A coalition of progressive Black, Brown, immigrant, and queer community members in Georgia are coming together to move Georgia voters. The group, named “Take Action, Get Power” is anchored by GLAHR Action, SONG Power, and Mijente, three groups that have historically done grassroots organizing work in Georgia and the South with U.S. born and immigrants of color and LGBTQ communities. They will be running a campaign through the Mijente PAC in Georgia targeting the Sheriffs elections in Gwinnett and Cobb County, and against Trump.
The following is a transcription of a conversation between Adelina Nicholls, Executive Director of GLAHR Action, founding member of Mijente, and Chair of the Gente4Abrams Campaign and Mary Hooks, the Co-Director of SONG Power, about the relationship that the two organizers have built over the years and what it has been like to get into electoral political work after years of pro-Immigrant and pro-Black grassroots organizing in the state.
Mary Hooks: The first thing that I remember about you Adelina is your beautiful earrings. I remember that you just had on denim jeans, cigarettes in your pocket, and always ready to go. Getting to know you and your organization has been a game changer for me. I knew you was a real one. I knew you was a fucking real one, of course you know, real recognize real.
Adelina Nicholls: I'm so glad to hear that. One of the first things that I remember about you, Mary, is your determination to do things as well as your solidarity of course learning from you different ways to do things. I remember your strength, your understanding of collective work. I am who I am because of you and I am really proud to get to know you.
MH: Let’s talk a little bit about how this formation has come together. We've been doing and being rowdy in the streets for some years now and have a few wins under our belt. We have taken on the anti-immigration bills that came to pass and have stopped Rednecks in the capital from passing bills to increase the deportation pipeline. We have protested together and have had each others backs when we or our community members are being arrested. We don't pretend as if anti-blackness don't exist but also to be deeply rooted in work that has built political trust as comrades, taking care of each other and taking risks together. And this year we are working together for the first time with the political side of our organizations. I'm excited about what it means to work with Mijente and GLAHR Action.
AN: I think that we have learned from each other in different ways. To navigate struggles and many ways have shown up for each other. The relationship with SONG for me is that much more important because I remember many many years ago here in the state of Georgia people used to say that Black and Brown people would not be able to work together. To say that we should join forces between Black people and Brown people was like “I don’t think so.” And our relationship with SONG has countered that.
MH: I think about the work that you did in 2018. Where with Mijente you started getting into electoral organizing with the Gente4Abrams campaign, in support of Stacey Abrams for Governor. When you all were like, ‘yo we're going to start moving’ and it's electric and it was a bold move. What I means is that it was a contentious election. You all put it on the line and terms of what it meant to move your base in relationship to the Abrams campaign. And I think that it showed us, it made us ask ourselves if we should also do this. You all gave us the curse to understand that we do need this type of infrastructure. This time we know that voting in Georgia is slow as ever and because they try to suppress our vote that that gives us more clarity to say that this tactic is something that we cannot go throw to the wayside. We need radical politics that informs the way in which we move inside of electoral strategy and not just with the traditional ways of engagement. We going to bring our street fight always. Real talk sometimes it's very stale and pale but when you bring the energy creativity and dreams and hopes of Black and Brown, particular black and brown women and trans people, it changes.
AN: Low-income communities and impacted communities are the ones moving and rocking the boat and showing that grassroots organizing is a way to go to sustain the movement, even as we get into electoral organizing. At the end Mary, I think if we all of all of us, what we want is a better world where we can love each other and understand each other and to regain the space that we deserve. And we need to learn how to support each other and how to learn from each other. And this is exactly what we about to do in these next elections.
MH: I think that our communities need an example and a reminder around the ways of the ways in which Black and Brown folks survive and work together. Something that counters the lies and myths that say that we don't have shared interests. But it's and what we do and that we're going to remind and build solidarity together and also be able to show and not just tell the ways our communities are better because of it, and the ways in which our movements are stronger because of it, and the ways in which our Liberation agendas include all of us are impacted by police and state violence. We will continue to show the lies that the right-wing continues to tell and show the power and possibility. Cuz it's so essential. And you know, our personal relationship for me as an organizer ,I'm stronger because of it and we need to remind our communities that we are stronger because of it, that we're stronger because of the collective work.
AN: I absolutely agree with you Mary. Words are important, but we should measure by our actions. I think it's important to show who you are by what you're doing, your actions. We need to build a better world for our mothers, brothers, sisters, neighbors, and commit. I do believe that we are seeing new generations take action and new powerful organizing. It has been inspiring to see the Black Lives Matter protests and I know that we need to join and get on the train and get our feet moving. Because it is both an issue of being in solidarity and getting to understand that this organizing is creating openings for change in our society that have not been possible before, for all members of our community.
MH: Yes yes yes! All I have to say is let's let's make 2020 a year to remember. Take action, get power!