Georgia Was a Big Win for Democrats. Black Women Did the Groundwork.

RIVERDALE, Ga. — Decades before Joseph R. Biden Jr. flipped Georgia for the Democrats, Felicia Davis was a one-stop political organizing dynamo in Clayton County, canvassing for issues rather than candidates, for her community rather than a political party.

The boom of her voice and the clarity of her convictions command respect. In her operation, even the teenagers are paid $15 an hour to knock on doors and distribute literature. Almost everyone is diligent: She is not someone to disappoint.

“I am unapologetically Black,” Ms. Davis said. “My agenda is Black. My community is Black. My county is Black. So what I do is Black. And for 20 years, we’ve been trying to tell people what was possible.”

When Georgia turned blue for Mr. Biden this year after record voter turnout, it validated the political vision and advocacy of a group of Black women who have led a decades-long organizing effort to transform the state’s electorate. Democrats celebrated their work registering new voters, canvassing and engaging in long-term political outreach. The achievement seemed to confirm mantras that have become commonplace in liberal politics, like “trust Black women” and “Black women are the backbone of the Democratic Party.”

But the same women tell a more complicated story about their relationship with elected Democrats, national campaign officials and prominent political groups. For years, they said, their political vision was demeaned and distrusted. Donors and campaigns balked at the idea that Georgia was a battleground state worth investing in and that the organizers had picked up on demographic and political changes in their home state that others had missed.

Now, with Georgia at the center of the political universe ahead of two pivotal Senate runoff elections in January, the organizers are asking Democrats: Will you embrace our approach now?

“We weren’t surprised that Georgia turned blue, because we’ve been working on it for over 15 years,” said Deborah Scott, the founder of Georgia Stand Up. When she started the group in 2004, she said, it was hard to persuade philanthropy groups and political foundations that focus on grass-roots organizing to consider Georgia.

“It’s been an uphill battle,” Ms. Davis said. “Because here, we’re not just women, we’re Southern women. And we’re not just Southern women, we’re Southern Black women.”

The most famous member of the club is Stacey Abrams, the former state lawmaker and candidate for governor who founded a voter registration group called the New Georgia Project. But there are many others — like Ms. Davis and Helen Butler, who was mentored by the Rev. Joseph E. Lowery, the late civil rights leader — who have spent years working to turn out voters in Georgia.

No single group delivered the state to Mr. Biden or can take credit for turnout there. In a presidential race decided by a razor-thin margin in Georgia, every piece mattered: increased turnout among young voters; outreach to Black, Latino and Asian-American communities; and a rejection of President Trump by some college-educated white voters who typically vote Republican.

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Sidney Powell and Lin Wood host Trump-style rally in Georgia, urging boycott of January runoffs

Sidney Powell and Lin Wood may not officially be part of President Trump’s legal team to overturn the election results.

But on Wednesday, that didn’t stop the duo from hosting a press conference in Georgia that at times resembled a raucous MAGA rally, where they repeated unfounded claims of voter fraud, called on Republican Gov. Brian Kemp to be locked up, and urged supporters to boycott crucial runoffs in January that could hand power of the Senate to Democrats.

At a “Stop the Steal” event in Alpharetta, Wood told the crowd Republican Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue had not “earned” their vote.

“Don’t you give it to them,” Wood said. “Why would you go back and vote in another rigged election for God’s sake? Fix it! You gotta fix it!”

The push is likely to make GOP leaders nervous ahead of the Jan. 5 runoff that hinges on voter turnout. Loeffler and Perdue have followed Trump’s lead and called out the state’s Republican leaders, but Wood wants them to go further and demand a special legislative session.

Georgia state Rep. Vernon Jones, a Democratic Trump ally, was also at the rally and made a plea for voters to come out on Jan. 5.

Woods shot back that he disagreed and told Republicans only to vote for Perdue and Loeffler if they followed his lead and called for a special session.

“Do not be fooled twice,” Wood said. “This is Georgia. We ain’t dumb.”

No evidence of widespread voter fraud has been found in Georgia or anywhere else in the United States.

Brad Raffensperger, Georgia’s secretary of state, on Wednesday called on Trump to drop the fraud claims following comments by U.S. Attorney General William Barr who said this week federal investigators had not found evidence of widespread fraud that would switch the outcome in favor of Trump.

But Wood encouraged Trump supporters to keep up pressure on Georgia’s Republican governor, lieutenant governor, and secretary of state.

“I want you to go to the governor’s mansion, I want you to circle it, I want you to blow your horns until Brian Kemp comes out and orders a special session of the Georgia Legislature,” Wood said, adding that voters should demand local leaders come together and “fix the mess” Kemp created. “Then he can resign, and as far as I am concerned, they can lock him up.”

The crowd then broke into chants of “lock him up,” a twist on Trump’s 2016 “lock her up” rally cry for Hillary Clinton.

A caravan of horn-honking Trump fans have paraded past the governor’s mansion almost daily. They have also driven past Raffensperger’s private residence and

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Georgia State University Receives $2 Million Gift in Memory of Days Inns Founder to Establish Hospitality Immersion Program

The MarketWatch News Department was not involved in the creation of this content.

Atlanta, Dec 01, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE via COMTEX) —
Atlanta, Dec. 01, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The Cecil B. Day School of Hospitality Administration at Georgia State University’s J. Mack Robinson College of Business has received a $2 million endowment from Deen Day Sanders to establish an immersion program in memory of her late husband, Days Inns founder and school namesake, Cecil B. Day, Sr.

The endowment will be used to develop the Cecil B. Day Immersion Program to provide graduate and undergraduate hospitality students semester-long experiential learning opportunities tailored to their specific career aspirations. The majority of the gift will be used to provide scholarships and academic aid to make it possible for students of all backgrounds to participate.

Whether studying domestically or abroad, participants will take part in signature experiences that demonstrate internationally renowned examples of quality operations across all sectors of hospitality including lodging, food and beverage, event management and entertainment. Following a semester of hands-on projects, mentorship from hospitality leaders and networking, students will emerge with a greater understanding of corporate processes, analytical approaches, and strategies for innovation.

“It is with great honor and tremendous gratitude to the Day family that we accept this gift and embark on the creation of the Cecil B. Day Immersion Program,” said Debra Cannon, director of the Cecil B. Day School of Hospitality Administration. “Cecil B. Day was a pioneering innovator and marketing genius, and we are thrilled to further his legacy through this new program. During a time when our industry needs innovation the most, this student-centric gift has the power to transform careers and change lives.”

The competitive application and selection process for the Cecil B. Day Immersion Program will open in fall 2021, after which admitted students will participate in professional development workshops to prepare for the experience.

Robinson’s School of Hospitality Administration was renamed the Cecil B. Day School of Hospitality Administration in 1988. Cecil B. Day is remembered as an astute businessman who developed Days Inns to national prominence throughout the course of his career. His family’s legacy of excellence and philanthropy is the foundation upon which the program bases its vision for preparing future generations of hospitality executives.

The Cecil B. Day School of Hospitality Administration is the oldest and largest hospitality administration school in Georgia. It offers certificate, bachelors, and master’s-level programs. CEOWORLD ranks it 22nd among the world’s top hospitality and hotel management schools, and Eduniversal ranks the school’s Regynald G. Washington Master of Global Hospitality Management 24th worldwide.

Learn more about the Cecil B. Day School of Hospitality Administration at

About Georgia State University’s J. Mack Robinson College of Business

Georgia State University’s J. Mack Robinson College of Business is 8th among accredited U.S. business colleges for graduate enrollment, according to the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International (AACSB). More Georgia executives hold advanced degrees from Robinson and Georgia State than any other U.S. institution.

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Opinion | Will White Women in Georgia Put Family or Culture War First?

In the run-up to Election Day, there was a lot of talk about the gender gap and the importance of the women’s vote for Joe Biden’s chances. In some polls, Mr. Biden was leading President Trump by as much as 23 points among likely female voters. The actual gap, according to an early CNN exit poll, may be closer to a far smaller 15 points.

Most of the help that female voters provided to Mr. Biden came from women of color, and especially from Black women. Despite all the talk of suburban women moving toward Mr. Biden, with the clear implication that these suburbanites were white, it was women of color in and around cities like Atlanta and Philadelphia who were most responsible for his victory. A majority of white women voted for Mr. Trump, by an 11-point margin.

True, they didn’t vote for him by as large a margin as did white men, and if college-educated, they tipped toward Mr. Biden. Still, given Mr. Trump’s well-known tendencies to denigrate women and his administration’s failure to structurally improve their communities, this depth of support for him may come as surprising.

Mr. Trump has tried to eliminate the Affordable Care Act, made court appointments that threaten Roe v. Wade, and reduced access to contraception. And he has vacillated on further relief to deal with a pandemic that has had a disproportionate impact on women’s employment and economic well-being.

In 2004, Thomas Frank published his best-selling book “What’s the Matter With Kansas?,” which argued that his fellow Kansans were voting against their economic self-interest because of hot-button cultural issues. Perhaps now we should be asking, “What’s the Matter With White Women?” Are they voting on cultural rather than economic issues? Are many simply following their husbands’ lead? For some, it would seem so.

In contrast to Mr. Trump, the president-elect has a comprehensive agenda to materially improve women’s lives, including paid leave and child care, equal pay, reproductive choice, higher wages and benefits for teachers and care workers, as well as support for the Equal Rights Amendment. Mr. Biden has plans to create a White House Council on Gender Equality and his growing interest in student debt cancellation will greatly benefit women, who by certain estimates hold two-thirds of such debt.

Mr. Biden’s ability to carry out his agenda now depends on what happens in two Senate runoff elections in Georgia in January; the results will determine which party controls the Senate. Black women, once again, may hold the key but they will need white women to join forces with them if the two Democratic candidates, Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, are to win.

Why should we care about Georgia? Because Mr. Biden’s ability to address issues that significantly affect women — such as child care, paid leave and reproductive health care — depends on it. And because women are not only half the population but have also become the backbone of the economy over the last few decades.

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