A group of black and white Memphis Republicans met this morning at the request of Charlotte Bergmann to discuss an upcoming event and how to breach the black/white gulf that Republicans face in this city.
Ms. Bergmann discussed her recent trip to Washington, D.C., and her meeting with Apostle Claver, founder of www.ragingelephants.org. She liked what he had to say and invited him to Memphis. As a result, he will lead a prayer breakfast Monday, April 25, at 7 a.m. at the Crescent Club. Then, on the 26th, he will have a “boot camp” (time and place to be arranged) here to discuss his methods of reaching the black community.
“There is a discrepancy between our values and pushing the ‘D’ button on election day,” said Ms. Bergmann. “Claven has had some success in Maryland,” she said. “He wants to give them at least some knowledge before they press the ‘D.’ He has a three point plan. First, he goes into a community and saturates it with information. Then, he conducts a poll and asks a series of questions, tabluates them and then those who score a 30 and above are targeted. Third, he puts boots on the ground.”
Chairman Justin Joy commented that he, too, would like to ask “why do you push the D button.” He said the process for that starts in the churches.
Bishop Melvin Nalley observed that “welfare was not for people to fare well. I don’t ask you to open the door, just let me walk through the door.” The minister feels that Republican values are what is needed, but the man on the street “wants to know what’s in it for me. ” He believes coalitions, similar to those formed in the civil rights movement, will help address this question and bring more black people to conservative thought.
“We’re not giving out free cheese,” he said, “but building a coalition makes people start looking at you.”
Perhaps Apostle Claven, who has written a book entitled “GOP Is the New Black,” can give us an insight on how to start.