The Mandate to Go Beyond in 2021

CONTACT: Christiaan Perez, press@opportuni​, 212-334-4275

New York, NY – Yesterday’s run-off in Georgia and today’s 2020 Election results certification mark historic moments in our country’s democratic process. Today, Ellen Buchman, President of The Opportunity Agenda, issued the following statement reflecting on what this historic moment means for Georgia, and the nation:

One person, one vote – it is the principle at the core of our country’s democracy. And while we have fought extensively to make that principle a reality, that right was blatantly challenged in 2020, well into the early days of 2021. People who care about democracy and voting rights recognize the dangers posed by attempts to suppress or dilute the power of the vote, particularly that of Black people, both in Georgia and around the country. It harkens back to a time when Black peoples’ right to vote was not even accepted. After all, the very requirement of a runoff in order to achieve a result that represents “50 percent plus one” comes from that time.

Thankfully, organizers, litigators, and communicators in Georgia continue to be unrelenting in their mobilization to keep us focused on this important pillar of our democracy. We must heed the organizers and communicators who continue to remind us that voice and community matter, and these values remain the foundation for ensuring a better future that is based on a new story, a story where we will build new systems for counting everyone, and for all to prosper.

Yesterday, and in the weeks running up to it, people in Georgia, once again, demonstrated to the nation how much can be done when BIPOC communities, particularly Black women, organize and ensure their voices are heard. Not only are organizers demanding that we right the wrongs of the last century’s strategy to suppress the vote, but they are also showing that years of organizing and telling the story that all voices – and all votes – matter can make history and pave the way for a new future in how this country embraces the vote in the first place. The massive turnout in November and again in January, even in the face of a global pandemic, is a reminder that the perseverance of voters and organizers who are committed to a new story will eventually prevail in the effort not just to win elections, but to change the system for the better.

We must press for everyone to come together, irrespective of party, regardless of background, to uplift the commitment that all people’s voices must be heard and are not ignored. We must insist that legislative action persists in the face of the myriad problems we face, and that the 117th Congress and the new administration recall the power of what people – BIPOC and others – are saying with their words, their voices, their actions, and their votes. It is time to step up and go beyond so that everyone’s voice is heard and the lives of so many people can be supported and systems improved. Our future begins today, and the message is clear.

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