One day before the unprecedented insurrection at the U.S. Capitol inspired by former President Donald Trump, the United States Senate underwent a sea change.

Thanks to heavy voter turnout – largely as a result of the efforts of Black women and other community organizers – Georgia residents elected Jon Ossoff and the Rev. Raphael Warnock to the Senate.

When combined with the tie breaking vote represented by the then newly elected Vice President, Kamala Harris, Georgia’s special election gave Democrats the Senate majority.

For Rev. Warnock, the election provided an unusual opportunity to expand the ethics, commitment and desire to serve he demonstrated regularly from the pulpit as pastor of the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church. Just in time to provide comfort for a nation in need of leadership and healing.

Born in Savannah, Georgia, on July 23, 1969, Warnock graduated from Morehouse College with a degree in psychology. He later graduated from Union Theological Seminary in New York.

When selected for the position of pastor, Warnock was the youngest ever to serve in that leadership role at the historic church. As the now Senator Reverend Warnock, in addition to a seat on the church dais, he fills a critical seat in the U.S. Capitol Building and Senate.

In his less than one year as a Senator, it has become difficult to overstate the impact of his contributions.

He serves as a member of the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee. He chairs the subcommittee on Commodities, Risk Management, Trade, and the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. He is also a member of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, the Senate Aging Committee, and the bicameral Joint Economic Committee.

For his tireless work for the citizens of Georgia and all Americans, Senator Reverend Raphael Warnock has been selected to receive the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) 2021 National Leadership Award, saluting excellence and innovative leadership in Black America.

“Thank you to the Black Press of America and the National Newspaper Publishers Association for this gracious award,” said Sen. Rev. Warnock.

“To my brother, Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr., Chair Karen Carter Richards, National Correspondent Stacy Brown, and the countless others who do the important work to keep our communities informed, engaged, and motivated through these unprecedented times.

“This award is not about me, but the millions of Black Americans in Georgia and across the country who continuously display their courage, perseverance, and fortitude as we navigate increasingly challenging times in our communities and throughout our world. Know that I will continue to do my part in the United States Senate to uplift Georgia voices in the continual march toward what Dr. King called the beloved community.”

This year, the NNPA celebrates 81 years as the trusted voice of Black America and 194 years of the Black Press of America. Each year, the NNPA recognizes courageous Americans that have impacted our nation and our world in positive ways.

Sen. Cory Booker, Congresswoman Cori Bush, Dr. James E.K. Hildreth, Dr. Ebony Hilton, and record-setting Olympic Champion Allyson Felix will also receive awards during this year’s Reception Ceremony.

“While the recipients’ career paths may vary, one cannot underestimate the impact of their shared commitment to creating meaningful and beneficial change in the lives of African Americans,” the members of NNPA’s Board of Directors in a joint statement.

Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr., the president and CEO of the NNPA, said the Black Press “is saluting excellence and innovative leadership in Black America.”

Before the awards, the NNPA will host a special interview with actress Gabrielle Union.

The National Leadership Awards are virtual this year and scheduled for 7 p.m. EST on Thursday, September 16. Registration is free at

Photo of Senator Reverend Raphael Warnock provided by NNPA Newswire