I love this theme for International Women’s Day 2021. There has never been a better time and season for women to choose to challenge many things that have been designed and supported to make us not just stumble and fall, but wear us out so that we don’t have the strength to rise back up again.
For the next month I choose to shout out and give a nod of appreciation to a handful of females I admire greatly, draw inspiration from and who I believe have and continue through the sacrifices they’ve made and barriers they’ve had to overcome as they chose to challenge, paved ways for us to continue to challenge.
Stacey Abrams is a force to be reckoned with. Born on December 9, 1973, 2nd child of 6 to a working class family with a Christian background. A lawyer, author, entrepreneur and politician, activism seemed to run through her veins. As early as 1993 while she was still a college student, she gave a rousing and commanding speech at the 30th anniversary of the March of Washington in her home state of Georgia, speaking about galvanising and utilising young black people like her to bring about positive change promoting economic empowerment, justice and peace for all.
From working as a tax attorney to serving as a member in Georgia’s State Assembly, Stacey was all about bringing about positive change. Whilst serving in Georgia’s General Assembly from 2007 – 2017 she successfully fought against bills and legislations that would increase tax paid by Georgian residents, fought for criminal justice reform and lower cost loans for students. She ran for Governor of Georgia in 2018, again breaking barriers as with her time in Georgia’s General Assembly as the first black female to go for and win those roles or gain a major US party (Democrat) nomination for those roles. In a hard fought election where Stacey, with her supporters did a lot of groundwork to support increased voter registration, she was up against Brian Kemp, who was Georgia’s State Secretary. With his power as Secretary of State he implemented voter suppression changes over the years and in the run up to the governor election which resulted in a narrow loss for Stacey.
Following that painful and arguably fraudulent election by Kemp, at a time when most would have been overcome and overtaken by rage, Stacey Abrams instead turned and channelled her rage and disappointment into action, and founded Fair Fight Action, a nonprofit organization dedicated to combating voter suppression in not just Georgia but in many other states in the US. Instead of trying her hand for a Senate seat, Stacey made fighting against voter suppression her cause, and is credited with being one of the main forces behind turning Georgia a traditionally Republican state, “blue” with Democrat candidates Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock being elected to the US Senate. Georgia turning blue also helped deliver a win for President Biden in the 2020 presidential election. Her powerful role in this has earned her a Nobel Peace Prize nomination.
For her sacrifices, refusal to be distracted from her cause, unwillingness to back down or give up, but turn her disappointments and losses into renewed drive, purpose and choice to challenge the systems and authorities promoting and effecting voter suppression I salute you. I think Stacey Abrams is just getting warmed up, and I’m absolutely here for it.