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Politics Formerly incarcerated woman runs to be 1st Black woman in Congress from Tennessee

14:16  01 august  2020
14:16  01 august  2020 Source:   abcnews.go.com

Keeda Haynes: Convicted-felon-turned-public-defender is running for Congress in Tennessee

  Keeda Haynes: Convicted-felon-turned-public-defender is running for Congress in Tennessee Keeda Haynes was once convicted of a felony. Now, she is running for Congress in Tennessee in hopes of ousting 17-year incumbent Democratic Rep. Jim Cooper. © Keeda for Congress/Facebook Tennessee has only had two Black candidates elected to Congress in the state's history -- the last was in 1999. If elected Haynes would be the first black congresswoman from the state, but that is not all that makes her story unique. require(["medianetNativeAdOnArticle"], function (medianetNativeAdOnArticle) { medianetNativeAdOnArticle.

If she wins, she could be the first Black woman from the state to be elected to Congress . The 42-year-old Democrat, who is looking to represent Tennessee 's fifth district in Congress , is running against Democratic candidate Joshua Rawlings and longtime Democratic congressman Rep.

Women 's Incarcerated CURE. 89 likes. Dedicated to criminal justice issues that effect women . We are a chapter of National CURE, a grassroots The United State of Incarcerated Women While Lock Up and Orange Is the New Black is provactive the realities of enduring prison are anything but entertaining.

Keeda Haynes believes she brings a unique perspective to the race for Tennessee's 5th Congressional District. After spending over three years in prison for a crime she says she didn't commit, she hopes a spot in Washington will allow her to speak for vulnerable constituents -- and make a little history as well.

a woman standing in front of a building: Keeda Haynes, a 42-year-old former public defender who was previously incarcerated for a crime she says she didn't commit, is running for Congress in Tennessee. © Courtesy Keeda Haynes Keeda Haynes, a 42-year-old former public defender who was previously incarcerated for a crime she says she didn't commit, is running for Congress in Tennessee.

Haynes, a former public defender, is in a three-way race that includes 17-year Democratic incumbent Rep. Jim Cooper.

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Among those women was 32-year-old Democrat Lauren Underwood, who etched her name in the history book as the youngest black woman to be elected to Congress . When asked by a reporter if she was excited to make history, Underwood said she was excited to be part of "a moment in history."

The primary election, which is slated for Aug. 6, has no Republican in the race so the winner will almost certainly be elected to Congress come November.

"I have a unique perspective that a lot of people don't have. ... I've been a defendant and defender," Haynes told ABC News. "I really saw just how this war on drugs really decimated Black and brown, low-income communities."

If elected, the progressive Democrat would make history as the first Black woman in Tennessee ever elected to Congress. The state has only had two Black representatives elected to Congress, with the last candidate elected over two decades ago, according to the U.S. House of Representatives.

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According to NBC News, Arkansas state Senator Joyce Elliott is one of at least 122 Black or multi-racial Black women to file to run for US Congress this year.

The incarceration of women in the United States refers to the imprisonment of women in both prisons and jails in the United States. There are approximately 219

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Along with supporting criminal justice reform and the Black Lives Matter movement, the 42-year-old Haynes is also passionate about issues such as providing access to affordable housing, raising the minimum wage and reducing student loan debt.

"We are reimagining each and every system so that Black lives can matter across every single spectrum," she said.

Haynes, who is from Franklin and later moved to the state's capital of Nashville, was the second of five children. She graduated from Tennessee State University with a degree in criminal justice and psychology. But just two weeks after graduating college, she had to turn down a position as a legal assistant because she had to report to federal prison.

a woman posing for a picture: Keeda Haynes, a 42-year-old former public defender who was previously incarcerated for a crime she says she didn't commit, is running for Congress in Tennessee. © Courtesy Keeda Haynes Keeda Haynes, a 42-year-old former public defender who was previously incarcerated for a crime she says she didn't commit, is running for Congress in Tennessee.

At 19, she started dating a man in Nashville for a few years and began accepting packages for his cellphone and beepers shop, she told ABC News. She later found out that those packages actually contained of marijuana. She spent three years and 10 months in prison -- on what was initially a seven-year mandatory minimum sentence -- on charges of conspiracy to distribute marijuana.

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A growing number of black women actively supported women 's suffrage during this period. Some incarcerated women went on hunger strikes and endured forced feedings. However, Tennessee reaffirmed its vote and delivered the crucial 36th ratification necessary for final adoption.

According to NBC News, Arkansas state Senator Joyce Elliott is one of at least 122 Black or multi-racial Black women to file to run for US Congress this year.

In 2006, Haynes was finally released from prison while continuing to maintain her innocence. She went on to pass the bar exam and work in a public defender's office for over six years.

Her historic run comes as a record number of Black women are running for Congress across the U.S. In 2019, a record number of Black women were serving in state legislative offices, according to The Center of American Women and Politics at Rutgers University. In the last two years Black women saw the largest gain in representation at the state legislative level since 1994.

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Haynes' advice for young Black girls hoping to follow in her footsteps is to remember that you have the ability to make the impossible possible.

"Prison did not deter me from doing what I said I was going to do," she told ABC News. "There will be people that will tell you that you can't do things and that things are impossible, but you have to stay focused."

Haynes called late civil rights pioneer Rep. John Lewis, who was laid to rest Thursday in Atlanta, an "iconic figure" in the fight for justice and equality, and expressed eternal gratitude for the work that Lewis accomplished throughout his remarkable life.

"Even in the face of police violence, he still believed in something bigger and still fought for liberation. ... I personally feel obligated to do this work in his name," Haynes said.

Kacey Musgraves Wishes Estranged Husband Ruston Kelly a Happy Birthday Amid Divorce .
The country superstar wrote that the world is 'lucky' to have Ruston."Hope you know how lucky the world is to have you in it, @rustonkelly," she wrote, adding, "Happy Birthday! I’m in your corner." In the pic, Kelly's back is turned and he is looking out a window.

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