Georgia's 5th congressional district-- most of Atlanta-- hasn't been in play since 1986, the legendary John Lewis' first term. In fact, Republicans have never run a serious campaign in the D+34 district and Lewis usually ran unopposed. This cycle, Trump pardoned a crackpot right-wing sociopath and felon, Angela Stanton-King, who had served almost 3 years of her prison sentence for running a car theft ring, a kind of female, later-day Darrell Issa. Two weeks after Trump pardoned her, she announced she was running against John Lewis, a beloved congressman by everyone except Trump, who hated him with the passion of the KKK thug that he's always been at heart.
After Lewis died, the Democrats nominated state Senator Nikema Williams to run for his seat. Williams, who is also the chair of the Georgia Democratic Party, was diagnosed with COVID-19 in March and has since fully recovered and her support for Medicare for All has grown even stronger as the result of her experience. In 2018, she was arrested at a Black Lives Matter demonstration in the state Capitol, demanding that all absentee ballots be counted in the gubernatorial election, which was opposed by the Republicans.
Endorsed this week by Blue America, I asked Nikema to introduce herself to Blue America members. Please consider contributing to her campaign if you like what she has to say-- and if you would like to see more activists in Congress. Just click on the ActBlue 2020 congressional thermometer below.
The stakes are high and GA-05 deserves a representative who will put themselves on the line, in the same way Congressman Lewis taught us. Someone who will live up to the legacy of Good Trouble while moving us closer to the full promise of America for generations to come. Someone who will fearlessly center those most marginalized in every decision. Someone willing to live out loud and on purpose fighting for the promise of America.
That someone is me, Nikema Williams, the Democratic Nominee for Georgia’s 5th congressional district.
My fight began in rural Alabama, where I rode around on the back of my grandpa’s pickup truck and dropped off slate cards so our neighbors knew who to vote for. Little did I know, the impact this would have on me, instilling the importance of voting. I grew up reading textbooks that spoke about my great-aunt, Autherine Lucy as she became the first Black student admitted to the University of Alabama and this ingrained into me a sense of standing up to injustice and demanding equal and fair treatment.
I’ve worked since I was 16 years old and needed a work permit. My first job was a union job. I was a proud member of UFCW as I worked as a cashier at Food World. Through the combination of scholarships and Pell grants, I attended Talladega College, an HBCU in Alabama.
I have a first-hand understanding of the struggles American families face and this is what makes me most equipped to be the voice of GA-05 in Congress.
I know what it's like to have my vote suppressed-- in the last election, I never received my absentee ballot. So I waited in line for five hours just to cast my vote.
I learned the hard way that in America, health care is not a human right. When my mother was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer at the age of 46, she couldn’t afford the treatments. My sister and I took turns covering the costs of appointments just to keep her alive.
And as the mother of a 5-year-old who just started virtual kindergarten, I understand the importance of affordable high-quality child care and a public school education.
In short, I am not your conventional candidate-- I didn’t come from money or political connections. I am someone who will work around the clock to ensure Georgians are able to thrive regardless of their zip code.
I first ran for office in 2017 because I understood the power of representation, and I was determined to be a voice at the state Senate who would fight for the issues that mattered most to the district. While at the state Senate I led the charge to fully and equitably fund our public schools, expand access to qualify affordable healthcare, and combat the voter suppression that was engineered to keep our communities away from the ballot box.
On November 13, 2018 the lessons of getting into "Good Trouble" became more real than ever. I was standing with my constituents speaking out and demanding that every vote be counted after the disastrous 2018 election, when state troopers rushed protesters into the Capitol, and arrested several of us demonstrating. I was taken out of the state capitol where I serve as a senator, with zip ties on my wrists, to the Fulton County jail, for simply standing with my constituents demanding that every vote be counted in the wake of a disastrous election.
It is moments like these that remind us of how much work we have yet to do. I am ready to get to Congress so I can take my lived experiences with me and fight for an America that allows everyone to thrive, not merely survive. An America that finally lives up to its promise, for everyone.