Congressman Hank Johnson

Representing the 4th District of Georgia

Georgia Alliance for Social Justice: 1st anniversary of the Women’s and Social Justice March

March 5, 2018
Speech

Delivered January 20, 2018

Good afternoon, ladies and gentleman. … but mostly good afternoon ladies! Thank you so much to all of you for coming. What a wonderful crowd! 

With an inept and misguided Majority in control, we have had continuing dysfunction in the Congress. And we can’t even begin to describe the chaos, racism and sexism emanating from a White House that provides “shock and dismay” on a daily basis.

But despite all of that, we can all be lifted up and heartened by the national awakening that began with the Women’s March for Social Justice and women’s empowerment.  The involvement of women at all levels of government is a bright beacon, letting all of us know that these dark days will pass, and we are headed for better days.

2017 proved to be an exhilarating and inspirational year. I had the honor of helping lead the Women’s March this time last year with the Honorable John Lewis, former Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin, Stacey Abrams, Jon Ossoff and my brilliant wife Mereda Davis Johnson. I am so humbled that the Georgia Alliance for Social Justice brought me back to speak to you all again on the first anniversary of that historic day of resistance. 

And by the way ladies and gentlemen – speaking of Stacey -- let’s use the incredible energy, talent and spirit that’s in this room today to help elect the first female governor of the great state of Georgia – Stacey Abrams! (Cheer)

We have a real chance to flip Georgia blue – and I’m so proud that Stacey is running a progressive campaign that is bringing people together not tearing them apart.

From 2015 to 2016, the organization EMILY’s List had 920 women reach out to them about running for office. Last year, in 2017, the women of this great nation set even more groundbreaking records. In the first nine months since last year’s presidential election, more than 16,000 women expressed interest in putting their name on a ballot. We went from 920 women to over 16,000 women in a year. That noteworthy spike comes after decades of systemic injustices and it’s about time that we channel our rage into change. 

There are 535 members in both chambers of Congress combined. Does anyone know how many of those are women? ….. One hundred and six. Does anyone know how many of those are women of color? Thirty eight. That’s only seven percent of Congress. We have the power to change that this year. This November, all four hundred and thirty five seats in the House of Representatives and 33 Senate seats are up for reelection. We recently saw Democrats flip a notoriously Republican Senate seat in Alabama. We owe this victory to women, women of color specifically and incredible grassroots organizing. THIS is your chance to jump in and influence the future of our country. 

I’m encouraged by the fact that you are harnessing the spirit of last year’s march to further engage power to the polls!  We can learn a lot from the election in Alabama. We can learn about the power of lifting up the voices of our women, engaging in our communities, and the importance of every single vote. Women are fundamentally necessary for the health of our democracy – you are the very pillars of our democracy -- and we need you to get out there and reclaim your time! Thank you!

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