A crowd of about three hundred gathered next to the Allen’s Market building on West McIntosh Street under the bright afternoon sun. People filled the chairs provided and spilled across the pavement of the parking lot, holding paper fans to block the sun from their eyes, murmuring to one another in anticipation of the Democratic rally about to start. Blue signs printed with “Stacey Abrams” in a bold white font waved in the air.
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams visited Milledgeville on Monday, Oct. 15 as a part of her “We are Georgia” Bus Tour. During this tour, Abrams and her campaign have made stops across the state of Georgia, from Macon to Valdosta, Columbus to Milledgeville. As she meets voters face-to-face, Abrams hopes to rally her supporters to vote early and to share her plans for education, health care and the economy.
The first speaker of the evening was GC junior Matt Krack, a political science major, who serves as an intern on her communications team at her Atlanta HQ office.
When asked why he wanted to work for Stacey Abrams, Krack said that she is not afraid to stand up for progressive values and speak about the issues that matter to Georgian Democrats.
“Stacey Abrams is one of those candidates you can be proud to work for,” Krack said. “In today’s political landscape, too often people are finding themselves let down by politicians whose public personas did not line up with reality. Georgians do not have to worry about Leader Abrams. She is the most qualified, intelligent and hardworking candidate in this race for governor.”
Milledgeville’s own Mayor Mary Parham-Copelan introduced Abrams as an advocate, a protector and a defender for Georgians.
“She represents what civil service is designed to be, service for a better community for all,” Parham-Copelan said, of Abrams.
If elected, Abrams would become the first African-American woman to be elected governor of Georgia. Parham-Copelan herself made history when she was elected Milledgeville’s first woman mayor.
“She can be called many other names, but let me tell you what else I call her,” Parham-Copelan said. “I call her the next governor of this great state.”
The crowd broke out into applause and cheers, the few in chairs standing, as Abrams walked in front of the podium.
“We are 22 days away from victory in the state of Georgia,” Abrams said, her voice ringing clearly over the diverse crowd. “We are 22 days from changing the future of the state of Georgia.”
GC senior Heidi Schureck, an art and liberal studies double major, said that the rally was quite memorable.
“She has wonderful policies on public education, recognizing mental health and gun safety,” Schureck said. “The levels of inclusivity shown within each policy especially draw me to her campaign. As a queer woman, I appreciate her positive acknowledgement of the LGBTQ+ community.”
Along with explaining her plans for Georgia, Abrams urged the crowd get as many people as possible to go vote. She said to go around town, talk to people you might not normally speak to and encourage them to come with you to vote. Offer them a ride—even if they plan to vote for her opposition, Republican Brian Kemp.
“But say it quietly,” Abrams added with a laugh.
To rally-goers like Schureck, this dedication to true democracy is inspiring.
When asked why college students should be involved in the political process, Schureck said that it is a process everyone should be involved in.
“We have the power to vote,” Schureck said. “We cannot push politics under the rug because it makes people uncomfortable. The political is personal, and we have to keep in mind those who are impacted, as well as our own privilege. We have a responsibility to engage.”