tv ABC 7 News Coronavirus Getting Answers ABC June 19, 2020 3:00pm-3:30pm PDT
hi there, i'm kristen sze. . the goal of the show is to get answers like covid-19 but today we focus one topic only, juneteenth. the only oldest celebration to the end of slavery in america. joining me this afternoon, he was the first african-american to be speaker of the californian mayor of san francisco. please welcome the one, the only, willy brown jr. the mayor. hey mayor brown. >> good afternoon. and how are you? >> i've been well. it's been a while.
so really great to see you and of course, today is juneteenth. i want to ask you, how are you marking it? >> i'm having a great time. as a matter of fact, corporate america consulted me two or three weeks ago to say, who would you get to talk about juneteenth? i would be happy to do that because i lived juneteenth. i'm originally from texas and that was the place where juneteenth started. 1865 when the word came down that there had been the signing of the emancipation proclamation 2.5 years earlier but as it is with texans, we never got the word. my ancestors celebrated that texas had become a center of the
source of the rodeos, parades, baseball games, barbecues, the well-dressed and all the things doing what you call a real independent state celebration, that's what juneteenth really is and i love selling it. >> a lot more people are starting to become aware and celebrate with the black community. as we watch this year's scope, it's so different that we talk about companies giving employees the day off. we're talking about people of all colors marching together, we're talking about discussions on a real level of making it a national holiday. does that surprise you just how far and wide it's gone? >> well, i got to tell you that it's been a long journey. it took until 1980 before texas made it a state holiday, a full
holiday, like america should make it obviously a national holiday. we have a second state that's done that. 46 or 45 other states that have some form of commemoration but not national day. looks like you o th intense natur occurred as a result of that brutality, resulting in death by that police officer in minneapolis. when that occurred, everything turned differently and changed it fully and so it lasts long enough to get us a national holiday out of the juneteenth process that i have engaged in many years.
>> we'll see it become official but when did you realize that george floyd, compared to the many unjust deaths that came before? >> well, when i witnessed as did many people, the killing of another human being, that, i never had that experience. i never watched another human being dying nor did anybody else. so the cell phone that created that experience for so many people, you could argue about police brutal ity and illegal conduct and all of those would be heard and in many case, sympathetically received. the expression by george floyd
and that has made a dramatic difference, not just in america but all over the world. what happened in london, it's unbelievable the intensity of the desire to slavery all over the world. that means it's different from the trayvon martin killing, it's different from the michael brown killing. it's different from the oscar grant killing. it's different from all the killings that you could name one day after another. it's, frankly,
have reacted after the war. if it had been that way, we would not talk about police brutality and happened that never would have had to take a knee, that would not have been several years of his absence from chosen career profession where he was literally barred from doing that. this is different. significant changes that will institutionalize the desire to change. >> speaking of change in the wake of floyd's death, there's calls getting stronger to disband police. i'm wondering for those who say it's just too broken as a system or too racist to ever be fixed, and it's got to go, do you agree
with that? >> no, i don't agree. i think literally shifting the focus in so-called defunding police is a mistake. that's a brand process. we should engage with. i've been long enough that you'll see personlly now, i know what you can do with budgets and i know exactly how budgets are done. so anything you want to do to modify the conduct of the public servant receiving the benefits of that budget, you can do, without incurring the wrath of anybody on anything. whether it's education or whether it's health care or law enforcement or the courts, whether it's recreational system, whether it's the transit system. it doesn't matter. you can do what you need to do. you don't have to say defund. i also, by the way, believe it
needs to be guardians of public safety, clearly. when i pick up the telephone and i call 9-1-1, i will tell you that i am not interested in the social worker answering my calls. i'm calling because i'm desperately fearful of my own safety. now, it may be we eliminate people being armed who show up, but they've got to be trained. to protect my survival, period. physically and otherwise, so i'm very careful to say do not engage in the kind of conduct that will be more reflective of our immediate political execution without understanding what all of this means long range. the example of nurses, doctors,
teachers, journalists, everybody is essentially trained to do whatever their profession says they should do. we ought to be training people who want to be guardians the same way, so there would be no journalism measured by abc as it would be in new york and your training similar, conduct has been similar, the data bank shows your records, et cetera. that ought to be the same way with the people who are providing the guardianship for our safety, period. >> don't go
back on air with the former mayor of san francisco, mayor brune, brown, i want to continue the conversation. you mentioned you were born in texas only 70 years after slavery had ended and you said it was in a town a few hours away from galveston where juneteenth originated. what do you remember about growing up black and the limitations you face there hd t? >> i remember my mother making sure that i understood quickly that if i was to survive in that racist world that i would be always conscious of a negative potential reaction from everybody white and that i had to make sure that i did not do
anything to aggravate that condition. every block in my community, in my school, in my church was essentially educated the same way. i also grew up where the quality of education was minimal as compared to white students. the books we had for what a white student used in previous years, i didn't realize how, you know, ill-equipped some whites were until i saw the underlinings in the books they used the previous years and how obviously they were misguided. i fully appreciated the fact that the nature of the separate but equal facilities totally and completely unequal and i graduated before brown versus
the board of education in 1954, and so i know and knew of the difference in the quality of school. when i got to school, i couldn't get into stanford but right away, one, i couldn't afford it but secondly, i didn't have the classes to allow me to enter to do the work that would have allowed me to graduate from stanford. went to san francisco state and the rest is, of course, history. but it was all the court that was a dramatic difference in what black kids were exposed to in education, and what white kids were exposed to. this nation has been plagued with racism. >> when you came out here to california, how different was it in terms of the opportunities you had and the racism you faced? >> well, san francisco
supposedly was different and it was. but not so different that i didn't have to participate in the effort to prepare housing. one of the things that caused the public to know willie brown was the demonstration that we did at 301 christopher drive, just to be able to look at a house. i believe that it was the first demonstration on housing in san francisco i participated in getting the first black person on the fire department in san francisco. i participated in getting the first black police officer. i participated in helping people on black side get the first opportunity to be told
terms of attitude about unfairness to people of color were just as bad as it was in the south. >> of course you overcame that, you became speaker of the assembly and you became and celebrated pb becoming president. in each of those circumstances, did you think we had overcome racism as a nation? >> not even close. believe me, when you think in terms of the war that was fou t fought, we in texas got word that it was over at lincoln, emancipation proclamation and then a hopeful series of things that were evidence of jim crow, evidence of segregation, there
were institutionalized, the attitudes were there. it had become almost like it was in the dna of america and much of that dna still every day of the week in what happens. i got on a bus in the city when i first got here and having ridh a bus in dallas where you move the sign, one side it said white, the other side it said color, you'd keep moving it back until finally the color all up and the whites could be seated. i'd be sitting with no one sitting next to me who wasn't black until there was no other seat available, and believe me, psychologically, still the experience that we have, even in san francisco. >> and i think people outside of the black community are just starting to truly want to listen
and hear it and understand and process that now in the wake of what happened to george floyd. another thing i want to shift gears here a little bit too is right now in the california legislature, we have a bill advancing that would require ethnic studies for the california state university system and then at the same time, we're putting affirmative action back on the november ballot to vote on. we're going to take a
and we are back with former mayor of san francisco, willie brown. i want to shift into politics now because you're never really out of it. you never can step away completely. i know you've been watching the presidential race closely and recently, national polls, especially after george floyd really showed joe biden widening his lead over president trump. what do you make of that? >> well, i do not
president trump hurts himself more than anything else and firmly of the opinion that at the moment, people in many cases do not have a great reason to go vote for joe biden. we had a great reason to vote for barack obama. he not only was african-american, he also said i am going to fix health care. so bill clinton, same way. he talked about doing something with the economy and repairing it when he ran. we need joe biden to give people a reason to vote for him, not just vote against trump. >> what would be that reason? >> yes, i do. i think if joe biden said voting just for me is not just for me but may give us the opportunity to net five new senators that would result in the control of
the senate, voting for me would give us a chance to replace any vacancy on the supreme court with a person more like ginsburg than like alito. we've got to be careful because there's progressives that will try to require more. the bernie sandersites, if you're not a pure person, can't vote for you. that's what they did to hillary clinton. we've got to map a way in which that won't happen to joe biden. >> i know you normally refrain from endorsements but i've got to ask you about a potential vp choice. senator amy klobuchar thinks for a moment of color, you agree
with that? >> i'm sorry mr. biden said, i don't think it's only a woman's position. the best quality period, without reference to gender, without preference to race, without reference to culture period. i think it really ought to be, who can best replace biden in case of a needy, i would pray it would be a woman of color but i don't want to be burdened with folks saying you did did did best. i always want to do the best. >> do you have a pick? senator kamala harris, close relationship with you and a men tee. >> there are several people,
that could easily fill the role and she is quickly one of the several. >> all right. i think that's schas much as i' going to get you out of with that one. i tried, but other stuff, i think people are following your career, your life very closely. i want to bring in facebook questions from fans. so first off is from hugh bayhty who said i'd like to meet your tailor. who's your tailor or favorite shop nowadays? >> the answer would have been my best friend, he died a few years a ago, as a matter of fact, it was kind of wiclkes who caused me t invest more in clothing than i can afford and that habit is still with me. and so i find what i wear can come from and it is neiman
marcus and obviously the wilkes fashion store on sutton street. store called keykon's and a newcomer in a place that you and everybody knows is curre current, it was a few days ago that was with a friend of mine wearing a vest and i was so envious of his vest, i had not seen a great looking vest for a long time. >> i was wondering about that. and then lawrence said the mayor has a history of being impeccably dressed.
what do you do with something in his wardrobe after worn something more than three days? >> and one time checked at the end of every year and if there was something that i had not worn all that year, i would give it to the goodwill. a lot of things to give to the goodwill, but that standard. what i now do is that i try to give the goodwill a wardrobe every december and i literally advertise it for goodwill. a spokesperson and believe me, somewhere between 25 and 40 pieces of clothing, shoes and hats and other things that i give to goodwill every year, they make a lot of money selling some of which i've only worn once. >> all right. mayor, we're going to just ask you one more question over on our live stream platform and that's going to be about the columbus
and we are back. thank you so much for joining us on this interactive show getting answers today, former san francisco mayor willie brown. hope you enjoyed that conversation. we'll leave you with a look at mahes happening de ratedo san ancisc c w the west coast and san francisco city hall, track them all at abc7news.com and the abc7 news app and we'll be here every day at 3:00 on air
and live prident ump's first rally in threehs.ump's first rally in the rally, originally set for today, juneteenth, the same day this country commemorates the end of slavery in the u.s. the president now appearing to threaten protesters he believes may try to disrupt the event. a long line of supporters waiting, waiving their right to sue if exposed to the coronavirus. meantime, the new warning this evening from the world health organization that the coronavirus pandemic is accelerating. the cdc now predicting up to 145,000 deaths in the u.s. by july 11th. hospitalizations in texas up 108% since just memorial day. and the major new move tonight in houston and dallas.
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