Helen Butler

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Helen Butler

OWN YOUR VOTE

Helen Butler, executive director of the Georgia Coalition for the Peoples’ Agenda, Stacey Abrams, founder of Fair Fight, Actress Crystal Fox, and Congresswoman Nikema Williams will be among the speakers at a virtual town hall Oprah Winfrey will host live Monday, Jan. 4 2021cat 8 PM, ET. The event is part of OWN’s continued OWN YOUR VOTE nonpartisan get-out-the-vote initiative intended to encourage, inspire and support voters ahead of Georgia’s Special Election. The town hall is free and open to the public and presented in partnership with Open Society Foundations and Kapor Center.

Representatives from women’s organizations will also participate including: Dr. Glenda Glover (Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated); Beverly E. Smith (Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated); Melanie Campbell (Black Women’s Roundtable); Glynda Carr (Higher Heights Leadership Fund); Dr. Johnnetta B. Cole (NCNW); Dr. Kimberly Leonard (The Links, Incorporated); Rasheeda S. Liberty (Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Incorporated); Valerie Hollingsworth Baker (Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated). A closing prayer will be offered by Rev. Toni Belin Ingram, Presiding Elder, AME Church.[1]

DSA dinner

On November 28, 2008, Atlanta Democratic Socialists of America held its second annual Douglass-Debs at the IBEW Hall.The event included the presentation of the Douglass-Debs award to Nan Orrock by Richard Ray, Georgia State AFL-CIO, to Vincent Fort by Walter Andrews, President, Communication Workers of America 3204 and to Helen Butler by Charlie Flemming, President, Atlanta-North Georgia Labor Council AFL-CIO.[2]

Burnham connection

According to Linda Burnham:

The first time I met Keith Jennings was at his satellite office – Pascal’s Restaurant in Atlanta, GA. It was 2004 and George W. Bush was running for the presidency, again. My hair was still on fire from 2000, the actual stolen election. I called Beni Ivey, then at the Center for Democratic Renewal, to ask if there was any way I could be of service in the South. She said, “Talk to Keith Jennings.” That’s how I got to Pascal’s.

Keith was welcoming and willing to listen to a half-baked scheme to monitor and protect the Black vote in the South. He was a professional with decades of worldwide experience in protecting human rights and the integrity of elections. All I showed up with were passion and frustration. And yet he said, “Yes. We can make something happen.”

I moved from Oakland to Atlanta and Keith and I launched Count Every Vote. Keith worked his contacts – he rocked two cell phones at a time – and we crisscrossed the South, from Georgia to Alabama to Florida and Louisiana.

Keith had headed up teams that monitored elections all over the world. He was alive to the irony of overseeing democratic processes abroad while they were imperiled in his home country. He was so glad to bring Count Every Vote to grassroots meetings in school basements and community centers and dingy motel meeting rooms. At each gathering we talked about the importance of the upcoming election and the need to both get out the vote and protect it. Keith did the trainings on international standards for election monitoring. Sherri Bevel joined us on the road, along with two of my good friends, Gerald Lenoir and Bob Wing, who were willing to work for free.
I don’t know what the impact of Count Every Vote was. We had no metrics. To say we operated on a shoestring is to cast shade on shoestrings. But Keith did introduce me to good people across the region who were determined to make Black votes matter – including women like Helen Butler and LaTosha Brown, who had already been deep in the trenches for years, laying the foundation for Georgia’s 2020-21 victories. And Keith and I forged a close friendship that lasted till his death. I was more than a decade older than Keith, but I leaned on him like a big brother.[3]

References

  1. [1]
  2. http://www.dsa-atlanta.org/pdf_docs/DDprogram08.pdf Douglass-Debs 2008 dinner program, accessed Dec. 25, 2008]
  3. [2]