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February 20, 2019

We need Stacey Abrams more than she needs us

February 6, 2019
Stacey Abrams delivers the Democratic party’s response to President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address. (AP)

On a night in which women were a large part of the discussion, there was one that stood out amongst the rest.

Stacey Abrams.

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Dressed in all red and wearing a white broach, Abrams, the former Georgia State House Minority Leader and Gubernatorial candidate, made history by becoming the first black woman to deliver the Democratic response to the State of the Union address.

Earlier in the night, President Trump showed us once again what he really thinks about women by taking subtle jabs at them whenever he could.

He broke from tradition and didn’t allow Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi to introduce him before his address.

He used Alice Johnson, a black woman, as a prop to make it seem like he cares for women and people of color when his actions for decades have proved otherwise.

“In June, I commuted Alice’s sentence and she is here with us tonight. Alice, thank you for reminding us that we always have the power to shape our own destiny,” said Trump. “When I saw Alice’s beautiful family greet her at the prison gates, hugging and kissing and crying and laughing, I knew I did the something right.”

And once again, he asked a room full of white men to dictate what women of all colors should be forced to do with their bodies.

“To defend the dignity of every person, I am asking the Congress to pass legislation to prohibit the late-term abortion of children who can feel pain in the mother’s womb.”

However, when it was time for Abrams to speak she only needed 10 minutes and 42 seconds to make it abundantly clear that she is a woman that cannot, and will not, be ignored.

She informed the nation of who she is, and what she stands for.

“For seven years, I led the Democratic Party in the Georgia House of Representatives. I didn’t always agree with the Republican Speaker or Governor, but I understood that our constituents didn’t care about our political parties – they cared about their lives. So, when we had to negotiate criminal justice reform or transportation or foster care improvements, the leaders of our state didn’t shut down – we came together. And we kept our word.”

She discussed the importance of voting and the realness of voter suppression.

“We can do so much more: Take action on climate change. Defend individual liberties with fair-minded judges. But none of these ambitions are possible without the bedrock guarantee of our right to vote. Let’s be clear: voter suppression is real. From making it harder to register and stay on the rolls to moving and closing polling places to rejecting lawful ballots, we can no longer ignore these threats to democracy.

While I acknowledged the results of the 2018 election here in Georgia – I did not and we cannot accept efforts to undermine our right to vote. That’s why I started a nonpartisan organization called Fair Fight to advocate for voting rights.”

She called out racism, discussed abortion, and supported marriage equality.

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“We fought Jim Crow with the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act, yet we continue to confront racism from our past and in our present – which is why we must hold everyone from the very highest offices to our own families accountable for racist words and deeds – and call racism what it is. Wrong.

America achieved a measure of reproductive justice in Roe v. Wade, but we must never forget it is immoral to allow politicians to harm women and families to advance a political agenda. We affirmed marriage equality, and yet, the LGBTQ community remains under attack.”

And she called out the President by encouraging him to be better at his job.

“So even as I am very disappointed by the President’s approach to our problems – I still don’t want him to fail. But we need him to tell the truth, and to respect his duties and the extraordinary diversity that defines America.”

For all intents and purposes, Abrams shouldn’t be here. She breaks every mold and template of what we’ve been taught politicians should look like, especially women.

She’s a full-figured single black woman with no children who wears her hair natural and doesn’t subscribe to the traditional descriptions of what our society has deemed appealing.

However, that’s what makes Abrams so intriguing. Because her intelligence, grace, and presence are captivating.

And as people wonder what’s next for Abrams, I know that it will be something that will be of service to the greater good.

How am I so sure?

Because we need Stacey Abrams more than she needs us.

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