Stacey Abrams Gave the Supermajority Community 4 Brilliant Pieces of Advice
On Tuesday night, Supermajority co-founders Cecile Richards and Ai-jen Poo hosted a Zoom webinar with former Democratic Georgia gubernatorial candidate, and founder and chair of the new voting rights organization Fair Fight, Stacey Abrams. During the 30-minute call, Abrams highlighted the importance of organizing, finding your voice, and selecting the local officials who will make good decisions during crises, such as the one we are in now. Here are a few pointers she offered.
Meet people where they are
The best leadership advice Abrams has for anyone who wants to make a difference comes from Abrams’ mother. Abrams recalled her mother, a United Methodist pastor who served one of the poorest communities in Mississippi, responding to her frustration at people not being more active in social justice.
“She stopped me and she said, ‘Stacey, your job is to meet people where they are—not where you want them to be. Because if they’re already where you want them to be, why are you necessary? You have to go to where they are. Go to the point of their needs.’”
Never tell yourself no
Another piece of advice Abrams offered came from her father, who had been an activist since he was a teenager. He told his daughter, “Never tell yourself no” and instead wait for others to tell you that you can’t do something. He told her to never be the one shutting down her own ambition.
“We’re often talking ourselves out of the capacity we have for change, the capacity we have for leadership, and I took to heart what he said,” Abrams said. “I don’t tell myself no. Because there were plenty of people who will tell me I can’t. My job is to tell myself how I can.”
Your can borrow power from others
As a black woman, Abrams knows that there are some people who don’t want to see her in a position of leadership or hear what she has to say. This is why it’s important to borrow power from people who already have a soapbox; stand up there, too, and speak about the change you want.
“Sometimes we have to borrow other people’s power whether they want us to have it or not,” Abrams said. “I don’t accept that I don’t have the power to create change.”
Your voice is what drives you
No matter how you’re creating change, Abrams said, your voice is the most important tool right now.
“My voice is that I like to learn,” she said. “And I like to share and I do a really good job of trying to understand information and break it down. That’s my voice.”
She added that “sometimes we expect our voices to be loud and booming,” but that no matter what our voices sound like, “your voice is what drives you and what animates you.” Some people are good at organizing behind the scenes, she said, while others feel at home speaking into a microphone. Just find your fit and go forward.