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Stacey Abrams has an inspiring message for AFSCME Convention attendees

Gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams urged AFSCME attendees to vote. Photo credit: Javeon Butler
By AFSCME Staff ·

Georgia gubernatorial candidate and voting rights activist Stacey Abrams fired up the 45th AFSCME International Convention on Tuesday, telling attendees to vote and reassuring them they can change the world.

“Voting is not magic. Voting is medicine. When we take it, we get better. Voting is how we treat the ills of society,” she said. “AFSCME, we have got to reach for our power. We have to tell people their power is real. We’ve got to go and vote. If AFSCME does it, America will go and do it.”

When she ran for governor in 2018 – a race she did not win – Abrams found deep support from AFSCME members, who campaigned on the ground for her.

“Labor is not just a title; it is a commitment. It is who you are and what you do. It is what you believe in. We’ve got to labor together. I’m here to say thank you because … AFSCME has been right there with me,” Abrams said. “The people in this room can change the world.”

Abrams is running for Georgia governor in the 2022 election cycle, seeking to unseat incumbent Republican Brian Kemp.

For 11 years, Abrams served in the Georgia House of Representatives, seven of those as Democratic leader. In 2018, she became the Democratic nominee for governor of Georgia, becoming the first African-American woman to become the gubernatorial nominee for a major party in the United States.

In his remarks introducing Abrams to the Convention attendees, AFSCME President Lee Saunders expanded on the depth of Abrams’ accomplishments in Georgia.

“It wasn’t so long ago that we couldn’t have dreamed of competing politically in the state of Georgia. But that’s changing. Georgia is changing. And our next speaker is helping lead that change,” Saunders said.

“Her leadership was instrumental in flipping Georgia in 2020 – with the Biden-Harris ticket carrying the state and historic victories in two special Senate elections. The truth is: We should be here today pumping up her re-election bid. But four years ago, because of a shameful voter suppression effort, she fell just short in her race against Brian Kemp,” Saunders said. 

After what she called “gross mismanagement” by the Georgia Secretary of State’s office – then headed by Kemp – during the 2018 elections when Kemp was also the Republican nominee for governor, Abrams founded Fair Fight to ensure every American has a voice in our election system. She has become one of the nation’s premier advocates for voting rights and fair ballot access at the state and national levels.

Abrams is also the founder of Fair Count, a group dedicated to ensuring accuracy in the 2020 Census and greater participation in civic engagement, and the Southern Economic Advancement Project, an organization whose goal is to “broaden economic power and build equity in the South.” She is also a best-selling author.

A graduate of Spelman College, the oldest historically black college for women in America, she has a postgraduate degree from the University of Texas and a law degree from Yale University. Born in Madison, Wisconsin, she and her five siblings grew up in Gulfport, Mississippi, and were raised in Georgia. Her father was a shipyard worker and her mother was a college librarian.

For more on Abrams’ background, go here and here.

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