Democratic presidential candidate and author Marianne Williamson delivers the sermon before signing books at Hillside International Truth Center in Atlanta on Sunday, September 1,2019. Williamson is among a crowded field of Democratic candidates vying for the nation's top job.
Photo: John Amis/Special to the AJC
Photo: John Amis/Special to the AJC

Marianne Williamson pushes message of hope, love at Hillside

Democratic presidential candidate Marianne Williamson spoke at Hillside International Truth Center on Sunday, evoking the city’s role behind seismic changes in the nation’s cultural, civil rights and political history.

“Atlanta has always been a vortex,” said Williamson, the bestselling author and activist. “Atlanta has always been throughout our history, and continues to be, where the darkness and the light duke it out.”

The rest of the nation’s, and indeed the world’s, eyes are watching Georgia, she said. Political experts consider the state to play an important role in the 2020 presidential election.

During her speech, Williamson, who is considered a longshot to reach the White House, touched on such issues as mass incarceration, poverty, voter registration, divisiveness, fear and hate.

Democratic presidential candidate and author Marianne Williamson reacts to applause after delivering the sermon and before signing books at Hillside International Truth Center in Atlanta. Williamson is among a crowded field of Democratic candidates vying for the nation’s top job.
Photo: John Amis/Special to the AJC

However, in true Marianne Williamson fashion, she also talked extensively about the power of love, truth and conviction.

“Love will prevail because love has prevailed,” she said. “It is the alpha and it is the omega. And yet, what is left to you and to me, what is left to God’s people is how long that’s going to take in this world.”

To make real change in this nation, people stood up and stepped in, she said.

“Let us not be naive, the political status quo today is not going to repair itself,” she said. “The political status quo today is not going fundamentally change the patterns that brought us to this point. It is once again time for the people to rise up.”

Williamson may not be among the top Democratic candidates, but she is out there telling people to “hold on” and that they can make a difference, said Bishop Barbara L. King, who encouraged the audience to vote.

King made it clear that Williamson’s visit should not be considered a political endorsement or rally, “but we can embrace her.”

Democratic presidential candidate Marianne Williamson poses with an attendee during a book signing after delivering the sermon at Hillside International Truth Center in Atlanta on Sunday, September 1, 2019. As president, Williamson wants to establish a U.S. Department of Peace.
Photo: John Amis/Special to the AJC

This was Williamson’s first visit to Hillside, although she has known King, who founded the New Thought ministry, for several years. Her visit was part of Hillside’s 48th anniversary celebration.

A day earlier, Williamson shared her vision with black faith leaders at the Interdenominational Theological Center. The event was hosted by the New Georgia Project Action Fund. The fund has also held events for other presidential candidates including Cory Booker, Bernie Sanders, Pete Buttigieg and Julian Castro.

» RELATED: Who is Marianne Williamson?

Many visitors in the audience said they came to hear Williamson, although not all had made a decision on a 2020 candidate and it became clear that many wanted to hear the popular author and activist.

Several visitors who stood up represented various spiritual centers and movements. Others had read her books, and some had heard her speak before.

Democratic presidential candidate and author Marianne Williamson is introduced by Bishop Barbara L. King before delivering the sermon and signing books at Hillside International Truth Center in Atlanta on Sunday, September 1, 2019. Williamson is among a crowded field of Democratic candidates vying for the nation's top job.
Photo:  John Amis/Special to the AJC

“It’s a great opportunity to get to know her,” said Evanya Lawson of Decatur, who was visiting the Cascade Road church for the first time. “I’ve always seen her as a thought leader and change agent.”

President of the United States, though?

“That’s what I’m here to find out,” Lawson said. “It gives me some kind of hope that she can be an influence inside our government.”

Cynthia McCarthy, who drove down from Rome, said she has been impressed by Williamson’s “level of consciousness, her intellect and her message. I do believe in my heart she’s a viable candidate. She wants to get to the root causes of issues and problems.”

After hearing her “I support her even more. She was great.”

Loran Wharton of Marietta, a member of Hillside, has already decided to vote for Williamson as a write-in candidate if she doesn’t get the Democratic National Party’s nomination.

“I loved her,” said Wharton. “She spoke the truth and it resonated with me. I love her candor. I wish more people would bring us such optimism.”

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