Stacey Abrams grew up in Gulfport, Mississippi. She was one of six children. Her parents had three big rules: go to church, go to school, and take care of each other. Her father was a shipyard worker, and her mother was a college librarian. They had their own trouble making ends meet, but still taught their children how important it is to help others. Stacey and her siblings were taught that someone always had less than they did. They learned that it was their job to serve people who had less than they did. Her parents also wanted to make sure they and their children got the best education. These reasons – to try and help others and get a good education – were the reason the Abrams family’s move to Georgia.
Stacey’s parents went to graduate school for Divinity at Emory University. Then, they became United Methodist ministers. Stacey and her younger siblings went to DeKalb County public schools. Stacey graduated from Avondale High School. She also got degrees from Spelman College, the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas, and Yale Law School.
Always Working for Change, No Matter What Job She Has
Stacey did not win her 2018 campaign for governor. But she did not quit. She got right back to work! She understood that she didn’t need to be governor to make a difference for Georgians.
In between her two campaigns for governor, Stacey:
- Helped small businesses get the money they needed to stay open
- Paid off the medical bills of 68,000 Georgians
- Raised money to give $1,000 checks to 100,000 families in need
- Helped more people get COVID-19 tests and vaccines, especially in rural Georgia
- Fought for Medicaid expansion for 500,000+ Georgians, and to help create 60,000+ Georgia jobs.
- Convinced film-makers to keep making films in Georgia. This helped keep jobs in Georgia.
- Delivered food and supplies to food banks that needed them.
- Was there for families and communities that lost loved ones to gun violence
- Helped bring together leaders to take action on voted rights and the right to choose
- Came up with progressive policies for Georgia and other Southern states
- Raised money for progressive causes and Democrats in and outside of Georgia
- Founded a top national voting rights group. They focus on making laws that help people get their voting rights.
- Made a 20-state program to get and train people to help others vote.
- Gave money to 24 grassroots groups that help people of color to vote in Georgia
- Played a big role in Georgia Democrats’ wins in the 2020 and 2021 runoff
- Helped more “hard-to-count” groups of people take the 2020 U.S. Census
- Installed 100+ wireless internet stations across Georgia in places that needed them
- Moved forward policies to:
- help people get and save money
- Help people get health care
- Help saving the earth by protecting the environment
- Re-watched episodes from all of Star Trek and Buffy the Vampire Slayer
- Wrote many new works of fiction and non-fiction
Working for Georgians Every Day
Stacey has been a leader in all kinds of jobs. She has worked at small businesses, nonprofits, and the government. Through these jobs, Stacey has helped others across Georgia get more chances to succeed. Her work helped rural Georgia by putting wireless internet stations in more than 100 places across the state. This helped Georgians to get services they needed, go to school, and find jobs. Stacey and her staff also gave more Covid vaccines and tests to communities that needed them.
When the pandemic started, many families weren’t making money. They needed to wait for unemployment or the Covid stimulus checks from the government. Stacey joined other leaders to raise money to give $1,000 to 100,000 families in need. Even though Republicans kept more than 500,000 people from getting Medicaid, she raised money to pay off the medical bills of 68,000 Georgians.
As a lawmaker, Stacey understood that making Georgia better means helping Georgians learn more about voting. This is especially important for communities of color, and other groups that get treated unfairly by society. Stacey made groups across the state to make sure that all Georgians can register to vote and have their vote counted in U.S. Census. No matter what race or how much money someone makes, everyone should be able to vote.
Stacey is a New York Times bestselling fiction and nonfiction author. She also leads a Georgia-based filmmaking company. They have a few projects they finished, and some being made right now. The company’s first movie, All In: The Fight for Democracy, made the 2020 Oscar shortlist for best documentary. Stacey helps mentor young creative people in Georgia. She fights for the rights of Georgians who work in film and tv.
Helping Both Sides Agree
Stacey thinks success in public service means being bipartisan. That means working with Republicans and Democrats. It means helping others no matter who they are, where they live, or what they believe. Even though Stacey always supports workers, she still worked with anti-union groups. They worked together to stop discrimination against LGBTQ+ people in Georgia. Stacey is pro-choice, but still worked with anti-choice lawmakers. They helped make things fairer for people who commit crimes.
As the top Democrat in the Georgia House of Representatives, Stacey helped make compromises. She helped move forward projects to work on roads and buildings, and give people better public transportation. Her bipartisan work helped save the HOPE Scholarship and made sure all children got to go to pre-K. These programs almost got cut during the Great Recession. She also passed rules that help give more money to grandparents and family members raising kids. These kids might have ended up in foster care without help.
One of Georgia’s last governors, Nathan Deal – a Republican – said this about Stacey. “She demonstrated the kind of leadership that you hope people would do regardless of party labels.” That means Stacy is a great leader that works with all kinds of people. She has gotten awards from many groups that don’t take a side in politics. Some of these groups are the Georgia Municipal Association, the Association of County Commissioners of Georgia, the Georgia Alliance of Community Hospitals, the Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Asian Americans Advancing Justice (Georgia), the NAACP, the National Urban League and Planned Parenthood. And she won Grand Champion in the Legislative Livestock Roundup with a cow named Bessie from the 4-H club.
An Executive Ready to Lead
An executive is someone with the power to put plans and laws into action. Stacey is a great example of an executive. She went to Yale and got trained as a tax lawyer. She started her own businesses. She is even a writer.
Stacey co-founded NOW Account, a company that helps Georgia small businesses get more money, grow, and create jobs. She is also the CEO of Sage Works Productions, a filmmaking company in Georgia. They have a few projects in the works, like ones with CBS Studios and NBC/Universal. In her many leadership roles, Stacey has hired Georgians in every part of the state. She has given hundreds of young people jobs to help them begin their careers.
As an executive, Stacey made a plan to help people vote. She made the Georgia Project, which focused on voter registration. She made the Fair Fight Action and Fair Fight PAC, which focused on making sure people had the right to vote. She also made Fair Count, a group to help people take part in the Census. Each of these organizations is still around and doing great today. They are still working to help all the people of Georgia. Stacey also founded the Southern Economic Advancement Project. This project comes up with policies to help Georgia and other Southern states.
In 2010, Stacey became House Democratic Leader in the Georgia General Assembly. She is the first woman to lead either party in the state legislature. She is also the first Black Georgian to lead in the House of Representatives. As Democratic Leader, she stopped a law from passing that would have raised taxes by the largest amount in Georgia’s history. She helped families keep more of their money. Stacey is ready to lead Georgia into its next and greatest chapter.