Oprah Winfrey delivered an impassioned call to voters Thursday in a fiery stump speech in support of Georgia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams. Stumping for Abrams, Oprah makes impassioned plea for turnout:
“I’m here today because of the men and because of the women who were lynched, who were humiliated, who were discriminated against, who were suppressed, who were repressed and oppressed, for the right for the equality at the polls,” Winfrey said. “And I want you to know that their blood has seeped into my DNA, and I refuse to let their sacrifices be in vain. I refuse.”
Oprah then recounted the story of Otis Moss, Sr., a black man who tried to vote on election day in Georgia but was given the runaround by white poll workers. He walked for 18 hours that day to three different polling places, and at the end of the day he was told “Boy, you’re too late, the polls are closed.” And he never never had a chance to vote. By the time the next election came around he had died.
Oprah then says, “So when I go to the polls and I cast my ballot, I cast it for a man I never knew. I cast it for Otis Moss, Sr. who walked 18 miles one day just for the chance to vote.”
“And when I stand in the polls I do as Maya Angelou says, ‘I come as one but I stand as 10,000.'” “For all those who paved the way that we might have the right to vote.”
Oprah continues, “And for anybody here who has an ancestor who didn’t have the right to vote, and you are choosing not to vote — wherever you are in this state, in this country — you are dishonoring your family. You are disrespecting and disregarding their legacy, their suffering and their dreams, when you don’t vote.”
“So honor your legacy. Honor your legacy. Honor your right to citizenship in this which is the greatest country in the world.”
I have often argued that voting is a duty of citizenship, the minimum required of you as a citizen of this great country to participate in this democracy. I accept no excuses for you not voting. The failure to vote is a failure to live up to your obligation as a citizen to participate in this democracy.
If you have not already voted, you still have time to vote early at early voting locations, or you can turn out to vote on Election Day. But whatever you do, VOTE!