WASHINGTON WATCH: Republican Party Should Not Ignore African-Americans (VIDEO) | Roland Martin Reports

WASHINGTON WATCH: Republican Party Should Not Ignore African-Americans (VIDEO)

The Republican Party has made a lot of noise about reaching out to minority groups, but most of the talk has been about Latinos. Many of the people at the Republican National Committee luncheon honoring black, Republican pioneers have told RNC Chairman Reince Priebus: do not ignore African-Americans.

Now is the time to for Republicans expand that beyond the walls of the RNC and to black communities nationwide, because the reality is we are Americans just like everyone else, and Republicans should be listening to us, talking to us and competing for our votes.

MR. MARTIN:   Welcome back.

Here at “Washington Watch,” we’re not afraid of black Republicans.  We believe that all of the voices within the black experience are vital and important.

[BACKGROUND FOOTAGE OF THE EVENT.]

MR. MARTIN (VOICEOVER):  After last week’s show, I dropped by the Republican National Committee for a luncheon honoring black, Republican pioneers.  The event, organized by Raynard Jackson, who has been a guest on our roundtable, honored black, Republican trailblazers, like William T. Coleman, the first African-American to serve as a Supreme Court clerk.  He also was secretary of Transportation under President Gerald Ford and a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

[BACKGROUND FOOTAGE OF MR. BROWN.]

MR. MARTIN (VOICEOVER):  The second award went to Robert Brown, chairman and CEO of B&C Associates, the oldest African-American-owned public relations firm in the United States.  Brown was a special assistant to President Richard Nixon, working for the advancement of civil rights.  He is the head of the International Book Smart Foundation, which has shipped 2 million books to South Africa.  Brown spoke of how his connection to South Africa came about.

[BEGIN VIDEO CLIP OF MR. BROWN’S REMARKS.]

MR. ROBERT BROWN:  I was granted permission to go inside Pollsmoor Prison to see Nelson Mandela.  I’m the first and only person outside his immediate family who saw him in those 20-some years, and spent two hours with him when they would only let his family spend 15 minutes.  And so God has opened up so many doors for me in so many ways.

And so I’m grateful.  I’m grateful for this day.  I’m grateful for you, Mr. Chairman, and what you’re trying to do.

1972 is the last time we got almost 20 percent of the black vote, and I’m saying that we can do better than that … because people are looking for something, and we’re the party that can give them something … because there’s room out there for everybody, and people are looking to us for some measure of leadership.

[END OF VIDEO CLIP OF MR. BROWN.  BACKGROUND FOOTAGE OF THE EVENT RESUMES.]

MR. MARTIN (VOICEOVER):  The honored guest was David Steward, chairman and founder of St. Louis-based World Wide Technology, Inc., the number one-ranked black-owned business on the “Black Enterprise” BE 100 List, with more than $3 billion in annual revenue.

There were many familiar faces in the room – faces you’ve seen here on “Washington Watch”:  Armstrong Williams, Elroy Sailor, Texas Republican State Representative Stefani Carter, and retired General William “Kip” Ward.

[END OF BACKGROUND FOOTAGE.]

MR. MARTIN:  The Republican Party has made a lot of noise about reaching out to minority groups, but most of the talk has been about Latinos.  Many of the folks in the room have told me what they have told RNC Chairman Reince Priebus:  do not ignore African-Americans.

This gathering is one way of rallying black Republicans and to make them feel welcome in the party.  Now is the time to expand that beyond the walls of the RNC and to black communities nationwide, because the reality is we are Americans just like everyone else, and Republicans should be listening to us, talking to us and competing for our votes.