Texas Gubernatorial candidate seeks campaign advice and support from the civil rights icon
When it comes to politics in Texas, especially in Houston, nearly every candidate seeks to get the endorsement and/or “sit at the feet” of one man—Reverend William A. “Bill” Lawson.
Rev. Lawson is a long serving community leader in the Greater Houston area, having founded Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church in June of 1962, and becoming a civil rights leader, who befriended and would house Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. when he would visit Houston.
As for the gubernatorial race in Texas, Democratic candidate Beto O’Rourke recently came to Houston to do just that—”sit at the feet” of Rev. Lawson in his personal home and solicit campaign advice on his quest to unseat incumbent Republican governor Greg Abbott.
The intimate gathering was hosted by Rev. Lawson, and organized by Pastor Marcus Cosby, who succeeded Rev. Lawson as the Senior Pastor of Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church, and former Houston City Councilmember Dwight Boykins.
During the meeting, O’Rourke listened intently to the soft-spoken, 94-year-old civil rights icon, as Rev. Lawson shared some encouraging words with him about the need to bring about change at the state capitol.
“I hope you can help us get Greg Abbott out of that seat,” Lawson stated as he took his time to gather his thoughts and share his sentiments. “I certainly hope that we can get Greg Abbott out, which is a good part of your campaign. And waking up day after day to another murder means that we are watching a time when guns are more and more available.”
O’Rourke emphasized his campaign platform, but spent more time listening to Rev. Lawson, and soliciting advice from Pastor Cosby and Pastor Timothy Sloan.
Pastor Sloan serves as the Senior Pastor of The Luke Church in Humble, TX.
When asked what he needed to be successful in his campaign, O’Rourke quickly emphasized the need for advice as to how he could most effectively engage and connect with faith-based leaders across the state of Texas to help him win.
O’Rourke also expressed how serious this moment is, not just for Texas, but the nation.
“I believe this is the most historic election in my lifetime,” O’Rourke exclaimed. “One of the reasons I think this is so historic is that the actual ability to vote and the right to vote, and the protection of our democracy is under attack now unlike any time in my lifetime, for sure. I would argue any time since 1965 when the Voting Rights Act was signed into law by LBJ. My understanding is that the only reason that the President signed that into law was because he was in many ways forced to, or maybe better put, he was given the power to do the right thing by those like you who engaged the conscience of the country, like Dr. King, like John Lewis who precipitated that speech to Congress by his actions on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in March of 1965. I think this moment calls for that kind of action and that kind of leadership. I know it won’t be the candidate or political party that gets this done. It’s got to be people. And my belief is in much the same way that a multi-racial democracy was precipitated by the leadership in houses of worship and from faith leaders, it will be again today. I’m convinced of it.”
Pastor Cosby and Pastor Sloan agreed to work together with O’Rourke to help connect him with other faith leaders across the Greater Houston area and help his campaign efforts.
The group concluded with a group photo and then O’Rourke darted off to his next meeting, personally driving his own truck, as he does when he travels to all 253 counties across Texas.