‘America’s Freedom Church’ Ebenezer Baptist Church Hosts ‘Get Out The Vote Prayer Rally’

Faith Leaders From Across The Country Join Historic Ebenezer Baptist Church For a ‘Get Out the Vote Prayer Rally’

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s historic Ebenezer Baptist Church was the original location for the pre-election prayer rally held last night. Luckily the rally was moved to the new sanctuary as the turnout was far from small. Various generations of voters gathered at ‘Amerca’s Freedom Church,’ a befitting name for the church as presiding pastor Rev. Raphael Warnock addressed the crowd.

The non-partisan rally and free concert was hosted to encourage Georgians to head to the polls Tuesday, November 6th. “This is a fight for the character of our state and the soul of our nation,” says Rev. Warnock. Upon entering the sanctuary, tables requesting voter protection volunteers and sign up for text banks were displayed to encourage attendees to get active about voting. With the audience shoulder to shoulder, Rev. Warnock stressed the importance of not just talking the talk but also walking the walk.

“Tonight we spend some time on the mountain, but tomorrow we go into the valley to continue the work,” says Rev. Warnock.  The historic campaign has made multiple headlines including accusations against Secretary of State and Republican candidate Brian Kemp of voter suppression. Rev. Warnock and President of the NAACP, Derrick Johnson both intentionally educate the crowd on the Voting Rights Act and the unconstitutional ruling on section 4 and 5. “Section 4 is — or was, before the Shelby County v. Holder decision — a key part of the Voting Rights Act, because it provided a formula for the federal government to use in identifying jurisdictions with problematic histories of racial discrimination” according to a Vox article.

However, this midterm election has seen record numbers during early voting this year. But as Rabbi Sharon Brous said, “it’s not about making history but making justice happen. Neutrality is not a category when human lives are on the line.” No speaker hesitated to point out the negative and hateful influence President Trump and his supporters have had on our nation. But just like the historic church’s predecessors, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, ” darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”

Not only were attendees encouraged through word and prayer but also through song, with performances by Gospel greats Dottie People’s and Byron Cage. As well as an ode to the ‘kings of the congregation’ by Angie Stone with her hit song, Brotha.

Other speakers included Rev. Jennifer Butler, CEO, and founder of Faith and Public Life, Congressman John Lewis, Rev. Jim Wallace, Rev. Traci Blackmon, and Rev. Timothy McDonald.

Poet Laureate Hank Stewart recalled a time when activist like Rev. Jesse Jackson and Congressman John Lewis were always mad, even on their birthdays. But not the mad you would expect when talking about systemic racism, but MAD (Making a Difference). His poem not only lifted spirits but rang a familiar and resounding bell in the community on the importance of staying MAD.

Angie Stone’s performance of Brotha came with a call to not just show up at the polls but to bring someone along with you. She aligns the walk with the talk as she tells of driving seniors to the polls to ensure the fight they endured is not taken away with shady voter suppression tactics like closing polling locations n predominately black areas.

To conclude the rally, Rev. Warnock called on Dr. Cynthia Hale and Rev. Jesse Jackson to pray over the voters and soon to be voters before venturing to the polls Tuesday. Rev. Robert Lee IV, a descendant of General Robert E. Lee, also addressed attendees, putting a face to a movement.

Polls will be open Tuesday, November 6th until 7 pm.



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