Stacey Abrams Covers Essence Magazine: 'Faith Should Be a Shield to Protect'

Stacey Abrams Covers Essence Magazine
Stacey Abrams Covers Essence Magazine

Gunner Stahl Stacey Abrams Covers Essence Magazine

Stacey Abrams is opening up about her passion for voting rights, and the faith that guides her, as she covers the latest issue of Essence magazine.

"We must elect candidates who see us, hear us, represent us, and have a commitment to passing legislation that ensures our communities have the opportunity to thrive," Abrams — currently in a hotly contested race for Georgia governor — told the publication.

The longtime Democratic lawmaker narrowly lost the 2018 Georgia governor's race to current Gov. Brian Kemp, a loss that propelled her to become one of the country's leading voices on the importance of — and challenges to — voting rights.

Stacey Abrams Covers Essence Magazine
Stacey Abrams Covers Essence Magazine

Gunner Stahl Stacey Abrams

Two groups founded by Abrams — the New Georgia Project and Fair Fight — have been central to an enormous registration drive in Georgia in recent years, including some 800,000 new voters between 2018 and the 2020 election.

Those voter-registration efforts set the backdrop for November 2020's presidential surprise, when some 5 million ballots were cast in Georgia, smashing the previous record. Joe Biden ultimately defeated Donald Trump in the state — the first Democrat to win statewide there in decades.

Two months later, Democratic Senate candidates Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock triumphed over Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler.

Those historic Democratic wins seemed to shed light on Abrams' long-held hypothesis that that Georgia's electorate — when given more opportunity to vote — was more diverse than history made it seem.

RELATED: What Stacey Abrams Is Fighting for Next, After a Historic Voting Year in Georgia: 2021 'Must Be Better'

Speaking to Essence, Abrams noted how "devastating" it is to hear from those who believe their vote "doesn't matter."

"Of course it matters. You may not win with your vote every time, but you make them work for it every time," she said. "That's the point. If somebody's got to work for something, they're not going to be as mean to you as they were. They're not going to ignore you the way they do."

Stacey Abrams Covers Essence Magazine
Stacey Abrams Covers Essence Magazine

Gunner Stahl Stacey Abrams

Abrams, meanwhile, seems willing to work.

Following her gubernatorial loss in 2018, the activist focused on voting rights as well as her other passion: fiction-writing.

Though a string of hit novels focused on romance, her latest — released last May — was a political thriller called While Justice Sleeps, which follows a young law clerk who becomes the power of attorney and legal guardian for a Supreme Court justice after he falls into a coma.

RELATED: Stacey Abrams Says Voting Is the Best Way to Treat the Ills of Society: It 'Isn't Magic, It's Medicine'

But even after the 2018 election, Abrams was widely speculated to run again. Last December, she announced she would, and officially launched another campaign for Georgia governor, writing on Twitter: "I'm running for Governor because opportunity in our state shouldn't be determined by zip code, background or access to power."

In launching another campaign for the seat, Abrams again faces Kemp, who current polls show with a more-than six-point lead in the race.

Abrams isn't one to be deterred, however, even when the odds are stacked against her. It's the voters, she told Essence, that keep her fighting.

"[My parents] always reminded us that our faith should be a shield to protect and not a sword to strike down," she said. "This belief still guides me today as I fight to ensure that Georgians of all backgrounds are seen [and] heard."