First let me begin by thanking those who have endorsed me for Outreach Chair. This is not about me but about the future of our party. As a person preparing to work on his second Masters degree in education I am fully committed to working with you all as we move forward.
If there was a time in the world where people needed change that time is right now. As your next Outreach Chair of the Michigan Republican Party I will provide REAL CHANGE that will move our party into the 21st century.
I am running for Outreach because this outreach program must be committed to supporting our common sense approach to public policy and politics: improving public education, expanding economic opportunities to historically disadvantaged sectors in Michigan, vigorously promoting equality for all citizens here in Michigan, protecting the sanctity of human life and restoring moral values and the importance of family in our communities.
My eleven target cities are the following:
High school or higher: 38.0%
Bachelor's degree or higher: 11.0%
Graduate or professional degree: 4.2%
Crime Ranking in the United States: 3
High school or higher: 57.7%
Bachelor's degree or higher: 8.7%
Graduate or professional degree: 2.7%
3. Benton Harbor
High school or higher: 40.5%
Bachelor's degree or higher: 4.2%
Graduate or professional degree: 2.2%
4. Highland Park
High school or higher: 43.9%
Bachelor's degree or higher: 6.1%
Graduate or professional degree: 2.4%
High school or higher: 54.3%
Bachelor's degree or higher: 12.1%
Graduate or professional degree: 4.7%
High school or higher: 54.5%
Bachelor's degree or higher: 11.3%
Graduate or professional degree: 4.1%
Crime Ranking in the United States:6
High school or higher: 53.1%
Bachelor's degree or higher: 10.4%
Graduate or professional degree: 3.3%
High school or higher: 48.9%
Bachelor's degree or higher: 10.3%
Graduate or professional degree: 3.1%
High school or higher: 44.1%
Bachelor's degree or higher: 4.7%
Graduate or professional degree: 1.4%
10. River Rouge
High school or higher: 49.5%
Bachelor's degree or higher: 5.6%
Graduate or professional degree: 2.3%
11. Hamtramck, Michigan
High school or higher: 52.2%
Bachelor's degree or higher: 11.5%
Graduate or professional degree: 4.5%
I work in educational areas such as Hamtramck, Highland Park and Detroit. I have worked with African American, Arab, Polish, Jewish, African, Hispanic and Asian children on all levels ranging from 4-12 grade. I have toured every single urban center in Michigan and see how these areas have been neglected for quite some time. There is a need for nurturing in these communities.
We have to begin to dismiss the notion that conservative thought is dead. It is not dead. It needs renovation. That is why urban conservatism is necessary in this day and age to bring our platform current, get people interested in urban issues from a conservative perspective and create solutions for a better future.
Let me perfectly honest with you. I am not a radical as many think. I am a strategic thinker, planner and executioner of ideas and agendas. I spoke at Marygrove College last night to a social work policy class. Not one time I told them I was a Republican. I lectured on the importance of changing educational policies in Michigan to make it family friendly. When I was done with my presentation they embraced the urban conservative platform without me ever saying the words "conservative" or "Republican."
Just like many Black Republicans in leadership (both statewide and nationally) I am also from the "hood." I live, pray for, and help our children who are living in poverty, malnourished, mis-educated and come from broken homes. This is what fuels my passion for becoming your next Outreach Chair of the party.
I will help us set an agenda that will help create political diversity in our communities. Adult illiteracy is a crime in the urban communities across Michigan. Over half of the population in Detroit are functionally illiterate. I am already working on solutions for this pandemic. I am also working with policymakers on extending educational choice for our children. As a part of a ad-hoc group on mental health I am quickly learning how we must come up with a solution to the mental health crisis in our communities. The Emerging Leaders Think Tank (a creation of my close friend Kimberly Hill) is tackling strategies to increase civic participation in Detroit through smart public policies. I'm always trying to pick my brother, Ken Harris brain, who is the Chairman/CEO of the International Detroit Black Expo.
And of course, teaching both civic and economic education to our children to help them become better citizens have always been my passion for change. However, if you want to win in liberal areas you have to be able to see and analyze for yourself what is going on TODAY.
Not to mention how several national Republican grassroots advocates are supporting my bid to become the next Outreach Chair of the Michigan Republican Party. The reason? They embrace my platform on urban conservatism and my vision on global economic expansion to tie into the urban communities. They like the fact that I am thinking out the box.
The Republican Party cannot go into the graveyards seeking answers. Think about what I am saying here. We need innovation if we want to move forward. The GOP convention was embarrassingly devoid of people of color -- among more than 2,000 delegates, only 36 were black. Even if President-elect Obama was creating excitement in this year's Presidential politics how come we had so many Blacks voting on the other side. When I heard from several people who voted for Dick DeVos for Governor in 2006 and voted for Obama in 2008 they simply told me that the humanitarian issues of the day were more important than the old platform the GOP have been trying to sell to people for decades.
It sounds like we simply ran out of ideas.
Former Maryland Lt. Governor Michael Steele said it best recently in the Washington Times.
"(GOP) party officials don't give a damn. To them, outreach means let's throw a cocktail party, find some black folks and Hispanics and women, wrap our arms around them -- 'See, look at us.' And then we go back to the same old, same old. The party has simply not understood the importance of having highly visible black Republican operatives, elected officials and political spokespersons working for it on an ongoing basis."
This sounds like us here. However, we can change that perception by adding a little spice and flavor to how we do business.
What attracted me to the GOP in the first place was their position on educational choice. Republicans, in my opinion, take a more aggressive approach to education than Democrats. However, when we get stuck on social conservative issues such as religion, guns and abortion we get sidetracked. That is what happened in this election.
I can testify that being an urban conservative isn't easy. My Black GOP colleagues and I endure endless ridicule and questioning from other African Americans, including close friends and family members who wonder how we can belong to a political party that is so overwhelmingly White, male, Southern, conservative and seemingly closed to ethnic minorities.
On a personal note, race does not bother me. I have friends of every hue under the rainbow. What bothers me is the fact that we are not interested in crashing the party in heavily liberal areas where policies have failed taxpayers. This is called a fear factor. This is why I am here to help.
I want to build a bridge between those who may feel extremely uncomfortable campaigning in hostile areas in the inner cities. At the same time, I want to empower Black Republicans who go home to a hostile environment where we are called Uncle Tom and maligned as a sell-out to the community because of our membership in the Republican Party. It all can be done under one big tent called education.
As your next Outreach Chair my focus is always improving our relationships with the community at-large. Just because I outlined eleven targeted communities does not mean I cannot come into other communities. In fact, I have traveled and campaigned to 126 communities just in Southeastern Michigan alone. While I have endured my fare share of bigotry, racism and mis-understandings I was always able to connect with people on a personal level no matter how much money they had, what school their children went to and what type of home they lived in.
Our party has to become inclusive. We talk about President Abraham Lincoln and how he singed the Emancipation Proclamation to free the slaves. Well, I want to sign our own 2008 version of the Emancipation Proclamation to help free our children from failing public schools, from crime ridden communities and promote silver rights to educate and empower our families in our communities. Every family needs some empowerment with the economy going through a free fall.
The GOP needs leadership that is genuine, dedicated and serious about the transformation process in Michigan. It is absolutely ridiculous to allow the Democratic Party to come in conservative areas and win elections in Michigan when we are always on the defensive.
The party has to "identify, elevate and support blacks who currently work within the party at the local level long before Election Day. We must embrace the talent that the party has now, those who have earned their stripes.
However, when I am elected to the Outreach Chair I want those same Black Republicans who I had the pleasure of meeting during the DeVos campaign to stop making excuses about this party and join in the transformation. I am going to need you at the table effecting change in our own local communities. I would like to sit and mentor you to run for local and state party chairmanships because we need to be there when the platforms are being decided, and when candidates are being selected to run for office.
To those GOP leaders in Michigan who need help getting into the inner cities allow me to give you some advice.
Our party must to go to Black churches, colleges and other organizations to make the case for the party as a viable option for African Americans. We should mentor and nurture young Black Republicans on college campuses, teaching them to canvass, providing paid internships and encouraging them to attend party rules and platform meetings, where real political power resides.
We should introduce elected Black state and local officials to the national donor base to help them build their coffers for future elections. We should recruit Blacks straight from the urban districts, utilizing a urban policy plan to rebuild our cities, encourage entrepreneurship and small business start-ups and promote lower taxes for job creation.
We have to do this during TODAY not wait until 1-2 WEEKS BEFORE ELECTION DAY when you drop literature in our community about abortion and same sex marriages. Hell, what's the difference between this and Willie Lynch? It's a form of mind and psychological control and we need to evolve from this tactic if we want serious in-roads in our urban communities.
Of course I am not leaving my Hispanic, Asian, Arab, Chaldean and African brothers and sisters out of the mix either. I want them to help me create a better reality for all of us.
For my social conservatives who enjoy talking about abortion and gay marriage allow me to give you some advice. If you are going to talk about abortion talk about it from an economic perspective. For example, show how abortions impact the community economically. Instead of you bashing gays and lesbians how about rolling out a plan to actually strengthening marriage and relationships in our community first before going on the attack? The Black community is a community that does not stress marriage due to other social factors. We talk about Islam in a negative fashion but every single Muslim man and woman I know is married and have children. Instead of making religion a political issue how about taking a look on how Muslims keep their families intact.
Diversity is a good thing. Michigan Republicans have to stop allowing ourselves to be accused of voter suppression in every campaign. And let's grow the vote in nontraditional areas the same way Obama did in rural and suburban white Michigan.
Sounds good? I do not need you to wish me good luck. I need you to say what can I do to help your cause as an Outreach Chair? I will simply say love me, hold me and walk with me to victory. Then I need for you to support this cause by forwarding this message to others. If we all work together we will win in the end.