By CJ Webber-Neal
Former Georgia democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacy Abrams spoke to a packed crowd in the gymnasium of Booker T. Washington High School last Friday evening during her recent visit to Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Abrams, part of the 2nd Annual Tulsa LitFest, was at the event on Friday following the release of her most recent book, “Lead from the Outside: How to Build Your Future and Make Real Change.”
Stacy Abrams has become a rising national star in the months after being defeated in the Georgia governor’s race last year. She is being heavily recruited to run for the U.S. Senate, is contemplating another campaign for governor and is even considering making a presidential bid, although people close to her say she is more likely to pursue a Senate campaign.
Abrams’ part in LitFest, “An Evening with Stacey Abrams,” sold out quickly. Literaries, politicos, and fans of all backgrounds filed the basketball arena at Booker T. Washington High School to hear her words.
Abrams told the crowd that she knew very well of Tulsa’s history and knew of the destruction that happened in 1921, commonly referred to as the Tulsa race riot. She was astonished when the emcee referred to the event as a massacre while they spoke backstage.
Abrams, who was a state representative in Georgia for 11 years, earned national attention when she presented the Democrat Party’s response to President Donald Trump’s State of the Union speech this year.
She has published several novels under the pseudonym Selena Montgomery. Her most recent book, the nonfiction “Lead from the Outside,” has recently been released in paperback with a new preface that deals with her recent gubernatorial campaign.
Speaking with Ms. Abrams back stage after the event, she was asked to expound a bit more on her views towards true reconciliation, as the centennial of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre approaches.
Ms. Abrams states, “Reconciliation requires first and foremost that you acknowledge the truth about what happened here in Tulsa. I think the language being used (referring to it as a Massacre and not a riot) is incredibly important. One version puts the blame on the victims’ while the other recognizes the deep needed harm and pain that still remains because of the event”. She went on to say, “Have a clear articulation of what atonement looks like, but most importantly you must create space for people to be able to reconcile. If reconciliation requires everyone to respond in the same way, at the same moment, then it will not be real. It has to be a process, even if its 100 years in the making the true evolution of change takes time”.
Her advise to young African-American women in Tulsa who may be going through some struggles, but aspire to follow and be like her, she says this: “Understand it will get better, but it’s not going to happen on it’s own. Figure out who you are, and be clear about it, don’t let people tell you that you are less than because you are different than.” Abrams went on to say, “Write down not just your dreams, but also provide a path on how to get there, and have a clear articulation of your goals. Often our ability (as African American women) is muted by a lack of a clear path of how to achieve our dream. The reason why we often miss our mark is because there has not been someone there to tell us how to get to that point where we desire to be. Finally, look for people who can help you in that path, seek like minded people who desire to help you ascend to the life you are seeking, and the future you desire.”
This article originally appeared in the Oklahoma Eagle.