SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Stacey Abrams, a former Democratic gubernatorial candidate in Georgia, has a message for many protesting in Atlanta and throughout the country.
“What we need them to do is not only march in the street but also march on ballot boxes,” she said. “Because the reality is that protest is necessary to draw attention to inequities but voting is how we make those changes permanent.”
Abrams says the unrest is a symptom of a system that hasn’t worked for African Americans for a long time.
“Justice, healthcare, environmental racism; there is a litany that can be lifted up but we know that it’s happening in this moment not only because of the deep-seated anger and pain but also a demand for more and a demand for better,” she said.
Abrams says inequities have only been magnified with COVID-19 and what is a disproportionate number of black people dying from the disease for lack of access to healthcare.
She says no one wants to see property damaged in any city by any protester.
“We should not wish damage on any part of our society,” said Abrams. “We should not condone the harm of any person but we have to give importance to people over property and to justice over injustice.”
Hundreds gathered peacefully in Savannah on Sunday to mark the death of George Floyd, an African American man in Minneapolis whose death has become the subject of a nationwide controversy. Abrams and others, however, point out that there has been great concern over the death of a Georgia man, 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery who was shot and killed in Brunswick.
The death happened in February and two white men, Gregory McMichael and his son Travis, were arrested last month.
Abrams, who has been mentioned as a possible vice presidential candidate to Joe Biden did not indicate whether she has talked to Biden recently about that. She did indicate her support for him Tuesday in terms of how he is speaking about the protests versus President Donald Trump.
“I’ve not spoken to him (Biden) during this process but I have been very proud of his compassion and also his accountability and willingness to talk about what should be done and the role that he should play,” said Abrams.
Abrams did talk about the group she founded some years back, Fair Fight Georgia, to ensure people’s right to vote and to encourage all those who legally vote to do so.
“That’s why we’re going to be focused on November so we can elect leaders who say that in the state of Georgia you should not die for lack of health insurance or because someone believes that he has the right to shoot you because you look like someone who could cause harm,” said Abrams.
She says she also supports Hate Crime legislation now in the Georgia Senate and supports the repeal of the Stand Your Ground Law and the Citizens Arrest Law.