My First Political Event Gave Me Hope

It was at 5 p.m. on Sept. 19 that I realized that I was about to attend my first official political event. Now I’ve been voting since I turned 18 but mostly based on whoever my mom would have voted for since she actually kept up with that stuff.

My only real personal experience in politics was when I tried to run for secretary in elementary school and didn’t win, and I’m sure “politics” played a part in the principal’s daughter getting elected…but I digress and I’m not bitter…anymore.

So when it comes to the world, hell even the word politics, I’ve gone with my best judgment, which was always whoever my mom would go for. But when my work colleague invited me to attend a Stacey Abrams for Governor event, I was excited and hesitant at the same time. It would be my first time meeting and greeting with, what I assumed, would be politicians.

Let me step back and be honest, as a democratic black woman I voted for Barak Obama not because he was black but because he was a black man who stood for the same values that I did and programs I wanted for my future kids. That was the real start of my interest in politics. It was like, he made sense on all levels and I’m not sure our nation had seen anything like that before. And even though my mother had passed, I knew he would be the candidate she would have voted for too.

Now, when Barack not only won once but twice, I couldn’t be a prouder voter and even prouder American because in comparison to the alternative in both cases, he made absolute sense. Now, the 2016 elections was another story. Not because the person that I voted for didn’t win, but it seemed that common sense and values went out the window. I know that sounds biased but #facts. After the storm comes the light, and damnit it came in a blaze of pissed off people who were finally “waking” up.

Barack Obama, Michelle Obama

Barack Obama, left, joined by his wife Michelle, takes the oath of office from Chief Justice John Roberts to become the 44th president of the United States at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

For us black folk, we’ve been “waking” up–some may state that they are already “woke” for those who are familiarizing yourself with our vernacular—since our descents were brought to this country. We see what it is, how it has been, and if others can join the fight for change, how things can be. But for those who have lived a certain privilege or easier life in the U.S., and now even the world, that election shook the hell out of them. Are you up now!?

So again, I was excited to learn more about a black woman who stands to not only be the first black Georgia governor but also the first black woman governor in the U.S., and also hesitant because of what the world showed me at the last election.

I leave for the event to head to the exclusive location called The Gathering Spot with no clue as to what to expect. Was I dressy enough? Should I have studied her stance on every single topic before I arrived? Are they going to ask me for money? No clue.

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Before the event, attendees network, dine and partake in a few spirits prior to Stacey Abrams’ appearance.

I arrive with my friend–cause I can’t do this alone–and to my surprise, there are other black people there in their business casual just chatting and smiling. We’re greeted with a “hello” and “please don’t forget to do a name tag” before we find a seat. Weird. I thought that maybe someone would try to direct us to a sheet or computer where we are “encouraged” to give them all of our info so they can “campaign” us later or maybe even ask for a donation or two, but no one did.

Coming from St. Louis, it still amazes me to see a professional event attended by mostly black professionals and baa-by, this was another great sight to see. It felt good to see smiles, hear laughs and get a few nods from my professional community, all there to support Stacey Abrams, a black woman from Gulfport, Mississippi. The time comes and everyone else grabs a seat as the host introduces our gubernatorial candidate. Everyone stands and applauds, then we sit and listen in awe.

The one thing I love about being a black woman and listening to other black women is that when we mean something, or we are dedicated to a cause, or we are passionate about our plight we can’t help but to show it from the top of our heads to the tip of our toes. And ladies and gents, Stacey Abrams is the real deal. It’s such a breath of political fresh air.

She told us about several stories, from when she was a child and her dad taught her about giving to those who are not receiving what they need from others to explaining the importance of supporting small businesses, like the daycare a grandmother wanted to open up to support young girls who were still trying to complete school. She even told us about when she was invited to see the Governor at a young, based on her academic excellence, but because she didn’t arrive in a car but a bus with her family, she was harassed by the security who told her she didn’t belong there. We felt her pain and then her drive to push through all it all, even when everyone told her she couldn’t. It’s a message seeped into every black person’s soul and she stands as a model on how to push forward.

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Gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams speaks with the crowd about why she is running for the Governor’s seat in Georgia.

So, to say the least, my first political event has given me hope again and I’m actually looking forward to casting my vote during the midterms. Oh, and another great thing about the event was seeing white women there in support of her journey and change.

Come through Caucasian sis!

Today is the last day to register to vote in Georgia so go register or double-check that all your information is correct on the Secretary of State’s (SOS) site. If you’re not in Georgia, visit Register to Vote and it’ll direct you to your state’s SOS site. There are some scam sites out there, so please be aware and go the official route.

And if you haven’t attended a political event I suggest you do! You’ll come out knowing exactly who to or not to vote for. For us black folk, people died for this right so please don’t dismiss it. See you at the midterm elections.

Want to support Stacey Abrams, visit her site.

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Just because!

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