Last Saturday evening, the Human Rights Campaign hosted a gala at Atlanta’s Hyatt Regency Hotel honoring those who celebrate and value equality for Blacks, Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC) and the LGBTQ community. As the HRC raised money, each speaker stressed the importance of all minorities participating in the 2020 elections while taking jabs at U.S. President Donald J. Trump.
U.S. Representative Lucy McBath was the keynote speaker and she did not pull any punches at the lectern.
“Karen Handel showed us who she really is. She led the way on the atrocious child separation policy at our border. And she was still actively working to tear down and undermine the LGBTQ community,” McBath said.
“But the love that I have for my son (Jordan Davis) and for you is what drives me to stand up to people like Karen Handel. The fierce instinct of a mother is why I pledge to you that I will not let anyone else with an extreme and dangerous view take this seat back in Georgia’s 6th,” she added.
“We have all been created equal, and under the Constitution, we all deserve to live equally in this country without discrimination,” McBath said. “At times such as these, we must stand up and fight back. We have no other option, and I will continue to fight for you.”
McBath was among several elected officials and candidates at the gala Saturday evening. Others included former Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson, who is running for U.S. Senate in 2020; LGBTQ state Reps. Sam Park and Matthew Wilson; Alabama state Rep. Neil Rafferty, the first openly LGBTQ member of Alabama’s legislature; Atlanta City Councilmembers Amir Farohki and Antonio Brown, who is the only openly LGBTQ member of the council; LGBTQ Doraville City Councilmembers Stephe Koontz and Joseph Geierman; Mac Sims, a gay Marine Corps veteran running for Georgia House District 163 in Savannah; and Birmingham City Councilmember Hunter Williams.
Later in the week, McBath was forced to respond to comments by newly-elected National Rifle Association president Carolyn Meadows Monday afternoon. Meadows said to the Marietta Daily Journal McBath only defeated Republican incumbent Karen Handel because McBath is a “minority-female” while pledging to get Georgia’s sixth district back in Republican hands.
“’There will be more than one person in the race, but we’ll get that seat back,’ Meadows said. ‘But it is wrong to say like McBath said, that the reason she won was because of her anti-gun stance. That didn’t have anything to do with it — it had to do with being a minority female. And the Democrats really turned out, and that’s the problem we have with conservatives — we don’t turn out as well.’”
Later, Meadows apologized to McBath in a written statement to the Washington Post. Meadows said her comments were “insensitive and inappropriate.” McBath had a different opinion.
The councilwoman currently representing Georgia’s sixth district said to CNN, “It’s not a matter of me having to accept an apology from her. The most acceptable apology for me would be the NRA gun lobby as, if they stop pushing their extremist agenda, and that they are no longer putting profit over public safety.”
“That would be the most acceptable apology I could ever receive,” McBath said. “I think that the NRA would want to make this personal all day long, but I refuse to make this personal, I refuse to make this about Carolyn Meadows, I refuse to make this about myself. This is truly about making sure that I am doing my best to keep people in my district, keep our children and our communities, safe,” McBath added.