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Georgia Sen. Raphael Warnock Ducks Question On Reparations Before Election, Calls For More All Lives Matter Programs

Georgia Sen. Raphael Warnock Ducks Question On Reparations Before Election, Calls For More All Lives Matter Programs

Warnock

Main photo: Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., speaks to reporters about voting rights legislation, Capitol Hill, Aug. 3, 2021. (AP Photo/Amanda Andrade-Rhoades) / Background photo: Black Lives Matter and Blue Lives Matter hold rallies in Ithaca, N.Y., Oct. 24, 2020. (AP Photo/John Munson)

Reparations advocates are accusing Raphael Warnock, the senior pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta and the junior U.S. senator from Georgia since 2021, of ducking the question of reparations for slavery. Warnock is running for re-election in the Nov. 8, 2022 midterm elections.

Once touted as a progressive Democrat, Warnock shied away from a question about reparations at a recent Town Hall meeting in Atlanta’s Dekalb country, which is nearly 55 percent Black. Instead, he talked about government programs and policies that he said would benefit “all families.”

Warnock assumed office on Jan. 20, 2021, and is running for re-election to the U.S. Senate to represent Georgia on May 24. He defeated incumbent Kelly Loeffler in the runoff in Georgia’s 2020–2021 Senate special election on Jan. 5, 2021, becoming the first African American to represent Georgia in the Senate and the first Black Democrat to be elected to the Senate by a former state of the Confederacy.

Richard Smith, a former Senate candidate who went up against Warnock in the 2020 election, asked Warnock about reparations at the Town Hall. YouTube channel Kid Gravity Beyond posted excerpts of Warnock’s answers.

“I’m for equity and opportunity, and I wake up every day fighting for that,” Warnock replied, “and I do it in such a way that I think benefits all of us, but when you look at the issue of healthcare, for example, it would have a disproportionate impact on communities color.”


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Warnock went on to list other programs such as job investment, infrastructure, and an expanded child tax credit that he said would “be a great help to communities of color and other marginalized people.”

Another example, Warnock said, is student loan debt forgiveness, which he contended would help “Black families, brown families, white families, a whole lot of families.”

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It’s not like Warnock has ever fully supported reparations. He was called out during the 2020 elections by Tamara Johnson-Shealey, who ran and lost in 2020 as a Republican. Warnock is on the wrong side of history, according to Johnson-Shealey.

“You do not have an agenda to address the need for reparations for the descendants of slaves in America. In a time when the voices of Black America must be heard, and reparations is a demand, your candidacy does not even mention reparations,” she wrote in a blog post on her website in 2020.

“Instead,” Johnson-Shealey continued, “your candidacy is rooted in the ‘notoriety’ of being Senior Pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church, the home of Martin Luther King, Jr., a position which it seems you are using to elevate your personal political career.”

Johnson-Shealey is a current Republican 2022 candidate for the U.S. Senate to represent Georgia.

Before being voted into office, Warnock was often outspoken about racism in the U.S. In a 2016 sermon at Emory University titled “How Towers Tumble,” Warnock called on the U.S. to “repent for its worship of whiteness” over the success of President Trump’s candidacy.

Main photo: Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., speaks to reporters about voting rights legislation, Capitol Hill, Aug. 3, 2021. (AP Photo/Amanda Andrade-Rhoades) / Background photo: Black Lives Matter and Blue Lives Matter hold rallies in Ithaca, N.Y., Oct. 24, 2020. (AP Photo/John Munson)