Stacey Abrams continues the fight, knowing the struggle for civil rights and equity does not end with a Democrat in the White House.
Published 11/10/2020 | Reading Time 2 min 36 sec | By Erika Stone-Burnett, BWSTimes Senior Staff Writer
Courtesy of Fair Fight
Stacey Abrams, the relentless Georgia politician, and Black American Shero helping flip her state blue for the first time in 28-years. Hence, she knows how to fight. After battling for Georgia’s governorship in 2018, she fell short to Brian Kemp — then Georgia’s Secretary of State, who disenfranchised over half a million constituents prior to the election. “This purge, according to election-law experts, may represent the largest mass disenfranchisement in U.S. history,” Alan Judd, a reporter from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution wrote.
With a law degree from Yale University and a passion for public service, the former Minority Leader of the Georgia House of Representatives pushed back, creating Fair Fight to promote civic engagement among citizens who are typically ignored and marginalized: Women of Color, people who were incarcerated, and young people between 18 and 25.
Prior to the 2020 election, Georgia saw 800,000 new voters registered thanks to Fair Fight and Ms. Abrams. While Ms. Abrams did not dispute the outcome of her 2018 run in court, Fair Fight has filed a lawsuit regarding voter access in Georgia, whose voter registration policies violate the Voting Rights Act and the Help America Vote Act. The lawsuit is currently in federal court.
Ms. Abrams is a role model for Black women and girls everywhere and is considered a modern-day political organizer following in the footsteps of Shirley Chisholm and Flo Kennedy, serving in Georgia’s House of Representatives for 6-years and was the first Black woman nominated by a major party to run for state’s governor. She is the first woman and first Black woman to deliver the Democratic Party’s response to a presidential State of the Union Address in 2019 and was one of the keynote speakers at the 2020 Democratic Convention. Yet, Ms. Abrams doesn’t try to single-handedly solve the civil rights crisis in our country.
One of Ms. Abrams’ most effective political tactics is in forming coalitions with other progressive politicians, organizers, and institutions.
Following the November 2020 election, Ms. Abrams has partnered with former presidential candidate Andrew Yang to promote Georgia senate candidates Jon Ossoff and Reverend Raphael Warnock, who will both face runoff elections in January against their Republican rivals. After Doug Jones’ loss in Alabama, Georgia’s two seats will decide the balance of power in the Senate, and all eyes are on Stacey Abrams once again.
Ms. Abrams welcomes the publicity, knowing Georgia’s elections are integral to ensuring a Democratic-majority US Senate so that President-Elect Joe’s Biden will not face GOP opposition to his actions as President. Ms. Abrams plans to hold President-elect Biden to his campaign promises to help families, particularly those who have been impacted by Covid-19. After the first economic relief bill — in which every citizen received $1,200 — she pushed for even more financial support, creating Project 100, in which $1,000 in direct cash was given to 100,000 families who receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) resources. Ms. Abrams is expected to be offered a pivotal role in President-elect Joe Biden’s cabinet.
As the daughter of two civil rights activists, Ms. Abrams is a grassroots feminist organizer who insists that all citizens should be seen and heard. And in 2020, Ms. Abrams did not just register voters; she got them to show up and cast a ballot. Joining forces with Black Voters Matter, she went into Georgia’s Black communities to encourage citizens to use their votes to amplify their voices.
Biden’s win in Georgia is credited to those voters in Atlanta and Savannah, who helped defeat the politicians and policies meant to suppress and oppress marginalized populations.
Nevertheless, Stacey Abrams continues the fight, knowing the struggle for civil rights and equity does not end with a Democrat in the White House. Ms. Abrams’ most recent political ad underscores her point: “Our work is not done,” she says.
Erika Stone-Burnett is a student in the Master of Social Work program at OU, where she serves as Student Government Association Secretary and contributes to the antiracism curriculum across multiple disciplines. She researches and writes about child welfare policies, community advocacy, and the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre. Erika is currently sheltering in place with her family and dogs.