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WOBURN — On the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr., the Massachusetts Republican Party is not only reflecting on the meaning of the civil rights icon’s color-blind advocacy, but also its own urban outreach efforts.
“The celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day is not the acknowledgement of a great black man but that of a great American,” said MassGOP State Committee member Rachel Kemp of Dorchester, one of several Republican activists leading the party’s 21st Century Initiative.
The 21st Century Initiative, Kemp said, is a mission dedicated to reintroducing the Republican brand to Massachusetts cities. She pointed out that 2020 will see a committed urban Republican voter registration drive.
“The 21st Century Initiative stresses a simple unifying message — economic self-reliance and limited but effective government,” Kemp said. “The message stresses how the Republican brand embraces the fullness of the American Dream for everyone.”
Massachusetts Republican Party Chairman Jim Lyons said the initiative falls in line with King’s messages of self-government and self-responsibility.
“Dr. King famously preached against racial judgment, yet he also spoke in favor of judging ourselves without respect for color — especially the content of our character — with an emphasis on self-responsibility and above all a love of freedom that absolutely resonates to this day,” Lyons said.
Kemp said the 21st Century Initiative is designed to remind those living in urban core areas that they do have a choice in how they vote. She added that the initiative is also meant to send a message — you can run for office on the Republican ideals of self-reliance and limited government, and you can win.
Kemp said the celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day reminds her that “American greatness is not defined by ethnicity, race, or gender.”
“Greatness is an absolute,” she said. “And if the stars on our cherished flag represented Americans whose contribution helped this country to embrace its full potential, Martin Luther King, Jr. certainly would be one of those stars.”
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