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In a rousing speech in the Republican-leaning suburbs of Atlanta, Oprah Winfrey urged voters on Thursday to make history by backing Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams in next week’s election.
Abrams is locked in a tight race with Republican Brian Kemp as she tries to become the nation’s first black female governor.
“I was just sitting at home in California minding my own business when I could not stop thinking about what’s going on down here,” Winfrey said before telling the audience that they are about the take part in a historic election.
Winfrey praised her as a “change-maker” who represents the values of all Georgians. The entertainment icon, who rarely makes political endorsements, drew cheers when she said she’s a registered independent who was not in Georgia at anyone’s request.
“I am an independent woman. I have earned the right to do exactly what I want to do,” she said. “I’ve earned the right to think for myself and to vote for myself, and that’s why I am a registered independent, because I don’t want any party and I don’t want any kind of partisan influence telling me what decisions I get to make for myself.”
“I paid to come here myself, and I approved this message,” Winfrey said, explaining that she tracked down Abrams’ cell phone number and called her to say she wanted to offer assistance in the final days of the campaign. “I am here today because Stacey Abrams cares about the things that matter.”
Winfrey listed many of Abrams beliefs, including common sense gun control. “She doesn’t want to take the guns from the people. This is Georgia. We know people want to hunt in Georgia, but since when have we lost common sense for common sense?” she said. Winfrey also listed Medicaid expansion, keeping families together, environmental protection, affordable housing and criminal justice reform as Abrams’ other beliefs.
“Stacey Abrams’ values are in alignment with the consciousness in which our democracy has been founded. The very foundation of our democracy is to think about other people — to live a life in service to others,” said Winfrey. “Democracy is not just about our individual rights and concerns and our individual protections, but rather it lives and thrives in making sure that everybody is lifted by the community.”
She then said that Abrams will serve the underserved individuals of Georgia. “All of us may have been created equal, but if you’re woke — if you’re woke just a little bit — you’ve got sense enough to know that not everybody is treated equally,” she said. “Reality is we see injustices, big and small, all around us every single day of our lives. And I know it’s easy for a lot of people to feel that you have no power against those injustices, but this is what I’m here to tell you: This land was made for you and me.”
Winfrey encouraged the audience to take advantage of the power that they have and vote. “Every single one of us has the same power at the polls,” she said. “Every one of us, regardless of the color of our skin. It doesn’t matter when you’re there at the polls. Where the God we pray to. It doesn’t matter. Who we choose to love. Whether or not we graduated high school or went to college or how much money you have in the bank or whether or not you have a pre-existing condition or whether you’re elderly or whether you’re not. Whether you’re developmentally disabled, doesn’t matter at the polls. We are all equal in power.”
The media mogul said that she votes for all of those that couldn’t vote before her. “For anybody here who has an ancestor who didn’t have the right to vote and you are choosing not to vote, wherever you are in this state, in this country, you are dishonoring your family,” she said.
She also pointed out that women have had the right to vote for less than 100 years. “You didn’t have a voice, and now we do. We as women, people. We as women-people need to stand united and vote our values,” she said. Winfrey said that many advertisements and propaganda for politicians are designed to “confound you with fear.” She continued, “They are not designed for people with discernment. Women, people, we have discernment.”
“When we all unite, I know for sure, a change is gonna come,” she said of women working together.
The Georgia governor’s race is one of the most closely watched campaigns in the nation and is attracting top surrogates from both parties in the final days before the election. Vice President Mike Pence is in Georgia Thursday to stump for Kemp and President Donald Trump will be in the state this weekend. Former President Barack Obama will campaign for Abrams on Friday.
More than 1.5 million Georgians already have cast ballots.
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