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Photo by Gage Skidmore | CC BY-SA 2.0

Few people know Candace Owens’ story. She first came into the public spotlight as a senior in high school after the son of current Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy (D) threatened to burn down her house and kill her all while repeating racial slurs. Candace Owens knows racism well, and has continued to confront it directly throughout her life. When Candace was greeted on campus by an angry hoard of mostly white Antifa mobsters shouting “get the f**k out of Philly,” none of the usually vocal liberal groups defending minorities on campus or in the broader media came to her defense. Why?

Candace Owens is clearly controversial. She vigorously attacks her leftist opponents and speaks her mind regardless of the opinions of those who oppose her. Although Candace Owens has repeatedly acknowledged the existence of racism and historical injustices, individuals continue to deem her a denier of racism, an “Uncle Tom,” a “sellout,” and at the most extreme, a “white supremacist.” A rudimentary knowledge of her personal history and #Blexit advocacy work reveals the ridiculousness of these claims.

None of these attacks have deterred Candace Owens. In her speeches, she focuses on issues in the black community that she believes have a far larger impact than modern racism. She decries the enormous black father-absence rate, in which over 77 percent of black babies are born today to unwed mothers. She targets school districts and local governments for disgraceful achievement gaps in education and evading accountability. She bemoans violence, drug use, and abortion that have weakened countless communities over time. Candace Owens calls out politicians who use fears of racism and exacerbate racial hatred for political gain while distracting from challenges that have a far larger measurable impact on communities across our country.

These ideas are far from radical, and even farther from “fascist.” Barack Obama himself warned against the dangers of father absence, but was quick to fuel fears of massive police brutality and distrust of law enforcement even when empirical data does not support many of those claims.

Credit: Ava Cruz

Why would an African American figure with such a clear pro-black message be so reviled by leftist figures? Why would Solomon Jones write an article in the Philadelphia Inquirer comparing Candace to a “house slave” and a “black overseer” in Africa during the time of the slave trade? Perhaps it is because they are afraid of her power and the diffusion of her ideas. Were the problems she speaks of to be fixed, many politicians and cultural figures would see their influence over the hearts and minds of many severely weakened. Their political platforms would evaporate, and the utility of their programs would disappear. Individuals who are not dependent upon the government for protection and financial security are far less likely to support policies that enlarge the state at the expense of individual freedom and the family.

The scary strength of hatred against Candace became clearer to College Republicans in the days leading up to the event and in the days that followed. Angry individuals destroyed and vandalized our posters, a visiting Annenberg researcher ranted on Twitter, and Antifa threatened us with animal urine. Although these reactions were disappointing, they are trivial in light of individuals who write opinion pieces denouncing events they did not attend, “neutral” newspaper articles that mostly publish negative information and interviews, and the false empathy of special-interest groups that only stand up for members of their communities when those members agree with the sanctioned viewpoint du jour.

“Productive dialogue” is talking openly about societal problems regardless of how painful they may be. “Productive dialogue” is listening to opposing arguments, strong or weak, to broaden personal understanding. “Productive dialogue” is engaging all Americans in solving the struggles of particular communities, recognizing that we all share a common interest in seeing a fellow American succeed.

We invited Candace Owens because she is a powerful Republican voice that advocates for the black community in a manner that is brutally honest and uncomfortably real. At the end of the event, Candace warmly chatted with a group of black students who entered the event wearing “Black Lives Matter” t-shirts and were pleasantly surprised with Candace’s message.

We invited Candace Owens because of the hope and strength she represents for individuals who suffer social ostracisation because of different political beliefs. She is willing to “fall on a sword a thousand times” for her communities, her causes, and the truth.

We invited Candace Owens because of her uniquely Republican message of a United States of America, a nation composed of individuals who may look different, but who ultimately share the same destiny and common interest in mutual success. Modern prosperity in America is not a zero-sum game, where certain groups win at the expense of others. Rather, American success is a story of shared cooperation and achievement as our nation has overcome challenges and become a beacon of freedom and prosperity worldwide. Candace Owens is a black Republican activist, and her voice will not be silenced.