The first time Stacey Abrams voted was as an 18-year-old student at Spelman College. It was in the 1992 election, and Abrams not only voted, she worked to encourage her fellow students to do the same.
Since that time, she says, voting has become harder for college students.
“In this last two decades, I had not seen so many laws that are designed to diminish voter power,” Abrams said. “In the state of Texas and the state of Georgia, voter IDs do not include student IDs. That’s voter suppression. If they can take your money, they should take your vote.”
Abrams says in the days after her narrow loss in the governor’s race in 2018 she decided to form organizations focused on voting rights, the 2020 census and helping to create more economic opportunities in the South.
It was part of the message she delivered to hundreds of students Thursday night at Morehouse College. The young people were students from Morehouse, Spelman and Clark Atlanta University.
Abrams’ speech came just days after Atlanta marked the holiday that celebrates the most well-known graduate of Morehouse, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. A black-and-white image of the civil rights leader was projected overhead on stage throughout the night. A choir sang “We Shall Overcome” to conclude the night.
Meggie Noel, a senior history major from Spelman, marvels at what Abrams has done with her career. Abrams got a degree from Spelman before going on to Yale Law School.
“She’s such an inspiration to me and I know to so many other Spelman students as well,” Noel said.” “If you have the support system, if you have the history behind you, if you have the passion, you can definitely go and reach the mountaintop.”
Jared Bailey, a junior who studies biology at Morehouse, says he was moved by Abrams’ message of political engagement.
“Students who are involved in SGA [Student Government Association], students who are involved in campus organizations, you know, we are the ones who are making a change now to be a difference in the future,” Bailey said.
As for her next political move, Abrams left no doubt she has an interest in joining whoever emerges from the Democratic primaries.
“And if that nominee decides that they would like for me to serve as their running mate and potentially as vice president of the United States, I would be honored to do so,” Abrams said.