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tv   Tonight From Washington  CSPAN  January 17, 2011 8:00pm-10:59pm EST

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line and continue the conversation on our facebook and twitter pages. >> president obama and his family spent part of the martin luther king, jr., the president spoke briefly with reporters about volunteerism. >> thank you so much. i want to say quick word to these folks. this is an outstanding program. i want to thank all the amenities and mentors -- mentees
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and mentors who are participating. dr. king obviously had a dream of service. you can be a drum major for service. you can leave by giving back to our community. that is what this program is all about. this is what these participants are all about michelle and die and the girls are extremely proud. this is what these participants are all about. michelle and i and the girls are extremely proud. this is part of what america is all about. after a painful week, were so many of us were focused on tragedy, this is good for us to remind ourselves of what this country is all about. this kind of service project --
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we are thrilled. >> education secretary arne duncan called education at the civil rights issue of our generation at the martin luther king prayer breakfast. he was the keynote speaker at the breakfast, hosted by reverend al sharpton. the event focused on martin luther king jr. is legacy and the future of civil rights in the u.s.. it is an hour and 45 minutes. >> we also lost one of our school board members, who served us well. if you could indulge me and have a moment of silence, i would appreciate it.
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thank you. my like to say thank you to leader, will have always worked closely with, one who was one of those out there running for president. that is my good friend, the honorable rev. al sharpton. [applause] always a pleasure. it is his leadership that has kept us -- the 51st state of new columbia, i am reminded of some of the most important things that our illustrious martin luther king stood for. that was the poor people's
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campaign. in a paycheck that had been unfilled for many of those who are here in the nation's capital, that is the 600,000 residents who are not full citizens in this wonderful country. we do not have statehood. i am wondering about sleeping on grates, those who do not have educational opportunities, those who are in our city with less than what this country deserves. that is what dr. martin luther king was actually accomplishing in the poor people's campaign. there still is a resurrection city among us. until we finish that work, my welcome as one of a welcome from those you need to support and those are the residents of the district of columbia. on behalf of our mayor, and our
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city council, and our schools of -- school board members and civic leaders who are disenfranchised, we welcome you, but we remind you, that martin ather king's statement that check that has insufficient bonds still is present in the nation's capital. discrimination those who tried to march on his speech today, our work is not done. all of you listen then came to that call, you are reminded that it is not just this weekend that we celebrate. welcome to the 51st state. god bless you all. [applause] debate >> thank you. we will have mrs. valerie law
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will share some brief remarks with us. let's give her a hand. [applause] >> 32. i had to settle myself. that is my family over here. god be blessed. thank you very much. thank you very much, reverend sharpton. this is a blessed day. i will keep my comments brief because i know that all of us have many things to do in our quest to help continue the torch and the dream of marmot their king jr.. i was born in 1962, so many of you have more personal knowledge, but i will say that one of the things that helped me think about martin luther king was the fact that he wasn't optimistic man.
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he was optimistic in the park or things are difficult. he was optimistic at a time when there are difficulties. there are people who are the least of these. there are people who are hope less. all of us in this room, hold on to the optimism. we are all carrying the torch. we want to deal with security officers who, in this city, in new york city, new jersey and philadelphia, five years ago, we represent 10,000. it is a small thing. she got a first to speak to us and let her voice. that was a small thing, but an important thing. it is the connection of those small things. the security officers are standing up and trying to make sure that they have a voice.
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i talk to you because in this city, we have security officers who did not make much money, who were standing up and uniting for mostly african-american females to live in communities that deserve more. companies like u.s. securities to do not want to give them more. all of us together can make a difference. i will leave you with one " because i know that we are short on time. i have a seven-year-old granddaughter. my granddaughter was in church sunday and in bible study, this teacher was teaching the affirmation of faith. my granddaughter does not know the affirmation of faith yet. the sun is schoolteacher said,
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it is the small things that matter. when you get up there and try, listen to the impact. if you are in your bedroom and a mosquito comes in that bedroom, that small thing can make a big impact on your life my grandmother told me that and i said, that is pretty profound. carry-on his dream. help but security officer or that gender or that community leader. keep the optimism and keep the faith. thank you very much. >> thank you. today we want to make sure that we included our reduced -- youth. we want to thank dunbar high school. let's get all of our students a hand this morning. [applause]
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will be called on the principle and coach walker and ask them to find the system and that would be able to do a tribute to martin luther king, what they said, we have the perfect young man. let's give him a hand as he comes. [applause] >> good morning, everyone. i have a palm -- poem. it is titled "i remember." i remember him to the vision of my elders singing out passion my people being battered yet they will rejoice upon hearing his in vibrating boat -- invigorating voice
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i remember him a warrior fighting for peace a man determined for change shall we walk again and remember him a man that captured the country he put himself in harm's way for the greater good shall we walk again and remember the caking [applause] >> thank you. at this time, we will call on someone that certainly needs no introduction. most of us know him. he continues in the positive steps toward the dream. that is the reverend al sharpton. [applause]
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>> thank you. thank you and good morning and happy came the day -- king day. i say that because so many do not realize that it was even a struggle to get this as a holiday. america did not just wake up one day and say, let's have a martin luther king hotter -- holiday. even that took struggling. we have a federal holiday and even now, some are disregarding that day. in charlotte, they are taking it as a snow day. we are here in the nation's capital led some of our leading clergy and activist and labor
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leaders and government officials to celebrate how far we have, and to challenge ourselves on how far we still need to go. the dream of dr.king has not yet been fulfilled. we should not be cynical and acted as if there has not been progress. clearly, there has spent. we would not be in a ballroom of a downtown washington hotel if we -- there had not been progress. we would not have many of you that are in your positions if there had not been progress. we have put in this position to relax. we have been put in a bullet -- position to finish the dream. both at the bottom are still at the bottom. the education achievement gap is
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still there. violence is still a problem, ariz. only reminds us. we must confront them as a nation. that is why we celebrate today. we will be hearing from several people today. we will be honoring a struggle. i also want to acknowledge all of our partners in the labor movement. it was a boycott and marge that dr. king went to memphis for. they talk about the dream as some nebulous dream.
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they do not ever bring it to the ground. dr. king was in memphis marching and striking for the rights of laborers who had been disenfranchised. in that march, at the same senseless violence that we have seen in harlem, and acosta. a young man was killed. the media blamed dr. king for the killing. it was why he came back to memphis to prove that he could still lead a non-violent march. that was when he was killed. we need to know the history. you cannot share in the glory if you do not know the struggle. many today are in the glory and not have the story. you can enjoy the glory, but only if you know the story.
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there are so many today -- we are doing the three cities today. i want to acknowledge the presence of one who has always given a house to freedom fighters, a platform for those it had something to say. he was one that welcomed us to the nation's capital when many of you would not do it. i remember when i used to meet some of you. you did not want nobody to know that you knew me. but he always was with us and i am honored that he is with us this morning. that is the union temple baptist church reverent. -- reverend. [applause] you never forget the bridges that brought you across. had it not been for them, you
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never would have achieved. i would never beat in the room where that -- with the rev. wilson without acknowledging his sacrifice and investment. he came north of the lines coming to this city. i wanted him to note that we are honored that he would come this morning. let me first printer you want that -- what the first bring to you one that i consider to carry the legacy of great women in the civil rights movement. she has taken on the mantle that mary mcleod bethune have held. we have never had a movement without women up front. one of the finance -- footnotes
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-- and i heard are sister valerie talking about how she was born in 1962. i do not remember some well, i was too young. i remember everything after that. i remember that one of the things that mrs. king would always talk about was how women were not allowed to speak at the march on washington. he made sure that that was corrected in my time. women not only spoke, they did a lot of the speaking. sometimes they told us to shut up. in continuing that tradition, and telling us when to shut up, is the president and ceo of the national coalition of black civic participation. melanie campbell, my sister.
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[applause] >> good morning. thank you, reverend sharpton, for your leadership, for your friendship and support. i feel blessed and honored to be here with all of you this morning. reverend sharpton, we are delighted that you are now one of our new board members and we have several board members that are here. i am glad that we will have the opportunity to work with you to continue the good work that you do each and every day. that is richard womack, cynthia, ronald thomas. thank you. [applause] those of you who know me know that i always have the young person next to me because that is how i was raised in atlanta, georgia.
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i have a young man who works with me who is now my deputy director who is a national advocate in domestic violence against women and children. you do not see a lot of brothers that are out there. he is dynamic. [applause] you asked me to say something about concrete achievements in my area of expertise that dr. king would be proud of. i have a script and i will try to stay with us. i stayed up all night. i went to sleep at 5:00 this morning because i realize that after 25 years, that is all my adult life. the first thought that comes to mind, it was through my father.
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i remember my father crying about dr. king. i was to young to understand it. i did not move -- i did not learn non-violent until i moved to atlanta. my father was fighting the kkk. we all had to lay down on the floor. they did not come back. that is all i will say about that. [laughter] let me fast-forward to my college years, which was in 1980. i went to school at atlanta
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university treated --. i was a part of that group. it was normal everyday that these folks were here. we did not grasp what it was all about. we were there foot soldiers to continue the legacy. we marched in the cold every year for the state to be what it is today. we marched to save black colleges. we organized the 20th anniversary march on washington in 1983. we organized voter registration drives. we were free labor for labor it
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down there in the south. we went to mississippi to fight for the catfish workers down there. my life was forever changed, never forgetting to remember those two i could beat -- i could depend on. they shared with me and a lot of us to understand firsthand the knowledge of dr. king leading the non-violent civil rights union. but let us understand that he was a revolutionary. he was a visionary. i was listening on my way into andy young. did anyone hear that this
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morning? because we were all up early. he talked about and he mentioned rev. orange. what is so significant about that? it was the leaders who had the gravitas. i learned that my life was about service. i went to college to go and get my business administration degree and i was in corporate america for seven years. i hated it. i hated it as a job. i moved fast in the 1980's and i moved into the 1990's and i woke up one day and i was going up the corporate ladder. i walked into my job one day,
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lost my mind, and gave them my letter of resignation. it was because it was not fulfilling my life. my life was about service. i learned that my life was about service. to others and to each -- that is his legacy. i was able to work with the king the kids -- king kids. we taught other students about non-violence. non-violence is not passive. it seeks reconciliation. it is directed at eliminating evil. a willingness to accept suffering for the cause, a rejection of hatred.
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faith that justice will prevail. the 1990's, i came to d.c. i came here the year of the million man march. i moved here in august of 1995. we organized on that mall and a registered 100,000. in 1996, black men voted more than black women. you need to catch up again. i move and i moved and i moved and i came here for 18 months. i have been here for 16 years. i think i hit my head, but i am
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still there at the coalition. i am trying to see what we can do. if i were to say what i hope that dr. king would be proudest of is going back to the service. never for getting to work with the foot soldiers. never forget to be your own foot soldier. you have to follow the leader and not always be the leader. everybody can be great because everybody can serve. you and i do not have to have a college degree to serve. we do not have to make our
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subjects and are verbs agreed to serve. we do not have to know what plato and aristotle to know. we do not have to know einstein's theory of relativity to serve. we only need a heart full of grace, a sold generated by love, and you can be that servant. i can be that servant. thank you. >> melanie campbell, that was beautiful. i do want to it knowledge our national field director. he is one of the foot soldiers of this era's -- he and i came
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out of brooklyn together. we debated on who was going to be the president and because i was better looking -- [laughter] the way. every step of but we had a margin it was time to go to jail, he stepped back and said, you are the leader. [laughter] there is a downside to being up front. andrea johnson has always been on the ground here. [applause] i must say that a young leader the i think has national ramifications -- he is the example to me of what it means to be grounded and no matter
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where he goes, he has remained grounded and a foot soldier even in high places. that is terri thomas. -- harry thomas. [applause] i really appreciate his work. i want to also acknowledged the principle of dunbar, coach walker. [applause] the principal comes from my neck of the woods. but we had the march last year and started at dunbar high school, he was giving orders, i had to tell might national staff
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that he was not one of the students. watch how you order him around. they told me it was a mile from dunbar to the martin luther king memorial. [laughter] i feel like i am still walking. [laughter] it is not a mile. on august 28 of this year, it will be the anniversary of the i have a dream speech again. this year, it will be the official opening of the dr. king memorial on the banks of the potomac. there are only three memorials
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on the banks of the potomac. one for george washington, one for abraham lincoln, and one for thomas jefferson. it will truly be an historic day when a man who never sat in the white house, and who never held a legislative or political position, is honored with a permanent memorial on the banks of the potomac. [applause] let me say now, on the day before, saturday, we will be having a national gathering at the lincoln memorial. we will be gathering there from all over the country. we will conclude that rally by marching from lincoln memorial
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to the king memorial. from emancipated to the liberator. we will show the growth. the freedom fighting function memorial.t the caking the right wing took lincoln last year. we mean no disrespect for abraham lincoln. we're showing the progression of american history as we keep moving forward. dr. king also was a great man of faith. he was grounded and rigid in the baptist tradition -- rooted in the baptist tradition. he believed it was his calling by god.
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he became the personification of liberation theology and of social justice, which was not popular. young people need to understand that he did not pass to the biggest church in atlanta. it was very modest, in fact. but he had the biggest message. those that had more members, their members were depending on his leadership and his understanding of theology. in that tradition, as generations,, we have a young man who is a giant in that field. he went to school -- he has been a real example of the kind of ministry that continues. you cannot become -- there is a difference between those to pick
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up the mantle and those who mimic those who have it. do not try to be dr. king. we are in a different era and a different time. we need a new model. dr. king did not have to deal with the economy. there are different things that you have to deal with in your time. it does not mean put on overalls and looks like you are stuck in time. it means to take the principles and update them in your time. we needed new beats that sample what worked in the past. [applause]
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>> let's give it up again for the rev. al sharpton. thank you. thank you for bringing us here to date on such an important occasion. it is good to be here today. as we assemble and gather here today, i'm reminded of his last sunday service delivered at the national cathedral on march 31, 1968. in that sermon, dr. king told a story written by washington irving. you know the story. rep korean winkle went up into a mountain and slept there for -- rip van winkle went up a mountain and slept there for 20 years. there was a sign on the mountain that he visited with the king's picture on its.
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when he woke up, 20 years later, the sign had a picture of george washington, the first president of the united states. when he woke up and saw that picture, he was confused and bewildered and did not know who george washington was. during the time that he was asleep, at the american revolution had been fought and won. the american colonies were no longer under british control. the tragedy of this story is not just that he slept solana. it was that he slept through a revolution. while he was sadly sleeping in the solitude of that mountain, a change was taking place. the revolution was being waged. and he knew nothing about it because he was asleep. the story said -- the story tells us that one of the great
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tragedies of life, many people find themselves living amidst a great period of social change and transition and yet the message because they are asleep. that is where we find ourselves today. amidst a great period of great shame and social transition and many people, unfortunately, are asleep. morally, we are asleep. our ethical compass and our moral barometer has been compromised by our culture of materialism, consumerism, and commercialism. our principles have been barred by profit and compromised by the morality of the market. in both the street and global economies, whatever earns a dollar will sell its. if it means that spending bad loans, compromising our convictions, and destroying the american family, we will do it.
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morally, we are asleep. not only that, politically, we are asleep. farm to many people have been desensitized by what is going on in the world. we have become desensitized by violence, disconnected by -- from poverty, and is interested in activism. prophetic institutions have become pathetic institutions. our houses of worship have become centers of complacently rather than vehicles a change. politically, we are asleep. morley, we are asleep. -- morally, we are asleep. we are slipping through a revolution. a world of great transition is happening around us. while we slept, the deregulation of wall street led to the collapse of main street. our racial fears are resurfacing in this country.
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the gap between the haves and have-nots is increasing. while we sleep, more money is being spent on bullets and bombs that on books and school buildings. while we sleep, academic test scores and to many urban communities decline while prison construction rises. while we sleep, american cities can find money to build a new sports arenas, but cannot find the public will to redeveloped urban communities. [applause] what do we do in times like these? when hiv aids is reaching pandemic proportions. what do we do in times like these when partisanship and political rancor have clouded irs -- have crowded our judgment?
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the first thing we have to do it is wake up. we must wake up to the recognition that as world citizens, we must all become active and involved in making the world a better place. if more of us would do that, the lives of the world would be improved, the culture would be transformed, our communities would be provided. for that to happen, we must seek to understand the complete king. many of his disciples have commented how the legacy of dr. king has been reduced to a sound bite. dr. king has become so sensitized and sterilized and commercialize that everyone remembers the dream part of the speech, but hardly anyone recalls what the dream was about. hardly anyone remembers the part of the speech for dr. king
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talked about black americans being given a check mark insufficient funds. the challenge for us today is to do whatever we can to make sure that that check can be cashed and redeemed. that can only happen if we can find a way to reignite his spirit of activism and social protest. we dream that one day our children will again find the faith of profits, to liberate themselves from the cynicism that enslaves their moral imagination. from the idolatry of privatism and self absorption that shackles their compassion. from all that binds and limits their moral courage. if we are really to keep this dream alive, we must commit ourselves to the call of challenging the status quo and confronting injustice wherever it raises its head.
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we must replace the idols of cash and cars and clothes with compassion and care and concern for the least of these. the only way that his dream can become a reality is when we see in justice, we must confront it. when we see hatred and violence, we must seek to end it. forever we go, what ever we do, we should exercise an influence for good and be a force for social uplift. it is not until we realize that our privilege does not placed upon islands of indifference, but rather that we are intimately connected to one another. dr. king said as much in his letter to the birmingham in jail. we are part -- caught in an inescapable network of mutuality. we are tied in a single garment
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of destiny. what affects one directly affects all indirectly. never again can we afford to lift with the narrow, provincial outside agitator. anyone who lives inside the united states, can never be considered an outsider anymore within its bounds. sadly, today, his dream has been deferred because we have reached a place in american political discourse that he cautioned against. he points out the dangers of ideological segregation in american public life. he appeals to help us understand that retreating to our various ideological neighborhoods is just as dangerous to the american experiment as a racial segregation. too often today, we allow
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distinctions of race and class and party affiliation and ideology to separate and polarize us. it is the case that we are bound into a world of mutuality. recent events in arizona show as that we must be as vigilant today in fighting ideological segregation as he was in fighting racial segregation. we must find a way to tap into his ability to engage in a rigorous debate without demonizing the other side. we must be able to preserve and to maintain the great historic tradition of passionate political argumentation, characteristic of the new free democracy. we must be able to do so without demonization, without labeling the other side as on patriotic -- un patriotic.
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for that to happen, we need more symbolic and substantive gestures of collaboration and exchange. blinis more bold and courageous examples of what some have called the unusual alliance of reverend sharpton, secretary duncan, and newt gingrich to facilitate a conversation on education. the heart of this country need symbolic gestures of politicians, voluntarily sitting together while the president addresses the country. this is a good thing. we need more examples of where conservative and liberal pro- choice and pro-life, can come together to across ideological lines and then gained an ideological commerce with the hope of seeking to understand
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one another. i know that is not going to be easy. i know it is going to be difficult. our destiny as a nation is to be found in understanding what it is that we share in common. rather than emphasizing what distinguishes us. we must all be a part of the solution rather than a problem. our communities depend upon an our children depend upon it. and our nation depends upon it. i am reminded of the story about the father who was watching a playoff game in his study one day when his son came into the room and said, can you come play with me? the father, not wanting to be disturbed, he felt a jigsaw puzzle entitled a map of the world. he said, take this puzzle and
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when you have put the pieces together of the map of the world, come back and and i will play with you. the father said that thinking that he had bought himself about 30 minutes of the could finish watching the rest of the game. about 50 minutes later, his young son ran into the room and said, i finished putting the puzzle together. the father was incredulous. he could not believe that his son did it so quickly. he said, how did you complete this so fast? it was easy, he said. on the other side of the map of the world, there was a picture of a child. when i put the child together, the world cannot all right. are charged today is to put the child together. if we work to put the child together, the world will turn
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out all right. god bless you. ng [applause] >> give him a hand. as i stated earlier about august 28, that did not have been by it -- that did not happen by accident. i was in washington yesterday and read an article about a man who had logistical charge of the memorial. but the memorial would not have had logistics had it not been for the vision and the diligence and sacrifice of a man who
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people thought was crazy when he said, we will raise millions of dollars and but this memorial on the banks of the potomac. in many ways, i can honestly say that i believed this would happen had not been for the commitment, the perseverance, and sacrifice of harry johnson. i want him to come before us now. we are honored that he has given us a monument for generations to,. -- to come. [applause] >> thank you so much. it is a joy to be with you. you believe in me more than i believe in myself sometimes. good morning. i am not going to stay long. this will be the last day in the
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history of the world's that we celebrate his birthday without having a national memorial in his honor. [applause] i am proud to stand before you and tell you that we have raised $108 million of the $120 million needed to build this memorial. we still need $12 million. the unthinkable happened? i know what will happen. -- d think it will still happen? i know that it will happen. on august 28, we will dedicate the first memorial to a man of color. august 28, the same day he gave his speech, we will dedicate his memorial. the same date that barack obama accepted the nomination from the democratic party. we want to dedicate this
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memorial back to president obama. able to walk to the mall and see dr. king situated between the lincoln and jefferson memorial bridge god bless you all. god bless you, reverend. thank you all. >> as i said today, the day before, we will march from the emancipated to the liberator. be ready for the day after what we consecrate that memorial. i do not need 6 million for the march. i adjusted about half a million. -- i just need about half a million. he mentioned president obama. president obama has made us all
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proud. his administration has been diligent in trying to make this country a better place. dr. king was killed fighting for laborers and yet we find ourselves today over 9% unemployed. in the african-american and latino community, it is much more than that. those statistics are just based on those looking for jobs. unemployment among black young men is over 50%. the department of labor has bought and continues to fight to try to provide jobs, to give us a report to. we're honored to have the assistant secretary of policy and joins us to give us an update today. [applause]
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>> thank you. i appreciate it. i am always happy to be in your presence. since we are the same age, we have the same memories. for the public school students here, we group a couple of miles. this is my hometown. i was born in washington d.c. i'm a product of the public schools of washington, d.c. i want to send you greetings on behalf of my immediate boss. the secretary would love to be with you, but this is a holiday in she was back in her home town of los angeles leading and participating in the king parade.
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she is with you and pspirit. you ask me what we are doing and concrete steps. we should remember that dr. king's last act was to organize on behalf of sanitation workers, public sanitation workers, in the city of memphis. he was in the middle of organizing the poor people's campaign. he really did not want to go to memphis because he thought it would interrupt what he thought was the most important campaign he was launching. he reminded us in thinking about poverty was to rethink how we think about poverty. he recounted for everyone this story of the road to jericho. he recounted that on the road to
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jericho, there was a man who had been robbed and left beside the road to die by the robbers. many leaders went by on the road and ignored this pour man who had been beaten and robbed. the high priest went by. it was a samaritan, a stranger, a forerunner to the area, who dismantled -- dismounted to really sit there and care for him. many of us stop at that point. but dr. king reminded us that there was a reason why that road was the way it was. he had personally traveled that road with his wife. when you went down that road, he
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finally understood the parable. the road winds and twists and turns and it has lots of different little places where someone could ambush you. what dr. king explained to us was that that person who was mugged, just like today, we could figure out stories and blame the person. the people who went by, maybe, or blaming that person. it is a dangerous road. if you were one of the high priests, as you are on a donkey. you have servants. you are traveling in a group. you get to travel in the daylight. you are traveling in safety. nobody is going to rob you. that does not make sense. if you are worker and you are on your way from jericho to go to the temple, you have to work during the day.
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when you travel the road, it will be dark. it will be night time. if you were a single men and you were going to jericho, you would be traveling with children, by yourself. it is the design of the road. it is not the person. it is the situation that makes the privileged think that the road is ok. it makes those who are not privileged suffer the dangers. it is policy that makes the road dangerous. when you ask, what are we doing concretely, it is that we must respond to the dangers of the road. one of the things that we are doing is we have rethought the department of labour.
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the secretary has charged us with making a department that will concentrate on good jobs for everyone. we mean everyone. when dr. king was speaking to the sanitation workers, he could have said, you are sanitation markers. if you have a ph.d., he would not be -- you would not be sanitation workers. that was not his speech. his speeches about the injustice to those workers. policy has to address those things. we need good jobs for everyone and we do not mean a job that is the need someone. we mean that there is -- good jobs for everyone does not mean that >> so, what is a good job?
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it narrows wage difference and inequality and provides a safe and healthy workplace. think of the dangers faced in the workplace where many diet for that was what dr. king was working on. workers were being denied their fair over time and want to make sure that jobs are open for all. we must end of discrimination. we must get the necessary skills to prepare workers for success there that is a good job. when we mean everyone, we mean everyone. we mean that we have to reach into communities. we have to reach african- americans. we have to reach latinos. we have to reach women. we have to reach people with disabilities, veterans, people with limited english abilities
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and individuals in high unemployment areas. we have to reach older workers that are struggling to find retirement. we have to reach everyone. the charge that we have is to provide good jobs for everyone. that is our charge. what are we doing specifically about that? let me quote some of what dr. king said. dr. king reminded us that it is all right to talk and preach about the roads over yonder ultimately, people want suits and dresses to wear down here. it is all right to talk about streets flowing with milk and honey, but god commanded us to be concerned about the slums down here. it is all right to talk about
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the new jerusalem, but one day, we must talk about the new york and the new philadelphia. and the new los angeles and the new memphis. we are improving our employment opportunities over the past year. we have surfaced over 7.6 million african-americans through job training in our workforce programs for it that includes the many young people -- programs. that includes the many young people. we must get people job training to help them through mentoring and transitional service so that ex-offenders can integrate into our neighborhoods. we announced a pilot to get 300
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veterans into our job corps program and into our employment and training administration that is making changes to our apprentice program. we have changed the advisory committee to make sure that we have people from the community, not just those from business and not just those from labor. the new board includes james a brief from the national urban league, a former colleague of mine. -- james reid, from the national urban league, a former colleague of mine. we need to make sure that apprentice ship programs -- apprenticeship programs will be open and available to all available and eligible job- seekers. to make sure they are not left out of apprenticeship programs. we are working to protect workers' income spurted we recovered over $85 million for
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117,000 american workers last year. our wage division hired 250 new investigators. a staff increase that is going to insure that we are going to be able to keep america's workers checks in their pockets. in april of this year, we launched a national bilingual public awareness campaign that we call "we can help" to make sure we held all workers with their labor rights. we were reminded that we have this new racism that has put itself in america. we are not upset at all immigrants in this country. we are just upset about immigrants of certain color. we know where this goes.
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dr. king also reminded us, and this is important for us to understand about the current situation about where poverty comes from. this recession, this great recession, if you took all of the jobs that we lost in the downturn of the 1960's, and all of the jobs that we lost in the downturn of the 1970's, and all of the jobs that we lost in the downturn of the 1980's. all of those recessions that took place in the 1960's, 1970's, and 1980's and stack them up, that is this recession. it is not one recession. it is not to dub recessions. it is not even three recessions. it is three decades of job loss that took place in one year. that was before president obama took office.
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that is what we fell into. when you understand that the labor market is like a game of musical chairs and someone takes 8 million shares out of the room, someone has got to be standing up. dr. king reminded us of that. he said that we realize that this location of our economy and the prevalence of discrimination press people into idleness it binds them -- iona's. it binds them against their will. idleness.nes it binds them against their will. somebody has got to be standing. you can blame who you want. until we get 8 million shares back into the room, someone will be standing.
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-- shares back into the room, someone will be standing. -- chairs back into the room, someone will be standing. there was a case involving discrimination against an african-american male. we were able to get him a $25,000 award in back pay. we conducted outreach events to negotiate contractors about their equal -- equal employment opportunity responsibilities and entered into 96 conciliation agreements resulting in back pay awards of more than $9 million. we got 2000 additional potential job offers for those facing discrimination. the department launched a website to highlight employment of people with disabilities and our veterans.
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we have a new portal to make sure that veterans have access to every job that we can find. dr. king reminded us in memphis that the problem faced by those sanitation workers was one of injustice. he said, "the issue is injustice. the issue is the refusal of memphis to be fair and honest in its dealings with its public servants who happened to the sanitation workers." we are working to protect the safety of american workers. osha has strengthened programs to reach out to all vulnerable workers. workers that did not know that they even existed workers in construction suffered the most fatalities. we issued new regulations on
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cranes and derricks. finally, dr. king reminded us, because he was working to get workers into the right to organize and getting that recognized, it was that our cause is identical to that of those who worked for the set were jews -- decent wages. conditions in which families can grow. we are working to make sure that workers have a voice. our office of labor management standards instituted a regulation on the notification of employees under their labor laws and those are part of an executive order that will require all government
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contractors to inform workers of their rights under federal labor laws. including the right to organize. we ensure that workers have affirmation critical to their participation in the workplace, providing more transparency about what arrangements their employers have made to persuade them whether or not to join a union. this is a multimillion-dollar industry in which employers hire people to tell people that they do not want a right that other people fought for them to have. some workers would be astounded to know how much money the company was spending to deny them a right. if you have that much money to spend to keep me from having a right that other americans fought for me to have, why do you not just give me the money? [applause] [laughter]
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>> that will be up for public comment. [laughter] >> i cannot for the issue as to how to comment. -- i cannot pressure you as to how to comment. we are looking at those policies that make the road from jerusalem to jericho a dangerous road. we are trying to smooth the path toward the are trying to make sure that no one -- no one gets mugged beside the road. -- nobody gets mugged beside the road. not just those that created the problem, but those that are the victims of that policy. we are putting in place as many policies as we can to make sure that that is a safe road. with your support of president obama and his policies, we will
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continue to fight that fight. we will continue to make that road safe. we will continue to make sure that there are good jobs for everyone. thank you. [applause] >> thank you. as we come every year, give an award to one that has gone beyond the call of duty, it was an easy task this year. for the last several years, we have been engaged in a fight for education equality. we see a gap between the achievements of students of color and others is something that must be confronted and dealt with it all must be held accountable. in this accountability, there are some that try and demonize
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part of the process. the demonizing of teaching is not education reform, it is education deform. [applause] yes, teachers must be held accountable, but so must everyone else, including those that want to cut funds to public education. including parents. including those of us that our stakeholders in the community. one that has weathered the storm and held their own profession accountable, but at the same time, took what i feel is unfair and unnecessary attacks to protect those that go to school everyday there is some areas that the talking heads would not drive through on their
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way to the airport. i know. this lady has not only fought for them, she has fought for us. whether it was for livable wages when she was head of the union in new york. she, against the wishes of her own members marched with us against police misconduct. she has been a activist -- and activist and it is with great pride that we give her this award of service, the president of the american federation of .eachers [applause] in that spirit, and she will
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make remarks later because of our time. we are bringing our speaker on and i have to go to harlem and newark. i and the activist today. -- i in the activist today. in the spirit of what we are trying to do in education, i remember when we started in this journey, president obama was senator obama. he was strong on this issue, then. he and the chancellor schools or arranged for me to meet with the head of schools in chicago. immediately, he and i began a bond and have worked together throughout the last several years when we had -- several years. when we had martin luther king day, martin luthin the student e
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has made change. he raced to the top and he put money out there to have incentives for people to change what is going on in the achievement gap. there are those that have fought against change. but they slipped after the revolution. you cannot keep doing the same thing and expect different results. you cannot protect everyone in the system. president obama has challenged us. i remember we had a meeting about two. one of the first meetings in the oval office -- about two years ago. one of the first meetings in the oval office. newt gingrich and i met with the president and the president, without any forewarning, recommended that we do a five-
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city tour. that was extremely revolutionary to have newt gingrich and on the road together. [laughter] army duncan -- arne duncan somehow made it through. it showed his leadership and passion to try to get all sides of america to deal with a critical mission to it is for that reason that we asked him to be our speaker this morning -- critical mission. it is for that reason that we ask him to be our speaker this morning. he is someone that i personally respect and admire and i am glad to have him with us today. the united states secretary of education, arne duncan. [applause]
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>> good morning. reverend sharpton, thank you for that kind introduction. congratulations on the award. i went back to my office after that meeting and told my staff that we will want to go on a five-city tour with reverend al sharpton and the gingrich and a thought it was a bad idea. i said that it was not my idea. that was the president's idea. they said,"let's get to work." of all the jokes that we make, this is a great metaphor as to what the country has to do. we all have to move out of our copper zone. i actually didn't take much risk. the fact that he was outside his upper zone and that newt gingrich would with outside his comfort zone, it could not have gone better. i think that if we can continue to do those things and show that kind of courage and leadership
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is hopeful for where we are going. i am convinced that education is the civil rights issue of our generation and we have a lot of hard work ahead of us. if we want our young people to have a chance to enter mainstream society and pursue the american dream, the can only do that through education. if we make an honest assessment of where we are today, everyone knows that we have a lot of hard work ahead of us. our black children today are three of times more likely to live in poverty than white children. half of the young people of color are dropping out of high school. how many good jobs are out there for high-school dropouts? none. 30 years ago, you could drop out and you could go work in the stockyards in the steel mills. we have to do some things differently.
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it cannot be just about graduating from high school. with a high-school diploma, how many good jobs are out there? very few. community colleges, trade, some form of higher education has to be the goal for every young person in our country for the cannot rest of -- in our country. if you looked at where we are internationally, we are not anywhere near where we need to be. 1 million young people are hitting our streets every year it is economically unsustainable and it is morally unacceptable. if you look at the benchmarks, in science, our students are 25th. one generation ago, we let in
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college graduate and today we are ninth. other countries have passed us by. they have invested more for that they have been committed. they have done other things. this is our sputnik moment. we have to do things very differently. we have to do it together. we all know the statistics. we do not have to go through those. i just want to talk about what i am hopeful. for all the challenges that we face, we have the solution here. the president has drawn the line in the sand. he said that by 2020, we need to lead in college graduates. there is no way to get that president's goal unless we change. the goal is to take what is working. we know how to get better. if you have children that are
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not being read to at night and not have enough food to each and may not be a will to see the blackboard, what we have to do? we have to increase school hours and crick communities around the schools to if they do not have eyeglasses, we have to get them. -- schools. if they do not have my glasses, we have to get them. systemically, not just one child or charismatic teacher or a good school, systemically, a child after child, year after year, agreed after gray, a young people from very tough backgrounds are doing extraordinarily well . we have a huge outpouring of interest in the initiative. we have about 20 planning grants and we have about 200
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outstanding applications. i just wish we had more resources to support that effort. we are moving forward and planning and working together. not just schools, but fate based institutions. -date based -- faith based institutions. the school has to be open seven days a week after school. if your idea it is to engage, if you just show up, you have a problem. yet to be there on an ongoing basis. my wife and i have to the young children. we try to be good partners with our children's teachers. not just to be there one or twice a year, but to do a better job. we have to challenge young people. your job as a young person is to go to school and get an education. young people do not understand. if you drop out of 14 or 15 or
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16, those doors shut on you very quickly turned out that there is a second chance -- is not a second chance, but you can do the right thing and go to school and graduate. with the president's leadership, there is a massive increase in pell grants for the next decade. you do not have to be from a wealthy family to go to college now. the resources are there. you have to do the hard work to get ready. historically, in our country, particularly with the current law, it reduces standards. why? it was not good for the children, it was not good for education. it was good for the politicians. if you can tell the public that more students were meeting state standards, they could get reelected. now, we have 40 states with
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higher standard for every single child. for the first time in our country, a child in mississippi and a child in massachusetts will be held to the same standards. there will be competing for jobs in a globally competitive economy. police said it was impossible. it could not be done. the unions helped to lead this charge and communities have been crying out for the spirited nonprofits -- out for this. nt the years, -- in three years, the touchdown was worth six points. a massive brick for is happening. we have to support that leadership.
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officials are saying that our children need to do something better. we need to stop lying to children and raise the bar. we will see state test scores go to 40 or 50%. for the first time, we will be telling the truth and we will see where young people are in fourth and fifth and sixth grade. if we are lying to them, it does not help them improve. our young people need the hardest working and most committed teachers and principals. in education, tell what matters tremendously to rid -- talent matters to this occurred-talent matters tremendously. dr. -- talent matters tremendously. we love to talk about the
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achievement gap. i like to talk about the opportunity that. when we close the opportunity gap, we did an extraordinary opportunity and a can be successful. -- they can be successful. schools are turning around. we are transforming the opportunity to be available for children. one school system has turned around 20 schools. i met with them and talked with one of the principles that was going to retire. he had a phenomenal track record and was going to retire and the superintendent asked him to take on the lowest performing schools and he said that this was the most moral and ethical work he had ever done in his career. he was glad he did not retire. we have to have them go into the inner-city and rural communities.
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if we close the opportunity gap, i am convinced we will close the achievement gap. we have to believe that every single child can be successful. reverend sharpton and i went to a school in philadelphia. three years ago, it was the second most violent school in philadelphia when we -- philadelphia. when we went there, you could hear a pin drop. everyone was working hard. a young man said that we used to fight all the time. i asked what he used to fight about and he said that they thought about stupid things. he said that they were expected to fight. the expectation of the adults was that children with fight. new adults and a new team, the violence went to zero.
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we have to step up. we have what i call to battle this function. labor, management, not doing the right thing by children. constant turnover and no one is happy. people aren't working together in different ways. -- people are working together in different ways. all around the country, folks are doing things very differently were the focus is not on the adults, but on student achievement. in baltimore, a contract just passed and the teachers voted for it. in new haven, 95% teachers voted for the contract. this is what great teachers are looking for. we are holding the conference next month in denver.
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we said that you could only come if you work a superintendent and you want to come together. if you are not serious, do not come. i was worried that we would have 30 applicants or for the applicants. we had about 250 applicants. we had more applicants than white spots were available. -- what spots were available. we have a historical lack of opportunity. examples of success are out there. we know what works for it happens every single day in our country. as educators, parents, business leaders, faith based leaders, we cannot rest until every single child has the benefit of those opportunities for and i promise you that if we do that, you will see dropout rates drop dramatically.
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the classroom to prison pipeline, we can end that through education. thank you so much and god bless. >> thank you, mr. duncan. at this time, reverend sharpton indicated that he was the leader. we have events taking place in three other cities, so he did have to catch his flight to new york. someone needs to call him that since he is the leader, do not stay in the work tonight. let's get our next speaker a
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hand as she comes third. >> so, i can say anything i want about how sharpton in you will not tell him? i want to thank the national action league. i want to thank the network. i want to thank al sharpton. i have known the rev. for a long time. the first time i ever cursed in front of him was last week. i find that what the national action network has done in terms of new york and around the country has been remarkable. it has been -- it has taken all of us in terms of fighting the fight against injustice. for me, to receive an award from
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reverend sharpton, who i have worked with for years, to receive an award from the national action network is one that i received with tremendous joy and humility and a push towards action. you have heard from a bunch of other labor leaders today. our sisters and brothers from 32bj, our sisters and brothers from baltimore, the baltimore folks can do their own shout out. [applause] i am so pleased to see nathan sanders and candy peterson with us today, the to the new leaders of the washington
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teachers union. [applause] as we heard, when dr. king died , he died fighting the fight for injustice on behalf of sanitation workers in memphis. labor civil rights leaders have always fought the fight shoulder to shoulder. dr. king walked hand-in-hand with people from the movement. we at the aft are still fighting to regain all the members that we lost when we expelled segregated locals in the south.
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shoulder to shoulder, working to fight against injustice. dr. king recognized that solving problems created by any quality requires a collective effort. that is true of any issue. secretary dunk it said it very eloquently children's education is not only not an exception, but a path to help create equality must mean the children must be front and center. while there is a lot of talk and activity about fixing our schools, too much of the dialogue has neglected the one has all no on
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the answers. we are often striving for more, but we often neglect the voices of parents and teachers, the foot soldiers for kids. the people in this room recognize the importance of collaborating, working together to improve education. our union supported election, because of getting input from stakeholders -- i know about this understanding of you being a collaboration working together in order to change things.
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things that we must change. whether it is the disappearance of 8 million jobs and finding ways to put people back to work in jobs that help them create and have for their families or whether it is changing our education system from an industrial economy system to one that helps all kids prepare for a knowledge economy. too often, the status quo is divisiveness, not collaboration and working together. as you all know, the conversation about education and our children's future has become a very divisive and very politicized. too often, the false choice is presented. either you or for students or you are for teachers.
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-- either you are for students or you are for teachers read what is good for teachers is good for students. -- for teachers. what is good for teachers is good for students. [applause] community groups have to be engaged in the part of a team that works on improving our public schools. as an educator, we know a thing or two about what works and what does not work in classrooms. we know that we have to have a laser light focus on teacher quality. we do not believe that teachers can solve everything in the .orld pretty soon, we will hear that teachers were responsible for the iraqi war. i do not tease about that anymore because we have gotten too close to hearing that. this means all of us having to
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take more responsibility. for the school districts, it means that they have to be serious about developing a fair, accurate and transparent plan to evaluate teachers and for us, it means that we have to engage in that process in a real way. not blaming managers to -- not blaming managers for failing to get rid of that teacher, but making sure that teachers are the best that they can be, the value waited in a real way. that is what joint, collective responsibility means about teacher quality. that is what walking the walk together means about teacher quality. that is what taking responsibility it means, not demonizing and scapegoating in order to avoid responsibility.
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[applause] when we have a variety of voices working together, we can solve all the problems in public education for it weekend make a big difference. we need all hands on deck find ways to ensure for children that their dreams are not simply their dreams, but that there are ways and roads to achieve them. as a nation, we are still grieving over the tragedy in tucson and debating what caused it and how it could be prevented. there has been so much spoken about dr. king's quotes, so i
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will not repeat some of them. but reverend sharpton just wrote a piece this week on the devastating effects of gun violence on black youth and the importance of education in eradicating this tragic phenomenon. we agree that schools and neighbors have to be linked by more than geography. they are, and must be linked by the fact that they are all part of the same community. to be successful, our schools have to be places that help eliminate the barriers to learning created by hunger, health care, tough family situations, a huge unemployment, a huge foreclosures, the stress associated with a lagging economy. all of that affects our kids every single day.
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the secretary just talked about what some schools do and what is done in new york. we see community schools within the public system in places like cincinnati and they are doing that which we need to do, coming together to provide all kinds of education and health and social services that help kids and their families. what we are doing in these situations is not blaming poverty, not blaming adversity, not ignoring party, not ignoring the diversity, but pressing the system and all of us to trumpet by having these services so that we can deal
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with the wreckage and all the issues that in tv children's success. this is the great equalizer for our kids and their schools can be and should be the hub of every community. labor is the great equalizer for workers. workers who all too often are feeling the ravages that dr. king so eloquently talk about the day that he was assassinated. when communities pull together, every school, every family, every community gets stronger. the fight is our fight. we want our fight to improve
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education. we won that fight to be your fight. we want our fight in your fight to improve amenities, to create jobs, to in foreclosures, to end hunger. we want those fights to be our fights. we want to be the foot soldiers in the fight to make america a more equal, just place. thank you very much for this award. [applause] >> i apologize. thank you so much. reverend sharpton has a unique
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way of doing things. he said a staff member to do all this work by myself, but i am so happy that we had so many folks come together to assist us in the washington dc area and i would like to mention something this morning. the president of the d.c. federation civic association. let's give him a hand toward. and the special assistant to harry thomas, who has worked around the clock to help us. thank you so much, monique. the hotel has received an emergency call for this bernese hawkins. please call home immediately. we do have to depart and head to new york, but we want rev. bill
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ell to come and bil give our closing prayer for the we think all of you on behalf of and our chairman of the board. we hope to continue to work and we look forward to august 28. have a wonderful king day. come on dr. bell and give us our closing prayer. >> let us pray. father, thank you for this glorious day and this precious day that we pause to celebrate the life and legacy of dr. martin luther king, one of the greatest leaders to ever across the pages of history. we thank you for him got.
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we thank you for his courage. we thank you for his determination, his commitment to mankind. we pray as we leave this place that you would use us to liberate us wherever we are. we have come a long way, but there are many challenges that lie ahead of us. we pray that your spirit will give us the tenacity and the determination we bless your name for everything that you're going to do. we thank you now for it as we leave this place, we know that your presence and your power will be with us in the name of jesus christ our lord we pray. everybody said a man. -- said amen. >> mr. andre johnson has done a marvelous job.
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thank you. thank you, all. ♪ >> i believe that the best way to carry on dr. king's work is to reach out to someone in need and make an ongoing commitment to community service. >> on the 82nd anniversary of martin luther king jr. is birth, there are hundreds of programs of the life and legacy of the civil rights leader. find a program, watch it, click it, and share it. >> in a moment on c-span, we will continue our look at the life of martin luther king jr.. we will examine how dr. king might have approached some of the current public policy issues being debated. tomorrow, the house will debate the repeal of the health care law passed by the last congress. coming up, we will bring you earlier debate on the repeal.
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>> chinese president who and how will arrive tomorrow. it gets under way wednesday morning with bilateral meetings at the white house and a joint press conference with president obama. he will also visit the state department with vice president biden and then attend a state dinner at the white house. the president will meet with the credit and republican leaders and discuss the u.s.-china business council. he will fly to chicago on thursday night for a meeting with chinese business owners before heading home. coverage of the trip is on the c-span networks. >> more on the legacy of martin luther king jr.. next, a look at how dr. king might have approached public policies being debated.
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members of the naacp and the faith and politics institute are taking part americans for democratic action hosted this of that last week. >> the first one is sure ok can. where are you sure, you were here a minute ago. i have known cheryl for 30 years. she has done a lot in those 30 years. she was an intern, once and now she is an extern? i don't know. [laughter] she served in the maryland legislature and they miss her now. she has worked on lots of different issues, important issues. she has usually one.
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she is hard working and she is smart. she headed the coral freeman foundation and a lot of money to good people. i hope that they remember it. she was called a fellow. i do not know if that is quite accurate, but ok. i think she will do a good job with that. i am not going to be quite so enthusiastic about michael. i have only known him about five years. starting when he did a dinner in new york for johansson.
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michael was the political director and he was good. he was very good. i have known him for the last two years fairly well. i want to say that he is smart and hard-working. he is not good looking. [laughter] i do not think that someone will confuse him with his fellow, but they will take the leadership rathenau and move on. [applause] >> thank you so much for being here today. we are delighted to present the annual wwmd or "what would martin tdo" event.
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the education does its best -- education fund does its best to get the word out to activists around the country about the position an important policy is that our country is facing. today's event is especially important for us as we struggle for some of our recent challenges in our country. whether it is the election results for last week's shooting in tucson. -- results, or last week's shooting in tucson. i like you to turn off your bones or anything else that would make noise. -- i would like you to turn off your phones or anything else that would make police. bill free -- feel free to tweet. events like this happen only in
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partnership with a lot of good people. i want to start by thanking her staff and her leadership as the president. our staff starts with michael j. wilson who is the secretary of education fund. many are here and many are outside working. we want to thank our volunteers and our board members and our donors and supporters. thank you all. i also want to recognize amy isaacs. before we get started, i think we need to take a moment to remember all of those in tucson , those who gave their lives to try to make change because they
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cared about our country and care about civil rights and cared about the important issues facing our country if we could just take a moment, please. thank you. in the final days of planning this event, one of the comments that michael j. wilson said was that one thing that he was certain of is that if dr. king were at this event, there would be music. i called my friend who has been performing and teaching for decades in washington. he is a teacher at the duke ellington school. he is an inspiring presence on the music scene. he has many cds and has played not only with some of the grateful to legends like judy collins and richie havens and many more, he also played at
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several rallies for dr. king in the 1960's. it is my pleasure and honor to have this program began with a couple of songs. please welcome him. [applause] >> good evening. [tuning pipe sounds] [laughter]
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♪ >> can you hear that in the back? ♪ >> steepen thorny the paths we tread iesch the children the stor other great ones who have come
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and gone song left us to sing this ♪ of tears and glory teach the children the story ies and of our proud history ♪ we must tell it truthfully ♪ so the children can hear and see
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♪ and remember the stories ahead days may lie steep and thorny the paths we tread frontiers to glory -- from tears to glory ♪ teach the children the stories [applause]
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♪ show everybody that your heart is open a wide go out and give it to the world given to the world if you have something and it is good go out and give it to the world if you got nothing but a song to sing sing and for the world think of all the pleasure your song neighboring if you go out and sing it for the world give it to the world
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if you have something and it is good go out and give it to the world if you have learned something from your sorrow, from your pain sure what the world tell your sisters and your brothers everything you have gained go out and share it with the world's give it to the world if you have something and it is good go out and give it to the world your heart, give it to the world if you got something and it is good
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go out and give it to the world go out and give it to the world ♪ [applause] >> thank you. >> we held a national essay contest thread we wanted to know what people thought around the world of all ages, of all backgrounds, what they believe that dr. martin luther king would engage in. we wanted to hear it from the world. we put the word out, a 500-word essay. we had some wonderful essays. we recorded a talented bunch of judges.
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their names are in the insert in your program. we thank them for their time. they helped us to narrow to the top five that were put on the website for the world to vote. your votes have spoken. the winner of a $500 savings bond is joy ellison. she is a recent graduate and she has just come back from working for peace in the middle east. her essay is inserted in your program. i will read it briefly. if martin luther king jr. could visit our country this month, he
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would see a nation much change and yet much the same. i imagine dr. king cadging a bus in downtown montgomery. perhaps he would select a seat in the front next to someone tired from a long day's work for little pay. through the bus window, he might see dilapidated schools and foreclosed homes. if they were to open up a newspaper, and he would read of another war with no end in sight. if dr. king returned to this country, he would once again take up the struggle of the core. he would organize against the interlocking evils of racism, militarism, and poverty. he would invite us to join him. in the 43 years since dr. king's death, we have not fulfilled his dream of equality. health care is out of reach for too many americans what our military budget grows.
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ours is a political landscape that king understood all too well. he decried the way the war on poverty was abandoned for the war on communism. today, we still choose fighter jets over unemployment benefits. the soldiers to fight and die in our army are still overwhelming our nation's pork. if he were here today, he would say, a nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense then on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death. he cried out for the port in vietnam -- port in vietnam. we destroyed the family and their village. we have supported the enemies of the peasant of saigon. he would mourn the poor people killed in iraq and afghanistan.
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he would point out that we once again supported the taliban and saddam hussein over the protest of the iraqis and the of counties. -- afghans. he wrote, i am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. when machines and computers profit motives and property rights are considered more in port than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered. that world revolution is still alive today it and brings hope to people in our country. in iraq, afghanistan, america,
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and around the world, millions of poor people are building a non-violent movement for a peaceful just future. we should not need dr. king to and treat us to join the right side of the world revolution. the port are calling to us to help them -- poor are calling to us to help them. may we see their cause as ours. that was written by a joy ellison. she is our first place as a winner. [applause] with that, i would like to turn it over to the secretary of americans for democratic action education fund and the national director of americans for democratic action. he will introduce our panelists and speakers and a moderator.
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>> thank you. thank you very much. it was an excellent essay about what dr. king would do if he were here today. we had numerous very good essays. we really did not have to go far to really answer the question of what he would do. we only needed to go as far as our own share -- chair of the fund. he knew dr. king oilwell. he was inactive is to actually serve time in jail with dr. king. we want to salute him. [applause] we also have an outstanding panel of people to talk about this important issue. i will introduce all of our
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panelists and our moderator and i will do it the way to make sure we stop having the same old kind of discrimination, we will do it in reverse alphabetical order. we will start with the honorable harris wofford, former senator from pennsylvania. i've had numerous conversations with the senator in the last week and he has impressed me with his continuing energy, his continuing spirit, with its focus on all the important things. i told him that our moderator teaches at howard university. he said, i was the first white male graduate of howard university's law school. when i came back, i wanted to be right in the middle of the civil-rights issues. there are many things that you should know about time from this time in the kennedy administration, the peace corps.
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but that tells you everything you need to know about his care and his interest. kathleen kennedy townsend comes from a long history of public service as well. for those of us who are fortunate enough to live in maryland, we are especially appreciative of her efforts. she continues to speak out and teach. she is working on a political organization that will be active in the future. there are a lot of things i could say about her. i will not read the entire bio. i will encourage her to have a conversation with the rest of us here today. doug had to be a part of a memorial service for a staffer who recently passed. he will be joining us soon. i first met him when he was doing voter registration in north carolina back in the 1990's. he has been entered all part of
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bridging faith and politics all of his life. he created the institute, which merged democrats and republicans to be able to have a civil conversation, not to give up the things they cared about, but to the able to talk about things in a civil way. he has led them on numerous pilgrimages. he is a very good voice for faith and politics. hillary shelton is the director of the washington office. from my perspective, she is my lobbyist. she fights for the things that all of us care about. for civil rights, social justice, economic justice. he is well known on the hill. he is a fixture and we are very glad to have him here. i will go on to the president of the randolph institute. she is a long-term friend of mine.
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the place where the labor movement and the civil-rights movement meet together, you'll find her. she is leading in pushing in the same direction because labor and civil rights are to movement with one goal. social and economic justice for all of us. i will introduce our moderator. candy shannon, who is a local announcer. she also teaches at howard university. i have known her for a long time. our kids graduate from high school together. she went to a great high school and a great college in the state of michigan. she also cares about issues. i will never forget hearing a commercial for the million mothers march. i thought, i recognize that voice. that was the voice of a moderator. with that, i will turn over to her to moderate this excellent
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panel and have a great conversation. [applause] >> thank you very much. thank you for coming this afternoon. as we have this opportunity to get together and to think and be inspired by what a cursor to date. -- by what occurred here today. we will ask our panelists to please give us each a little short list or explanation or introduction about the things that you care about and what that question means to you. what would martin do? michael already started introducing folks, not
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alphabetical. why don't i start to my right with miss brown? >> it is always confusing to mean when i can sit in a spot and smile because i do not have to go first. that is all right. good evening, everyone. this is a very good-looking crowd. on a day like today, it is such a pleasure to be with you. to the other panelists that are presenting this afternoon, it is such an honor to be able to sit with you. [applause]
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[inaudible] to see my sister, kathleen kennedy townsend, at the other end, she has worked behalf to death without knowing my very first name. to the question, what would martin do, i will try to do this and about four minutes. please indulge me. if dr. king were alive and living as a retiree in today's economy, what would he do? having lived a life devoted to the cause of civil rights, he would be celebrating his 82nd birthday tomorrow. he would probably be doing not
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by celebrating the zero bork of the first african american president. -- by celebrating the first african-american president. he would be probably a part of the victory celebration that would speak to the establishment of social security, medicare. doing that in a way to remind people, do not touch those things that are not broke. he would mourn with the rest of the nation over senseless shooting of the arizona congressman. the other five victims of their recent tucson tragedy would also be a part of that. he would likely shake his head in disbelief that the familiar ring of and there -- anger that prevailed. he would slowly trace the
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outlines of the jagged scar on the side of his face, a permanent brand marketing his survival, a victim of a vicious and senseless attack by a would- be assassin. this scar and the mental and hard felt anguish all too familiar reminders that not all local law abiding citizens of the united states subscribe to the tenant of peaceful resistance and non-violent demonstrations. many would justify the spewing of their malicious verbal operating, ranting as a legitimate exercise of their first amendment right to speak -- to free speech. what about the right to peaceful assembly? he might ask himself, why so much hatred? why so much uncertainty? dr. king would take time to recall the sequence of events that would lead to -- he would
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first remember that he was an unadorned civil servant, a servant of the people. he promised to serve wherever those people needed his voice to speak out or his support to act on their behalf. he would then recalled that he did travel to memphis, tenn., to campaigns for support of the strike of sanitation workers. looking for jobs they, better wages and union recognition. his principal of non-violence for the foundation of his career. as the minister and public servant, in the earlier years, it blocked black americans to full equality. not everyone welcomed this change. not everyone embraced his ideal of peaceful reconciliation. it was this atmosphere of
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politically charged and media and deuced media that dr. king would find most challenging as he traveled back and forth. in 1968, it was all about jobs and economic security. it was all about jobs. in an unsafe environment for the sanitation workers and the mishap that happened with that trash compactor. black workers being sent home without pay, their white supervisors been retained for the day with pay, that is what led to the strike. the mayor was supposed -- was unsympathetic to the workers' demands. dr. king would likely realize that his vision of a peaceful demonstration to support the plight of those workers back in 1968 would not become a reality on less common ground could be forged and common values shared.
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in 2011, it is still about jobs. and economic security. at the end of december 2010, with the unemployment rate at 10%, the underemployment rate at 16.7%, this brings the number of unemployment at 14.5 million. the unemployment rate for african american act of astonishing victim 0.8%. what does that mean? what would you recognize? he would take a look at all those things that surround us that crumbled. if dr. king were still alive, he would likely reach for the well- worn pages of the speech she had given in 1963. dr. king would recall his words to the crowd of 50,000 that
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gathered that day in the hot august sun on the steps of the lincoln memorial right here in washington, d.c. we have come to our nation's capital to cash a check. when the architects of our republic wrote the constitution and the declaration of independence, there were signing a promissory note to which every american was to fall air. this note was a promise that all men, black, white, red, whatever color, would be guaranteed be inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. dr. king would recognize that all americans were all heirs to a promise that american made over a hundred years ago. there were some things that i must say to my people treat --
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my people. we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. was not sick to satisfy our first for freedom by drinking from the couple bitterness and hatred. we must forever conductor struggle on the high plain of dignity and discipline. we must not allow our creative protest to denigrate into violence. we must rise to the majestic sky of meeting physical force with soulful force. we must honor the promise and pursued the dream. america's history is littered with broken promises, but today's crisis also deals the opportunity for great civil dialogue to emerge. it is the time to seek common ground and build upon the premise that all men and women are created equal. dr. king refused to stop
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holding americans to his promise and refuse to stop believing that america's did not achieve the fulfillment of his promise. 40 years after the bullet that shattered and forever changed america's diverse landscapes, we continue the journey to the promise to be filled and the dream to be realized. at 82, i think that he would probably logged onto its web site, and he would send his love. i still have a dream. [applause] >> thank you. >> thank you so much. let me associate myself with the comments that were just made.
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let me thank our friends from the ada for putting together such an important forum. the birthday of dr. martin luther king. i'm sitting here with people that are my heroes. she is also a member of the naacp national director. sitting next to a board member is always a powerful thing for me. harris wofford is sitting next to me to my left. the senator had been the first non african-american male to graduate from howard university's law school. it was not surprising to me because i had seen the wonderful things that he was doing on
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capitol hill. it is something i am very grateful for. it is an honor to sit next to him. kathleen kennedy townsend is someone that we have watched in maryland to the great work that she has done. that tenacious this, that commitment and humility, quite frankly percent each and every one of them have been people like been able to work with and talk with. each has been someone who was carried that tradition and that agenda. >> can i interrupt? speak directly into the microphone. it helps everyone here. >> thank you so much.
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but what dr. king do today? dr. king was a man of the gospel. he was a preacher. he was trained in religion. it was that background, that experience as someone that studied, to do what had never been done before. even to have the vision that he did, never proven itself to that point to provide a real opportunity for everyone regardless of race, gender, ethnicity. i think he would rely on it and he would gauge the movement of our country, the growth of our
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country, based on that field. understanding that the movement had always been to feed the hungry, house the homeless, care for the sec, and to free the oppressed. those concepts for the concepts that were involved in everything dr. king did. so many will take a look at what we have done so far in those areas. he would look at how we treated the port. he would recognize that he planned deport people's campaign that issued -- he planned the poor people's campaign. the other administrations we have seen that too often the program summer country have often suffered the pouor. to provide health care, to give
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housing, to provide all the things that we need to be able to survive and live very well. we of always had to struggle to get those things on the table. we have always come up short. under the administration before this one, we had to go back to the congress and say, they sent down a budget that cuts programs that would feed the hungry. we have to restore that money. you would have to talk to the other side of the president to do that. he would grimace out how that has worked for us. we have a housing trust fund bill that we were finally be able to get through. even as we have gone through the years to put the resources, to appropriate the funds, the federal government cut that program back. we still have not seen the
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housing trust fund bill actually fully implemented. you talk about programs been educating -- educating our children. in this day and age, if you do not have the resources to go to college and go beyond, you will not do very much in our society. dr. king would have understood how it has taken so long to increase funding for important programs like the pell grant program. as we talk about health care for all americans, it would be a basic tenet of this judeo- christian background to make sure that everybody has health care. the fight that we had to have and the ugliness that came out of that fight in our country when against two very important tenants. making sure that people are taken care of, and that we would communicate in a way of moving
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forward a political agenda in a way in which words, that we raise issues and concerns to make sure that everyone had health care. names that many of us blush to even think about. i dare not repeat any of them. even the first openly gay member of the u.s. congress became their target. dr. king, on one hand, would be disappointed that we have missed the point of so many places. in some ways, he would find hope in what we have done so far. we can move beyond the color of once again and vote for them because of the content of their caria. -- of their character. that person went into the white house -- it has been our
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struggle to go back to capitol hill to turn around what the white house is doing, but for us to be able to come out and support what is they're trying to do. i think that dr. king would be torn. i think he would have learned from many of us, but he would be raising the issues that he raised. i was very happy that in the essay that was presented, it spoke to what i believe is one of his most profound speeches. it was the speech that was given against the support of many of his own friends. when you went to the riverside baptist church on april 4 of 1967, he raised the issue of how as long as we were put in a position that we had to compete for the issues and challenges and programs of support -- the poor with the patriotic
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investments ever country, we would find ourselves costing millions of dollars per month. we still have an awful lot of work to do. the road plan is here for us. if we did ourselves in again, and we give our faith to a higher power, a power beyond those limited debates in washington. there are some brilliant people here, but the conversation is all too limited. i look forward to our conversation. [applause] >> thank you. our last panelist has arrived and we will hear more from doug in just a moment. next, senator harris wofford,
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we would like to hear your thoughts. >> panels can have surprises. kathleen kennedy townsend is a very old and great friend. >> how old? [laughter] >> from my point of view, fourscore and four years. you are very young. you do not easily get music on a panel. when donal leace was giving the song and music, i remember the first time i heard harry belafonte. how many have heard him sing the leading of that? where is my friend, abraham? i will not give all the words. the next time -- the first time i heard it, it was, where is my
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friend, john? the next time i heard him sing it, it was, where is my friend, abraham? where is my friend, john? where is my friend, martin? the last time i heard him sing it, it was, my friend, robert. when i first ran for public office, it was a reporter doing a feature. after interviewing me, he said, how lucky you were to have worked directly with john and robert kennedy and martin luther king. i said, the three that meant the most to me in my life were all three killed in one decade. less than a decade.
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just the pain that one feels when you think what could have if robert and martin had lived, one as president and one as a great profit of progress in america, what might have been done and all the lost opportunities. no sooner had i said that, i said, find out where she is, i do not want to be quoted on that. of course we were lucky. we only had abraham lincoln for five years for lee. -- really, . we had martin for 12 years. we have roberts and his amazing journey, growing all the time,
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we were lucky. we are lucky that we do not have to be presumptuous and say, what would martin do? what would martin say? i am for the american slower democrats for action being presumptuous on this. -- american ands for democratic action. he was a master of words. we are lucky because those words but wet only in princt, can hear them. it is all of his great speeches.
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i recommend to all of us, if we want to drink of the cop that will give us new energy and hope, to some listening and reading of those great speeches. martin was presumptuous 26 year old when he took the leadership of the montgomery boycott. the first time my wife met martin luther king, i was driving them from baltimore to washington one night. he had given a sermon to an african-american fraternities for spending more than one weekend to the total naacp budget. my friendship with hillary began with the right on the train
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murray invited me to go to the hundredth anniversary. martin died in the car and we drove him home -- got in the car and drove him home. from time to time, i strategizing with martin luther king on what the next step autozone depth of knowledge -- about his own at the depth of knowledge. from the time martin it chose this course, i've had a nightmare that keeps coming back. at the end of this herodias chosen, he is going to be killed. martin turned to her and said, i have told you to stop that nightmare. think what we can do. dream of what we can do and we
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are alive. i did not choose this, the past. -- the day i asked -- they asked. we cannot do it without those pastors. there was a dispute -- let's ask martin. let's ask him to be our chair. he kept out of any struggles there to get to know his congregation. asked and he said, yes. and the car, he hummed a spiritual that when something like, the lord came by and asked. my soul said, yes.
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what do we learn from being lucky to of been able to hear and see? a lot. king told us lot about what he thought should be done. in the community, in this nation, and in the world. i think i agree with all of the agenda items that have been listed. in the community, the speech he gave the night of the boycott, should be read because he took an idea, at that you have to have constructed service and direct action on what you can do. he had his own program that
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martin like to think. we are the montgomery improvement association. that is the name we have given ourselves. it is not that we are right as black americans, it is to improve montgomery for everybody in the most fundamental ways. let's not wait until we have won the battle at the nation level. let's do what we can now. i just call that your attention. when he cleaned latrines as his first act coming back from south africa -- south africa, he formed a service corps. bys scandalized the hindus working together with untouchables. why did you do this?
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he did it to prevent a crisis. why wait for unnecessary drain cleaning for independence? let's take a shovel and a broom and go to it. secondly, as to what the nation should do, he said a lot about that. he was about to organize and be part of the poor people's march. like robert kennedy, they were moving toward winning a war on poverty and providing the energy that would prevent the snuffling up its that occurred at about the time the two of them were killed. education, he spoke to how that was the next key part to of where we go.
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in his sermon the night before he was killed, he said, i've been to the mountaintop. bias in the promised land. -- i have seen the promised land. we may not get to it. the mountain is the head and it still needed to be climbed. do i have any doubt that if the health care bill were up for repealing at this moments, after all the work that produced the best congress could get to and the president could get, a big step toward working wanted to go -- where king wanted to go, do i have any doubt that he
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would move into action? i have no doubt about that. lastly, the world. he risked a lot in taking on the vietnam war. he broke their collaboration because he thought it was a terrible political mistake to take on a controversial issue like the vietnam war. those are the three, and i think i want to end by saying that martin luther king was presumptuous in the best way. he did is because he was asked.
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it is very good at that americans for democratic action asked us to think about this. a desire to learn and do it and turn into flesh some of the words that he said and we believe. let's not only ask others to encourage the next martin luther king or robert kennedy that will come along, but bus -- let's ask ourselves, what do we think should be done? what can we learn by this tragedy we are remembering? it was robert kennedy that you can see on the back of the truck
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in indianapolis when he delivered the words of the african-american community that martin luther king had been killed. you can see him in the kennedy library, those remarks from memory, the tragedy, we can learn by the grace of god. [applause] >> thank you very much, senator. the honorable kathleen kennedy townsend, please. >> thank you. i love listening to you. i want to thank the ada.
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i have to say, when sheryl asked about this panel, what would martin do, it reminded me of what would jesus do? that question is always answered by what you think you should do. who knows what martin mr. king would do? he was a great leader and he was a visionary and a leader. i wish we had his vision. i will tell you what i think should be done. it is hard to say what a leader would do. i say this because my mother would never let any of my brothers and sisters say what my father would do. you do not know. q. are you to say? -- who are you to say? i can tell you what i think i
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have learned from martin luther king. i learned that you change. he was always devoted to nonviolence, but for a period of time, he focused primarily on discrimination. then he got very interested in jobs and work. for his very gutsy and with great courage, he took on the vietnam war. as you said, he lost a lot of friends over that period -- over that. fighting for the workers in memphis, he lost a lot of friends. it is ok to be against discrimination. to actually be for workers' rights became even more controversial. he was always willing to push
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the envelope, and to push people for their, to push them beyond their comfort zone. do we push ourselves where we are not comfortable? are we willing to listen to things that we are not comfortable with? towards the end of his life, he said very clearly, there must be a better distribution of wealth. that was a tough thing to say then. it is an impossible thing to say now. if i looked at what is really been the change over the last 40 years, since my father died, and since martin luther king died, it is a sense of what we are as a nation. one of my favorite ideas from martin luther king, for some strange reason, i can never be what i ought to be until you are
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what you ought to be. you can never be what you ought to be until i am what i ought to be. that is a stunning statement. about human beings and a country and a community and how we are into related to one another and how we are dependent upon one another and how the favela's of happiness comes from -- the fulfillment of happiness comes from how each of us does well. for the last 30 make -- for the last 30 years, we have been inundated with this philosophy of freedom. it is completed political liberty with capitalism. to the detriment of how we see
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ourselves as human beings and as a nation. i have to say, i am on the brady campaign because i think jim brady and sarah brady have done a stunningly effective job, a beautiful job on gun issues. and on gun regulation. you look at what happened in tucson and what happened to my father and to john kennedy and to martin luther king and a million people have died of guns since 1968. after this recent tragedy, everybody has said, nothing can be changed. if we really believed that we are related to one another, and that our well-being is caught up in your well-being, we would not tolerate the idea that a million people can die of guns. we just would not do it.
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we would not allow all -- [applause] i think we can talk about different programs and i am thrilled that we got health care passed and i believe deeply that we need the best education of any country in the world if we are going to be competitive. but i do not think we are going to do anything until we change our philosophy of life. or deluxe uponate horr us and wants us to succeed together. you see that in the constitution. the leaders of our country said we should care about the common welfare.
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yet, even despite the 2008, we have gone back to this philosophy of, i have got mine and that is all i care about. that is all i should care about. of what martin luther king -- martin luther king told us that we are related to each other and we are part of a seamless garment. if we believe that, we have to speak that way, we have to change the thought patterns. as a mother of four children, we are as happy as our saddest child. it means that we have to lift up one another. that is the only way we will make ourselves fulfilled and our country fulfilled.
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i believe that is what martin luther king asked us to do. thank you. [applause] >> thank you very much. tanner hast doug joined us. welcome. >> thank you. to be asked to speak on what would martin to comment it is a bit jarring to me because i still call him dr. king. i worked a good bit read john lewis -- with the john lewis. for the purposes of this, i will try to get into what would martin do. it is a little bit awkward.
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the best summation of martin's teaching may be from the book, where do we go from here? that was published in 1967. what would he say to us if he were here now? the chapter is based on his nobel peace prize lecture, delivered in 1964. he worked on that about a month and he gave it the prominence that it deserved in the concluding chapter of that book. a bit later, he may well have regarded the world as his most important single speech or essay. some of us may never have heard of it. we certainly note i have a
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dream, we know the letter from the birmingham jail. this work is relatively unknown. in that comment -- and that, he calls us to transcend class, nation, and religion, to embrace the vision of the world house. to eradicate racism, poverty, and militarism. to curb excessive materialism and shipped from a thing- oriented society to a people- oriented society. to resist social injustice and resolve conflicts in the spirit of love. were martin in the mid-1960s spoke of addressing the conditions that bread communism,
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we might today substitute terrorism. i can hear martin say, the world house has a lot more people and act that it did in my day. the way information travels instantaneously makes learning to live in tent more urgent than ever. this country is blessed to have a president whose backgrounds and sensitivity and raise our exceptional resources for a teaching folks in this country how to take care of that house and how to take up the right kind of residence in it. whatever you may think of how he handles the big banks or help care reform or anything else, you pay attention and stay close with him around that world house. another thing that think he would say to us is, learned to pray. until you know that god is with you in the hardest of times,
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there was a time late one night during the relatively early days of the montgomery bus boycott when martin was suffering deep despair over the told that his role was taking on his family. just after he had gone to bed one night, the telephone rang, and he got up and it was an angry threatening voice on the other end. he could not go back to sleep. he went to the kitchen and the heated up a pot of coffee. he was exhausted and confused and he sat at that table staring at his coffee. he bowed his head and he began to pray. he told got that he could not face the future alone. at that moment, he said,
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experiencing a divine presence unlike any he had ever experienced before. he grew to trust its as he never had before. a few days later, there was a bomb in the parsonage. i came to know fred shovels worth a few years ago pretty well. -- shuttleworth a few years ago pretty well. he was a close ally. he had a


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