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tv   Alicia Garza The Purpose of Power  CSPAN  July 13, 2020 8:36pm-9:48pm EDT

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house oversight subcommittee hearing on efforts to develop a safe coronavirus vaccine. that is followed by former vice president joe biden talking about his clean energy plan at a campaign event in wilmington, delaware but at 4:00 p.m. eastern doctor anthony fauci speaks to students at georgetown university about the coronavirus and slowing the spread. on c-span3, energy secretary testifies about his agency's response to the pandemic. that gets underway at noon eastern. >> kaepernick, special edition of the tv airing weeknights this week on c-span2. first, black lives matter cofounder alyssa garza offers her thoughts on organizing and building grassroots movements. also a look at the writings of the late civil rights leader julian bond with the book, race man. several programs featuring the award winning historian.
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>> thank you for joining us all tonight. for ideas and action with alisha garza and krista jackson. i'm committee occasioned director for country's largest online racial justice organization and i'm here to introduce. we are partnering with oneworld tonight to make a virtual space for critical conversation between editor in chief of oneworld, ms. jackson, one of our powerful organizers and visions of alicia garza. in 2014 alicia wrote a facebook post that changed the world and created a movement. it read, black people, i love you. i love us. black lives matter, that movement continues today. tonight alicia will it discuss the importance of resistance and resilience and how they ground the work in a vision for collective humanity.
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a color change we believe everyday people are powerful enough to end the practices that are holding black people back and harming our country. we championed solutions that move us all forward. in the last two weeks we have held 6.5 million people take action for racial justice in our country and we are thrilled to be partnering today with oneworld for this important conversation. without further ado here is chris jackson, oneworld editor in chief to kick us off. >> thank you so much for being here with us tonight. i cannot imagine someone i'd rather be talking to tonight than alicia garza, our country's most powerful and influential actress and someone who can speak particularly well to this moment but before i start i wanted to thank color of change for working with us again on this project tonight and to all the people at random house who have been so active in getting this all organized.
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for us to take a short moment of silence for the money tens of thousands of people who we have lost in this pandemic that we are undergoing, people who have disproportionately black, brown, brown, native, disabled, elderly and poor and also for all those that we have lost two racially motivated violence, particularly racially motivated violence in the name of the state. i will call out premiums tonight. ahmed aubrey, breonna taylor and george floyd. i hope you will join me first short moment of silence to begin. and now i would like to invite to our virtual stage alicia garza. >> hello.
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>> hey. so good to see you, alicia. >> so good to see you and good to be seen. >> so, i want to start our conversation out by going back a little bit. i think of moments like this is been, for a lot of people, obviously very upsetting and jarring to us but also, i think, for people moments of awakening and i think about in my own life growing up in new york and harlem and in the 70s and 80s how my consciousness developed most rapidly around some of the most traumatic moments of that coming-of-age. and not only having to do with proximity to death but so many people that were murdered during that time in my neighborhood but also so only who we lost to police violence. the first time i was out in the street and protest those deaths
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and can you tell us about -- you know, obviously we worked on this book together for some time now and so i know so much about your own story but i think one of the interesting things that you have always been driven toward activism from childhood but there were a reflection point of the murder of oscar grant that drove an accelerated the commitment. >> yeah, definitely. for me i came up in the reproductive justice movement and got really politicized around the idea that young people, right, cannot make good decisions about what to do with our bodies. this was a time when bush number one and others were pushing this narrative in this country arou around, not only a focus on the family narrative, but very much about controlling women's bodies and for me my mother had me and
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she did not expect to have me alone. the thing that gave her options is that she had them. and so she use to talk to me coming up as a young kid and she would tell me sex makes babies and babies are expensive. i didn't get any of the birds and bees talk or any of that but it was when i was in college though, to be frank, that i got politicized around racial justice. at that time in the late 1990s, early 2000, there was a lot happening in terms of the aftermath of uprisings that had shaped our entire country. we all watched as rodney king was brutally beaten on video cameras which were not popular at that time. of course, if you fast-forward you fast-forward to oscar grant in my community which was a few
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blocks from my home and i remember coming home after a new year's celebration and turning on the television after midnight and seen that just three blocks from my house oscar grant had been shot in front of a train full of observers and it just so happen that a young person who was interning at an organization that i worked at was one of the people who caught the entire thing on camera and it became a part of the movie. there are these inflection points. you're right, we start to understand that our lives are bigger than us but we also understand that our lives are being shaped by people other than us and we have an opportunity to decide if we think that is right and if we think that is fair and if we think that the ways our lives are being shaped lead us towards wellness and dignity, humanity and wholeness or whether the way
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our lives are being shaped are leading us towards punishment and criminalization and injustice. in each one of those inflection points we get to make a choice about who we are going to be. for me, at a very young age at 12 years old i decided i'm going to be somebody who, not only tells different stories about what young people are doing, no, teenagers are not running around having sex like crazy but there are those of us who are in intimate relationships who are trying to figure out what is best for us and we are being denied the information and the resources that we need to make decisions that work for us. we are being denied the access that we deserve to desire and pleasure and intimacy by someone who, frankly, has a whole different agenda about our bodies and our lives. we think that that is right or do we think it's wrong and if we think it is wrong what are we going to do about it.
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for me, i got politicized and got active in the movement. for others people might shake their head and say wow, it's a shame that some people don't have access to what they need and they move on with their lives but of course, we come into moments like this where you can't move on with your life. your everyday normal is interrupted i people who have decided to take action and even in those moments you get to make a choice about who you are going to be and what you're going to contribute. >> really interesting. part of what i think is the question comes to me particularly in this moment and listening to your story and thinking about your story as i've done this for some time now and get my own life is we seem to go in these moments where there are these eruptions and visible movements and you talk about what happened with foster grant and of course black lives matter which is swarmed around a
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series of events going back to tremont martin and ferguson and so forth and now we are here again and are we just going in a loop or do you think each one of these things we are getting closer to something? >> such a good question, chris. i could say it in writing the book are we going in a loop or are we moving forward and i will state that honestly the way i think about and look at history and look at the present and the connection between the two is that we are not going in circles per se where we end up right where we began. if anything, i would imagine it like a spiral where you are moving in a circle and coming back but you are not coming back to the place you started from and you are in a new place and you can look at where you started and assess the gap in between. no, things are not the same now that -- and that require us to,
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frankly, keep pushing forward. i know there is a lot -- black lives matter people were saying all lives matter and not was -- >> could you hang on one second, alicia? can you hear me? one second pit we are having a little bit of a technical difficulty with your -- could
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you repeat that last thing you said. >> sure, totally. i was just saying that in 2013, 2014 we were in terms of politics, people and we would say black lives matter and people would say all lives matter. that was the most common response. we were not seen as a legitimate, political force. we were not seen as a movement. we were seen as people who are radicals. even in our own communities we were seen as people, for example, were trying to move a gay agenda and interrupt the black agenda. there are lots of ways in which we are in such a different place than we were then. >> i'm sorry, go ahead. >> i was just going to say -- there is still work to be done. i don't want to paint a rosy picture here. frankly, we are still watching
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the extrajudicial murders of black people on television because we capture them on a cell phone and it is only when there is an outcry that there is any semblance of political will to address it. we are going in a circular pattern and relationships to how we conceive of how we solve this problem once and for all. i do worry that just like in 2014 where we got body cameras as a result of, you know, protests that ferguson leaders lead in relationship to the murder of mike brown, maybe today will we get is better training or, you know, nicer police but fundamentally there is still a big challenge that we are facing which is, you know, what to do about the role of law enforcement in our communities. is it enough to have better training? or to restrict their practices? or do we actually need to narrow the focus and the role of law enforcement in the first place?
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it is an important conversation for america to have right now. for some it's an uncomfortable one but i can say, you know, seven years ago black lives matter made people uncomfortable and being uncomfortable is good for this country. people were uncomfortable when black people were fighting for the right to be franchised and people were uncomfortable when women were fighting for the right to be a franchise. look where we have. right now it's not uncomfortable to believe that women should have the right to vote. it is not uncomfortable for us to believe that black people should have the right to vote. does that mean that those rights are still under attack? absolutely not but it means that we are in a different place because we have those rights and we are defending them as opposed to needing to create those rights and so yeah, history is not circular in that way and it is a spiral and i believe really, deeply and profoundly that we are closer than we have
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been before. >> that is an encouraging thought. you have this thing in the book read talk about, you reference it a lot, this theory about changing common sense and that is when you change the basic premise that society operates from and then you grow something new. we read today about the minneapolis police department or the city council in minneapolis talking about literally eliminating the police and rebuilding something in its place. it was unimaginable that a major city would be talking about that. does that thing give you a sense of possibility of what might come? >> absolutely. i woke up and saw that article in the first thing i read when i open my eyes this morning and all i keep saying to myself is what a time to be alive.
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the fact that the minneapolis city council is not only considering distributing funds so that we don't address the needs that communities have with police who aren't equipped to address those needs is incredible and it's a conversation that organizers and advocates have been pushing for the better part of 20 years. i can tell you what a time to be alive. i can also say i keep seeing things like the school district in minneapolis saying they are ending their contracts with unions and what that means for a decade of having police in his schools and now to state we are not going to do that is very, very powerful. similarly in los angeles they are moving some of the same proposals and so, you know, we should remember that when we see things like this it is the result of organizing and it is the result of the pressure that protests build on people to have
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the political will and the courage to examine new waves of operating and that is fundamentally what movements can accomplish. we should not expect that every movement has a strategy on a blueprint that they can hand to you and you can plug into. so much of what movements do is respond to changing conditions and takes the pulse of what communities longed for but also what communities are scared of and push the envelope to get closer to what it is that we deserve so we are watching this in real time and it's fundamentally incredible and we must, must, must give most credit to bad ass organizers in that city who have helped to create the conditions to make this happen and to having engaged us to work with them to help amplify it. that is just really a blessing.
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>> that's a lot of, i think, i feel like you have to offer particularly in your book but also in your model of your life is this question that how do yof your book was how a # became a movement but how is it that you can take some labor being points of terms as an idea as it was in 2014 and 20 years before that when people were working towards reform so how do you keep the pressure on? how do you build it from being just a moment to being a movement? >> while, there is a science and an art. you know, from the time when opal and patrice and i created the black lives matter network which started from a series of social media platforms and grew into a network with chapters all over the world, we did not have
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a roadmap. we really relied on instinct and we relied on relationships. we paid attention to what was going on in moving in the world. i hope that doesn't feel or sound amorphous but that is literally the secret sauce. who you are in relationship to and what they are working on and what you are working on. also, frankly, what time it is in the country. right? and your willingness to keep pushing things forward. we tried so many things. you know, we held conference calls, national conference calls for people to talk about issues that were of interest for that moment. our first gathering, frankly, was a conference call that we pulled together after the killer of release of mcbride was convicted of murder. we all know that in cases of vigilante murder and also of cases of police murder that
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often times the aggressors are not held accountable and in this particular case ted was held accountable and currently sits in jail. that was a victory that was the result of organizing and i'm sure he will be mad at me for saying this anyway but neurotic is not only a bad ass writer but also an organizer and, you know she works with people in michigan to make sure that her brides death would not go unaccounted for and after that we held a conversation because frankly, so much of us or so many of us believe that justice comes from people going to jail. while that might make us feel better and might make us feel like they are feeling what we are feeling, the fact of the matter is, prisons and jails are terrible places to be. prisons and jails cannot rehabilitate people and they do
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not bring lies back they do not address harm. we held a national conference call at a black lives matter about whether or not ted wafer being convicted was justice and we had people on all different sides of the spectrum. they gave their feedback and input and those were the types of spaces that we really tried to create and from that, right, we started to build a reputation of creating spaces for people to connect, not only online but then moving into 2014 when mike brown was killed, patrice and darnell had a great idea to organize a freedom ride to ferguson. another way for people to connect directly to what is happening on the ground. not only was it intended for people to be able to connect and offer support but there was also a strategic aspect to it. frankly, one of the things that we heard a lot was that mainstream media was telling their own story of what was
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happening in ferguson. they were telling stories of looters and riders and unrest in all the images that you would see on tv were of tanks and rubber bullets and tear gas. we organized black media to go to ferguson and to be able to tell that story from a black perspective which made a difference in terms of how the story began to be told from that point forward. i think that without getting too far into the ferguson conversation because ferguson leaders need to tell the story, i'm winking and nodding at you chris, that's the next book for oneworld but i will say that, you know, we left ferguson and did not think we would go back to the people who came said we want to keep organizing. they forced us to form chapters. we were like, we are not prepared for this. they were like but we are. and so you all have all run your mouth and created this umbrella
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so let's go. i just walked that story out to say that there is no recipe here. it's really about instinct. it is about network. it is about timing and frankly, it is about being able to move when you just know it is right. >> yet, one thing that i think is so beautiful about the way we talk about movements is and that this is not to plug the book again but you do talk about thi- [laughter] for you activism was fundamentally a way to connect to other people which i thought was a beautiful way to begin the story. it is not about some big abstract, political goals necessarily, but how to connect. and we share a vision for the world that we want to bring into being. that connection can't just happen online, although obviously we are doing a lot of connecting online right now but
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interesting that it is not online for the movement has an even now under the pandemic, people feel like they need to go in the streets and see each other beat with each other and marched together. what is the special sauce of connection? ... for connection that is what makes us human, literally. we can't live in isolation and in fact when we put people in isolation we see the focus to deteriorate. when you hear stories of people in solitary confinement, it tells you that literally they start to deteriorate because it
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depends on connections that survive. it's how we read the world and greeted one another. making sense of this moment, organizing is fundamentally rooted in connection and when i was being trained as an organizer i was always told that it wasn't about getting somebody to get involved in your campaign. it wasn't about getting somebody to use your slogan. it was fundamentally about relationships and everything moved. i will give you an example. when i was coming up and organizing the only way i could get people to do something outside of their comfort zone was to spend many hours on their front porch, kids recital meeting their friends at their kitchen table while they were making dinner after a long day of work people need to know they
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can trust you. when we look at the movements throughout history, we noticed a similar response. when we look at the last pure code of civil rights, people move at the speed of relationships and that was both for connection but also for safety. in certain environments if people didn't know who your people were, they didn't mess with you. [laughter] i can tell you my southern relatives are the same way we are moving into this moment i think you saw people rush out of their homes in the midst of a global pandemic because being isolated in your house while you are watching on television somebody that looks like you've been brutally murdered while the
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officer looks into the camera while he's doing it, it makes you feel so incredibly alone and fearful and hopeless and so why people force the streets it's to be connect it to other people sharing a similar experience. every one of us experienced in justice in the world and not feeling gaslit around the experiences that they have every day that they know are wrong but they cannot quite place by or who was responsible. movements also giv gives us an opportunity, a way to challenge and channel that anger, isolation, fear and rage into something productive sometimes
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because of a law and policy other times it becomes an ecosystem of organizations fighting back against the injustices. you will see that this is a beautiful ecosystem of the organizations that are working together and independently to impact the lives of black people and in that coalition, we suddenly again feel less alone, less helpless and more powerful when we feel powerful, we take risks we wouldn't otherwise take. but at this nucleus of being able to go from why is this happening to me to find somebody willing to change it fundamentally requires connection and relationships.
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>> watching what's going on from a distance and feeling that energy you feel like you are not alone like there is some real power the network established and if we do something with this feeling, it's powerful. i guess that brings me to the next question how do we do something with that feeling. you have to consider what does justice look like, what does the accountability look like right now for the people that are immediately responsible and we have seen in some of these cases that first level of
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accountability that helped me move from this level to that reckoning. >> i'm going to give a deeply unsatisfying answer. we are in this moment where we have so much anguish that we want the pain to stop now. the fact of the matter is the systems they are fighting are as old as this country and they will take a while to undo. there's times we can speed up the process of the project and there are times when the progress of the project requires a methodical approach to a
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changing what is possible politically and we need to be able to do that in a range of ways. i can sit here right now and tell you that his policies that we capolicy is thatwe can and aw .-full-stop the police from being able to use chokehold or make it illegal for police to put their neat on somebody's neck as a way to restrain them. i can tell you there's things we can do to train the police to be nicer but i wouldn't be being honest with you if i didn't say that many places already have those policies in place but they have no one to enforce them. so we get into this pattern of trying to find the shortest distance between eight to be rather than or in addition to because i don't think there are contradictions to do stuff now to stop the bleeding for sure. but if i am trying to stop the
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bleeding and i've also broken several bones, i can put a cast on the bus and meet debate coming that it has healed and it's going to take a while and i might need to take a different approach so they heal a. a. in this case i just have to be honest. the reason things are so bad in policing we are asking the police to be domestic violence counselors and we're asking them to be therapists, we are asking them to deal with people who are in crisis in terms of their mental health. the police are not trained to do that and short we can spend a bunch of time training people to be able to respond differently to that and maybe we should, but they also havwe also have peopll
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profession it is to do that work. the reason we don't have enough of them in the community isn't because they don't hav we don'th trained people. it's actually because we have had the government that has whittled away tha the safety ne. we have had a government that have given away that infrastructure antheinfrastructe communities and they have replaced it with controlling surveillance which actually ends up exacerbating the problem. if you limit what the police do and how often they come into contact with people and for what, that is actually the key to saving more lives. as long as you also invest on the other side in making sure there is a robust set of resources people can access and they won't be criminalized for accessing but also where you don't have the option for a
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mistake of trying to deal with a mental health crisis in you shoot some one. therapists have other tools they use and we need to make sure that the infrastructure is really robust in the communities. we need to make sure that if we are to be calling the police for things like petty shoplifting. funny i hear people say we can just get rid of police, sure, i understand where you are struggling in his plac this plai struggle around this, too. i won't change as much as you do and i want to believe we deserve better. we did body cameras, we've done commissions and task forces and at the end of the day we have the answers but do we have the
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courage to say they are going to restore the rule of government and the community. we are going to enfranchise communities to the a part of the solution and we are also going to limit the ways in which we punish people for not having the things they need because we have created a society where not everybody can have the things they need to live well. that is what i think we could be doing this moment. >> one of the interesting things that has been popping up over the last few days we think about what are the police and now for the first time i think people are starting to wonder and also starting to look at the budget and they are astonishing. like billion-dollar budgets in los angeles and new york.
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even in places that minneapolis is millions and millions of dollars devoted to policing the white population so it makes you wonder what are we paying for perhaps like an occupying army. we are going to do a q-and-a in a minute if you have any questions there is a q-and-a down there you can ask them. this brings me to the question is we are obviously it's hard to remember everything that's happened in 2020 but we have an election coming up and saying that it feels inadequate and it
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will not save us from harm but the silence will shortly damage us all what do you think the electoral politics has in the matrix of what it would take to get to that point of accountability? >> i'm somebody that believes electoral politics is part of production and i came up as an organizer with hating politics and elections and feeling like all this stuff is deeply not for us. i came away thinking this because i've had people are then me and wiser than me who said check this out actually they do matter. i believe they help us choose the terrain and help us choose
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the people we want to fight. i never expect that a candidate that i support and very few cases as a candidate that i want to have over for dinner were to build a deep relationship with but i do need them to do things for me and for my community. i believe that the process of making elected officials accountable to the people they represent is fundamentally important for the future of this democracy. that is why i spend my time these days at least the majority of my time thinking about how to make them powerful and politics in my work at the futures lab and action fund. we've spent a lot of time over the last two years listening deeply to black communities
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across the nation will literally since slavery was abolished we spend our time listening to the experiences that black people are having in the economy and our democracy and in our society and getting ourselves clear about the needs of art to be addressed from the mouths of our own people and how do we translate that into a fight for power in the electoral arena because the fact of the matter is black people want what everybody wants. we want dignity and we want to be treated as fully human. there are so many americans who want the same thing and for various reasons they cannot access. to be the kind of force that changes the balance in this country we have to be able to see ourselves as connected.
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this is one way we can do that. when the election comes in november or the concert that weekend rather than the townhall discussing the policies and the communities whether it is this place of fried chicken that shows up every time black folks need to get engaged, it is a way in which frankly racism is entrenched in the electoral system as well. so, our work with the action fund isn't just centered around collecting data about using that data to build power. for example we have a program that we are running where we
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created a black agenda for 2020 from the results of the largest survey of black people in america. and these are the things that across the ideology can agree on in terms of solutions. we see that and if we don't focus so much on candidates but instead focus on what we need that maybe participation will be greater and larger and more robust because they are united not just around talking points like rebuild the middle class or whatever nonsense people throughout today, but instead we are surrounded by the rules we
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want to shift and how we want to change those rules and a way to determine who was with us and against us. if the people we elect don't choose to move the agenda forward then we find officials who will only become them ourselves so that is the way that i forgot about the politics and electoral organizing. >> one of the reasons is
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reinforcing the status quo and they are potentially moments you can build dot gap to say this is what we can be. it isn't getting people to say what is important to them that actually use the vote to get closer to. do you think we need to get a different group of people into running for office and being involved in the electoral system in that way? >> some of the folks have engaged in politics in a very
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transformative way. people who probably never saw themselves as somebody who would be a senator but worked to make inequality go away and realize there are people that are suspending every single day and throw rocks at the capital as much as we want and people who've been in congress i don't want to age her like that, but got her start everybody knows bring your folding chairs for the table. they don't want people to take away from this that the only path of two words to becoming an
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elected official but i do think it's important if we want to change the way democracy functions we put people into democracin ademocracy that can t looks like, that can model accountable leadership with integrity and can model what it means to have a radical vision but also know how to get things done. and i think we need many more squads and people who are not afraid to say the way this country is set up is rooted and we have the power to change the rules but do we have the will and then they show us how to do that. so i think that i've been asked a million times to run and i don't really think that is my thing. but i also encourage people to
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run and i believe people can be powerful insight of congress and many holes of proclamation and i also think people can be powerful and communities that are not mutually exclusive. >> i have one more question. so, one of the things that i think is really special that you have sort of laid out here is the discipline of inclusiveness in the way that you talk about movement and political change and the multiracial movement
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that are of particular concern for the liberation as well as those that work together to end of course you are working as we have with them is that workers and so on in the multiracial group that is coming together to create some of those formidable workers in the country, immigrants and black people and just all over the world. the let me start off by saying
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if we understand anti-blackness as the fulcrum around which white supremacy operates, then we have a better understanding of why we need is a racial movements and why we also need black liberation movements and why those movements need to be in relationship and in coordination and they also need to be resourced and invested in equally. so you know, when you look at the history of domestic work for example, the domestic work is rooted in the slavery and you know this used to be work that was predominantly done by black women. sometimes it is a term people don't understand.
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so helping to maintain a household in support and care for loved ones were helping to support the independence of people with disabilities. these are people that work inside of the home to add additional capacity to the family. that work into the conditions of the industry today are very much shaped by the conditions that shape the industry under slave slavery. low pay, low wages, low contract or agreement, no six days off, no time with your family, very loose rules or any at all. i will say that we see those same conditions today and if we
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were not investing in undoing the vestiges of dynamics that come out under slavery and were directed towards black people, then we don't actually have a shot at changing the conditions that exist in the industry today. i can tell you that most domestic workers are not covered under many federal labor protections. same thing with agricultural workers and the reason is there was a racist compromise that excluded agricultural workers, excluded domestic workers were largely black and brown so access to the things most workers have access to now. those exclusions, the racist exclusions continued today. if we are not dealing with a uniqutheunique conditions underh the communities are attacked, the unique conditions under which they are disenfranchised,
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then we don't give ourselves enough leeway around the potential of what they can build and having been an organizer in the multiracial movement for a long time i can tell you i often feel alone and isolated in those movements because while there are not really legions of us in the multiracial movement and i've always asked myself well why is god and on that and one e answers i've come to is that sometimes what we do in an attempt to build multiracial coalitions work alliances as they try to learn from everybody's experience is the same and they are not the same. they can walk around until they arweare blue in the face and sae are all human, but the fact of the matter is some of us are able to access humanity in a different way than others. if our movements can't address that, we can't hope to bring people to god so we have to be honest about that.
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but also i believe we need multiracial movement in the country to live and what i've seen across the nation that's making my heart left and stay every single day because it isn't just black folks out there. there's a lot of white folks and folks that are identified from the asian diaspora and on and on. i want us to strengthen that and then i remember part of what it means to strengthen the movement is to make sure that all of us have the infrastructure that we need to be able to fight back and one of the consequences after the last period of civil rights and certainly the period of black power is that our community power infrastructure was intentionally disseminated in part by a government that was
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really intent on dismantling a very successful black power movement that was also getting energy and excitement and participation. folks will tell you we have government-sponsored programs that were intentionally designed, dismantled and that little of immunity and while they did they also dismantle the infrastructure that the law communities have built to be powerful. so we can't contribute to the multi-racial movement if we ourselves are not organized and if we ourselves haven't felt the kind of infrastructure that we need not just for ourselves but to contribute to the larger project of structural change and so for me, i fundamentally believe there is a science
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developing the multiracial movement. some of it is about understanding what functions in those movements into some of it is about being careful with trying to flatten everybody into sameness and how those differences are strategic to the project are trying to dismantle. it's how those movements create a model for how we see each other. multi-racial movements cannot be colorblind. we can do that thing where they say i don't care if you are blue, green, purple, white or black. i want you to see me the way that i want to be seen i and the way i want to be seen is as a beautiful courageous black
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person who loves this game that i named it has done a lot of work to get there so rather than say i am standing with you and by standing with you i am not being you, tell me that you see me and you are joined with me and you are committed to helping other people see me at helping you to be seen in the ways we determine for ourselves. that is a most fundamental component of what it means for us to build movements across. >> i'm going to turn to some of the questions we have from the audience. there was a mix of people and it was exciting to see they were all chanting together black-eyed smatter. i think what you are describing
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is rooted in anti-blackness and if you don't deal with it it is hard to deal with any of these issues that you identify that and have a chance. what advice would you have what about those that have police and their families talk about the kneeling that they are doing and people find that to be almost a
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stranger in a reenactment of what they are protesting a. >> i was thinking about how lots of black people have police in our family and the experience of policing and their relationship to police i think is fascinati fascinating. i hear this from white folks a lot. like my uncle is a police officer, my dad, generations in my family have been police
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officers. and i hearken back to the notion for black folks we've dealt with this for a long time. law enforcement in our families and even they know yes there is a problem here and different people have different ways of making sense of it. but i don't think that this is such a contradiction. when it becomes a contradiction is when we defend the profession and the role that it plays because of our relationship so deep to the person and the profession. we need to be very clear that when we say defund police, we don't mean your dad doesn't
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matter. to say that it is a profession. when i hear things like the wife's matter, i cringe. that's something that you choose to do. but let me also say this and people might be surprised to hear me say this again i've been in this game for a long time and i will tell you when you talk to law enforcement and really have a conversation like not a conversation like do you hate the police will o would love toe the conversation about what it's like to do the job, lots of people will tell you i got into this profession because i wanted to help people. i've met very few people who are
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in law enforcement who said i got into this profession because i really want to mess people up. people come into it because we've learned that police are protagonists in the community and we've learned that they are a way to solve problems. people come to the profession because they want to be a part of solving problems that they see in their community. they want to be a part of protecting people and making people feel safe against threats they may perceive in their community. but here's something that happens. most of the time when i talk to people in law enforcement they say i got into the profession because i wanted to help and then i quickly began to get frustrated at my lack of ability to do so but actually getting called to a domestic violence situation and knowing as they take away one person i'm also impacting a family that has no resources to rebuild doesn't make me feel like a hero.
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when i see somebody on the street having a mental health crisis and knowing there's no shelter to bring them to come there is no program to bring them to and the only place i can take them is jailed but that's probably the worst possible place for them is really erodes that sense of effectiveness and kind of entrenches a sense of battle. i'm fighting a war. that is people's perception of the role they are playing in a community. most law-enforcement officers that i've talked to was how you are a wish that those things were not my role. i wish we were able to address the needs people actually have and i don't think the police should do that. and people will talk about the law and order and it's very complicated, but i wonder if
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there's also a place for connection. i am somebody that fundamentally believe that policing isn't a way to solve problems. that doesn't mean i don't put your grandfather or uncle or your mama and i have a lot of family members got too. even my family members understand as well what im sayini amsaying and what we areg across the country. they also want to see the profession gets better and i don't know if there is ever going to be in alignment or because of such deep pain. i know a lot of people who do the work to bring the alignment together and they are god's people honestly. it's hard to do this systems change work and with that being said, with the solidarity shows you talked about, i want
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something more. we need something more than the police taking a knee. the end of this constant dissonance is part of why it continues. it's not that the people behind the shield are good people or bad people. that isn't the point. the point is their job is to control and contain. now we are also giving them the responsibility of solving problems that they cannot solve. and that is always going to create the kind of situation in a match that is waiting to be
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lit. so i am for symbolism and substance and i would compare folks taking a knee to the thing the police said two days ago in minneapolis when they said i've been involved in three murders and i never lost sleep over any of them. i think one important way to get involved is law-enforcement to curtail the scope and scale of the unions i know in my city the police union and the leader of the police union in particular is a constant source of racist diatribe and dialogue in response to deep grief, hurt, loss and pain as long as we have the dynamic of only landed a
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symbolic when they take any i got asked last weekend because the result of this hoopla about who was joining the protests and all the chaos an chaos in the ps and suddenly i'm being asked should we be telling protesters to work with police to identify the data protesters and i'm like we lost focus here. no. what we need to be talking about is how do we keep from getting to a place where people have to take the streets in a global public health pandemic just to assert that our lives matter that is the most important thing for us to address in this moment. all of the other symbols and shows are going to remain those unless they get to the deep core of what is putting america at so
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much right now. these are all part of a community i'm sorry. >> one more question we are in the middle of a global health pandemic and also this period of isolation which has been the cause of economic implication in emissions and job loss and now this and a i will tell you myself care this week hasn't been great. that is how this goes.
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from the beginning of march all the wake up until a week ago i was riding my bike religiously and that was my way of moving through the stress and anxiety of what it means to be told not only do you need to stay home but you need to limit or not to be in contact with people outside of your home which takes a toll on you because i can remember connection is at the heart of everything. and then a week ago all kinds of stuff broke loose and frankly my days over the last week have been 13 hours straight on the telephone and in meetings trying to get people to do things and get people to stop doing things.
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and trying to make sure that i'm drinking water and i eat more than one thing a day. so on monday i was doing awful. i was crispy as i say meaning just like don't mess with me today than i watched the president steered asked people to take a photo with the bible upside down at the church h chus never attended and the symbolism and the substance of the symbol literally broke me. as if it isn't enough to be dealing with a public health crisis and the ongoing slaughter of black people this country is sliding into fascism in a way that terrifies me and i don't use that word or phrase lightly at ththat they saw people contio resist and for that to grow that
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makes me feel we really are the majority, we really are the majority. our values are majoritarian and the cameramen and that is that is taking care of me is seeing the progress, what victories are happening and also letting people take care of me. my partner makes sure i stick food in my mouth even if it is on a conference call and my water glass is always filled with and i get to rant and rave for a good hour after i shut everything down and just get to be quiet so that is how i am caring for myself right now.
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>> host: think you everyone. i could have talked to you for another two hours. we will do this again sometime. thank you so much. and get some water. thank you, everyone.
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welcome to the manhattan institute event cast on race, riot and the police. thank you all for joining us for this important and timely conversation. my name is jason riley, i'm a senior fellow here at the manhattan institute, and i want you to know that throughout the program, please enter your


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