As Far-Right Attempts Coup, Young Black Voters in Georgia Make HistoryBlack youth herald a racial reckoning in the South and act to save democracy
January 7, 2021
(Washington, DC) — Statement from Kimberly Inez McGuire, Executive Director of URGE: Unite for Reproductive & Gender Equity and M.K. Richards, URGE Georgia State Organizer, in response to historic Senate runoff elections in Georgia as American democracy faces an unprecedented test.
“Yesterday, just hours before a white supremacist far-Right mob stormed the U.S. Capitol in a violent attempt to overturn the results of the presidential election, we learned that young Black people in Georgia made history by electing Raphael Warnock to be the first Black Democrat from the South to ascend to the U.S. Senate,” said Kimberly Inez McGuire, Executive Director of URGE: Unite for Reproductive & Gender Equity. “At the same time, they also delivered a victory to Jon Ossoff, a 33-year-old son of an immigrant who will become Georgia’s first Jewish U.S. senator.”
“In Georgia, early voting broke records: by December 30, more than 281,000 Georgians under age 30 had already cast their ballots. By the time early voting began last month, Black people under 30 comprised one third of ALL Georgia voters. Their votes delivered a powerful rebuke of the white supremacy and state violence and proved that nothing — not a deadly pandemic, or the threat of extremist violence, or relentless voter suppression — could stop them from making their voices heard.
“Throughout November and December, URGE volunteers made more than 100,000 calls and sent more than 20,000 messages to voters under 30. In those conversations, young people made it clear they care deeply about electing representatives who will work for them, not against them.”
URGE Georgia State Organizer M.K. Richards added that this election dispelled myths about the South and offered a testament to the power of young Black voters in Georgia.
“There are a lot of misconceptions about the South — especially Georgia — as being opposed to social progress,” Richards said. “But the South has been and remains the epicenter of the movement for racial justice and class liberation. If anything, this election reinforced that with the overwhelming number of young Black people who showed up at the polls, volunteered, and held difficult and necessary dialogue in their communities. I’m hoping this moment will give new meaning to the saying ‘As goes the South, so goes the nation.’”
Inez McGuire continued, “Yesterday should have been a celebration: of young Black and Black women organizers, of the will of the people prevailing in Georgia and the nation, and a welcoming of groundbreaking representation in the U.S. Senate and the Vice Presidency. Instead, it was a day of violent white supremacist insurrection, complicit and permissive police, and continued trauma for Black people in this country. But make no mistake: young people, Black women, immigrants, and folks of color are ascendant. This mob violence and doomed coup attempt are the death throes of white supremacist, capitalist, and patriarchal structures crumbling before us. They will continue to lose. And we, the people, and justice, will win.”
URGE envisions a liberated world where we can live with justice, love freely, express our gender and sexuality, and define and create families of our choosing. To achieve our vision of liberation, URGE builds power and sustains a young people’s movement for reproductive justice by centering the leadership of young people of color who are women, queer, trans, nonbinary, and people of low-income. As a state-driven national organization, URGE organizes our communities, provides a political home for young people, advocates for meaningful policy change, and shifts culture, working in states where the challenges and opportunities are greatest.