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In video message, Oprah tells Black Mississippians: ‘You shame your family if you don’t vote'

FILE - This Feb. 8, 2020 file photo shows Oprah Winfrey during "Oprah's 2020 Vision: Your Life...
FILE - This Feb. 8, 2020 file photo shows Oprah Winfrey during "Oprah's 2020 Vision: Your Life in Focus" tour in New York. Winfrey announced Wednesday, May 20, 2020 that her Oprah Winfrey Charitable Foundation will donate money to organizations dedicated to helping undeserved communities in Chicago; Nashville, Tennessee; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; and Kosciusko, Mississippi, where she was born. (Photo by Brad Barket/Invision/AP, File)(Brad Barket | Brad Barket/Invision/AP)
Updated: Nov. 2, 2020 at 3:19 PM CST
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - “Hello, everybody in Mississippi!” Oprah Winfrey told a crowd of honking car horns during a drive-in rally for Senate candidate Mike Espy Sunday evening.

The Kosciusko native was among several surprise guests at the Jackson event, including former Vice-President Joe Biden and his running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris. In-person speakers included Mayor Chokwe Lumumba, Rep. Bennie Thompson and Mike Espy himself.

In her video message, Winfrey urged attendees to vote, stating, “We want to save everything we hold dear in our democracy. The message is more urgent than it’s ever been before.”

Winfrey then spoke of how she was raised “on a little patch of land” that her grandmother owned and where she would later build a Boys and Girls Club. “I know Mississippi, I understand Mississippi.”

In an emotional appeal, Winfrey said, “I want to say that if your kinfolk were Black, were enslaved people, were sharecroppers or just plain hardworking folks like my grandmother, who never even had a thought or chance to vote, you shame your family if you don’t vote in Mississippi."

Winfrey continued, saying that “beyond all the policy issues that will matter most in our future,” including climate change and healthcare, “what’s really at stake right now: civility, decency, humanity are at stake.”

Being from Mississippi, she said that she understands what “many of you have seen and experienced when it comes to politics” and what a difference it can make when Mississippians have “the right people in office fighting for you and not against you.”

To close, Winfrey commanded the audiences to “get out there and honor yourself and your family and vote.”

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