Help Women WIN!

Georgia’s WIN List provides financial, strategic and political support to pro-choice Democratic women in Georgia.

Providing young women the opportunity to train and work on campaigns of our endorsed candidates.

A year-long, annual program that positions women to run for local office. Held once monthly on evenings and/or weekends.

WIN List Legislative Breakfast 2015

Left to right: Crystal Conway, Justice Leah Ward Sears, Adrienne White, Martha Fagan


Former Georgia Chief Justice Leah Ward Sears, the first African American Chief Justice for a state court in the United States, brought a crowd of more than 100 to their feet during the annual Georgia’s WIN List Legislative Breakfast last week.

Photos from the even can be found on our facebook page here.

Sears, who was first appointed to the state’s highest court by then Governor Zell Miller in 1992, said the appointment changed her life.

“It was a challenge to me not only because I am a woman but because, as a member of one of America’s many minorities, I grew up seeing what popular opinion had done to our nation, as far as allowing racism and bigotry in our laws and in our hearts. I had long felt that if it had not been for the judicial system in this country, many civil rights that I, and those I love, enjoy today, simply would not exist for minorities like me.”

“I was further pleased to be breaking into the “brotherhood”, as it were  –because, quite frankly, that is what the judiciary was at the time as there weren’t any women. It was my intent to become a jurist who believed that judges should acknowledge we live in a modern world, one which is vastly different from the world in which our founders lived. I believe those who see our Constitution as frozen in the past are also frozen in the past, unenlightened, unwilling and unable to move forward,” she said.

Justice Sears noted public discussion has become rancorous and divisive due to polarized thinking which “reflects the idea that only some values matter.” Liberals today tend to focus largely on care for others and fairness, she said, while conservatives focus on liberty, loyalty, authority and sacredness. “Polarized thinking says my preferred values are everything and yours are nothing,” she added.

“Polarized thinking is part of the reason why women are in such bad shape in Georgia. The underlying, often unspoken, theme in this country and state is that women are simply not as important as men. For example, in Georgia no women hold U.S. congressional seats. But I can tell by just looking around this room this morning that there are women who are capable of going to congress,” she said. “In Georgia, where 53% of us are women, more than 20% of us live in poverty and are uninsured (with no plans to expand Medicaid), and women make only 81 cents for every dollar earned by a man. This is not how it should be. To change all of this, women have got to play some of the important leadership roles.”

“I believe that the leaders of this country, seeking the secret of America’s strength, will not find it in our drones or missiles, though such things can also split mountains and break rocks. Nor will it be found on Wall Street or in the largest shopping centers or across the street in the Capitol or in the most luxurious private homes on Tuxedo Drive or Cascade Road.

No, instead it will be found in the still, small voices of good Americans of integrity like you and me, many of whom are women; people who strive to separate right from wrong, to judge others as we would be judged, and who believe in their hearts in the birthright of every human being to be treated fairly.”

Justice Sears urged the crowd to

“pledge our very best efforts to find and elect leaders of integrity who will listen to such voices and follow their advice, when it is right to do so, even if it is at the expense of their own self-interest and personal gain. We ought to put good women (and men) in office who are ethical and who practice civility and good stewardship. Government can’t legislate it. Judges can’t adjudicate it. Lawyers can’t litigate it. Politicians can’t appropriate it. Only WE can orchestrate these leadership changes.  ladies and gentlemen! Can we do it? Of course we can. The only question is: will we do it? I sincerely hope so, because when women come together, we win!”

Read the full transcript of the speech by Justice Sears on our website here.

The breakfast also included a report about what to expect in the upcoming legislative session from WIN List Endorsed Senator Elena Parent and Planned Parenthood Southeast President/CEO Staci Fox.

Graduates of the 2014 WIN Leadership Academy were recognized and awarded graduation certificates. Outgoing Chair Lauren Benedict was presented with a small token of our appreciation for her service to Georgia’s WIN List by incoming Chair Adrienne White.

WIN List Chair Adrienne White also announced that Executive Director Melinda Ennis Roughton will be leaving Georgia’s WIN List at the end of January. We thank Melinda for her service and wish her the best of luck and success.

Read Melinda’s farewell message to WIN List members on our website here.