GOP focuses on minorities Posted: 4:00 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 25, 2013 (The Atlanta Journal Constitution) By Leo Smith The conservative movement is sweeping through historically black colleges and universities (HBCU) across the United States. Fiscal restraint, individual responsibility and free-market principles are resonating with young African-American students, and the world is starting to take notice. Last month, Morehouse College joined the growing list of College Republican organizations popping up at HBCUs, adding to the public discourse and providing ideological choices for college students. The recently re-chartered Morehouse Republicans are a new voice on campus that tells the other side of the story. A fully operating, policy-critiquing, conservative student organization on any campus is a big deal. At Morehouse, a historic leader in developing the signature black American male intellect, it is a very big deal. Beyond educational prowess, Morehouse also has a storied history of developing men who buck the system and shape the annals of history. One such student who walked the grounds of Morehouse was the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. From what we have seen thus far from new Morehouse Republicans Chairman Michael Roundtree and his executive team, Morehouse still fosters leaders – like Dr. King – who are willing to stand against the status quo and fight for freedom. As a state party, we have a unique opportunity to reach people who normally do not identify with the Republican Party. The Republican Party has more in common with minority groups in Georgia than what separates us. In fact, we have more in common with minority groups than Democrats do. As the Republican National Committee and the Georgia GOP continue to roll out minority engagement initiatives, the false narrative created by the Democratic Party and the liberal media about the policies and principles of the Republican Party is quickly being replaced with our “Choose Freedom” message that resonates with all ages, genders, colors and creeds. Minority groups that typically side with Democrats are now realizing that conservative principles — not liberal dogma — create jobs, grow the economy and preserve opportunity for generations to come. The Georgia GOP minority engagement strategy is rooted in a field program that reaches the four corners of the state. It maximizes our ability to connect across race to identify, engage, edify and mobilize new voices that believe in freedom and turn out to vote Republican. In total, the GOP expects more than 200 new leaders and candidates to emerge from the effort. It is to be expected that conservatives at Morehouse and atypical Republican voters will be ostracized. The thousands of black, Asian, Indian and Hispanic Americans who choose to be drum majors leading a different band will face social pressures and tests. But we are inspired by their belief in America and their character to stand on values instead of popularity. The party welcomes and supports those interested in debating liberty, choosing freedom and connecting America. More importantly, we stand with them, ready to move this country forward and defend the American Dream together. Leo Smith is director of minority engagement for the Georgia Republican Party.