Congressman John Lewis passed this week leaving a nation mourning and a place on the ballot open for his seat in Congress. The Democratic Party in Georgia was left to decide who was to take that slot and they chose State Senator Nikema Williams. She’s a prominent member of the State Senate in Georgia and her husband worked for the late Congressman.
Even though she might have already seemed like the obvious pick Sen. Williams had another reason why she was the perfect person to take the place of a man who was known for “Good Trouble” – she herself was arrested at a voting rights rally in Georgia in 2018.
While in Georgia working for investigative journalist Greg Palast, I interviewed the State Senator shortly after her aggressive arrest in the Capitol rotunda during a ‘count every vote’ protest that was happening there, filming it for Salon.com. You can watch the entire interview below.
Georgia state Senator Nikema Williams didn’t plan on being arrested last week. She certainly didn’t think she’d be zip-tied by cops and asked to submit to a strip search. But that’s what happened when she was in the Georgia State Capitol witnessing a ‘Count Every Vote’ protest on Tuesday, November 13, 2018.
“It was a horrific experience,” Williams told our reporter, Zach D. Roberts, the day after her arrest. “They patted me down, like worse than you would get at a TSA pre-check, but then she told me to lift up my dress so they could make sure that I was not carrying something in my vaginal cavity. I am a sitting state senator, that you brought off the rotunda of the capital, and you’re searching me and wanting me to take my dress off to strip search me. And then they wanted me to pee in a cup so they could test my urine before they even told me what I was charged with.”
Williams’ husband works for John Lewis, who knows a thing or two about being arrested at a protest and offered to come down to the jail and get her out. Thankfully the trip wasn’t needed, but Williams is still asking why she, an African-American legislator was arrested, while her white colleagues weren’t. Her wrists were bruised by the plastic cuffs but she’s not backing down from the fight to make sure that the voters she represents have their voices heard and their votes counted.
In our exclusive interview above, Williams also talks about how her own niece was denied a provisional ballot while attempting to vote – an issue which is central to Stacey Abrams’ litigation to challenge the validity of the Georgia election.
You can buy Greg Palast’s new book – HOW TRUMP STOLE 2020 – in stores and on-line right now.