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Co-written by Mike Bland


You have the power to change this nation.

That’s right. Every single one of you.

Black voters under the age of 24 are the most powerful — and feared — constituency, because when you show up, you win elections.

We’ve seen it time and again this year — in my own race in Tennessee, where I became the first Black woman to win the U.S. Senate Primary in Tennessee; in the Presidential election, where the Black vote in Detroit, Philadelphia and Atlanta secured key swing states for Democrats; and in the Georgia General, where Black youth voters not only helped flip the state blue in the Presidential, but forced a Special Election in two critical Senate races that could ensure a Democratic trifecta — the first since President Lyndon B. Johnson.

Now, Georgia voters, you have the power to flip the U.S. Senate by showing up on January 5.

Not a Georgia resident? Get involved in the civic process. Make calls. Send texts. Write postcards. This election is on you, too. 

Without a crucial victory in the Senate, transformation under a Biden-Harris administration will only be stymied and blockaded by a GOP-controlled Senate. In that blighted, but very possible, scenario in which the Republicans maintain control, we can forget any realization of the Biden-Harris team’s significant plans — plans that could mean a world of difference to so many in our communities and across the nation.

For instance, legislation aimed at dismantling the systemic racism codified in our nation’s laws and practices will be nearly impossible to pass without a Democratic stronghold in the Senate. That promise of legislative changes to enact loan forgiveness for indebted students — of which Black students are burdened significantly more than their white peers — would be bulldozed. The reinstatement of important and necessary environmental protections which would mean a cleaner, more sustainable future? Highly unlikely to withstand a Red-tide Senate vote.

As someone who ran for this very Senate, and on a platform that focused on enacting environmental justice — especially as America’s urban centers, which are primarily home to populations of color, suffer disproportionately from pollution and air quality issues — a future in which Republicans control the Senate is heartbreaking. But I know we can stop this nightmare from occurring.

We have that power; and trust me, I know, because I’ve seen it firsthand. This year, I ran for Senate as a first-time candidate against an opponent who not only had the support of the white-backed political machine, but also raised almost 100 times more campaign dollars than me. But despite these seemingly insurmountable obstacles, I went ahead and secured that Primary nomination, becoming the first Black woman to win a major party U.S. Senate nomination in Tennessee, and the only Black woman to win a major party nomination for U.S. Senate in 2020. I know that I won that nomination because I ran on an issues platform that spoke directly to people who are too-often ignored, supporting those who, in turn, supported me. And, I won because I had a community of strong Black leaders, who supported me, who believe in me and who believed that I could bring about change.

So, I know that the voices that are often silenced are in fact the ones that can be the loudest — if only they’re given the chance to speak.

Right now, Republicans are significantly outspending Democrats on advertisements and campaigns. But while they may be able to pay their way into accessing the homes — via email, television or mailers — of millions of Georgians, that doesn’t mean that anyone has to buy what they’re selling; especially since what they’re selling amounts to little more than rot.

What matters isn’t the long-entrenched rhetoric of an ostracizing and marginalizing party. What matters is showing up to the polls, and making your voice heard, by your vote, or by helping empower others to exercise theirs. You have the choice and the chance, and it’s time to make it count.

We’ve seen the writing on the wall this election — we are hungry for change. But without flipping the Senate in Georgia, we can’t say for certain that our hunger will be sated. Black folks made history this November, and now it’s time to make a little more.

Learn more about the Georgia Senate races here.


Marquita Bradshaw is a former Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate in Tennessee and a longtime political leader, fighting for environmental justice and human rights. She is a single mom who raised her son on a working-class salary.

Mike Bland is the National Director of Leaders of Color. Leaders of Color provides aspiring leaders 70-plus hours of training content that focuses on cultivating leadership abilities, building education policy knowledge, and honing campaigning skills—all with an equity lens.