Stacey Abrams Aims To “Paint The Polls BLACK” For Essence’s Digital Cover

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Ahead of the 2022 midterm elections, Essence tapped Georgia gubernational candidate and voting rights activist, Stacey Abrams, for its October digital cover themed “Paint the Polls BLACK.”

Abrams sat with the outlet’s Clarissa Brooks for an intergenerational conversation that speaks to the power of voting — more specifically the power of young Black people hitting the polls. She noted that although there is a lot of condescension towards Black people who don’t vote, there are valid reasons many feel disillusioned.

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The political leader also touched on benefitting “traditionally ignored” Black communities. As she would be governing a red state, she spoke on plans to address young people’s progressive and radical ideas surrounding public safety and capitalism.

Stacey Abrams speaks onstage during the 2021 Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Ripple of Hope Award Gala
Stacey Abrams speaks onstage during the 2021 Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Ripple of Hope Award Gala on December 09, 2021 in New York City.

Abrams, 48, is running to be the first Black woman governor of Georgia and the first-ever in U.S. history. With hopes of grabbing votes from Black citizens — she’s not leaning on her people alone to win the race.

“Identity is the opening of a conversation, it is not the conversation itself,” she told Essence. “I don’t want someone to vote for me because I’m Black, but I want them to understand that because I’m Black and because I’m a woman, I bring a set of experiences that are very singular. But you should also investigate who I am and what I say. That’s why I’m so transparent and why you may not like my answer, but I’m going to give it to you.”

In the upcoming election, Abrams can vouch for the Black experience more than anyone else running.

“We must elect candidates who see us, hear us, represent us, and have a commitment to passing legislation that ensures our communities have the opportunity to thrive,” she expressed. “The best predictor of what someone will do is knowing what they have done, and I am the only candidate for governor with a proven track record of ensuring that Georgians of all backgrounds are seen and heard in Georgia.”

Abrams was particularly vocal about motivating young Black voters to get involved in the election. “What is the most devastating response to me is when someone says, ‘My vote doesn’t matter.’ Of course, it matters,” Abrams revealed. “You may not win with your vote every time, but you make them work for it every time. That’s the point. If somebody’s got to work for something, they’re not going to ignore you the way they do.”

Young voters’ trust with politicians may have become tainted for various reasons. According to Brooks, the youth are losing interest in the Democratic party for breaking promises every election cycle. Her reasoning is the pandemic of 2020, ongoing labor strikes across the country and uprisings to end the murder of Black people by the state.

Lil Baby and Stacey Abrams
Lil Baby and Stacey Abrams

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Turning Georgia into a blue state is only a piece of Abrams’ bigger picture; she wants Black people to know that their votes are worth it. Additionally, as part of Essence’s “Paint the Polls BLACK” October theme, it will launch a Voter Hub on Oct. 17 to highlight key races and priorities important to Black women during the election.

The Voter Hub will include a midterm election guide with profile features and policy plans for 20 candidates in the competitive races at federal, state, and local level. A few of these candidates include Summer Lee (PA), Maxwell Frost (FL), Muriel Bowser (DC), and Lauren Underwood (IL).

The hub will also include conversations surrounding the Black Census Lab and why it’s needed. To expound, a Senator roundtable discussion with moderator Angela Rye will be held.

Check out Stacey Abram’s full cover story with Essence here.

Click here to read the full article.