Former Georgia lawmaker and former state House minority leader Stacey Abrams just made history by becoming the first black woman in her state to win the Democratic primary for state governor.
Abrams, who has earned support from civil rights icon Congressman John Lewis, former secretary of state Hillary Clinton and former presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders, beat former state representative Stacey Evans to become the Democratic nominee.
Georgia has not had a Democrat as governor in more than a decade – and if Abrams wins the election in November, she would not only become the first Democrat to take the office in a while, she would also be the first African-American governor of Georgia, the first female governor of Georgia and the first African-American woman elected governor of any state in the entire United States.
Talk about breaking the glass ceiling.
“I want to lead Georgia because I know we can do more: we can protect our healthcare - and safeguard our kids’ education and their lives… Together, we can continue to fix our criminal justice system and begin to defend our Dreamers… Build the infrastructure that connects us to one another. Repeal campus carry and expand HOPE,” she said in her victory speech. “We can lead a stronger Georgia, a more compassionate Georgia, a bold and ambitious Georgia. We can show the old-guard something new – and fight together for the good of all. I want every Georgia family to have the freedom and opportunity to thrive. You deserve nothing less, and I know our Georgia can deliver.”
Here’s what you need to know about the Democratic nominee for Georgia governor.
Abrams was born in Wisconsin but she and her five siblings grew up in Gulfport, Mississippi. Her parents aimed to become United Methodist ministers and moved the family to Atlanta to attend the Emory University when Abrams was a teenager.
“Despite struggling to make ends meet for their family, her parents made service a way of life for their children – if someone was less fortunate, it was their job to serve that person,” read her campaign’s website. “This ethic – and her parents’ unwavering commitment to providing educational opportunity for their children – led the family to Georgia.”
Education and Introduction to Student Politics:
While living in Georgia, Abrams attended Avondale High School and suddenly became involved in student politics.
“I was away on a trip, and while I was gone, I got elected to a [student board],” Abrams told Essence in an interview. “I didn't actually run. I was just not there. So they put my name in and that was my first election. It was a great way to win an election, not to have to run, not to even have to put my name in.”
She then went on to become the valedictorian of her graduating class.
During her freshman year at the historically black Spelman College in Atlanta, Abrams ran for the student class council. In her senior year, she had been elected president of the Student Government Association.
During this time, she also attended Atlanta's city council meetings and worked as the Office of Youth Services’ research assistant at the City Hall.
Abrams then went on to receive degrees from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin and Yale Law School.
She is also known for speaking out about her student loans.
“I am in debt, but I am not alone... We all still make money mistakes — but they don't have to be fatal to our dreams,” she wrote in a Fortune op-ed titled: “My $200,000 Debt Should Not Disqualify Me For Governor of Georgia.”
In 2006, Abrams was elected to the Georgia General Assembly in the House of Representatives. Four years later, she made history by becoming the first African-American woman to become the House minority leader in Republican-majority Georgia.
During her tenure, Abrams made a huge impact among the poor and middle-income households by taking a stand against legislations aimed to roll back reproductive health care and increase taxes on the under-privileged.
Apart from cosponsoring a bill to prohibit LGBTQ+ discrimination and supporting same-sex marriage, Abrams also introduced a legislation to improve “the welfare of grandparents and other kin responsible for raising children” and founded the non-partisan New Georgia Project that “submitted more than 200,000 registrations for voters of color between 2014 and 2016.”
When she is not fighting for the welfare of the society, Abrams is writing novels.
Using her alias Selena Montgomery, Abrams has penned eight romantic suspense novels and has sold over 100,000 copies of her books. Her work has been published by major publishing house Harper Collins.
Needless to say, this November, Georgia has a chance to make history.
Meanwhile, this is how social media users reacted to Abram’s Democratic primary win.
Stacey Abrams winning the Democratic primary for Georgia’s governor’s race is a victory for all Americans. But it is especially sweet for black women who have done so much for our country while getting so little in return.— Eugene Gu, MD (@eugenegu) May 23, 2018
It can’t be said enough: Black women are the backbone of the Democratic Party and deserve better representation. Way past due for our first black woman governor in the US. Let’s spend the next 6 months working our asses off to help Stacey Abrams make that happen down in Georgia.— Adam Best (@adamcbest) May 23, 2018
Stacey Abrams energized the base of the Democratic party. She didn't fall for the left foolery and she didn't cave to conservatism. She stood her ground promoting and defending our Democratic values. She did it as woman, a black woman and most importantly as a Democrat.— Mr. Weeks ??? (@MrDane1982) May 23, 2018
Kentucky had a massive Democratic turnout and Stacey Abrams has won the democratic nomination for Georgia and could be the first African American female governor.— Carlos (@blazingxmexican) May 23, 2018
This is truly the progress our country needs! It's been an amazing night for democrats so far.
Stacey Abrams is nothing but GOOD NEWS and hopefully the future of the USA. GA Dems recognized her potential, and others will surely follow. https://t.co/p50xu3Nsna— John Dean (@JohnWDean) May 23, 2018
The gubernatorial elections will be held on Nov. 6.
Thumbnail/Banner Credits: Reuters, Chris Aluka Berry