Keisha Lance Bottoms

2020 Democratic National Convention Speech - Aug. 20, 2020

Keisha Lance Bottoms
August 20, 2020
Democratic National Convention 2020
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Good evening. I'm Keisha Lance Bottoms, a mother of four and Mayor of Atlanta, Georgia — cradle of the Civil Rights Movement and like so many other cities, a place where the struggle for human dignity continues. I'm proud to have grown up in this city, educated in its public schools and blessed to have known our hometown heroes like Dr. Joseph Lowry, Dr. C.T. Vivian and our teacher, our friend, our conscience, our congressman, John Lewis. He walked gently amongst us, not as a distant icon but as a God-fearing man who did what he could to fulfill the as yet unfulfilled promise of America. People often think that they can't make a difference like our Civil Rights icons but every person in the movement mattered. Those who made the sandwiches, swept the church floors, stuffed the envelopes — they too changed America and so can we. The baton has now been passed to each of us. We’ve cried out for justice, we have gathered in our streets to demand change and now we must pass on the gift John Lewis sacrificed to give us. We must register and we must vote. In his parting essay written to us, Congressman Lewis expressed his pride in the activism that has swept our country and he reminded us that if we fail to exercise our right to vote we can lose it. There are those who are disgracefully using this pandemic to spread misinformation and interfere with voting, forcing many in 2020 to still risk their lives to exercise their sacred right to vote. A right that has already been paid for with the blood, sweat, tears and lives of so many. So, let's stand up for our children, our children's children and for this great democracy that our ancestors work to build and let's vote and let's organize to get others to vote with us. You can help make this happen by texting “vote” to 303-30. We know how important it is that we elect real leaders like Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. People of honor and integrity who hold justice close to their hearts and believe that the lives of my four black children matter. In the words of womanist poet, Audre Lorde, “Your silence will not protect you.” Congressman Lewis would not be silenced and neither can we. We cannot wait for some other time, some other place, some other heroes. We must be the heroes of our generation because we too are America. Our votes can be our voice.

Lance Bottoms, K.[NBC News]. (2020, August 20). Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms Encourages People To Vote | NBC News []. Retrieved on September 7, 2020 from