Although Stacey Abrams withdrew her bid for Georgia governor Nov. 16, 2018, she told members of the NAACP at the civil rights organization's convention in Detroit that she did not concede, as it would have been more about her than fighting for the people.
“I knew the election of 2018 was not about me,” Abrams said Monday.
“I may have gotten the accolades and the press coverage, but the election was about the millions of Georgians who didn’t believe their voices mattered.”
Abrams ran as the 2018 Democratic nominee in Georgia’s gubernatorial race, becoming the first black female nominated by one of the major parties for a gubernatorial seat in the U.S.
She lost the gubernatorial race to Brian Kemp, a Republican and then Georgia’s secretary of state, after allegations voter suppression among the state’s African American community.
'Victory Isn’t Just About Getting An Office'
Following the election, Abrams was trailing Kemp by about 59,000 votes and sued to have rejected ballots counted.
Subsequently, supporters of Abrams’ filed lawsuits against the state alleging voter disenfranchisement.
While Kemp became Georgia’s governor, Abrams said victory was not about winning a race, but increasing voter turnout.
“Victory isn’t just about getting an office,” she said Monday.
“Victory is about tripling the Latino turnout in the state of Georgia in 2018. Victory is about tripling the Asian/Pacific-Islander turnout in the state of Georgia in 2018. It’s about increasing the youth participation rate by 139%.”
1.2 million African Americans voted for Abrams in 2018.
Continuing The Fight
Winning minority voters does not occur by losing white voters, Abrams said: it occurs when voters see someone fighting for opportunities to become better.
“We’re taught that you could only win people of color by losing white voters,” she said.
“We didn’t believe that was true because I don’t abide by partisanship. I abide by peopleship. I believe that people want better and they want opportunity and they want to know you will fight for them.”
Abrams told the NAACP convention that the voting policies will not change unless it's advocated for by the people.
“You can’t call something out when you become part of it,” she said.
"Things only change when we change them and we can’t change things we refuse to see."
Abrams is looking ahead to the upcoming 2020 U.S. Census, the once-per-decade survey that projects the population to determine congressional seats, federal funds and more.
The African American community often faces issues of poverty and inadequate schools because of inaccurate Census counts, she said.
The right of citizens to have a say in how their government functions is what Abrams is fighting for, not just the right to vote, she said.
“I’m fighting for the right to count.”
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Photo via Wikimedia.
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