Stacey Abrams on Her Future And America's
Are you a fan of pop culture up on game? Do you know the vibes. If not the ballers show podcast. Is He keeping you in the note with the latest your favorite celebrities kind event and providing free games so listeners in need okay thousand Ethiopian Su Solo? Make sure you check us out on our brand new K. Baller show podcast available now iheartradio on Apple podcasts or wherever you get. Joepat cast our opportunities to hold our leaders accountable to their highest themselves by saying give us the ballot and the worry. Is that unfortunately the courts and our leaders will not protect us from the worst instincts of politics. Welcome to the women are production of iheartradio and myself rosary. Today we are speaking to the first African American woman to run for Governor of Georgia. And she may just be the next president of the United States Stacey Abrams our responsibilities to ensure that the right to vote is both safe and accessible and what covert nineteen has put into sharp. Relief is that safety and accessibility. Sometimes don't look identical. Our responsibility than is to create alignment. Stacy's priority isn't who's on the ballot but to ensure that every American can cast one and both federal courts and politicians at a crossroads how to proceed. The president recently. Said he wouldn't sign a relief. Bill if it included voter protection agreed to it. You'd never have a republican elected in this country again. This is getting a lot of attention after Wisconsin's April seventh primary where it Supreme Court voted remotely. That voters cannot vote remotely refusing. The governor's request to postpone the election. This morning people in Wisconsin have a tough choice to make protector health by following the state. Stay at home order or exercise their right to vote. Since the Wisconsin primary there have been confirmed cases of voters contracting corona virus while at the polls and Stacey. Abrams is very familiar with the nuances and impact of voter suppression. The current governor of Georgia. Brian Kemp personally oversaw. The purging of millions of voters enclose hundreds of precincts. And then Stacey Abrams in two thousand eighteen by fifty five thousand votes however over eighty thousand votes have been mismanaged or discounted during the election. So stacy did not concede. I acknowledge that former secretary of state. Brian Kemp will be certified. As the victor and the twenty eighteen gubernatorial election but to watch an elected official who claims to represent the people in the state baldly pin his hopes for election on the suppression of the. People's Democratic. Right to vote has been truly appalling. So let's be clear. This is not a speech of concession for me. This is personal. Georgia's my home state. And it's where I think about my future and where my entire family lives justice past week. Brian Kemp against the wishes of both the president and the mayor of Atlanta lifted shelter in place order to reopen businesses like tattoo parlors and now salons stacey. Abrams is working with fair. Fight to protect voters rights from home. Where she's quarantining Georgia. We spoke over the phone. What do you think is your biggest concern For voter suppression at this moment. Our responsibilities to ensure that the right to vote is both safe and accessible. What happened in Wisconsin on April? The seventh is the exact opposite of what we should be doing. Which is that priority was given to power? Instead of two people and disasters. We are often called to move quickly and to make decisions that are informed but sometimes do not you know. We're not possessed of all the information we need. What's true about covert nineteen is that we can see the future right now. We know that this is a disease that is going to continue to hit hard. There may be moments of relief but that the best ways to mitigate the harm is to socially distance we also know that elections are coming in November. We know the day we know the time we know where we need to hold them and we know that they cannot be moved and so those two very clear pieces of Information. Our opportunity is to react and to anticipate and the safest way to do. This is to allow people to vote by mail as many people as possible. And the reason is it's the safest way to vote but you also then filter out you sift out. Everyone who can vote that way so that you're left only what those who cannot vote by mail and that means you reduce the likelihood of harm and you're creating the opportunity for accessibility for people who have to vote in person. That's the way we should operate because we have made it safe for everyone as we can and we've also made it accessible to the extent possible the challenges that Republicans unfortunately seem to be hell bent on restricting access. Not because they're worried about safety or accessibility but because they're worried about losing power and this is something that's actually been stated by the Speaker of the house in Georgia by the president of the United States that their fear is not fear of accessibility. Your safety but of partisanship. And what's your experience been like? Are you feeling safe as your family? Safe Yeah so I have family in California Kentucky and then throughout Georgia. We're all sheltering in place. Everyone so far is doing well. But my parents are more susceptible there. Over Seventy and my dad has both emphysema and prostate cancer. So he is among the most medically fragile and luckily they've been able to take advantage of living in the community that has provided ways for them to take care of themselves. My deepest worry though. Is that there. So many people throughout the south and around the country who are both medically fragile but are isolated from opportunity and from the services they need and we know that for people of color for the economically vulnerable that Kovic is wreaking havoc and that these are the least resilient population so while I'm personally safe and healthy my constant worry about those who do not have the same infrastructure around them that my family and I do you've been very open about Describing yourself as an introvert and your Myers Briggs is I n t j Introverted Intuitive Thinking Judging Aka the architect my sister who also describes herself as an introvert has was joking with me that introverts have been preparing for this state of living for their entire lives and I was wondering if you had any thoughts on that. I think she is correct. I have been My my siblings laugh at me there about so there are six of us. Three of us are introverts. Three of us are extroverts and the introverts are doing much better with this whole thing than the extroverts are luckily all my extroverted family members are sheltered and places others and to myself and my sister who introverts we are by ourselves and then my brother and he decided to marry and have children so he really sews ally but but I do think it has been less difficult for me than for others because it gives me time to think time to work time to focus on issues that continue even as we live in this moment focusing on making sure there are elections are safe making sure. Our census is accurate and thinking about how we respond to the most vulnerable and least resilient communities and I've had time to continue to work on those things. I know that you are the second of six children. How does that play out in the taxonomy of building yourself as a as a leader? What's that look like? So my older sister refers to me as one point five. So she's captain but sometimes he wasn't being in charge of things sometimes. Not My my taxonomy. Is that Andrea captain. I was always financing logistics. Leslie was the cruise director and the younger crew so And we very easily fall into that rubric when things are necessary when we're together and for me that means I will tend to step in two buildings but I am actually very comfortable and then shifting leadership and responsibility to those who have demonstrated their capacity so for example I created in the wake of the twenty eighteen election I created fight to focus on voter suppression and voter protection. I created search count to focus on the census and I created the southern economic advancement project to focus on progressive policy in the south but in each of those spaces I built the infrastructure. I raised funding. But I also made certain that I put in place very strong leaders because part of what I learned from my sister and from our family is that if you're always the essential person then you're not doing your job right. People should be able to lead on their own and the strongest leaders. And this is something. I've learned as a manager. The strongest leaders are ones who create stronger and part of my obligation has been throughout my career when I create organizations when I set up structures that if I'm doing my job well other people can do the job. You know you've talked about how your family's tight knit you and your book Lead from the outside. You describe some really wonderful and long term friendships and working relationships with those that you've built businesses with it. Sounds to me like you've had a really great support network. I can also imagine that with your bid for governor and making some of those first phone calls the disappointment and shock of some of those people whether it's tertiary second tier friendships saying to you. I'm not sure I want to invest yet because I'm not sure about this viability. How have you decided or navigated to venture out into new relationships to trust New People or to keep your circle small and tight as you pursue really ambitious and worthwhile pursuits? Unfortunately the experience of the primary election helped me understand people who I thought were first order. We're actually second or third order and I did have an Not a lot but I had a handful of people who I would have put in that first order friendship who savagely disappointed me Some by not believing and others are actively working against me and when confronted when we had the conversation about it the explanations were never about a doubt in my capacity. It was doubt about what I look like who I am and it was never. You did this thing that I think is wrong it was. I just don't believe enough in you and that is I think harder than anything else but I. I think the reality is you. You can't excise people from your life but you can learn from their behavior and so those who may have been I order may now be third order and those whose rationale was suspect. I now know what to trust and what to ask for. It can sound cold but I think there's a logic to love where you can't afford to cut yourself off completely but you have to know what you've been told My Angelou's credited with saying you know if someone chose who they are beliefs them and that election process really put into sharp relief for me the legitimacy of that that notion that there are people who showed me who they are and I believe them but I will say the joy was that there are people I would put it as third or fourth order people. I didn't even know I liked. Who stepped up an extraordinary ways? That had nothing to do with benefit to themselves but purely a belief in the possibility of my leadership and what we could do together and they haven't disappeared and so for every lost friendship or weekend bond. I can point to new bonds that have R- forced me to remain open to the opportunity of new people in my life because I didn't know who I had until this crucible of an election really showed me. Stacey describes her ever evolving relationship with fear and the first thing she would do if she president of the United States. That's coming up after the break. Hey I'm andy if you don't know me it's probably because I'm not famous but I did start a men's grooming company called Harry's the idea for Harry's came out of a frustrating experience I had buying razor blades. Most brands were overpriced over designed and out of touch at Harry's our approach simple. Here's our secret. We make sharp durable blades and sell them at honest prices for as low as two dollars. Each we care about quality so much that we do some crazy things like by a world class German blade factory obsessing over every detail means we're confident and offering one hundred percent quality guarantee. Millions of guys have already made the switch to Harry's so thank you if you're one of them and if you're not we hope you give us a try with this special offer get a Harry starter. Set with a five Blade Razor waited handle shave gel and a travel cover offered just three bucks plus free shipping just go to Harrys DOT COM and enter four four four four at checkout. That's Harrys DOT com code. Four four four four enjoy. You know you've chosen to be public about some really private matters. For example you've been really honest about going into debt after attending spelman and Yale sharing that you owe the irs over fifty thousand dollars in deferred tax payments which you're currently on a payment plan for and that you hold more than one hundred seventy thousand dollars in credit card and student loan debt for many of us that is tied up in shame and fear. And you've talked a lot about facing fear. How would you describe your relationship with fear now? Is it something that you feel like you've conquered or is it something that still ebbs and flows for you? One thing I talked about in the book is that fear is real and it is pervasive and it is multifaceted but when you accept that it's real you realize you can't conquer it the most you can do is befriended and manage it because the reality of that fear doesn't disappear simply because you decide you're you're bigger than it. It's still out there because you're presents to you. Is here the things that could go horribly wrong? And here's the ways you could be harmed by this. The fact that you don't want that to be true does not mean that. It's not going to be true but what I do with fear. Is that knowledge it? You take it out to dinner. We have a nice conversation but then prepare myself for what the consequences of moving forward will be. Anyway I've learned that I was wrong when I used to tell people be fearless. That's completely impossible unless you are so wealthy and so the privileged and protected that there's nothing to be afraid of for everyone else. There's a legitimate fear. It's a warning system but it's also an a a map. It tells you hear the things that are likely obstacles here the consequences and thus figure out how you can mitigate the harm as much as possible because that's the most any of us can do. You can't stop these things from being true or not true. But you mitigate the impact they have on who you are and so when it came to money one of the reasons. I'm so open about debt. Is that one of the fears. We have is that it means that we are incapable of being successful. Another fear we have is that it is going to render us an eligible for opportunity and those are legitimate things. There were people in this campaign in my in my twenty eighteen campaign who try to use that as a disqualifier and so it was not an illegitimate fear for me to have but what I learned was that my responsibility was to navigate it as best as possible and part of that navigation was acknowledging it those of us who have navigated this world without have to stand together and there are lots of different reasons for our debt. There are lots of different reasons for our challenges but as an introvert it is deeply discomfiting to talk about these things but as a human it is necessary and if someone who wants to be a leader it is essential because I can't pretend things don't exist and I don't have the luxury of saying trust me. If you don't know that I understand who you are because I've been there myself. You went to Yale Law. School you've worked is a tax attorney you served in the Georgia House of Representatives. Did you set out to become fluent in the languages of the systems of power of money and policy when I was in college I did my spreadsheet and I listed my ambitions and what I decided was I needed to understand how people live what happens to them and how you fix it so I studied sociology political science and Economics and that was very intentional because I understood that for the change I wanted to see in the world I need to understand. Behavior the systems that surrounded and the message of change by the same token. I realized that I needed to also understand how the private sector worked how the Public Sector Work and how the nonprofit sector worked and so one of the things. I'm proudest of is that I actually have been very effective as a leader in all three dimensions that my work has led me to be a leader and a manager in the private sector in ways that I think a lot of folks miss when they read my bio but by the same token I was also able to build nonprofits build companies and build a caucus because part of being able to navigate an to your language to be fluent is that you often have to immerse yourself and what I've always tried to do is even when I'm immersed in one area when I was a tax attorney. I was also spending time in the nonprofit space and public sector. I'd never abandoned one for the others in your book. You share the story about being an eighth grader and winning essay contest. And when you went to collect your fifty dollar prize the school official didn't believe that you are the winner and even asked to see your photo. Id which you know someone who's thirteen years old doesn't have a photo. Id but you demanded your prize again. And that's one of the stories. I think so emblematic of your historic run for governor. So many people can see themselves and your drive and your morals and the way that you could front and rise above challenges. Those attributes make you a more viable candidate. And what made supporters of your so hungry to see you in office. Can you talk a little bit more about that? I think what you said is very kind and I would hope that it is so the most important part of leadership is that you not simply know the answers but you know how to ask the questions and you know how to find the answers. And I've spent my life either intentionally or not trying to find the answers because even when the the woman wouldn't give me my money I knew I didn't have the personal bandwith to compel her but I knew my dad was outside and so I learned that power lever to get what I needed. I confronted racism and sexism. And all of the `ISMs that unfortunately come with my background but the challenge was to not simply survive them but learned how to tell other people how to navigate them as well and fundamentally. That's that's the most important part of leadership people don't want you to six their lives. They want you to help them understand how to fix it themselves. And they want you to remove the unnecessary barriers that are artificial or that are mean and my engagement in almost every facet of my life has been driven by this notion. That these are solvable problems. Poverty Solvable. Racism is if not solvable than at least you can mitigate its effect that sexism has answers that as an ally to communities that are not my own whether it's religious communities or they'll tq community or the disabled community. I may not personally have those challenges or face those say the the obstacles that come along with that immutable part of who I am but I know how to address it and more importantly I know how critical it is to be seen. No one is ever going to be one hundred percent of anyone's experience but the extent to which you can be again. I like your language fluency. You can be fluent in the parts that you understand. You can be conversant in the parts. You have had access to and you can be curious about learning the pieces you don't know that's what makes leadership strong. That's what makes leadership possible as a candidate. I was successful in bringing together. A coalition of black and Latino and Asian Pacific Islander. Lgbtq of young people of White Women of white men of educated of rural and urban suburban. That was unprecedented in Georgia and it was not simply because of who I am. It was because they believed in what I stood for and what they had seen me. Say and do and fundamentally whether it's you know an eighth grader. Trying to get her prize or a candidate trying to win an election. The job isn't necessarily to do it yourself but it's to know how to make it possible for it can be done. This example is is so prescient and I think that you do stand for more than just a quote unquote others. I think that's where we as Georgians and his Americans really have a place to shine. Because when people like Brian Kemp voter suppression and take advantage of his role secretary state to be contestant referee and score keeper in his race. He's also blindly missing out on the fact that his emancipation as caught up in all of ours. When you think about your ultimate goal what would be the first thing that you would do as president or a role where you could really utilize your platform for. So many Americans I would. Six voting processes the point of entry to democracy and thus to power is the ability to participate in the system to select your leaders because the leadership that we select often shapes the policies that we live with the access that we have and the outcomes that we see if you fix our democracy so that we have automatic registration and same day registration that we eliminate voter purges that we make it easier for people to vote and we make voting accessible to all and that we secure our election so that people can trust the outcomes. If you do that you have fundamentally changed the nature of democracy and the you shifted the balance power back to the people. And that's what we need little known fact about Stacey Abrams. She is the author of Eight Romance and Suspense Novels. Which have sold more than one hundred thousand copies? So we're GONNA talk about love that's coming up. After the break stay world the world is yours. The ball art show podcast the new podcast with a fresh perspective on coach. Hannemann in the NFL. You're not just going to NFL. Down in one city in. Let's talk about this. They're all eighty. Every owner is seventy on the way out comet criminal social media. He thought. Okay I used to carry a little corny or whatever it is they think right so now. Zaire she does. Oh she milly rock right. Oh she explained city cowgirl summer right Oh shit down like it's Yalo yellow alive. My medicine and I started the light someone else. I know it's not right but I really can't fake when I'm feeling what should I do? Even cover world new issue lifestyle specialist. Rory Simmons make sure you check out on our brand new podcast bother alert. Show podcast available now on the iheartradio APP apple podcasts. Or wherever you get your podcast for my lightning round. We caught truth or truth. Going light after we go deep You've written many romance novels under the pen. Name Selena. Montgomery. What is your favorite thing about love? The theory I I. I am captivated by the notion that someone can get to know the whole issue and still like you still want to be with you and want to spend a lifetime with you because knowledge sometimes has the opposite effect and so I just love the theory of someone finding you in deciding that they have to be near you and with you for the rest of their lives and if you were to give a tattoo symbol to everyone for fair fight. What would it be That'd be a checkmark tech future and let's check those people who tried to stop US leader. Abrams thank you for your time. I'm really excited to maybe see you as vice president or president in the very near future. You res- I really appreciate this to learn more about Stacey. Abrams and her work visit fair. Fight DOT COM. The woman is a production of iheartradio and myself rosary. Holly FRY is our executive producer. This episode was mixed by Adrian Lily. Special thanks to NORC kipness. Kevin Murphy Sabih Manson Michael Holloman Orok mid sweet and gail read on our next episode. I sit down with the woman who is in charge of the country's oldest federal cultural institution the director of the Library of Congress. Dr Carl Hayden for libraries to be close during a national crisis is very hard for the public libraries in particular because they are usually the places that are sanctuaries that are non-judgmental. They're bipartisan. This is where you can go for help. If you like this episode telephoned about. It really helps our show. Grow podcast from iheartradio. Visit the iheartradio APP apple podcasts. Or wherever every listen to your favorite shows. Can you say that again? So are you in join pointing Obama. I I have to. I have no choice. Hello what's the hardest thing about being alone all the time? And what's the easiest thing about it Jesse very casually constable How can you dress even more casually? Oh I'm wearing moccasins. shoes I wear jeans and a t shirt. Well my hair's getting real great. Wow Really Yeah. I can do about that baby. Here's something good is a new show from Seneca Women podcast network and iheartradio each day. We aspire to bring you the good news the silver lining the glass half full because there is good happening the world everywhere every day. We just need to look for and share it. Here's something good is a short daily show that offers positive stories helpful suggestions and shared experiences to inform and inspire you every day. Listen to hear something. Good on the iheartradio APP apple podcasts. Or wherever you listen to your favorite shows subscribe now.