“In this moment in American history, Washington has a choice to make, we all have a choice to make….Will we seek to destroy one another as enemies or heed the call towards the common good, building together what Dr. King called “the beloved community?” — the Rev.Raphael Gamaliel Warnock, in the speech below, delivered shortly before the Associated Press declared him the winner of the special runoff election for United States Senator from the state of Georgia (and the day before the A.P. declared fellow Democrat Jon Ossoff the winner of the other runoff election for Senator from Georgia.)
[The video above begins several sentences into his speech. Full transcript below]
I come before you as a proud American and a son of Georgia.
My roots are planted deeply in Georgia soil.
…A child who grew up in the Kayton Homes housing projects of Savannah, Georgia. Number 11 of 12 children.
… A proud graduate of Morehouse College and the Pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church, the spiritual home of Martin Luther King Jr. and Congressman John Lewis.
…A son of my late father who was a pastor, a veteran and a small businessman and my mother who, as a teenager growing up in Waycross, Georgia, used to pick somebody’s else’s cotton. But the other day, because this is America, the 82-year-old hands that used to pick somebody else’s cotton went to the polls and picked her youngest son to be a United States Senator.
…So, I stand before you as a man who knows that the improbable journey that led me to this place in this historic moment in America could only happen here.
We were told we couldn’t win this election, but tonight we proved that, with hope, hard work and the people by our side, anything is possible.
I am so honored by the faith that you have shown in me, and I promise you this: I am going to the Senate to work for Georgia, all of Georgia, no matter who you cast your vote for in this election.
In this moment in American history, Washington has a choice to make, we all have a choice to make.
Will we continue to divide, distract and dishonor one another or will we love our neighbors as we love ourselves?
Will we play political games while real people suffer or will we win righteous fights together, standing shoulder to shoulder, for the good of Georgia, for the good of our country?
Will we seek to destroy one another as enemies or heed the call towards the common good, building together what Dr. King called “the beloved community?”
I know we can beat this pandemic with science and common sense.
I know we can rebuild a fairer economy by respecting the dignity of work and the workers who do it. An economy that honors those whom we now call essential workers by paying them an essential wage, providing them essential benefits.
I know we can move closer to justice with empathy and understanding, passion and purpose.
To everyone out there struggling today—whether you voted for me or not—know this: I see you. I hear you. And, every day I’m in the United States Senate, I will fight for you. I will fight for your family.
To our supporters, our incredible campaign team and to my family—thank you from the bottom of my heart.
And to every Georgian who marched with us, organized with us, prayed for us, fought for us, believed in us or shared their story and their pain with us—thank you for all your love and support. In the words of Dr. King, who grew up just blocks from where I stand tonight, “We are tied in a single garment of destiny, caught up in an inescapable network of mutuality. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”
I remember my dad used to wake me up every morning at dawn. It was morning. But it was still dark. It’s dark right now. But morning comes. And scripture tells us weeping may endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning. Let us rise up, greet the morning and meet the challenges of this moment. Together, we can do the necessary work and win the future for all of our children.
Thank you. God bless you, Georgia. And God Bless these United States of America.