Georgia U.S. Rep. Nikema Williams is pushing to change the Constitution to close the 13th Amendment's slavery loophole.
A leader who saw inequality firsthand growing up in rural Alabama went on to climb Georgia's political ladder, make headlines for civil disobedience and turn the tide of American politics. This incredible success story describes both the late U.S. Rep. John Lewis and his successor, Nikema Williams. When the civil rights icon passed away in 2020, Williams was chosen to replace him on the November ballot. Williams is a freedom fighter in her own right whose "good trouble" got her arrested as a state senator for protesting the results of Georgia's 2018 gubernatorial race between Stacey Abrams and Brian Kemp, who oversaw his own election and has a history of engaging in voter suppression. Williams continued preparing for war as the first Black female chair of the Georgia Democrats in 2019. After almost two decades of groundwork to make every vote count, she won Congressman Lewis' seat, turned Georgia blue for Biden, and helped win the two seats that flipped the US Senate to Democrat control. In Washington, Williams continues to fight for the marginalized by spearheading an end to the 13th Amendment loophole. "I must continue to fight because I know that I am up against a system that was not created for me or by people that look like me, and I am operating within a system that wasn't designed for me," she told Essence. "I'm going to continue to speak up for those that for far too long have been overlooked and unheard in our political process."