By Zoe Seiler, contributor
Clarkston, GA – The Rev. Raphael Warnock stopped by Clarkston on Wednesday, Dec. 16, for a rally with about 100 volunteers to thank them and to get out the vote.
The event, which took place at Clarkston First Baptist Church, featured several speakers and included Clarkston Mayor Beverly Burks, DeKalb County Commissioner Steve Bradshaw and Karen Mixon, the first vice chair of DeKalb Democrats.
All of the speakers encouraged those in attendance to go vote and told them to get their friends and families to vote too.
“DeKalb helped flip Georgia blue for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris and we’re going to do it again for Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff,” Mixon said.
Clarkston City Manager Robin Gomez reminded voters that Clarkston Baptist Church is a polling location and that absentee ballots can be dropped off at City Hall.
According to Mixon, DeKalb Democrats have made over 36,000 calls during the runoff race, recruited over 100 precinct captains, hired over 70 field staffers, knocked over 25,000 doors so far and distributed over 6,000 yard signs.
She added that 25,000 people have already voted during the first two days of early voting.
“DeKalb is Georgia’s blue wall. The road to the Senate goes through DeKalb County because when DeKalb votes, Georgia wins,” Mixon said.
Warnock is the senior pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church, the same church that the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. pastored.
“Both of my grandfathers were pastors, both of whom were significant in my life, and as such, I think I have some sense of a pastor’s heart. It’s a servant’s heart and Rev. Warnock certainly has a servant’s heart and it’s just what we need in Washington right now,” Commissioner Bradshaw said.
Bradshaw went to vote early on Monday but decided to come back another day due to the long line and a prior engagement but he didn’t see the line as a bad thing.
“That tells me that people are energized, that people are focused and people realize what’s at stake. They’re fully engaged and that’s what we need,” Bradshaw said. “But we all need to make it happen and I know that once Reverend Warnock gets to Washington, D.C. he will have a positive impact on our state and our nation. But first, we have to get him there.”
E Pluribus Unum. Out of many, one. Warnock repeated this phrase throughout his speech as he encouraged people to vote.
“A people knit together, not on the basis of race, ethnicity, nationality, or religion, but a people knit together on the basis of an idea, a democratic idea. This grand and noble experiment in self-government. The idea of a government for and by the people,” Warnock said. “On Nov. 3 the people of Georgia spoke clearly and sent Joe Biden and Kamala Harris to the White House.”
He added that no one thought Georgia would flip in the general election. Gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams has been praised by many for her work in this effort.
“They did not believe what we already knew — that this is the new Georgia. This is the blue GA. What happened on Nov. 3 was not magic. It was not mystical. It did not happen overnight. It took hard work and what we’ve got to do on Jan. 5 will require hard work,” Warnock said.
During his speech, Warnock talked about affordable health care and the COVID-19 pandemic, two issues he is focused on. He again mentioned, quoting Dr. King, that everyone is tied in a single garment of destiny.
“We should have known that but an airborne deadly disease comes along and suddenly if my neighbor coughs, my neighbor’s cough has implications for me. I can get sick because my neighbor coughed, my neighbor sneezed,” Warnock said.
“Now, that does not make my neighbor my enemy. That just reminds me that our destiny is tied and so, I should want my neighbor to get the vaccine when the vaccine is available. I should want my neighbor to have health care. I should want my neighbor to be covered because if my neighbor is uncovered then I’m unprotected,” he added.
He additionally advocated for more support for historically Black colleges and universities as well as community colleges, vocational schools and technical schools.
“But wherever you go, we’ve got to make sure our children are not loaded down with debt. I’ve had some debt but not like the young people have now,” Warnock said. “Our children have a mortgage before they have a mortgage. That shackles their aspirations and their dreams and it’s a drag on the American economy. Invest in our children, invest in our young, bright minds, that is an investment in the future and infrastructure of a great nation.”
Warnock also supports criminal justice reform, immigration reform and passing the John Lewis Voting Rights Act.
Early voting is currently underway and goes until Dec. 31. The last day to turn in an absentee ballot is 7 p.m. on Jan. 5. Election Day is Jan. 5.
“Put your marching shoes on and march all the way to the polls until we win the future,” Warnock said.
Here are more photos from Wednesday’s event.