UAA Statement on Nashville

Dear UAA Conference Attendee,

The recent tragic gun violence in a Nashville school is sadly all too common in America’s cities. Similarly, the recent ouster of two democratically elected officials from the State legislature, reveals an ugly truth: that the voices of victims, and the needs and rights of urban communities are being undermined and disregarded by hostile and discriminatory state legislatures. 

Throughout the U.S., cities are being denied resources and rights by state legislatures dominated by certain rural, small town, and suburban interests. This long-standing divide has become increasingly apparent in Tennessee and other states that have enacted anti-LGBTQIA+ and anti-abortion laws, taken over school districts and local finances, and blocked local mandates, all legislative actions that have disenfranchised and disproportionately impacted urban residents. Nashville has been under direct assault with blatant attempts by the State legislature to control the city’s tax revenue and city council composition. While the recent events in the State of Tennessee are dramatic and disturbing, they should be understood in a larger geopolitical context that has dominated Tennessee and much of American state politics for decades.

As an organization of urbanists committed to social justice, we stand against racism, sexism, homophobia, and any other form of discrimination, and are deeply disturbed by recent events in the Tennessee State Legislature. During our upcoming conference, we will have the opportunity to discuss the city’s history and current challenges with local community leaders. 

We hope you will join us in showing our support for the city of Nashville, its residents, and the many people of color who work in service industries such as hotels, restaurants and transport. No city should suffer economically and be held hostage by state politics that are so clearly racist, anti-gay, anti-choice, anti-urban and undemocratic. The city of Nashville has already suffered enough losses. 

Margaret Wilder, PhD
UAA Executive Director

Affirmed by the UAA Governing Board

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