This weekend, guess which Democratic presidential candidate became one of the first to throw a major public campaign event in metro Atlanta?
If you guessed U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (headlines can be misleading), you’d be correct—as the former attorney who could one day run our country brought her infectious energy to both Ebenezer Baptist Church and Morehouse College.
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the fun began with Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s former stomping grounds—Ebenezer Baptist Church.
Harris began her day sharing a pew with Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms at Ebenezer Baptist Church, where the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. once preached. Rev. Raphael G. Warnock, the church’s senior pastor, called Harris’ candidacy “the realization of our ancestors’ wildest dreams.”
Harris addressed the congregation on its annual Youth Day. In her remarks, she reflected on the church’s history in the civil rights movement and continued missions of “justice.”
“When I look at our young leaders on this Youth Day, when I look at the future of our country, I know our future is bright. I also know every fight in our country is born out of optimism,” Harris said. “When I look at the youth leaders in our country today, it is so clear that they are clear that in the face of a vacuum of leadership, they know they cannot leave their future in the hands of those less capable than themselves. I see that in you and it inspires me, it inspires me so.”
Upon the conclusion of her remarks, Harris received a standing ovation from those in attendance. While prior to leaving, she was swarmed by ardent supporters who clamored for selfies and showered her with unbridled praise.
Her next stop was Morehouse, where she enjoyed an elaborate introduction that included a who’s who of local legislators.
“Georgia has the power to throw Donald Trump out of the White House,” former congressional candidate Jon Ossoff told the crowd of 3,000. “Because if we win Georgia, we win it all, folks!”
At Morehouse’s Forbes Arena-McAfee Court, all three scoreboards had 20-20 scores glowing in neon to note the year of the presidential election ahead. After enthusiastic introductions from local politicians and officials including U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson, former congressional candidate Jon Ossoff and Gwinnett County Board of Education member Everton Blair, Harris took the stage with a hearty “What’s up, Atlanta?” She was greeted by the crowd of about 3,000 with applause, cheers and stomps.
Her speech hinged on the concepts of justice and “speaking truth” — being honest even if the truth is uncomfortable. At both the Morehouse rally and the Ebenezer church service, she addressed issues of gun violence in schools, gun control and police violence in communities of color.
“Speaking truth can be quite uncomfortable,” she said. “And for those of us who speak behind a microphone or a podium, there’s an incentive to make people feel happy […] But speaking truth doesn’t always make people feel good. This is a moment in time when we must and leaders must speak truth.”
But how well were her messages received?
“I’m open to hearing what she has to say. I hope it matches up with what I’ve already heard and liked,” attendee Mychael Williams told the Atlantic-Journal Constitution, who attributes her record as a prosecutor as a major selling point. “You know what they say, Democrats have to fall in love with their candidate.”
Also during her trip, Harris received an endorsement from Democratic State Rep. Erick Allen—her first from an elected Georgia official.
“I believe in Kamala Harris’ vision to restore opportunity, truth and justice in America,” Allen said in a statement. “She knows that we have to bring the country together—that we have so much more in common than what separates us.”
Not bad for a day’s work.