In the meantime, and in between time, check out this exclusive broadcast from the Conversation Club, a Black professional mixer/panel discussion, which was held on Wednesday, June 20th 2011. The featured topic for this panel discussion was: Black Philadelphia and The Republican Party. Yeah, you read right.
The event, which was held at Elena's Soul Lounge, 4912 Baltimore Avenue in Southwest Philly, was co-organized by Audra Butts and Carl Dash, two local Black Republicans. Go 'head, you can clutch the pearls. But before you strangle yourself to death, do know that both Dash and Butts are actually smart, well-reasoned and pretty cool (i.e. not crazy) folks. Certainly not the whitewashed sell-outs, which many of us have come to associate with a black person wearing the label "republican."
In fact, both Dash and Butts wanted to use this event as a way to challenge our thinking about the impact our reliance on one party (The Democrats) has had on our community - especially in major cities like Philadelphia, where the democrats run unopposed in most elections. As a self-proclaimed Independent, as well as a person who puts the interest of Black folks first, I am certainly down with challenging the status quo, no matter what side of the aisle they may reside. However, this was not the only purpose of this particular discussion.
As many of you may know from reading the local papers, the local GOP has been seriously flailing lately to the point that many local wards do not have committee people to fill the slots. With the future of the GOP in jeopardy, a new faction within the GOP called the Loyal Opposition has been trying to wrestle control away from the current leadership in hopes of steering the party into a more inclusive direction. While many of the Black members of the GOP welcome this new direction, some folks suspect that the same racist elements, which keeps black folks away from the party, also reside among some within the Loyal Opposition. Likewise, some Black republicans have disagree strongly with the alleged "outreach" tactics used by the Loyal Opposition, including a (well sourced) allegation of Loyal Opposition party members going into poor Black neighborhoods and bribing drunks, drug addicts and any other miscreants they could find on the street, with free hamburgers in exchange for registering Republican.
These allegations came to light in a separate discussion, which played itself out a couple of days prior to the discussion on Facebook. So in addition to challenging Black folks loyalty to the Democrats, Butts and Dash also wanted to clear the air with members of the Loyal Opposition about these alleged tactics as well as their overall agenda for and with the community.
This was certainly a spirited and fascinating discussion. Panelist included: John Featherman, the 2012 Republican challenger in the First Congressional District; Sgt. Robert Allen Mansfields, Republican candidate for the Second Congressional District; Randy Robinson, Black Republican and political consultant; Judith Robinson, realtor and Black Republican; and Denise Clay, a writer for the Philadelphia Public Record and Independent.
I know this is quite an introduction to this broadcast but I just wanted to make sure that I was as thorough as possible. Also, if you think I'm wordy, this broadcast is exactly 2 hours and 17 minutes long. So crank up the A/C, grab the popcorn and kick your feet up because you are going to be here for a while.
Listen after the jump: