Byron Allen in conversation with Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams: ‘Donate and vote’
"If we show up and if we show out, we win," said Stacey Abrams, Georgia Democratic candidate for governor, during a sit-down with theGrio owner Byron Allen.
Byron Allen, the founder, chairman, and CEO of Allen Media Group — which is the parent company of theGrio — sat down with Georgia candidate for governor Stacey Abrams ahead of Election Day.
In the one-on-one conversation, Allen and Abrams discussed the gubernatorial race, why Abrams partially blames her opponent, Republican Gov. Brian Kemp, for her 2018 gubernatorial loss, and what she plans to do if she were to become the next governor of Georgia in her second bid for the job.
Allen urged Black voters to cast their ballots to ensure that those elected to office in the midterm elections, especially in Georgia, have their best interests at heart.
Below is an edited transcript of the conversation. You can watch the full discussion above.
ALLEN: I am so proud of you. You’re truly amazing. You’re an absolute gift to this country and the world. So, I wanted to personally thank you for all that you do for this country. It was something to watch you run the first time and [then] you lost. And I called you up, and I asked you what happened … So, tell us what happened the last time. Why did you lose?
ABRAMS: People for years did not understand how important a governor’s race could be in their lives. They didn’t know they needed to show up. Number two, they’d been disadvantaged and suppressed. Barriers to voting exist in Georgia, and in 2018, they were so egregious that 50,000 people had their voter registrations held hostage — 70% of whom were Black people. 1.4 million people got purged from the polls and 214 polling places shut down. That under independent analysis meant that … roughly 85,000 people didn’t have the ability to vote.
ALLEN: So Brian Kemp was the secretary of state. He used his power to do all the things you just said happened. Is that correct?
ABRAMS: [In] the 2020 election, when more people of color, when more Black people showed up [Kemp] changed the rules again. He made it harder to get an absentee ballot. The rejection rates are up. He gave white supremacists the authority to challenge voters.
ALLEN: That’s not going to happen this time. It’s not going to happen. We’re going to show up.
ABRAMS: One of the things that we’ve been able to preserve in Georgia is that we have three weeks of in-person early voting; meaning you don’t have to find your polling place. There are multiple places in every county. Unless it’s a really small county where you can go and cast your ballot, just show up. And that means that you can do so without having to worry about standing in long lines …if we show up and if we show out, we win.
ALLEN: Every time, we win. That’s why they work overtime to shut us out, they try and make sure that our bus doesn’t even get to the game because they know when we show up to the game, we win the game. You have to be the champions that you are and show up and get your trophy … we’re going to win the governor Stacey Abrams championship.
ABRAMS: So we’ve got to get to them and say here’s who I am. I know you’ve met other politicians or not. But look at who I am. Look at what I’ve done.
When I didn’t get the job four years ago, I paid off the medical debts of 68,000 people in the state of Georgia. I put 151 Wi-Fi devices across Georgia because I knew that we weren’t going to be counted in the Census unless we could get online. And when COVID hit and the current governor did nothing, I kept paying for those Wi-Fi devices for two more years so that people had access when their kids needed to get online for school so they didn’t have to sit in the parking lot at McDonald’s.
ALLEN: There it is.
ABRAMS: I want to expand Medicaid because this isn’t just about health insurance. This is about the fact that we know somebody who gets diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, but they can’t go back and see the doctor again until they’re near death because they have the right to be seen in an emergency, but not the right to be seen just for treatment.
ALLEN: There it is.
ABRAMS: If I become governor of Georgia, this is what it means for the rest of Black America and the rest of America. Right now, between Texas and Oklahoma, across to South Carolina, from Tennessee down to Florida, women do not have the right to control their bodies. They do not have the right to access abortion.
I can make Georgia the oasis for Black women because there will be no one else. I’m it and we can win this.
ALLEN: All right. Black America. Here is the CTA, call to action. The CTA is simple. If you’re in Georgia, you need to vote for Queen Stacey Abrams. If you’re in Georgia, you need to vote and donate $5, $10 something. If you’re not in Georgia, we need you to donate because we need to show America our power.
Stacey Abrams, thank you for your time. You’re a true queen. You’re remarkable. You’re brilliant. You’re amazing. You’re a gift. We appreciate you and thank you for fighting, for how hard you fight to make America better forever and also protecting Black America.
ABRAMS: Thank you.
Early in-person voting in Georgia takes place on Oct. 17, just three weeks before most people are slated to cast their ballots on Nov. 8.
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