January 09, 2021
I mentioned earlier this week about the two Georgia runoff elections. Jon Ossoff (D) defeated David Perdue (R) and Raphael Warnock (D) won his race against Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R). Both elections were not only unprecedented but represented “firsts.” Ossoff is the first Jewish Senator from Georgia and will be the youngest sitting U.S. senator at age 33. He is also the youngest elected senator since Joe Biden was sworn into office at age 30 on January 3, 1973. His victory comes along with another historic win by Raphael Warnock, who will take office as the state’s first Black senator. They are the first Democrats to win Senate seats in Georgia since 2000.
I was present when Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., spoke at the American Baptist Convention in Philadelphia’s Convention Hall in May 1962. I was seven at the time, but still remember standing in a long line that crossed in front of the stage until I (and my family) were able to shake his hand. King served as co-Pastor along with his father, Rev. Martin Luther King, Sr., for the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta. King, Jr., served the church from 1960 until his assignation in 1968. The church is duly aligned with the Progressive National Baptist Convention and American Baptist Churches USA. The funerals of both Dr. King and congressman John Lewis were held at this church. This is also the church where United States Senator-elect (Rev. Dr.) Raphael Warnock has been pastor since 2005.
MLK, Sr., known as “Daddy King,” was a pastor for Ebenezer for over 40 years and was an important civil rights leader in his own right. Growing up in the early twentieth century, King, Sr., saw firsthand the brutality of southern racism, being beaten by a white mill owner and watching as a white mob hanged a black man. As his mother lay dying, he cursed white people. His mother’s response was, “Hatred makes nothin’ but more hatred…Don’t you do it.” The combination of activism and non-violence that marked his life was instilled in his son, Martin, Jr., and the rest of his family.
Thoughts: According to his campaign website, “Reverend Raphael Warnock grew up in Kayton Homes public housing in Savannah. The family was short on money, but long on faith, love and humor. Raphael and his eleven brothers and sisters were taught the meaning of hard work.” Warnock took his lesson in hard work to his campaign for Senate, “vowing to fight for affordable health care, protect voting rights, and ensure the dignity of working people.” Another quote from the site states, “The four most powerful words in a Democracy: The People Have Spoken.” These words are what separate a democracy from other forms of government. In a television interview shortly after his projected win, the Rev. Dr. Warnock made it clear that he planned to stay in the pulpit at Ebenezer Baptist Church, preaching on Sunday’s. I guess we can now call him bi-vocational. Do the work. Change is coming and it starts with you.