Update: Stacey Abrams became the first Black woman to win a major party's nomination for governor after her victory in Georgia's Democratic primary Tuesday night. This paves the way for her to become the first Black female governor in the U.S. should she win the general election on November 6.
This story was originally published on May 22, 2018, at 11:49 a.m.
The Georgia primary elections are on Tuesday night, and Stacey Abrams looks to be the favorite for governor on the Democratic ballot. Her name-fellow opponent, Stacey Evans, leads a moderate campaign targeted at swing voters. But Abrams, who is backed by EMILY’s List, Planned Parenthood, and NARAL — as well as Hillary Clinton, and progressive senators like Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Kamala Harris (D-CA) — has her sights on minority voters, young people, and single women. (One of the five white, male Republican candidates is touring the state in a "deportation bus," so that's where things are on the GOP side.)
If elected, Abrams would become the first Black female governor in the U.S., as well as one of still few women to assume the executive position. This is a sign of the times: According to the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University, 46 women filed to run for governor this year, which beat the previous record of 34 candidates in 1994. There are 22 states that have never had a female governor, including California and New York.
My victory is our victory.
In this video, writer and image activist Michaela Angela Davis interviews Abrams about her political journey, her biggest fears, and how the candidate would like America to see her. "It's been an extraordinary opportunity, but really hard," she tells Davis. "I call, I say, 'Here's what I'm doing,' they sound very excited, and then they say, 'But is Georgia ready for a Black woman?'" These doubts, she stresses, are a reflection of people's fears.
Throughout the campaign, Abrams says, she's found herself in many spaces where people didn't expect to see her. "I've gone into Kiwanis clubs where there is no one in there who is expecting to see me, and they're not certain how I got in, and they're trying to find the door so they can usher me out," she says. "And I have to give them the exact same me that I give in beauty salons. I need them to hear me, and to hear something in what I say that they can find reflective of their needs."
What does the woman who could be the first Black female governor want America to know? "My leadership is not a diminution of anyone else. My election means that we've moved forward and more people now have access. My victory is our victory."
2018 will see an unprecedented number of female candidates in ballots across the country. More than 500 women are currently running for the House, Senate, or governorships — and that's without taking into account the number of candidates vying for local and statewide seats. Refinery29 is committed to spotlight female candidates, but particularly women of color, who have risen up to the challenge to say: "It's our turn."