Warnock, Rep. Lewis’ longtime pastor, has spent years advocating for voting rights, following in the late Congressman’s footsteps
Atlanta, GA – Today, following the passing of Civil Rights Icon Congressman John Lewis, Reverend Raphael Warnock, U.S Senate candidate and Senior Pastor of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Ebenezer Baptist Church where Congressman Lewis worshipped, called on Congress and his fellow candidates to support the reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act.
As the national conversation has turned toward the best way to support Lewis’ legacy, Warnock and others have challenged the country’s leaders to increase access to the ballot and end rampant voter suppression efforts, particularly in Georgia and across the South. A lifelong advocate of voting rights, Warnock has been a strong supporter of increasing access to the ballot box and will continue centering the issue in his campaign and pushing for expanded vote by mail opportunities for Georgians. He has also highlighted the hypocrisy of Republican candidates who have remained silent as voter suppression has become increasingly common, while praising John Lewis’ legacy.
“You cannot honor John Lewis while at the same time standing in the way of voting rights. This is what his life was all about. … Sadly, John Lewis, the patron saint of voting rights, hailed from a state that is ground zero for voter suppression. We have to fight for the integrity of our democracy with the strength and vigor and commitment that he brought to that fight,” said Reverend Raphael Warnock. “Those who will offer pious platitudes in honor of John Lewis over the next coming days need to get busy in Congress renewing the Voting Rights Act.”
The Voting Rights Act of 1965, which protected the franchise for minority communities, was significantly rolled back in 2013’s Shelby County v. Holder Supreme Court ruling.
Warnock’s own past work on fighting for Voting Rights includes:
- In the aftermath of 2006’s Hurricane Katrina, Warnock organized buses to help Louisiana voters access the polls and exercise their right to vote as one of his first undertakings after joining Ebenezer Baptist Church.
- In 2018, he became the chair of the New Georgia Project, a voting rights and education advocacy organization founded by Stacey Abrams. Since its inception, the organization has registered over 400,000 new voters.
- Warnock also penned an op-ed in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, drawing attention to the Georgia Republican party’s assault on voting rights.
- At Ebenezer, Warnock has participated for years in ‘Souls to the Polls’ activities, voter mobilization efforts often hosted at churches and houses of worship across the country to encourage voting in the Black community.
About Reverend Warnock
Reverend Raphael Warnock grew up in Kayton Homes public housing in Savannah. Fourteen years ago, he was chosen to serve as Senior Pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, the former pulpit of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He is only the fifth Senior Pastor in the history of the church and the youngest pastor ever selected to serve in that position. Reverend Warnock believes his service does not stop at the church door, and has been an advocate to expand health care coverage and to ensure hardworking Georgians can make a living wage. As Senator, Reverend Warnock will bring to Washington the concerns of struggling Georgia families who wonder why no one is looking out for them, and focus on fighting for quality, affordable health care, for the dignity of working people who are paid too little as our government works more for Wall Street, and to make sure every voice is heard.
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