‘You are Dishonoring Your Family:' Oprah Delivers a Searing Speech Urging Georgia Residents to Vote

‘You are Dishonoring Your Family:' Oprah Delivers a Searing Speech Urging Georgia Residents to Vote

By Paulina Cachero

Nov 5, 2018

Oprah Winfrey has one message to eligible voters in America who are choosing not to cast a ballot on Nov. 6: "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 right to citizenship in this country, which is the greatest country in the world," Winfrey said at a political rally for Stacey Abrams, the Democratic candidate in Georgia's gubernatorial race.

Last week, Oprah Winfrey joined comedian Will Ferrell and former president Barack Obama on the campaign trail for Stacey Abrams, who could be the first black female governor in the U.S. Abrams is ramping up her campaign in a tight race against the Republican candidate Brian Kemp, who welcomed Vice President Mike Pence on his campaign trail. In the governor's race that has drawn national attention, media mogul Oprah Winfrey made a blistering speech calling out the country's history of discriminating voters on the basis of gender and sex in a state embroiled in controversy over voter suppression.

At a political rally in Marrietta, Ga. for Stacey Abrams, the media mogul made a searing speech as she urged all Georgians to get out and vote not just to exercise one's individual right, but for "your ancestors who didn't have a right to vote."

"I'm here today because of Stacey Abrams. And I'm here today because of the men and 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. And I want you to know, that their blood has seeped into my DNA and I refuse to let their sacrifices be in vain," Winfrey testified. "You can't let their sacrifices be in vain."

Winfrey made an impassioned argument that not casting a ballot this election would be a "dishonor," referencing the racial discrimination that barred people from voting, including her own grandmother Hattie Mae Lee, who died before the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Raised by her grandmother in her formative years, Winfrey recalls her grandmother's dream for her growing up: a life as a maid. "She used to say I just hope you get some good white folks when you grow up that treat you right, treat you nice," Winfrey tells MAKERS, whose name you can now find on Bloomberg's Billionaire Index. "My grandmother never imagined that I could be anything bigger than a maid."

Winfrey also addressed the brief lifespan of women's suffrage, directly addressing her "sisters" of all races and sexuality in the crowd: "If you're a woman, you need to recognize it hasn't even been 100 years since we even had the right to vote, since we were considered a piece of property. We didn't have a voice and now we do," she said.

Despite referencing America's long history of discrimination, she reminded Georgia residents that the voting booth is the one place "we are equal in power."

"I will tell you that we are not powerless. Every single one of us has the same power at the polls."

While Winfrey insists that all Americans have equal power in the voting booth, the power of Winfrey's support in a political race is arguably unrivaled, with previous appearances on the Obama presidential campaign trail in 2007. But as Winfrey casts her vote on Nov. 6, she says she will honor all of those who paved the way for her right to vote, imploring her fellow Americans to do the same.

"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 that paved the way that we might have the right to vote," she stated. "There are tight races all over this country that depend on all of us giving honor to our greatest democratic right and privilege. So let your vote make the difference, let your vote count, let your vote speak for you."

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