State legislative leaders to host “Freedom to Be Heard” field hearing on diversity initiatives

Leaders in business, education and healthcare will testify Monday for legislative panel assembled by Sen. Raumesh Akbari, Rep. Karen Camper

Tennessee Senate Democrats
2 min readJun 13, 2024


MEMPHIS — Tennessee Senate Minority Leader Sen. Raumesh Akbari and House Minority Leader Rep. Karen Camper will host a summer legislative field hearing Monday to discuss the value of business initiatives that promote diversity, equity and inclusion.

This legislative hearing, featuring six lawmakers from Shelby County, will take place at the National Civil Rights Museum on Monday, June 17 at 5 p.m.

This hearing will gather representatives from Shelby County’s business, medical and education communities to testify about their experiences with diversity initiatives in the workplace. The discussion will focus on the impact and importance of inclusive policies at a time when the Republican-controlled Tennessee General Assembly and state attorney general are actively targeting these programs.

“This hearing is a critical opportunity for lawmakers to hear directly from community members and leaders in business, education, law and healthcare about the positive effects of inclusive policies in the workplace,” said Sen. Akbari. “It’s about understanding the real-world benefits of diversity, equity and inclusion and ensuring that all voices are heard in the policy-making process.”

In recent years, Republican officials have cheered the Supreme Court ruling overturning affirmative action, passed several “divisive concepts” laws targeting speech at K-12 public schools and colleges, proposed legislation to ban DEI policies at public universities, established a process to ban books, and threatened lawsuits against companies that employ DEI tactics.

Leader Akbari will serve as chairwoman for the legislative committee, which includes Leader Camper, Sen. London Lamar, Sen. Sara Kyle, Rep. Jesse Chism, and Rep. Torrey Harris.

The event is open to the public and the legislative committee will also provide an option for public comment from the community as well.

Event: Freedom to Be Heard — Legislative Field Hearing
Date: Monday, June 17
Time: 5 p.m. — 8 p.m.
Location: National Civil Rights Museum, 450 Mulberry St., Memphis, TN