He’s made history.
After months of uncertainty during a high-stakes election season, Rev. Dr. Raphael Warnock has made history, becoming the first Black senator in Georgia’s history. He is the first Black person elected in a statewide race since state attorney general Thurbert Baker came to office in 1997. His victory was made possible because of the hard work of Stacey Abrams, LaTosha Brown and countless other organizers in Georgia.
The Democratic pastor defeated Republican incumbent Kelly Loeffler, who still has yet to concede. Warnock told CBS “This Morning” that although he’s not heard from Loeffler, “I’m hearing from the people of Georgia. People are feeling a sense of hope this morning.”
The 51-year old became the youngest senior pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s spiritual home, in 2004. He gained favor from his parishioners, like the late civil rights icon congressman John Lewis, with his openness about the importance of social justice. Warnock has openly condemned police brutality, voter suppression, and white privilege from his pulpit draped in kente cloth trimmed robes. Warnock has pushed back on these attacks with grace and laughter. He once tweeted in response to the smear campaign, “People who have no vision traffic in division.”
— Senator-Elect Reverend Raphael Warnock (@ReverendWarnock) December 7, 2020
“I have spent my career and my time as pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church trying to bring people together,” he said in an interview about religious leaders critiquing the United States. When asked about how to bring people together, he said there’s no one solution. “It requires that we actually talk to one another, rather than about one another; it requires deep engagement because, I think, bigotry feeds on fear.”
— Senator-Elect Reverend Raphael Warnock (@ReverendWarnock) November 24, 2020
He grew up in housing projects in Savannah, Ga, the 11th of 12 children, the son of Verlene and Jonathan Warnock, who served in the Army in World War II. He’s spoken about how his father would wake him up early to get dressed, put his shoes on, and “get ready” regardless of the day’s plans. This sense of discipline aided him as he attended Morehouse College, Dr. King’s alma mater, with the help of financial aid, loans, and scholarships.
“That I am serving in the United States Senate in a few days pushes against the grain of so many expectations, but this is America, and I want some young person who’s watching this to know anything’s possible.”
Warnock’s victory show’s a shift in Georgia politics and demographics of voters standing up and using their voting power. Similar to the 2020 presidential election, when Biden became the first Democratic presidential candidate to win the state, Warnock is the first democrat elected to Georgia Senate in 20 years.
His sermons have positioned him as the government’s moral compass, and now he wants to bring that over to Washington. In 2014, he was a spokesman for Stacey Abrams’s New Georgia Project, working with the group on voting drives within the congregation. He later replaced Abrams as chair of the board of directors. Abrams spoke highly of him and his work.
“What I see in Raphael Warnock, every time we talk, every time we engage, is this belief that is core to him: that morality demands that he do good,” Abrams told the New York Times.
Congratulations to our next U.S. Senator, @ReverendWarnock. Last January, I endorsed my dear friend in his quest to serve. Soon, he will walk those august halls & cast votes as a leader with courage, justice and integrity.advertisement
God bless you and keep you in your service to us all. pic.twitter.com/lzdDxRA5zv
— Stacey Abrams (@staceyabrams) January 6, 2021
“Georgia is in such an incredible place when you think of the arc of our history; this is the reversal of the old southern strategy that sought to divide people.”
Joy comes in the morning. Thank you, Georgia. pic.twitter.com/Dw8wPWAMeI
— Senator-Elect Reverend Raphael Warnock (@ReverendWarnock) January 6, 2021advertisement
The Senate majority is now within Democrat’s reach.
Congratulations, Rev. Dr. Warnock; we need more people in Washington like you!
Photo Credit: @ReverendWarnock/Twitter