Stacey Abrams Offered Us The Hope We Needed Last Night

by Lydia Wang

Last night’s State of the Union was full of some delightful positives (the Democratic women of the House of Representatives all wore white, a nod to the suffragists) and negatives (over an hour of Trump speaking). But the undoubtable highlight was Stacey Abrams’ speech, which made her the first black woman to give an official State of the Union response.

Abrams’ response was full of moments of wisdom, including, “America is made stronger by the presence of immigrants, not walls.” She also referenced voter suppression, a major issue in America and one that Abrams herself watched happen in Georgia when she ran for governor last fall. 

“Let’s be clear: voter suppression is real,” Abrams said. “From making it harder to register and stay on the rolls, to moving and closing polling places, to rejecting lawful ballots. We can no longer ignore these threats to democracy.” 

Another important issue Abrams tackled was the recent government shutdown—the longest in U.S. history, and one that actually pushed back the timing of the State of the Union. “Making livelihoods of our federal workers a pawn for political games is a disgrace. The shutdown was a stunt engineered by the President of the United States—one that denied every tenet of fairness, and abandoned not just our people, but our values,” she said. 

Abrams ended with a note of hope, and a reminder that “with a renewed commitment to social and economic justice, we will create a stronger America together. Because America wins by fighting for our shared values against all enemies, foreign and domestic. That is who we are, and when we do so, never wavering, the state of our union will always be strong.”

You can watch the full response below, and read the entire transcript on PBS.

Top photo via Flickr Creative Commons / Team Abrams

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