I have always had a “love hate” relationship with Georgia. It has always been a deep red state, where I grew up watching my parents treated as second class citizens because of their race. My mother was brown skinned, but my dad was extremely light and had green eyes and red hair. He might have been able to “pass,” as they called it back then, but he was proud of who he was and equally as proud of his wife and four children.
My dad had a high school diploma, which was somewhat rare back then, while my mother was functionally illiterate. Her father was a sharecropper and needed all bodies on the farm, so the children were not allowed to go to school. Fast forward to my early high school years, and my mom was in “night school.” I will never forget she and I doing our homework together. Everything else aside, they were so proud that their children continued in school, with my brother earning the family’s first bachelor’s degree, and me, many years later, earning the family’s first master’s degree.
I will also never forget the day our mom came to pick us up from school, just in time to see my middle sister take off after a little white girl, who had walked past me and said, “Bye little nigger.” Such was life in Georgia, though we saw many improvements throughout the years — until Trump came along. He and his followers want to take us back to those times, and they will have a fight on their hands. We have had some victories in Georgia, but they are mostly in predominately black areas, like John Lewis serving Congress for over 30 years via a pretty much all-black district. We did not care; we were just proud to have him. It seemed that the bad old days were finally becoming the good old days, and then, Trump came along. According to Quinnipac University, we may well be returning to the good old days.
Quinnipac’s latest poll of likely voters in Georgia shows Joe Biden leading Trump in Georgia by seven points, and both Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock are leading the Republican incumbents. This is not only a statement of people being tired of Trump; it is a statement to turning things around. In spite of Trump and his message of hate, people of all races, genders, and sexual orientations are banding together to show our state and the nation that we will not sit idly by while Trump tries to destroy the progress we have made—together. Health care workers will not sit silently while Trump downplays coronavirus, and real people of faith are standing firm against Trump’s faux Christians.
The first day of early voting in Georgia reflected a 40% increase from 2016. You best believe they are not Trump supporters. It is a statement from non-Trump supporters that we want him gone. I feel a real change coming in this country, and it makes me extremely proud that Georgia may well be a big part of that change.
Shirley is a former entertainment writer and has worked in the legal field for over 25 years