All posts by Jeannie Alexander

Rev. Jeannie Alexander is the director of No Exceptions Prison Collective, a legal and educational advocacy organization with and on behalf of prisoners and their families. No Exceptions works through a combination of litigation, legislation, and grass roots movement building in collaboration with prisoners, free world individuals, houses of worship, and other like-minded organizations. No Exceptions’ primary focus areas are sentencing reform, and internal prison conditions. She is also a co-founding resident of Harriet Tubman House, an interfaith community dedicated to restorative practices in earth stewardship and human rights. She served as the Head Chaplain at Riverbend Maximum Security Institution for three years until September 2014. Prior to that, she was the volunteer chaplain for two years. As chaplain, she facilitated the creation of an unprecedented number of programs for insiders, both in minimum security and on death row, and developed interfaith communities in prison based on a model of liberation theology. She has been a professor of Philosophy, Ethics, and Religion. She is a writer with essays published in the book And The Criminals With Him, and she has two forthcoming books: a of poetry titled Folklore, and an examination of faith, life sentences, and the cultural and moral costs of caging humans for life, titled Redemption?

Appalachia Burning: White Supremacists in Tennessee – by Rev. Jeannie Alexander

I’ve been wrestling with how to write about  white supremacists and modern day self-proclaimed Nazis descending upon my beloved home in Middle Tennessee where I stood with a small band of inter-faith women clergy, determined to push back hard – literally – against hate.  It was exhausting, heartbreaking, took weeks in planning, and ultimately was successful. But what the hell does success mean when you’re talking about shutting down white supremacists and Nazis?

It began as a plan, an absurd “dangerous” plan. A small collective of women clergy, and women of faith, came together and decided that we simply were not going to allow a torch march in Middle Tennessee. Some of our collective had been part of the counter demonstration in Charlottesville and bore witness to what was a very calculated, pointed message in an action seen far too many times in the history of this country. A mob of angry white men, with torches, marching through the countryside, with the end result of death, accentuated these days by the echoing chant of “blood and soil!”

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