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Join Stacey Abrams & The Historic Race To Turn Georgia Blue

Politics

In the past year, one could not talk about midterm elections, without uttering the name Stacey Abrams. From CNN to TIME Magazine, Stacey has been taking the nation by storm with her plans to turn Georgia's radical red to a tranquil blue.


The race to be the next governor of Georgia has heated up since the primaries earlier this year, and some of the country's biggest stars made their way down south to campaign. Rapper Ludacris and producer Will Packer helped raise over $300,000 when they threw a supporter party at Packer's home. Those in attendance included Chris Tucker, Tiffany Haddish, Kelly Rowland, Marlon Wayans, LeToya Luckett, Marsai Martin, and Tyrese Gibson.

This past Thursday (November 1), Oprah Winfrey hosted two town hall events in Decatur and and Marietta. This is a considered a rare endorsement as the media icon has mostly avoided politics. Her two most recent endorsements were Obama in 2008 and Hillary Clinton in 2016.

And Stacey isn't without her own presidential star power, arguably her biggest endorsement to date, former President Barack Obama went to Georgia and held a rally in her name at Morehouse College on Friday (November 2).

With a deadlock race for governor -- Stacey is currently polling 46.9% and Brian Kemp polling 46.7% -- Stacey has a chance of becoming the first black female governor in U.S History. If she can earn 50% plus one vote that is. Otherwise, Georgia is headed for a runoff election—meaning the race would drag on into December, which is not desirable for either candidate.

So, with this knowledge and all that is at stake, it's no wonder that voters are looking towards Stacey's background and vision to further solidify which candidate gets their votes on November 6. With the hope this political season is a little less strenuous for all, learn some things about Stacey Abrams that you might not have known before.

Her Background

TIME Magazine

Stacey Abrams and her five siblings grew up in a lower middle-class household in Gulfport, Mississippi. Despite struggling to make ends meet, her parents had an indefatigable commitment to providing educational opportunity for their children, which led the family to Georgia.

Stacey and her younger siblings attended DeKalb County Schools, and she graduated from Avondale High School. She went on to receive degrees from Spelman College, the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas, and Yale Law School.

Putting her education to work, Stacey became the first woman to lead either party in the Georgia General Assembly and the first African American to lead in the House of Representatives. As House Minority Leader, Stacey fought to better the lives of Georgians through government, nonprofit, and business sectors.

For her staunch support of working families, Stacey has received the Friend of Labor award and also earned an A-rating from the Georgia Chamber of Commerce in the same year. She is a lifetime member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and she is the proud 2012 Grand Champion of the Georgia National Fair Legislative Livestock Roundup. Stacey has received recognition from the Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Asian Americans Advancing Justice (Georgia), the National Urban League, EMILY's List, and Planned Parenthood.

"Like most who are underestimated, I have learned to over-perform and find soft but key ways to take credit," she said. "Because ultimately, leadership and power require the confidence to effectively wield both."

Her Vision

Bob Andres/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP

Like Stacey has stated in the past, "We must cease being participants in our own oppression."

With a vision like no other, Stacey Abrams plans to rise up and has 12 main issues she intends to fight while in office. Here are the top six:

Affordable Housing

Affordable housing is essential to ensuring that every family has the freedom and opportunity to thrive. Stacey Abrams understands that the challenges impacting access to affordable housing are different across communities; particularly in the city of Atlanta, where the income inequality rate is the highest in the country. As a result, Stacey is committed to partnering with local governments to develop solutions that will ensure the success of every community in Georgia.

Education

According to U.S. News & World, Georgia ranks #31 in Education overall, and #35 in PreK-12 Education. With the knowledge that education is a key to economic mobility and future success, Stacey is committed to investing in increasing Georgia's national ranking by addressing the needs of the whole child, from cradle to career. This will begin with high quality, affordable childcare and pre-kindergarten programs, continue through fully-funded public schools, and on to post-secondary opportunities in actions that ensure success.

Energy and Environment

Stacey has strived to protect Georgia's natural resources and communities from hazardous waste that often is left unchecked. Supporting greater oversight of petroleum pipelines, sponsored legislation to ensure funds for hazardous waste clean-up, and advocating for policies that address climate change, Abrams plans to strengthen environmental protection for all Georgians.

Equal Rights

Full inclusive equal rights ensure that Georgia is building on a strong economy that works for everyone. Stacey Abrams intends to advocate for all communities and believes in treating every person with basic human dignity and respect.

Gun Safety

The number of mass shootings in the US this year has already reached 297. In the city of Atlanta, at least 50 police shootings have occurred. It is beyond time for sensible gun policies that enable responsible ownership but also keep firearms away from people who would use them to harm others or themselves. Stacey is committed to working collaboratively with law enforcement, community partners, the legislature, and the criminal justice system to protect Georgia's communities.

Health Care

Stacey believes it is essential for every Georgian to be able to access affordable healthcare. With plans to expand Medicaid, she intends to provide access to healthcare for all Georgians, create more than 50,000 jobs, expand mental health support groups and resources, and protect rural hospitals from closure.

To find out more about Stacey Abrams's vision, click here and get to reading.

Now the most important question, will you rock your vote on Election Day?

Featured image by AP Photo/John Bazemore

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
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Featured image by Shutterstock

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