Live from Music Row Thursday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed Gary Humble of Tennessee Stands in studio to talk about what it’s like at the Tennessee State capitol as a grassroots activist and intermingling with members of the House and Senate.
Leahy: We are joined in studio by our good friend Gary Humble, the group Tennessee Stands a grassroots organization. He is a thorn in the side (Humble chuckles) of the Republican establishment and all of the Democrat folks up on Capitol Hill. Gary, good morning.
Humble: Good morning to you. I’ll take that intro all day long.
Leahy: Well, Tennessee General Assembly winding down another three or four weeks, right?
Humble: Yeah, I would say three or four at the most. They’re working pretty hard. Everything is pretty much on final calendar now. Some sub-committees in the House are closed, so they’re working pretty hard at getting to the place where they can adjourn.
Leahy: Now, have they lifted all of the Coronavirus regulations? Are regular people able to go into the capital now?
Humble: Yeah, they are pretty much, but it’s just like everywhere else. It’s sort of the fine line between there’s a rule, but we’re not really sure if there’s a rule. And once you get past a certain point to the elevators, we’re not really going to enforce the rule. And then as you walk around, there’s a few of our truly, I would say conservative, freedom-loving legislators that you’ll never see with a mask or anything like that on. And it’s literally like walking into the grocery store and sort of seeing who it.
Leahy: Some are, some are not.
Humble: Same environment.
Leahy: But is there a rule now? Do you have to wear masks there?
Humble: The rule is, well, again, like everywhere else, the rule is to wear a mask, but it’s rarely enforced.
Leahy: Okay. Well, so now you go up there, in essence, acting as a grassroots lobbyist, right? For various bills.
Humble: Functionally sort of.
Leahy: Functionally. You’re not registered?
Humble: I have not registered as a lobbyist, though I could. But I choose not to participate.
Leahy: You are an advocate.
Humble: I’m an advocate. I’m a citizen of Tennessee. That’s a better word to describe it.
Leahy: You are an advocate of the issues. So we hear this mantra at all, get involved. Get involved. Get involved? Well, your group is getting involved. When you go to Capitol Hill is it just you or is it you and a couple of other folks from Tennessee Stands? How does that happen?
Humble: It’s usually me and a couple of folks. We have someone that comes up from Knoxville pretty regularly. And then a couple of volunteers that actually have been lobbying some of these, especially medical freedom issues that we’ve been addressing right now for the last couple of years. So we do have some volunteers up there that are lobbying at least every Tuesday and Wednesday, which is how much the meet of the week.
Leahy: So set the stage for me. You enter the security. Do you show your ID when you get in?
Humble: No, I don’t have to show it.
Leahy: As you enter, do you have your mask on?
Humble: No. So far, that’s worked.
Leahy: So they don’t give you a hard time.
Humble: Let me tell you, the Capitol Police, there are phenomenal people. In fact, when we had our rally there and we had about 350 folks or so show up, I worked with them the week prior, letting them know that was going to happen. And they’ve bent over backward upping their staffing so that they can process as many people as they could let into the building. They are quite incredible to work with. Good men and women.
Leahy: Now, do the legislators up there recognize you yet? And when you’re walking through the halls, do they see you and then head recover?
Humble: I actually have gotten where the eyes meet.
Leahy: Eyes meet and somebody disappears?
Humble: And there’s the look away.
Leahy: It’s Humble with the Tennessee Stands. I’m getting out of here. Any of that?
Humble: Please, God, let him not recognize that I saw him. (Laughs)
Leahy: Okay, so you got a little that going on. But you’re nice, right?
Humble: Yeah. Absolutely.
Leahy: You are polite. You don’t harangue them or do you?
Humble: I got a good story for you.
Leahy: Storytime. Let’s hear this story.
Humble: Because you can tell there’s a conversation happening about me there and whatever. So I’m having a meeting and I’ll just call him out. He’s a great guy. Chairman Vaughan from Collierville. We were having a meeting about a bill. Fantastic guy. Lovely conversation. And I think it seemed to me he had a set of expectations.
Leahy: Which House is this?
Humble: House of Representatives.
Leahy: 99 members.
Humble: He’s a rep out of Collierville on Memphis area and a great guy. We’re having a conversation. And anyway, we get done. He said, You know what, man? I just got to tell you, this is not what I expected. This is a really great conversation. He said, you know what? You’re a lot smarter than I thought you’d be.
Leahy: Subtext. I expected a crazy loon, and I got a guy who could make an argument and make sense.
Humble: That’s right.
Leahy: Well, but this is sort of a lesson for everybody out there in our listeners. What conservatives and constitutionalists and grassroots activists in our listening audience and around the country have to deal with is despair. And that’s a little bit what the left is trying to do. They’re trying to shock and awe us into submission, and it ain’t going to happen. But any logical person has got to say, I have to have a path out. I have to have somebody who’s going to listen to me. And when you see people saying, well, I’ll give you an example.
The Georgia runoff elections, right? Two Democrats won. They’re awful. They’re left-wingers. But what happened is the Georgia Conservatives were so dispirited and angry at the bad decisions by the governor, the Republican governor, and the Republican Secretary of State they said, yeah, I’m just not gonna play this game. It had a bad consequence in Georgia. And for our conservative populist friends out there, it would have a bad consequence here if you’re not engaged, but you cannot rail at the moon.
Leahy: You can’t come in and have them say, oh, there’s that lunatic. Oh, there’s that intelligent person who actually makes an argument. All right. I’ll talk to him or her.
Humble: And there’s sort of a balance there. I believe there’s a line between making an intelligent argument, which certainly you need to make, but also being heard. Unfortunately, what you’ll find and it’s not just the Tennessee General Assembly, it’s in any legislature in any political arena is that a lot of these men and women respond to pressure.
Leahy: Well, they all do. (Humble chuckles) This is why, actually, you see the left, because all of the activists on the left appear to have jobs where they’re paid for by these nonprofits funded by left-wing billionaires. On our side, it’s basically volunteer stuff. So you have to do it in between making a living. So they’re able to be more persistent and to get in the face of state legislators, typically more vociferously than our side in here in Tennessee.
Humble: I had Steve Deace mention something about that one time and he was like you know why it seems like sometimes the left is always added, and they’re always winning it’s because it’s their religion.
Leahy: Not only is it their religion but because of the way the left finances this with the guilty, autocratic, let’s destroy American billionaire class, which is growing, by the way, those guys fund the activities. It’s a profession now. A community activist is a profession on the left, and it’s a well-paying profession. That’s the difference right there.
Humble: We have some activists that are working in Memphis and they are seeing some of the same things. She’s actually been able to scope out who these people are. And she was telling you, no, Gary, what I found is they’re actually paid quite well.
Leahy: They are. That’s the secret about, quote, community activists on the left. It’s a profession. now, if you have no skills, but like to be a loudmouth talker, it’s perfect. (Laughter) If you have no skills but like to be a loudmouth talker and you can communicate the best career path for somebody on the left is to become a community activist.
Humble: No question.
Leahy: Because there’s so much money out there from the left-wing billionaires who hate America.
Humble: No question.
Leahy: That’s very interesting. I want to ask you this. As you go up there and you talk to members of the Tennessee General Assembly, is there a difference between talking to a member of the House of Representatives in which there are 99 members? And it’s generally considered a little bit more raucous because they are all in there for two-year terms. And then the more stayed state Senate, which has only 33 members and they’re in there for four-year terms. What’s the difference in terms of communicating with a state Senator versus a member of the state House?
Humble: Actually, that’s a great question. I don’t know a person that can have experienced much of a difference. I will say on the Senate side, they actually can be a little bit more rushed and busy and moving papers because, in the House, each representative is limited to running 15 bills. The Senate is unlimited. I want to say, Senator Bowling, I can’t remember who I was talking to but they had, like, over 70 bills.
Leahy: Senator Janice Bowling. Friend of this program.
Humble: 70 bills that have just been filed by her in the Senate because there’s no limit there. So, actually, on the Senate side, there is a little bit more movement. A little bit more business going on because with everything they have to get through.
Listen to the second hour here:
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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Photo “Gary Humble” by Gary Humble.
Live from Music Row Wednesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed The X For Boys founder King Randall on the newsmakers line from Albany, Georgia to talk about his mission to help boys out of the juvenile justice system gain confidence in life through faith.
Cunningham: This is Ben Cunningham sitting in for Michael Patrick Leahy along with Gary Humble from Tennessee Stands trying to fill the big shoes of Michael Patrick Leahy this morning who’s away building his media empire and will be back tomorrow. We have got an extraordinarily special guest on the line.
I started seeing King Randall in videos on YouTube. And the first time I saw him, I thought to myself, this is too good to be true. And then I watched more videos and more videos. And I’m convinced that King Randall is a man for this time and this place and his extraordinary mission that he’s trying to accomplish in Albany, Georgia. King, good morning.
Randall: Good morning. How are you?
Cunningham: We’re doing great. And thank you so much for getting up early to be with us. We really do appreciate it.
Randall: Absolutely. I definitely appreciate being here.
Cunningham: Give us just a little bit of the back story of your mission. I’ve seen you talking about, and by the way, the website is thexforboys.org. You’re in Albany, Georgia. You started out it sounded like trying to give young men the skills that they need to begin the mission of becoming men in life. And now you are actually buying a school and starting a school. Tell us a little bit about how you started and where you are right now.
Randall: Oh, absolutely. Well, where we live right now in Albany, Georgia, and at one point, we were the fourth poor city in the United States. Our household income is very low. The poverty level is very high. Crime rates amongst our young men ages 17 to 25 are just extremely high and we don’t have any rehabilitative programs for juveniles that are leaving the juvenile justice system.
So I decided to start a program when I was 19 years old because I saw some classmates going to jail. I had classmates in jail for 30, 40 years. Classmates that have been killed, etcetera. And I’m just like nobody wants to work with the youth. So I decided to do it myself even though I was a teenager at the time, I still wanted to do something. So I started doing field trips with young men. I started teaching them how to work on cars.
I started doing workshops teaching them how to change oil and change breaks. Also working on houses, teaching them how to change toilets, ceiling fans, sheetrock, and flooring. You name it. I tried to teach everything that I could. And then the first summer of 2019, I did a summer camp out of my home. I had 20 young men get dropped off at my house every day and I taught them every day how to read.
We also learned how to grow food in my garden. I also taught them a different skill trade. How to cook, how to work on houses, how to do automotive repair, etcetera. So during that summer, I had 20 young men. And I’m so grateful for those parents that believed in what I was doing at the time and dropped their children off every day to me. And dealing with those children ages 11 to 17 I was noticing that 12 out of the 20 couldn’t read.
The other issue for me, I’m just like, why can’t you guys read? You guys are in school. You guys are passing through school. How exactly are you passing your work and you can’t read or write? That was the issue for me. And I told the boys before they asked, well Mr. King, why don’t you have a school for you to teach us all this stuff?
You should open your own school. And I was like, well, one day we’re going to buy us to school, and I don’t know when it’s going to happen, but we’re going to make it happen. (Cunningham chuckles) So fast forward to 2020. COVID happened, and I had to kind of put everything on pause. And parents were still asking because I do stuff for the kids.
So what I decided to do, I was like, well, they’re going to have come live with me because I don’t know what’s going on with COVID. So I was like, I don’t know who they’re around when they’re going back home, etcetera. So I was just like, they’re going to have to come live with me. So I went and bought some bunk beds and I put them in my living room.
Cunningham and Humble: Wow.
Randall: So I had six children come live with me for the summertime and we did everything that summer. We worked on a farm. We did field trips. I still taught them the skilled trades, etcetera. And at one point during that summer and we did a sheetrock workshop. And I hadn’t been posting a lot of what I and the boys have been doing, but I posted that on Twitter and that made some rounds on Twitter, and a lot of people saw what we were doing. We got invited to the White House. That was some of the boys’ first trips.
I remind you, some of these kids had come from the juvenile justice system who had never been anywhere being and out of jail, but nobody had taken them on. So I started working with them, and we went to the White House, and a lot of people started supporting us. People started donating. We went building shopping and we found a building for our school. We actually reached out to our school system and they had a building that they were about to demolish. So we decided to get that from them. It’s 35,000 square feet, 25 classrooms.
Cunningham: You actually bought a school from the local school system?
Randall: Yes, Sir. Yes, Sir. And that was a beautiful thing for us. And the school has a lot of potential to develop even more in the future. And it’s right in a neighborhood where those children need us. And ever since we’ve been taking children from jail. I actually have custody of two of those children from the juvenile justice system, and they still live with me right now.
Humble: That’s the real deal right there.
Randall: Yeah. Ever since we started taking children from jail, we have a zero percent recidivism rate. Every child that’s coming to me from jail has never been back. These are statistics that I love to talk about because these children are actually changing their lives and they don’t want to live in the conditions that they’re living in. They just need somebody to be consistent with them.
Cunningham: Well, I can’t tell you, it’s just emotional for me, frankly, to hear everything that you’re doing, I have contributed. I’ve gone to thexforboys.org website and I’ve contributed to your organization.
Randall: Thank you.
Cunningham: My son has contributed, and I encourage anybody who’s listening to help you in your mission.
Randall: I appreciate you guys so much.
Cunningham: And your faith obviously plays a big role here. You quote Genesis on your website. Tell us what role your faith plays and how you’re trying to install these values in these young men?
Randall: Absolutely. Well, one of our biggest quotes, biggest hashtags is #BigBoyFaith. One day, I made a lot of videos talking about what we were doing. I said big boy faith on the video. I was like, we got to have some big boy faith, and people were like, you should put that on the shirt. So that’s something that we believe in. Believing in ourselves and having faith in God and what we’re trying to do because he’s making so much happening for us.
And with that being said, we’ve had so much going in between all of that happened. I was broke at one point to a point where I wasn’t able to just take care of the boys. So we were eating noodles and eating five-dollar Hot and Ready pizzas and stuff and sandwiches. But I was still trying to make it happen for them. And we had plenty of times where we stuck on the side of the road. And I didn’t know how I was going to pay the light bill.
I was calling my mom, asking if she could help me feed the boys and stuff just trying to make it work. But I did what I had to do at the time when I knew God was going to make something happen. I just kept telling the boys, somebody’s going to see what you guys are doing one day. We’ve been doing this for about a year and a half, two years. Now somebody’s going to see us.
I said it’s only a matter of time before everything takes off because what we’re doing is special. And I believe we can touch so many young men in our community and around the nation. Faith has played a big part in what we’ve been doing because I and the boys have to believe in what we’re doing. And also giving. I give as much as I can, regardless if I even have anything I try to give. And that’s how we get back so much.
I give a lot of the time of my love and attention and everything to what I’m trying to do. And now it’s not even light work. I do this full-time, and I love what I do. And I love working with the children. It’s just beautiful. But our faith is a big portion of what we do because I wear that shirt every day. And the only shirt I ever wear is my Big Boy Faith shirt.
I have about 20 of the same shirt. They all say Big Boy Faith. And I wear them every day. Like every day you’re not going to not see me with my big boy faith shirt all because I believe in it so much because people have to believe in themselves and what they’re trying to do. And if you believe in it, things will happen.
Humble: I just want to say I’m looking at your site right now at The X Boys and there’s this picture of you and you’re standing with all of these young men. They’re in suit and tie. Their arms are down firm. And one thing I notice, I’m looking at these faces, and I just see a sense of confidence. These young men have confidence. And I’m a dad. I’ve got three little boys. And I know for young men, the number one thing that they need is confidence. Just tell us real quick about that.
Randall: Absolutely. Yes. For the boys, a lot of them had never worn a suit before. And most people in our community kind of like pick on suits at school. You only were a suit to church and stuff. But when I got them their suits and when they were able to all wear them and stuff like that just to watch how different they walked and how they thought they look so clean and look so good. It was beautiful to see. And I was telling them I was like, man, ain’t nothing wrong with suits. If you asked any of my classmates and my old teachers, I wore a suit to school every day in 11th and 12th grade. I had a briefcase and a suit every day. (Cunningham laughs)
Listen to the full second hour here:
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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.