Leah Levell talks working for the RNC, Black Lives Matter and why she’s voting for Trump
At just 21 years old, Leah Levell is the newest African-American member of the Strategic Initiatives team of the Republican National Committee. She is responsible for creating a message to get young African-Americans out to the polls and to vote for Donald Trump.
Levell spoke with TheGrio.com about her new position, her views on Black Lives Matter and why she says Trump is the right pick for America.
The Grio: You are the newest and youngest member of the Strategic Initiatives Team of the Republican National Committee. Why was this role important to take on?
Leah Levell: This is a really important role because with the state of the election, part of the main vote we need to secure is the millennial vote. We are responsible for having fresh ideas, dealing with technology and going to different colleges. I think it’s great that we are able to see different sides and bring different ideas to the table.
TG: You mentioned earlier that you plan to go to different colleges. One of your job’s responsibilities is engaging black voters and visiting HBCU’s. How do you plan to go about that? And how has it been so far?
LL: We have not been able to start the HBCU outreach as much because of the convention. But we have a good relationship at the Thurgood Marshall College fund. We plan to work with groups similar to that group to make connections with HBCU’s in order to have town halls, panels, connect with the student government and also Republican groups on campus. Moreover, when school starts back in August, we will be able to start working on that.
TG: What do you believe is the biggest misconception about being black and a Republican?
LL: I think people have the old school thoughts such as “Old white men.” With this election, we have the opportunity to show people that this is not true. For example, I am the College Student Advisor for the National Diversity Coalition for Trump. And you probably always see coalition members on the major media outlets which are CNN, Fox, MSNBC, telling people we are a part of the coalition made up of different cultures and races in every state of the U.S. This is a great opportunity to show people that there is not stigma anymore.
TG: What do you like about Donald Trump?
LL: The number one thing that stands out to me about Donald Trump is the emphasis he puts on bringing jobs back to the United States. Being such a young person, most of my peers are millennial and college students. As college students and people about to graduate, the first priority is “I can’t be in my parents’ house; I need a good job.” It’s not just college students that need jobs: everyone needs jobs.
TG: What did you think of Melania Trump’s speech?
LL: That’s more of a logistical issue. We saw the statement that was released Wednesday, and the young lady apologized, saying that she wrote down the statements. And the statement that was assumed to be plagiarized we all use. I think there are bigger issues that need to be discussed than that.
TG: What are your views on #BlackLivesMatter ?
LL: The Black Lives Matter Movement — I do not have an accurate depiction on who they really are. According to media, (I am not the type of person that likes getting all my sources from media; I like researching myself, but I have not had time to research the movement), but from media I see it’s just an angry crowd that shoots cops.
I may be wrong, therefore I can’t really say I have a stance on the movement. I just have a one-sided view, and I do not know anyone in the movement. Other than what I see on TV, that’s all I know about it.
I definitely understand the struggle, especially being a black person. I get why black people will be upset, but I think we should find better solutions to fight criminal justice reform.
TG: Do you think Trump respects black lives?
LL: I think he does. Especially his statement that was released last week, after the shooting. He really showed passion about criminal justice reform.
A lot of people do not remember this, but when he first said he was going to run for president, he had a meeting with black pastors from around the country. Basically, what happened in the meeting they said, “Barack Obama promised all of this. We thought he was gonna help our communities, but he didn’t.”
Donald Trump sat there and listened and put that as part of his priority, which was that he was going to work on criminal justice reform, which is also attached with bringing jobs back to the United States.
TG: What do you say to those that do not want to vote for Hillary Clinton but are unsure about Trump?
LL: I would say, give Donald Trump a chance. This is his first time in any type of office. The election is really just getting started after the convention. We have about 3 more months to learn more about Donald Trump. I believe the convention has really showed people who Donald Trump is with his family’s speeches, and everyone else’s speeches. It really shows people what the Republican Party stands for. Give it a chance and listen to the issues more than what you see in media.
TG: What has been the best part of the convention?
LL: The best part was when the National Diversity Coalition met with the RNC to start the relationship. It’s an important relationship, and it’s important that we include people from different communities in the election.