Lizzo, LG urge young voters not to sit out election at Biden event

By: - October 23, 2020 7:16 pm

Lizzo at an event featuring Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist for Democratic presidential nominee in Detroit, Oct. 23, 2020 | Andrew Roth

Student voters in Harper Woods were feeling “good as hell” on Friday when singer Lizzo returned to her home state to campaign for Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.

Lizzo, known for the hits, “Truth Hurts” and “Good as Hell,” spoke to volunteers at a canvass kickoff in Detroit before participating in a conversation with young voters in Harper Woods. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who was not the event, is a noted fan of her music.

Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist was there and said this election is as much about getting non-voters to turn out as it is about winning over voters of the opposite candidate.

“The one I’m really worried about are the people who may not vote. That undecided voter who has not decided to vote,” Gilchrist said. “What I would say to them is that I believe that every person in this gym, every person in our nation and every person in our communities is powerful. You can influence the present and future. But the thing is, if you don’t vote, you’re passing up an opportunity to show the world how powerful you are.”

“Most people don’t want things to happen to them; they want to make things happen. Non-voters, things happen to non-voters. But voters make things happen. Voters decide who is in leadership.”

Lizzo also encouraged people on the fence about the election to vote.

“When you’re sitting at home and you’re like, ‘I just wish they would hear me; I wish they could hear my voice,’ this is the time to do that,” Lizzo said. “Your vote is literally your political voice.”

Gilchrist said everybody in the United States is directly impacted by the results of this election, including the future of the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 8.4 million Americans, almost 150,000 in Michigan, have been sickened by coronavirus. And more than 220,000 have died, including more than 7,100 in Michigan.

“Basically everybody in here either themselves or know somebody who has been directly, negatively impacted by the biggest presidential failure in 100 years,” Gilchrist said. “And the reason that happened is because, straight up, the president [Donald Trump] didn’t take it seriously.”

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Lizzo added that the election is about a return to stability.  

“Thinking about 2001 to now, being an American citizen has been traumatic,” Lizzo said. “We just want to see good times; we just want the trauma to end.”

Lizzo said Black women have been at the heart of every social movement, noting a key constituency that helped propel Biden’s campaign to victory in the Democratic primary.

“Black women have been the heartbeat of every movement from Sojourner Truth to Black women leading the Black Lives Matter movement,” Lizzo said. “We are at the bottom of the privilege totem pole, but yet we always raise our voices first to defend people and their rights. It’s a unique place to be. It’s a unique perspective. But I’m so proud to be a Black woman and an activist because when I’m loud, they hear this mouth.”

Gilchrist added that young people have also been especially important.

“When you think about every movement for justice and rights in the history of this country, and frankly across the world, they are always led by young people,” Gilchrist said. “Like, the soul of our values always comes from young people. Young people are the moral authority to talk about what’s wrong today and what can be right tomorrow.”

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Doug Emhoff, the husband of Democratic vice presidential nominee U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), was scheduled to join the Harper Woods event, but did not appear due to a flight delay caused by heavy rain.

Emhoff participated in canvass kickoff events in Muskegon County and Ottawa County earlier in the day Friday. Harris plans to visit Detroit on Sunday.

Vice President Mike Pence visited the state Thursday, and Trump plans to visit Lansing on Tuesday. His children, Don Jr., Ivanka and Eric, have all campaigned in Michigan in the last week.

The election is Nov. 3, but early voting is underway. More than 1.5 million Michigan residents had already returned their absentee ballots as of Monday out of the nearly 3 million that have requested them.

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Andrew Roth
Andrew Roth

Andrew Roth is a regular contributor to the Michigan Advance. He has been covering Michigan policy and politics for three years across a number of publications and studies journalism at Michigan State University.