“Welcome to the New Georgia,” proclaimed Senator-elect Raphael Warnock. “It is more diverse, and it’s more inclusive. And it readily embraces the future.” Warnock, the first Black person to be sent to the Senate by the state – and fellow Senator-elect Jon Ossoff, a Jewish man, signal the profound demographic and cultural shifts that also helped tip Georgia for President-elect Joe Biden. But demographics alone can’t explain their historic achievement. For that, you have to thank the civic leaders and community organizers that worked for years – decades – to educate, mobilize and register new voters in overlooked, underrepresented communities. They knew Georgia was up for grabs long before Democratic party leaders caught on. If demographics shifts are the fire, says Nsé Ufot of New Georgia Project, “organizing is the accelerant.”
Black women and women of color led the mobilization that flipped Georgia and the U.S. Senate (Frontline Solutions’ Jessica Barron and Marion Johnson discuss the political power of Black women on this week’s Impact Briefing podcast). They did so by engaging constituents often overlooked by the political establishment: youth, immigrants, caregivers, Blacks and people of color. Former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams created Fair Fight to combat voter suppression, helping to register 800,000 new Georgia voters. Other leaders include Tamieka Atkins of ProGeorgia, LaTosha Brown of Black Voters Matter Fund, and Deborah Scott of Georgia Stand-up, and groups such as Care in Action and Mijente. Activists such as Felicia Davis and Coalition for the Peoples’ Agenda’s Helen Butler have been at it for decades. Women-led impact investors such as Propel Capital and Align Impact have supported electoral justice groups. Investments in civic leaders, especially women of color, support the infrastructure of democracy – and the inclusive, green, New Majority future.