livable wage.

"There's no code of conduct for supervisors on how they treat the employees beneath them," Thomas Walker, an employee of disability services and a member of UCW's executive board, said. "So if you want to scream at an employee in front of a bunch of people, that can happen and you won't get in trouble."

Missy Murray, the woman who sparked the We Miss Missy campaign, underwent similar strife. After working for Facilities Services for five years, she was unexpectedly moved to the Athletics Department where she had worked for eight months.

The athletics building has a reputation among maintenance workers for having harsh and undesirable working conditions.

"Athletics runs 24/7, so that means you might be working Saturday and Sunday," Gary Thomas, who resigned from his job cleaning Dougherty Engineering Building due to a disability said. "Athletics is where they send you when they want you to quit."

One of five facilities employees that raised their concerns at the "Justice for UT Custodians Speakout" in May of this year, Murray claimed harassment and bullying in the workplace.

Despite a multitude of lingering issues, Murray was moved back to McClung Museum, where she "absolutely loved" working until her termination. She was fired on the grounds of "absenteeism," which, Murray claims, was unfounded.

Forced transfers without sufficient notice ceased as a result of the Speakout and a transfer policy was established to prevent retaliatory transfers based on the worker's relationship with his or her supervisor, according to Tom Anderson, the President of United Campus Workers.

UT students, particularly those involved with PSA, have taken a strong interest in the well being of facilities workers, attending the rally in a show of solidarity.

"The students are the real vessels for this," Jasmine Taylor, a member of Progressive Student Alliance and a speaker at Friday's rally said. "We are the ones who can really carry on the power, because what is a university without its students? And we're trying to pull up our workers, because who are we without them?"[2]

Ferguson solidarity

Thomas Wayne Walker August 15, 2014:

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Organizations on the ground in st. louis, mo are calling for people across the u.s. to demonstrate at 2pm est *this saturday* against police murder, police militarization, and racism--in solidarity with the uprising in ferguson and demanding justice for mike brown. let's meet up at the corner of summit hill & hall of fame dr., where knox police killed an unarmed african-american man on may 18, 200... See More — with Holly Rainey, Elizabeth Wright, Michelle Christian, Alex Fields, Josh Smyser, Suzanne Pharr, Anne Barnett, Anna Masson, Saint Thomas LeDoux, Joshua Outsey, Meagan Thomas, Michelle Gibson, Cassie Watters, Elandria Williams, Sam Stratton, Jess Welch, Angel Ibarra, Joseph Woods, Kaitlin Malick, Andre Canty, Melanie Barron, Ben Allen, Erin Bicknese, Tom Torres, Ricki Draper, William Wilson, Bonnie Swinford, Joe Tolbert, Jr., Mickee Murray, David Alex Hayes, Margo Miller, JT Taylor and Karly Safar at Summit Hill and Hall of Fame Drive.

Ferguson - first visit

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Students and staff packed into a lecture hall in the Alumni Memorial Building, November 2014, filling every seat and lining the walls, to hear the experiences of six Knoxvillians who recently traveled to Ferguson, Missouri.

The group drove seven hours to the St. Louis suburb to take part in the social movement protesting the death of Michael Brown, an 18-year-old black man who was killed, unarmed, by a white police officer Aug. 9.

Josh Inwood, associate professor of geography and one of the event's organizers, said the underlying economic, racial and social causes of poverty and violence are grossly under-scrutinized in the U.S.

Coy Kindred, the executive director at The FLOW, a grassroots organization dedicated to changing the perception of hip-hop, said the constant presence of protesters in Ferguson was impressive and she wished she could have stayed longer.

"These people were sleeping in the streets," Kindred said. "They were going non-stop. When we got there, they had been there, camped out, fighting every day, spending more time in jail than Darren Wilson."

Jasmine Taylor, junior in political science, the opportunity to meet and protest alongside Ferguson natives still grieving over Michael Brown's death was a powerful experience.

For sophomore Katie Myers, who grew up in an affluent suburb in Maryland, said she decided to go to Ferguson to "look for the truth" about police brutality and social inequity.

"There was a moment when everyone was like, 'let her voice how she feels, she has the right to do that'," Taylor said. "But then it became a question of the integrity of the movement if she took too far, if she got too close to a police officer's face."

Andre Canty, a UT graduate who now works at the Highlander Center, said he was moved by the resiliency of the protesters he encountered during the trip.

Ultimately, Taylor said the experience proved to her activism does not need to be put off until graduation.

"What I would take back from Ferguson is that Millennial activism does exist," Taylor said. "The youth do care and are engaged."[3]

Ferguson

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Ferguson — with Paul Attea, David Alex Hayes, Andre Canty, Angel Ibarra, Esmeralda Baltazar, JT Taylor, Tom Torres, Thomas Coward, Kaitlin Malick and Sam Petschulat.

Anti-privatization meeting

Event in Knoxville 1800 Melrose Ave, Tuesday 6 October 2015

State lawmakers will join the United Campus Workers, UT College Democrats, Progressive Student Alliance and Statewide Organizing for Community Empowerment during a fact-finding trip to learn more about the potential impact of the Governor's plan to possibly bring privatization to the campus of UT Knoxville.

Senate Minority Leader Lee Harris and state Rep. John Ray Clemmons will hear from campus employees, students and faculty about the potential impacts that layoffs and outsourcing will have on their families and campus life. Organized by JT Taylor.

Those indicating their intention to attend, on Wherevent, included Matt Roach, Elizabeth Stanfield, Savannah Lucas, Ann League, Jamie Greig, Melanie Barron, Madeleine Lewis, Adam Hughes, Matt Anderson, Jack Petschulat, Coy Kindred, Carter Hall, Jordan Welsh, Gloria Johnson, Eric Dixon, Anna Gardner, Caroline Cranford, Alex Fields, Will Gabelman, Josh Smyser, Courtney Anderson, Colleen Ryan, Katie Myers, Karly Safar, Hayley Brundige, William Dirmeyer, Feroza Freeland, Ciara Malaugh, Bonnie Swinford, Cassie Watters, Phyliss Dubinsky Shey, Meghan Martin, Prestyr John .[4]

"Say Zir Name"

Dunford Hall room 2326 Thursday 12 November 2015, organized by UTK Progressive Student Alliance "Say Zir Name".

Special guest Cazembe Jackson, our trans brother and bad ass organizer for South will share his story as a transman in the movement and how he held his comrades accountable for his pronouns. He will also make awareness for pronouns and elevating trans existance more intersectional mentioning policy brutality and mass incarceration of black transwomen.

Those indicating attendance on Wherevent included Melanie Barron, Kristin Moretz, Lucy Greer, LaSabra LeeAnn Williams, Emily Gregg, Donna Bra-kay, Morgan Smith, Rachel West, Allison Joslin, Kristen Godfrey, Amira Sakalla, Caroline Rogers, Meghan Martin, Elizabeth Stanfield, Alina Clay, Jocelyn B. White, Gwen Schablik, Jamie Greig, Breann Cooper, Mary Geiser, Lindsay Jai, Cris Dark, Hanna Cat Wilkinson, Becca Payton, Genevieve Jeter, Priyam Madhukar, Leigh Belmont, Nicky Frazier, Courtney Anderson, Chelsey Verzosa, Charlotte Lee, Maggie Marsh, Erica Davis, Catherine Boggan, Alyssa Loveday, Hayley Brundige, Anna Masson, Karly Safar, Danielle Sapore, Sara Hitson, Emily Hoffman, Madeleine Lewis, Amanda Eleanor Pitts, Kennedy Childress, Deanna Nagle, Rachel Pilkinton, Ciara Louise Naomi, Evie Briley, Elizabeth Wright, Bailey Ayanna Allen, Katie Myers, Charice Starr, Colleen Ryan, Kelsey Theodore, Kamilya Gosmanova, Emily Robinson, Rae Jones, Kate Stamper, Carlie Nicole, Yasameen Hoffman-Shahin, Kaleb Emmert, Klay Ra Willyn, Travis Daniel Wilson, Brandon Shaw, Johnathan DeWitt Clayton, David Alex Hayes, Mitch Thompson, David Collins, Will Clifft, Ariel Tesla Farley, Joshua Brown, Don Black, Kumail Ibraheem, Andy Renison, William Dirmeyer, Benjamin D. Young, Adam Hughes, Ben McClendon, John Pena, Robert Cremins, Noah King, Mark McKee, Jack Petschulat, Jordan Welsh, Brandon Ray Darr, Jenishea Lewis, Alex Fields, Rodolfo Urquieta, Will Gabelman, JT Taylor, Dhruv Majumdar, Tyler Kibbey, Devin Earhart, Thomas Tran, Geoffrey M. Bennett Hervey, Harlan Mitchell, Wesley Shaun Malik Williams, Kendrick Young. [5]

Break the Silence

On Friday, Jan. 16, 2017, a handful of University of Tennessee, Knoxville students wore orange signs with black writing and a single strip of white tape.

The signs read, “I represent the individual whose [blank] prevents their voices from being heard.” Students filled the blank space with various words or phrases: “race,” “gender,” “orientation,” “class,” and many others were displayed on the front of students’ shirts. Some students even went a step further, writing phrases such as “#EndDeathTraps” and “#BreakTheSilence” on the strips of tape covering their mouths.

“Break the Silence” was organized to acknowledge oppression individuals face because of factors such as their race, gender, sexual orientation and socioeconomic background. Wearing the tape was symbolic of these individuals being “silenced.” Event organizer Corey Hodge, along with several other student participants, stood on Pedestrian Walkway from 8 a.m.—4:30 p.m., handing out signs, tape and pins with the words “I matter,” on them. Although tape was available, wearing it was optional.

Hodge's sign read, "I represent the individuals whose orientation prevents their voices from being heard." Hodge said that one did not have to be a part of a certain demographic to acknowledge its struggle.

Hodge’s sign read, “I represent the individuals whose orientation prevents their voices from being heard.” Hodge said that one did not have to be a part of a certain demographic to acknowledge its struggle.

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At 5 p.m., students gathered in the Lindsay Young auditorium in Hodges library to remove their tape and talk about what they experienced throughout the day. Hodge opened the ceremony by reciting an original poem titled, “The Silence Is Broken.” Afterwards, co-host Jasmine Taylor, UT junior and president of the Progressive Student Alliance, introduced a panel of three students and an associate professor who spoke of their motivations behind participating in “Break the Silence” and what they experienced.The panel included Sydney Buckner, UT freshmen and member of the Progressive Student Alliance; Feroza Freeland, UT sophomore and member of the College Democrats; Drost Kokoye, member of the Muslim Student Association; and associate professor Josh Inwood, Ph.D.

Each of the student panelists spoke of the wide range of reactions they received from other students and non-students. Kokoye told about an incident immediately before the start of the ceremony, where a man who had stopped to assist her with her car questioned her sign and then scoffed at her.

“He said, ‘Oh, oh God! You’re like an Obama supporter,’” Kokoye told audience members.

Each of the student panelists explained what their organizations were planning to do in order to promote open dialogue on UT’s campus. Plans included spreading awareness about dangerous working conditions both domestically and internationally and urging UT to stop supporting certain brands, encouraging students to vote regularly and providing students with more information about Muslims. Inwood said that he wanted more open conversations between students and faculty.

Each of the student panelists explained how being unable to speak for the entire day made them feel. Sydney Buckner said she thought about all individuals who were unable to speak up for themselves while participating.

Hodge closed the ceremony by urging audience members to continue to promote collective work and inclusion on UT’s campus. He asked the question, “What next?” and stated that events don’t have to be political in nature in order to bring people together.

“A simple social, where organizations with opposing demographics … that could be next,” Hodge said.[6]

Revolutionary Strategies to Beat the Rising Right Wing

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Revolutionary Strategies to Beat the Rising Right Wing, was a nationwide conference call organized by Freedom Road Socialist Organization, Sunday October 30, 2016.

What's the nature of this right-wing threat? What has this election cycle changed about the political terrain we're fighting on? How do we need to prepare for whats coming after the election? Hear about these crucial questions from our panel of top political strategists, including Nelini Stamp, Bill Fletcher, Jr., Linda Burnham, and Sendolo Diaminah.

Those invited, on Facebook included Jasmine Taylor.[7]

Now What? Defying Trump and the Left's Way Forward

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Now What? Defying Trump and the Left's Way Forward was a phone in webinar organized by Freedom Road Socialist Organization in the wake of the 2016 election.

Now what? We’re all asking ourselves that question in the wake of Trump’s victory. We’ve got urgent strategizing and work to do, together. Join Ash-Lee Woodard Henderson of the Movement for Black Lives and Freedom Road, Calvin Cheung-Miaw, Jodeen Olguin-Taylor of Mijente and WFP, Joe Schwartz of the Democratic Socialists of America, and Sendolo Diaminah of Freedom Road for a discussion of what happened, and what we should be doing to build mass defiance. And above all, how do we build the Left in this, which we know is the only solution to the crises we face?

This event will take place Tuesday November 15, 2016 at 9pm Eastern/8pm Central/6pm Pacific.

Those invited, on Facebook included JT Taylor.[8]

Eat Out (with) PSA

Hosted by UTK Progressive Student Alliance, Monday, March 6, 2017, at 11 AM - 9 PM. Moe's Original Bar B Que- Knoxville, 4405 Kingston Pike, Knoxville, Tennessee 37919.

Percentage night at local restaurant Moe's! Support UTK's oldest progressive student organization, the Progressive Student Alliance, and learn all about what we do!

Those invited, on Facebook, included Jasmine Taylor.

Comrades

Lindsey Smith March 9, 2015 ·

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With JT Taylor, Marcelle Grair and Deanna Nagle.

References