Stacey Abrams, a rising star in the Democratic Party, made clear to a progressive audience in Houston on Friday that voter suppression is real, but so is, “the power to fight back.”
Abrams barely lost her 2018 race for Georgia governor amid credible charges of voter suppression. She has since become a leading national voice, including this Ted Talk, against attempts to suppress and disenfranchise black and brown voters.
“We don’t have to concede elections anymore, because when we concede, we are condoning systems that are used to oppress us,” she said to a packed room of 650 people.
Abrams was the keynote speaker at a lunch hosted by Annie’s List, the leading group that helps women get elected in Texas. Abrams is, as the group’s executive director Royce Brooks told us, “an amazing national figure, an inspiration.”
Abrams’ new organization Fair Fight Action seeks to restore integrity of America’s election system.
Earlier this year, the Texas Secretary of State attempted to purge tens of thousands of eligible voters from the rolls. But civil rights groups fought the purge and won in court. The state must now pay $450,000 in legal fees.
At the lunch, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo noted Harris County was told by the state of Texas that 30,000 people in the region weren’t eligible voters.
“We investigated and their claims were false,” Hidalgo said. “We refused to disenfranchise those people.”
Thirty one of Annie’s List 37 endorsed candidates in 2018 won their elections. The group, with its origins in fighting back against Karl Rove’s plan to target Democratic women, has its sights on winning the Texas House in 2020. The GOP has a nine seat advantage there.
Unusual for a politician, Abrams asked the crowd to give the wait staff for the luncheon a round of applause. Her message of the day was for progressive Democrats to reach out and bring people not traditionally or visibly part of the American story into the political process.