Black presence in state GOP is growing stronger

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Many believe that the efforts of the Republican Party to win the hearts and minds of black Americans are built solely on events headlined by celebrities, politicians and athletes.

While it is easier to pack a room when Stacey Dash, Herman Cain or T.W. Shannon come to town, the catalyst of growth for the black conservative movement in America is much deeper.

Leading up to the May 20 primary, I had a unique opportunity to showcase the efforts of the Georgia Republican Party’s Minority Engagement Initiative to my counterparts in Washington, D.C. Trailed by a reporter from the Associated Press, we embarked on a series of roundtable discussions with clergy, small-business owners, activists and black conservative advisory council members to discuss growth and opportunity, and catalog the explosion of conservatism in the black community.

Our day began at Mount Zion First Baptist Church in Smyrna. Founded in 1877, Mt. Zion is home to some of Cobb County’s oldest black residents. Led by former Cobb Ministerial Alliance President John Hearst, Mount Zion understands the importance of political awareness, involvement and engagement. For Pastor Hearst, an unapologetic Christian conservative, there’s no difference in the values of the Republican Party and what he teaches and preaches every Sunday morning.

LATER IN THE evening, we gathered at Superior Eatz – a black-owned restaurant in the historic Auburn Avenue section of downtown Atlanta – to discuss economic development and job creation. The meeting began with a tour of the newly opened facility and a personal story from the owner about her transition from construction worker to the catering and hospitality industry. According to the owner, the Republican-backed tax incentive programs that led to the construction of her restaurant made living the American dream possible.

The next stop was a planning session for a black conservative conference in the fall, centered around historically black colleges and universities. After Morehouse College added a Republican Club on campus, the word spread to HBCUs around the country that it’s OK to be a black Republican. To leverage that excitement for the good of the movement, we are working with Morehouse College alumnus Harold Booker; Morehouse College Republicans Chairman Michael Roundtree; and former Fulton County GOP Executive Director and COO of Engaged Futures Claire Barlett to play hosts to a Black Conservative Leadership Conference in Atlanta this fall. The black conservative movement is sweeping through HBCUs across the country and the Georgia Republican Party wants to be instrumental in providing the framework and resources necessary to ensure success.

WE ENDED THE day with a Black Engagement Advisory Board meeting at the Georgia Republican Party Headquarters. Joined by Georgia GOP Chairman John Padgett, the board – which includes RNC National Black Advisory appointee Camilla Moore – reviewed the new Walk App, which harnesses top-notch technology to assist grassroots activists in their get-out-the-vote efforts. Our team not only has the right message but also has the appropriate technology to reach, engage and involve black conservatives throughout Georgia.

From faith to empowerment, and from technology to leadership, the Georgia Minority Engagement initiative revolves around giving black Georgians the tools they need to grow, thrive and prosper – politically and economically.

While black-tie galas and celebrity speakers are nice, they merely create a following that’s a mile wide and an inch deep. Our goal at the Georgia Republican Party is to set in motion a movement that outlasts us. To do that, we must continue to be a party that’s multifaceted, dynamic and malleable. We always must desire to be more than just a one-trick pony.

(The writer is director of minority engagement for the Georgia Republican Party.)

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deestafford
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deestafford 06/08/14 - 06:06 am
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What an exciting and eye opening column....

What an exciting and eye opening column!

My hat is off to you Mr. Smith for your efforts to lift the scales of ignorance off the eyes of the black community.

You are so right that the values black pastors preach from the pulpit are the same values espoused by the Republican Party. The Democratic Party is pro-abortion, pro-gay marriage, anti-individualism, soft on crime, and pro-unfettered illegal immigration all of which are against the values that the majority of blacks believe.

There are no Democratic policies which support the upward mobility of the blacks. Their policies are those which only continue to keep the blacks dependent on the government because they realize that the blacks who truly think for themselves will not continue to vote for the liberal plantation overseerers.

Obama's policies have done nothing to raise the plight of the black community. Education levels have gone down. Out of wedlock births continue to be 70%. Unemployment is much higher than the whites. Any measure of prosperity for the black community has gone down during this administration.

Hopefully, the Republican Party will get presidential and vice presidential candidates who can go into the black communities and articulate the advantages of the blacks voting Republican. Shoot, I would like to see some nominated that would do that in the white community. The last few we have had have not done that.

seenitB4
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seenitB4 06/08/14 - 08:07 am
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I saw the light...wow

Yes, it is ok to be black & republican at the same time.

I hope this continues & with the crazy decisions coming from the dem side, it is a given.

Listen to Dr Ben Carson with an open mind....the man is telling the truth & has the backbone to stand up to the naysayers.
Read his books, you won't be sorry.

bubba2014
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bubba2014 06/08/14 - 08:18 am
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Dr. Ben Carson would be a
Unpublished

Dr. Ben Carson would be a great president candidate. He would be a good VP candidate but no GOP politician will pick him. Dr. Carson is smarter than Hillary and the community organizer put together. He will be called an uncle Tom by many in the black leadership.

stuaby
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stuaby 06/08/14 - 08:43 am
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"The black conservative

"The black conservative movement is sweeping through HBCUs across the country..."

Sweeping? Wow. This is the first I've heard this. I must look into it...

I'm sort of removed from HBCU's, so I wouldn't know. I do have relatives at Southern U. (Baton Rouge, LA), Hampton U. and Jackson State U. (Jackson, MS) but have never heard any of them mention a Republican groundswell.

stuaby
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stuaby 06/08/14 - 08:45 am
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"What an exciting and eye

"What an exciting and eye opening column!"

I'm with you on that, deestafford. I hope its true and not wishful thinking, or something.

jimmymac
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jimmymac 06/08/14 - 10:49 am
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CONSERVATIVE
Unpublished

Many upwardly mobile blacks are seeing that the democratic party does absolutely nothing for them. They see that the only time democrats pay attention to blacks is when it's election time. Many blacks have traditionally been conservative in their beliefs so it's always amazed me when they consistently vote democrat at election time. You'd think they would have assessed their plight under democratic control and figured out they haven't prospered with dems in power.

Sweet son
10406
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Sweet son 06/08/14 - 05:30 pm
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Maybe black leaders can convince black voters to vote

with strong conservative votes and not vote for those of color because of that color! And yes, we know that blacks and other minorities vote skin color only.

Bizkit
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Bizkit 06/08/14 - 09:06 pm
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Wow kind of paints Dems as

Wow kind of paints Dems as liars again about Rep's being racist and no black would vote for a Rep.

itsanotherday1
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itsanotherday1 06/08/14 - 09:40 pm
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When we had the old forums, I

When we had the old forums, I stated then that as soon as more blacks pursued and achieved the American dream, you would see more in the Republican party. Slowly but surely, when they start making enough money to pay exorbitant taxes, they will understand what the rest of the taxpayers have been feeling for so long. They will tire of providing the nipple too, and will move towards more conservative views on dependency.

I welcome it, as it will begin to sound the death knell for the Democratic leeches.

It also proves that it isn't race or skin color that separates us, but rather behavior, culture, beliefs, etc.

Bizkit
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Bizkit 06/08/14 - 10:09 pm
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It doesn't matter the

It doesn't matter the ethnicity-studies show that as people increase their wealth they likely will shift Rep. That's why Obama is doing all he can to keep people impoverished it seems as this population is increasing.

justus4
101
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justus4 06/08/14 - 11:49 pm
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The article MUST be an
Unpublished

The article MUST be an attempt at humor for the ignorant, here is why: Look at the voter restrictions laws employed by deep-southern states on the SAME day the so-called Supreme Court ruled that
"pre-qualification" was no longer needed for states with a poor history of voters equality. "They've" gutted the Civil Rights Act! All legal...but foolin' the peps will only work on the ignorant...the article is a clear example of such.

stuaby
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stuaby 06/09/14 - 09:03 pm
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"It doesn't matter the

"It doesn't matter the ethnicity-studies show that as people increase their wealth they likely will shift Rep. "

Indeed.

kissofdeath
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kissofdeath 06/09/14 - 10:33 pm
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1
This is misleading letter.

This is misleading letter. Not true. If you've ever said, " I don't care if you're white, black,yellow or purple," you might be a racist.

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