Minority Leader: How to Lead from the Outside and Make Real Change by Stacey Abrams
#GeorgiaPrimary A Woman’s Place is in the Georgia governor’s office. That’s what gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams aspires to achieve in the coveted place for the first African-American woman, but she has to win a competitive Democratic primary race today against her Democratic opponent, Stacey Evans, a former state legislator and University of Georgia graduate, in a racialized competition with a black woman and a white woman in opposition. Some media calls the race as the battle of two Staceys. One of them has a book tracking her travails as a black woman in the male-dominated leadership landscape.
Abrams who started the book in 2014 began it with this quote: “When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.” — Audre Lorde, who died in 1992, was an influential Carribean-American poet, memoirist, feminist and activist, who spoke power to women. Abrams exudes Lorde’s doctrine for navigating a rocky terrain and a fighter for improving women’s lives.
Abrams’s book, part memoir, part leadership, part survival is a unique, daring, and insightful literary nonfiction with a don’t put downable temptation, extolling the values and principles of governing to effect change in Georgia.
“Power of leadership is hard especially for those who are weighed down by stereotypes and lack of access,” she said. But women can overcome obstacles, but it takes grits, guts, confidence, and “tactical maneuvers” for success and stability. That’s part of the journey. Women role models accelerate the know-how and support for choices. “I have learned how to seize opportunity, how to plan for victory and defeat…and I wrote this book to share what I’ve learned and the strategies I employed.” She asserts that no height or disadvantage is insurmountable. Abrams said, “Where we come from does not determine how far we can go.”
Abrams, a Rhodes Scholarship finalist, whose loss emboldened her to strive for upward mobility — master’s at the University of Texas, then off to Yale Law School where she confronted race and gender in a nation that takes pride in “meritocracy”, and she learned that otherness — racial and sexual diversity — imbued her own power for “clarity and invention.” It was a lofty transition from a well-known, historically black women’s Spelman College in Atlanta to a world that challenged the only African-American on designated turfs in which she opted to compete.
For example, after Yale, she joined a white-shoe law firm, where she was the only person of color practicing tax law, and only two others of her racial classification had ever become partners. “And this was one of the most diversity-conscious law firms in Atlanta.”
Abrams grappled with gargantuan hurdles to scaling the proverbial wall as a double dipper, woman of color, & her five siblings grew up poor but was groomed by hardworking, educated parents who taught the value of knock, knock, never quit, and to develop backbones of steel. She built her political platform from the ground to a steep climb from Atlanta to Texas to the ivory league Yale Law to an Atlanta law firm, to writing and publishing to business and political leadership. Now, her expertise is center stage in making a difference in community, business, political and legal fronts.
Gaining political standing as a woman of color in the Deep South is the epitome of hardship, but stamina, creativity and leadership tenets assure achievement. Her political track record attests to it. She was deputy city attorney taking charge of the office, and climbing in under four years to minority leadership in the Georgia House of Representatives, often coping with racism, sexism, and ageism. She’s working to change the political landscape in a majority-minority electorate and to catapult Georgia into more economical viability, diversity, and equality. She’ll have to handle a disparaging wage disparity between white women, black and Hispanic women, and black and Hispanic men who’re underpaid for equal work, lagging behind white men.
She knows that racial and sexual bias is part of the American culture, and it takes intestinal fortitude to keep pace. Abrams pinpoints a bias when she’s often questioned about how she’ll attract voters of color, although they are reportedly 47% of the electorate. Her age, marital status, and other negative talk about her candidacy.
Because of her qualifications and political track record, an onslaught of political endorsements land in her political cadre. A major and powerful organization is Emily’s List who endorses and financially supports strong, exceptional political women. Stacey Evans got Emily’s List backing, too, and Congressman Buddy Darden, DeKalb County District of Attorney Sherry Boston, mayor of South Fulton, Bill Edwards, State Rep. Virgil Fludd, and other state political leaders.
Democrats for America, Civil Rights icon and Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), and Hillary Clinton, former Democratic presidential contender, and others stand with her. “Abrams is a transformational candidate who knows how to build a progressive coalition to protect the rights of all Georgians,” said Lewis.