The Chattanooga Democratic Socialists of America will be repairing residents’ taillights for free this weekend to help those who may not be able to afford a new bulb avoid being pulled over by police.
“Outed taillights are one of the reasons that law enforcement might pull people over; for people of color and undocumented immigrants, this can be a perilous event,” Chattanooga DSA organizing committee member and event co-organizer James Baker said. “It’s such a simple thing, but it has the potential to be hell for a lot of the people here.”
The upcoming taillight clinic is part of the Chattanooga DSA’s Socialist Sundays, a recurring event held the the last Sunday of every month. These events are aimed at helping those in need within the Chattanooga community, and organizers also use them to spread information about the socialist movement.
“We are committed to building a leftist coalition that works for a more just and equitable society in terms of what and how things are produced,” Baker said. “The best way to work toward that future is to have these events.”
The idea for the taillight clinic came from the New Orleans chapter of the DSA, which has held similar events in the past.
Funding for the event has been compiled through donations and earnings from a recent DSA bake sale. The nonprofit currently has about $800 to buy bulbs with but is still taking donations for the event. Leftover money will be used for another future aid event.
The taillight clinic will be held Sept. 24 from 2 to 5 p.m. at 1600 E. 23rd St. Free food and water will be available to those whose cars are being repaired.
The Chattanooga DSA recommends that those who want their taillights repaired email [email protected], but no appointment is necessary.
Those who want to volunteer to change bulbs can sign up to do so here. Experience is not needed to volunteer. Those experienced in taillight bulb replacement will be on hand to demonstrate the process.
Alina Hunter-Grah is a contributing writer. She currently attends UTC, where she was previously the news editor of the student newspaper, The University Echo. Alina also worked at CNN during the summer of 2017 and is the former Chattanooga correspondent for 2nd & Church, a literary magazine based out of Nashville.