Dedicated to Dynamically Impacting Democracy
As the nation holds its collective political breath while awaiting the outcome of the hotly contested U.S. Senate race in Georgia, today we reflect on two bold, brave Black men responding to a divinely ordered, interconnected mission: Chicagoan Rev. Paul Jakes, Jr., and Georgia’s first Black U.S. Senator Raphael Warnock – also a minister running for re-election in one of the nation’s southern states still beset by its uncomfortable legacy of slavery, segregation, voting-rights inequality, and racial injustice.
Hundreds of miles away, many Chicagoans who either originate from, or have family and friends in the Peachtree State of Georgia, are also highly engaged in this important run-off election. On Sunday, December 4, 2022 Rev. Dr. Warnock, the Democratic U.S. Senate candidate sent an impassioned video spiritual appreciation message to an enthusiastic and packed crowd of worshippers at Chicago’s progressively-oriented Trinity United Church of Christ (TUCC), under the pastorship of Rev. Dr. Otis Moss, III. He humbly thanked them for their positive messages of encouragement and support.
Chicago’s well-known activist Pastor, the Rev. Paul Jakes, Jr., (who just recently received his Doctor of Divinity (D.D.) degree), returned a couple of days ago from Atlanta, Georgia. His purpose? To show his staunch support for, and where he marched with the city’s leaders and local advocates and inspired a multi-racial coalition of residents to cast their votes for Senator Raphael Warnock in the upcoming hotly-contested re-election race.
Rev. Dr. Jakes, Jr. expressed his opinion of the looming political match-up.
“Rev. Raphael Warnock remains the best choice for the U.S. Senate from the state of Georgia. His tremendous showing in the midterms highlights Senator Warnock’s unparalleled appeal diversity — and when you consider his strong faith-based Pastoral ministry at the historic Ebeneezer Baptist Church – – where Rev.Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once pastored, coupled with his progressive active statewide support for voting rights, affordable housing, inclusive health coverage, employee unions and working families — it’s clear he’s the perfect fit,” emphasizes noted Chicago Pastor Paul Jakes, Jr.
Thanks to stronger than expected showings in the 2022 midterms, Democrats will control the Senate in the next Congress with at least 50 seats. The Georgia Senate seat is pivotal, as it will determine whether Democrats or Republicans will hold the majority.
The primary race between Georgia Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock, and the Republican opponent, Herschel Walker, where neither candidate reached the critical 50%+1, generated a runoff election which will be held a few short hours from now on Dec. 6.
Latest news reports indicate that early voting turnout has set records for the largest daily turnouts ever in Georgia’s history. According to CNN, over 1.8 million ballots have already been cast – – and an astonishing 300,000 individuals voted per day last week.
Warnock’s early life as the next to youngest in a large, lower-income family headed by his hardworking, spiritually-oriented, stern yet loving mother and father, prepared him for a life of service to assist others also often left-out, forgotten, and disenfranchised.
The importance of the Georgia Senate race? examine the implications of the 2022 midterm elections in key battleground states Its outcome will determine whether the Dems can gain an outright majority, to help advance President Biden’s national policy agenda for the next two years.
“Look, what I found most impressive was the phenomenal street energy displayed by many Atlantans of all ages and races. They left their longstanding racial separatism behind to come together and reach political consensus about supporting Warnock. Best of all – – there was a distinct awareness that the opportunity to return him to Washington, D.C. comes with being civically engaged, by coming out, voting, and urging family, friends, neighbors, and church members to do the very same. It doesn’t just happen without hard work,” enthused Rev. Jakes, Jr.
During his campaign- and Thanksgiving holiday-related visit to the Peachtree state of Georgia, Rev. Jakes, Jr. recalls being incredibly impressed with what he calls an ‘exciting new wave’ of Georgia voters committed to overlooking race, defying negative stereotypes, and raising their expectations about the professionalism and service-oriented passion of Black candidates for public office like Raphael Warnock.
“It reminded me of two historic Chicago campaigns – – the late Mayor Harold Washington’s landmark, hard-won election campaign where a surprisingly resilient rainbow coalition of white, Latino, and Black voting strength prevailed, which resulted in his becoming Chicago’s first Black Mayor,” remembered Jakes.
He continues, “And let’s not forget then U.S. Senator Barack Obama’s transformational Chicago-based, successful national Presidential crusade which elevated him as the first Black man to inhabit the White House as the nation’s Chief Executive and First Family with his accomplished wife Michelle and their darling daughters,” smiled Rev. Jakes.
And Rev. Jakes isn’t the only local supporter hoping for a Warnock victory. Members of Chicago West Side Black Elected Officials (WSBEO) from some of the city’s biggest districts, joined President 37th Ward Alderman Emma Mitts, 7th District Congressman Danny K. Davis, professionals from Chicago-area firms, companies and trade associations along with members of the Illinois Democratic Caucus and hosted a fundraiser last week quickly and admirably raising $10K for Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.) ahead of Tuesday’s December 6th runoff election against Republican Herschel Walker.
“Chicago’s West Side Black Elected Officials are honored to provide financial support to help re-elect a transformative man of service to the community and God like the esteemed Senator and candidate Raphael Warnock,” said 37th Ward Alderman Emma Mitts, the organization’s chairperson.
While in Atlanta, Rev. Paul Jakes, Jr. recounts various activations to demonstrate his ardent support. He marched, helped coordinate a voter-registration drive and engaged in door-to-door election campaign visibility efforts across Atlanta with candidate Warnock. He also participated in a bustling; highly energized pro-Senator Warnock rally attended by many thousands of people over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.
“I was glad to join Councilwoman Karen Renee of East Point Georgia who has been a fierce fighter for justice. I am the former president of the Westside NAACP and currently the pastor of the New Tabernacle of Faith Baptist Church and President of the Hope Coalition in Chicago Illinois which stands for Helping Our People Every Day,” he emphasized.
“I deeply thank Councilwoman Karen Renee brought a team of persons to Chicago to assist us in getting the least fortunate vaccinated to save lives during the COVID-19 crisis,” remarked Rev. Jakes.
Rev. Dr. Paul Jakes, Jr. continues, “And I was there because of another critical issue that impacts the lives of all Americans and the residents of Georgia. That is the runoff in Georgia for the US Senate. I was honored to join councilwoman Karen Renee in East Point Georgia and the citizens of Georgia to re-elect Senator Rafael Warnock to the US Senate.
According to national news reports voter interest and engagement is at an all-time high. “This time, the political pundits got it totally wrong,” remarked Rev. Paul Jakes, Jr. “They didn’t believe that the electorate would turn out again for the Georgia run-off election, but early voting returns have exceeded nearly everyone’s expectations.” And Amen to That!!