September 27, 2004
In a press conference held at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, several weeks ago, Oliver Kellman introduced a new coalition that he hopes will change the direction of the faith community throughout black America in the near and distant future.
The National Faith Based Coalition (NFBC) was formed this year as a "527" political organization that "fights for the preservation of moral and conservative values, and social reform through economic empowerment." Ultimately, Kellman envisions NFBC uniting hundreds of black religious congregations and leaders in the U.S. by spreading the compassionate conservative message throughout the country.
Kellman's own story reflects some of the reasoning behind the creation of this new political organization. He admits he has been active in politics "since my early 20s. I was a Democrat as long as I can remember."
His political journey began as far back as his days in college. He is a graduate of American University's Washington College of Law, and received his undergraduate degree in criminal justice and psychology at John Jay College. As a longtime political strategist he has worked for several high-profile members of the Congressional Black Caucus. As Kellman relates, "I served as Chief of Staff for Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) and have been a legal advisor to Congressman John Conyers (D-MI) on the Congressional Judiciary Committee." Kellman also notes that he worked as senior counsel to U.S. Representative Elliott Engle (D-NY).
The lobbyist's transformation did not take place overnight; in fact, it took a number of years. He relates an incident that happened to him several years ago. He and other representatives from the black community who had close alliances with the Democratic Party met with various top national leaders including Terry MacAuliffe, chairman of the Democratic National Committee.
According to Kellman, many of the people at that meeting expressed their anguish over the lack of attention the party was paying to the concerns of their communities, in areas such as education, economic, and leadership roles within the party. Kellman says he disliked the "callous, arrogant and indifferent attitude" that MacAuliffe showed that day.
Kellman believes that many in the black community prefer a political agenda that is more in line with their personal beliefs. His group, for example, endorses the President's faith-based initiatives programs, and they support President Bush's tax cuts which place less of a financial burden on middle America.
There were more than five-million registered African American voters in 2000. NFBC intends on working towards conveying the compassionate conservative message to the hundreds of thousands of black Americans among that group who not only share the same values but will express it in the voter's booth.
NFBC intends to convey this message and outreach to the black community through speaker's bureaus, targeted door-to-door canvassing, a referral network, phone solicitation, and personal networking by Kellman.
James L. Lambert, a frequent contributor to AgapePress, is the author of Porn in America (Huntington House), which can be purchased through the American Family Association. He is a licensed real-estate mortgage loan sales agent and can be contacted through his website.
© 2004 Agape Press. All rights reserved. Used with permission.