Warnock Highlights Critical Issues Ahead of 52nd Annual Legislative Conference

Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.) co-chairs the 52nd Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s Annual Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Senator Raphael Warnock at the Delta Flight Museum mass vaccination site / Flickr)
 
Written by Stacy M. Brown

 

The ALC, renowned as one of the nation’s premier policy forums concerning African Americans and the global Black community, brings together a diverse array of lawmakers, activists, scholars, and thought leaders. The conference fosters critical discussions, explores innovative solutions, and charts a path forward for progress and equity.

By Stacy M. Brown
NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
@StacyBrownMedia

Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.), the co-chair of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), emphasized the importance of fortifying democracy, safeguarding fundamental freedoms, and celebrating cultural heritage as the 52nd Annual Legislative Conference (ALC) approaches.
The event begins Sept. 20 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in D.C., offering a platform for vital discussions on policy, social justice, economic empowerment, healthcare, education, and more. Organizers have selected “Securing Our Democracy, Protecting Our Freedoms. Uplifting Our Culture” as this year’s theme.

“This year’s Annual Legislative Conference theme underscores the pressing need to fortify our democracy, safeguard our fundamental freedoms, and celebrate the richness and vibrancy of our cultural heritage. It also serves as a call to action for individuals and communities to unite in the pursuit of a just and equitable society for all,” Warnock stated in a joint interview with the National Newspaper Publishers Association’s Let It Be Known and the Washington Informer’s WIN-TV.

The ALC, renowned as one of the nation’s premier policy forums concerning African Americans and the global Black community, brings together a diverse array of lawmakers, activists, scholars, and thought leaders. The conference fosters critical discussions, explores innovative solutions, and charts a path forward for progress and equity.

Warnock, who twice won run-off elections in Georgia to secure his Senate seat, asserted the historical significance of the CBC’s role in advancing civil rights and democracy.
“The CBC, I believe, when the history of our country is written, will be recognized for the central role it has played in securing our freedom, in protecting our democracy, in uplifting the ways in which a culture defined by the struggle against oppression has been so important for liberating the whole country,” Warnock said.

Highlighting the current challenges facing the United States, Warnock urged vigilance. “This is a moral moment in our country, literally witnessing an assault on democratic principles that make us a free country,” he pleaded. “The fact that someone like me got elected in Georgia, a state in the heart of the old Confederacy, it’s good news, but it should not lull us into sleep into thinking we have arrived; we have a great struggle ahead.”

The Morehouse graduate and Senior Pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, the former pulpit of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Warnock outlined the key focus areas for this year’s conference. “We’ll be focused on voting rights, protecting our various other civil and human rights,” he inserted. “We will be bringing together a wonderful constellation of policymakers, critical thinkers, elected officials, and ordinary citizens to make our country as great as its ideals.”

He further emphasized that the conference would address a wide range of issues, reflecting the work of Congress. “Everything from protecting our democracy and voting rights to dealing with the need to cap the cost of prescription drugs to make sure people have access to affordable healthcare, which I believe is a human right, to dealing with the issue of gun violence,” Warnock continued.

The 54-year-old expressed pride in welcoming Migos frontman Quavo and grassroots organizations to discuss gun violence while highlighting the tragic loss experienced by Rep. Lucy McBath, who lost her son to racialized gun violence many years ago. He emphasized the importance of a national conversation on this issue.

“It’s a conference that never disappoints,” Warnock assured. “We bring together the best and brightest, not just elected officials, but people who are activists at the grassroots level who help us understand the work we must do on everything from voting rights to healthcare to gun violence to creating jobs and opportunities in communities across our country.”

Additionally, Warnock emphasized the impact of federal policies on elections, the importance of addressing student debt, and the fight for equity in higher education.

“Federal policy makes a difference, and elections matter,” Warnock said. “Before I was Senator, I was a Head Start kid, a program that gives young preschool kids access to the kind of learning they need that both instructs and inspires. I’m a product of Upward Bound, Pell Grants, and low-interest student loans. The data is clear if we can relieve some of the student debt which this [Biden-Harris] administration has made quite a bit of progress on, particularly when you think of how that fight has been enjoined by those who don’t want equity in our country; if we can get more of that done, it would begin to close the racial wealth gap, but all of this is happening at a time when we are seeing an assault on affirmative action especially in the higher education space.”

Warnock concluded by underscoring the role of the CBC in advancing crucial issues and pushing the country toward a more equitable future. “The CBC has always been central to the fight, and I’m proud to be a part of that caucus and proud to do that work,” Warnock stated.

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