“I am confident that victory is near. And together, we will continue to work to put hard-working Georgians first and keep our state moving in the right direction”, saying Brian Kemp, Republican representative for the position of governor in Georgia. First of all, let’s pause. Dog whistle much? Formerly serving as secretary of state since 2010, Kemp is known to be “a remarkable architect of voter suppression.” Running against him was democratic representative Stacey Abrams, the first African American woman to be a major nominee for the position of governor. Ultimately, the close election concluded Kemp victor of the race. However, Kemp’s past enforcement of the Exact Match Law, his decision to maintain the position as secretary of state throughout the election, and his suspension of more than 53,000 voter registrations (70% of which were filed by people of color by the way) have stirred much controversy in the 2018 midterm. Not only that, but Kemp proclaimed his victory before all of the votes were counted, claiming “the math is on our side”. But how can he claim math to be on his side when he has suspended registrations and excluded the entirety of the Georgia military, largely suppressing the voices of minorities and people of color?
But this is not the only way in which people of color and Democratic voices were silenced in Georgia. In response to the “questionable” events during the midterm, many gathered in the capital to rally for the #CountEveryVote movement. Meanwhile, Nikema Williams, elected senator of Georgia departed from a meeting in the capital and stumbled upon the protest. After spontaneously joining in solidarity, she and fifteen other individuals were arrested and charged with “failure to disperse”. State representative David Dreyer, a white man, also joined the protest with Williams. As one may expect, he did not get arrested.
Aside from being held in a van unknowing of the reason for their arrest and being told to strip in order to check vaginal cavities, the police had no reason to restrain the protestors in the first place. They would not have been arrested if the police had never told them they had to disperse due to the supposed crazy, unlawful and violent, behavior that was occurring… When did demanding a fair election by singing chants come to be seen as violent? It is outrageous that not only are minorities’ voices are suppressed in legal processes, but it is even more egregious that citizens are being criminalized for exercising their given right to stand up for their beliefs. The overarching problem is that the voices of minorities are being silenced through voter suppression and policing of the black body. Whether materializing in the form of voter ID laws or arresting individuals at peaceful protests, it is clear that American democracy is not providing a platform for all people to express their voice and make a substantial change in society.
Atlanta, FOX 5. “Brian Kemp Claims Victory in Georgia’s Governor Race.” YouTube, YouTube, 7 Nov. 2018, www.youtube.com/watch?v=jL30vcx_0F8.
Butler, Kiera, et al. “‘Senator, Why Are You Being Arrested?”.” Mother Jones, 17 Nov. 2018, www.motherjones.com/politics/2018/11/georgia-state-senator-nikema-williams-arrest-1/.
“Demographics of the U.S. Military.” Council on Foreign Relations, Council on Foreign Relations, http://www.cfr.org/article/demographics-us-military.
Smith, Jamil. “Exclusive: In Leaked Audio, Brian Kemp Expresses Concern Over Georgians Exercising Their Right to Vote.” Rolling Stone, Rolling Stone, 23 Oct. 2018, www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/brian-kemp-leaked-audio-georgia-voting-745711/.
Palast, Greg. “Georgia Sen. Nikema Williams: Black, Female & Under Arrest.” YouTube, YouTube, 21 Nov. 2018, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5WJiBNj8CBo.