Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms joined the virtual Democratic National Convention on Thursday night to honor civil rights icon and Georgia Congressman John Lewis, who died last month, and encourage viewers to get out and vote.
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“People often think that they can’t make a difference like our civil rights icons,” she said in her speech. “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 an exclusive video for ELLE.com, Mayor Bottoms gave a behind-the-scenes look into her speech, explaining why she chose the special necklace she wore for the DNC’s final night.
She said: “A delegation of students from Africa visited City Hall, and there was a young woman who was from South Africa. I complimented her on this beautiful necklace, and she took it off of her neck, and she gave it me. She told a beautiful story of Nelson Mandela and his encouragement of them to be generous and to be gracious. I wish I could remember exactly what the saying was, but it was just such a heartfelt and genuine moment, and so I knew that this necklace and all that it symbolizes, and their many tribes represented here, that this would be appropriate for today.”
Watch her tell the story, below:
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