With Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff’s victories in last week’s Senate runoffs, the nation is once again realizing what we organizers have known all along: Georgia is a battleground state, thanks to the relentless work done toward investing in and turning out voters of color.
I have always said that the demographics shifts in Georgia are the fire and organizing is the accelerant. Georgia is going through a massive demographic shift, which has created the opportunity for a different kind of politics in the South. The changes we are seeing now didn’t happen overnight — we have been on the ground for years doing the necessary work to get us to this moment by speaking to this new Georgia — young people, people of color (especially Black voters) and immigrants, all of whom are traditionally ignored or marginalized by political campaigns and elected officials. What people want, more than anything else, is to be heard — to be listened to, and to know their concerns are acknowledged, and that is at the core of our work.
It can no longer be denied: The new Georgia is real, here to stay and is essential to the efforts to protect our democracy.
We knocked on more than 2 million doors and made almost 7 million calls. Our communities not only showed up to ensure that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris became the next President and Vice President of this country, but came out again last week at dizzying numbers to deliver the Senate seats to Warnock and Ossoff and the Senate to Democrats. It can no longer be denied: The new Georgia is real, here to stay and is essential to the efforts to protect our democracy. And we will show up again and again, no matter the obstacles, no matter how much elected officials in our state try to stop us from voting, to protect our communities and our families and our voice….and our vote.
Though we should have been celebrating the power of our communities’ votes last week, we were reminded of how much there is still left to be done, as our democracy was violently attacked during the insurrection at the Capitol. The horrors of last week, and the continuous denial of accountability, made brutally evident the deep reforms that are needed in our political system, especially when it comes to preserving the integrity of our nation’s democracy. White supremacists and far-right militias have long tried to intimidate and silence communities of color, but our communities have come out time and time again to defend our democracy and elect people who will fight for us. These acts of treason will not stop us. The insurrection at the US Capitol was another reminder that we need deep reforms to our political system. On Day One, President Biden can take immediate actions to strengthen our democracy, by directing his administration to enforce the National Voter Registration Act and the Voting Rights Act, make prosecuting election law violations a top priority, remove barriers to naturalization, and invest in voter registration. And as they join a new Senate majority, Senators-elect Rev. Warnock and Ossoff must fight for passage of the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and demand that the federal government aggressively enforce it.
White supremacists and far-right militias have long tried to intimidate and silence communities of color, but our communities have come out time and time again to defend our democracy and elect people who will fight for us. These acts of treason will not stop us.
Finally, we know Republicans here in Georgia are already fighting back against our wins to prevent them in the future and the New Georgia Project Action Fund and our communities are going to be there fighting them every step of the way. They have already vowed to eliminate no-excuse absentee voting in the coming session. We will ensure their blatant attempts to disenfranchise us do not succeed and make sure they understand the only way they can win is by earning every vote fairly, not by suppressing our votes.
As we move forward into the new Georgia, we will continue to engage voters throughout the more than 1,000 municipal elections happening in 2021 across the state. We follow in the footsteps of generations before us that have fought, here in Georgia and across the Deep South, to pave the way for an equitable future. And we will build on this fight for years to come.
Nsé Ufot is the CEO of the New Georgia Project Action Fund. The New Georgia Project Action Fund (NGPAF), a 501(c)(4), exists to increase the civic participation of underrepresented & underserved communities of color. The Committee for a New Georgia, a state political action committee, is the independent political arm of the NGPAF. The Committee supports campaigns that address underrepresented and underserved communities for a better Georgia. For more information, please visit http://www.ngpaf.org.