Tennessee Representative Justin Pearson and His Fiancée Are the Ultimate Power Couple

Kelly Corbett - Author

Apr. 13 2023, Published 11:15 a.m. ET

In April 2023, two Democratic members of the Tennessee House of Representatives, Justin Pearson and Justin Jones, who are both Black, were expelled for supporting gun control protesters following the March 27 murder of three students and three staff members at a Nashville school.

However, their colleague Gloria Johnson, a 60-year-old white woman, retained her seat. It quickly became evident that Pearson and Jones were kicked out due to the color of their skin.

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After the Tennessee GOP was given flack for the men's expulsions, Pearson and Jones, who respectively represent Districts 86 and 52, were reinstated a few days later.

“They tried to kill democracy. They tried to expel the people’s choice and the people’s vote. And they awakened a sleeping giant,” Pearson said in a speech after regaining his seat.

By his side was his fiancée, Oceana Gilliam. Here’s everything we know about her.

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Who is Justin Pearson's fiancée and future wife, Oceana Gilliam?

Oceana currently works as a senior program manager for the Center for Court Innovation’s West Coast Initiative Team, per her bio on the Center for Justice Innovation's website.

Much like her fiancé, she is advocating for change. "Oceana is passionate about building equitable programs to help create healthier, thriving communities. Through her work, Oceana strives to honor her mother, family, community, and ancestors," her bio continues.

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Born and raised in South Central LA’s Crenshaw District, Oceana received her B.A. in political science and Russian from Beloit College and received a Master of Public Policy degree from the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs.

To highlight just one of her many acts of change, she created and oversaw a program in 2020 that distributed over 17,000 boxes of locally grown produce and food to South LA families to address food insecurity incited by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Very little about her relationship with Pearson is known, but it's clear she always has his back.

After Pearson supported gun control protesters prior to his expulsion, Mother Jones spoke with Oceana about her fiance's future in the Tennessee House of Representatives. Off the bat, she said she expected him to get expelled based on what she's observed during his time in the legislature.

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"I haven't seen them do anything democratic lately. I've seen Justin raise his hand during the welcoming and honoring parts of the session and not get called on. He's constantly disrespected here," she told the outlet in a video.

She continued: "It honestly hurts my heart because he worked so hard to get here."

Upon seeing her interview with Mother Jones, Pearson retweeted it and shared some sweet words about his lady: "Thanks to my beautiful fiancée for fighting with the people and working to make justice possible in Tennessee. It’s time to do something about gun violence and to fight for our communities that are suffering. We WILL Keep fighting!"

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