ATLANTA — Yesterday, December 16, The Democratic Party of Georgia hosted Flip the Senate: “Real Talk” with Black Men virtual roundtable. The event highlighted what is at stake for Black Georgians in the runoff elections and encouraged Black men to lead their communities to vote early for Jon Ossoff and Reverend Raphael Warnock in the upcoming Senate runoff contest.
Georgia Democrats will be joined by U.S. Representative and House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, DNC Vice Chair and New York State Assemblyman Michael Blake, Atlanta City Councilman Andre Dickens, and Opportunity HUB (OHUB) cofounder Rodney Sampson.
The virtual roundtable can be watched here. Key quotes and photos from the event can be found below:
“Every now and then, events line up so that something can happen that will dramatically change the direction of the country. Georgia has given birth to movements before. It was in Georgia that [John Lewis and I] formed what became known as SNCC, the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, and we set out to change the direction of the country. It was there, in the state of Georgia, that all got started,” said U.S. Representative and House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn. “This opportunity you have in Georgia is not new. You all have changed the direction of the country before. Georgia, you are at the threshold of redefining not just the South, but you will launch a movement in this country that will be equal to the movement that was launched by W.E.B. Du Bois and Booker T. Washington during the great Atlanta compromise movement. So Georgians, do it, and the people of this country will spend the next generation with their eyes on Georgia.”
“When I think about what is happening, I hear ‘I can’t breathe’ for three reasons: COVID-19 is devastating our communities, and are you all really helping us? I can’t breathe because there is still police brutality without accountability. I can’t breathe because I can’t figure out if I still have a job or what I am going to do for my kids in school,” said DNC Vice Chair and New York State Assemblyman Michael Blake. “I am an Assembly member in the South Bronx, home of the highest death rate per 100,000 in New York City, and what I am hearing around the block is what is Congress going to do to help us? A Black man from Georgia, Reverend Raphael Warnock, along with Jon Ossoff, can move the needle of change we all desperately need. In order for us to change things, we have to change the people in power.”
“This year, when Georgia went blue, you were able to see folks at State Farm Arena, DeKalb, Fulton, et cetera, counting your votes and double checking and you were ensured your vote was counted. This put trust in a lot of our communities for our democracy. Let’s do it again,” said At-Large Atlanta City Councilman Andre Dickens. “If the Biden-Harris administration has a Senate with Warnock and Ossoff, then we can move towards economic and racial equality in our business dealings, contracting requirements for Black businesses to be supported, and raise the minimum wage. This is why we have to show up, because in the past four years, they have not moved the needle on our issues.”
“These are unprecedented times, particularly exciting times as it relates to the opportunity that we have in Georgia to essentially center racial equity for an entire nation. And that has been part of what we call the Atlanta way, and now, because we have flipped Georgia blue, it can become the Georgia way and become a new precedent for our nation — for all of our citizens,” said Opportunity HUB cofounder Rodney Sampson. “We will have a White House that will advocate and pass laws intentionally around racial equity, but also intersectionally around economics and opportunity. So it’s important to have a Congress and White House that will redirect resources towards Black communities, poor communities, and under-tapped communities. It’s going to require not just a White House, but a Congress to do that as well. So if you do the math, we’ve got to send Warnock and Ossoff to the Senate. When we do that, I believe we will see some transformational, disruptive, progressive policies that will help to mitigate and close the racial wealth gap in our nation.”
“From now until January 5, we consider every day Election Day here in the state because every single day someone is casting a ballot — be it early in-person voting, be it someone returning a ballot by mail. So if you have not, I need you now to begin thinking about how you make a plan to cast your vote,” said African American Coalition Director Sammie Dow. “It is critically important that we do not rest on the laurels of November, but that we recognize that the work we are going to do on January 5 is a continuation and culmination of what we started in November.”