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tv   American Voices With Alicia Menendez  MSNBC  August 21, 2021 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT

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picks up our news coverage now. >> thank you so much, reverend sharpton. hello, everyone. i'm alecia menendez. the massive high stakes operation to evacuate americans and their families in taliban held afghanistan. there are more than 80,000 afghans already waiting in a live and death situations. waiting to come to the u.s. the process is a refugee program gutted from the previous administration. this final year in office trump had the refugee ceiling at 50,000 down from the 100,000 refugees allowed per year under president obama. that drastic reduction saw the many reis thelement organizations shut down due to lack of work. the trump administration also deliberately obstructed visa processing from allies in afghanistan. according to olivia troy, counter terrorism adviser to mike pence tweeting, quote,
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there were cabinet meetings. stephen miller peddled his racist his steer yeah. he and his enablers would undermine anything from special immigrant visa issue and demonstrating it. more on that in just a minute. president biden said he is focused on getting americans out any way possible. >> we're running into everything, everything that we can to provide safe evacuation for our afghan allies, partners, afghans who might be targeted with their association with the united states. i can't promise what their final outcome will be but as commander in chief, i can ensure you i will mobilize every resource needed. >> 5800 troops are at the airport in kabul to get americans out. approximately 2500 americans
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have been evacuated. over the past 24 hours 3800 people have been ferried from kabul in six c-17s. >> we are committed to this highly important mission to bring americans and siv applicants out and vulnerable afghans including women and children safely out of afghanistan. since the end of july we have relocated 22,000 people. since august 14th we've evacuated approximately 17,000. >> today the department of defense releasing images of marine corps units helping them board flights out of kabul. the operation to get americans out in any way possible comes amid reports of u.s. citizens being beaten at checkpoints as they make their way to the
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airport. one defense official telling nbc news they are working on, quote, an ultimate path through that threat. joining me from tehran is ali aruzzi. we just learned that the u.s. embassy in kuwait evacuated more than 850 americans and what can you tell us about that and the reports of the potentially serious isis threat at the airport in kabul? >> earlier today they warned americans not to travel to the kabul airport because of a threat outside of the airport. it's against americans and others trying to get to the airport. the u.s. military says they're working on alternative ways to get americans, afghans and nationals to the airport. this includes limiting the flow of people, gathering smaller groups of people at specific
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locations and then moving them to the airport in intervals. the goal is to get them there safely and make it easier to get through the gate quickly with smaller groups of people. one of the biggest concerns is getting the people out. they're trying to escape kabul. there's a crush there. it's difficult to determine who's who. while most of the civilians there are civilians, innocent people trying to get out, there could be isis mixed in amongst them. that's posing a major security threats. one of the major concerns is isis is on the back foot and their ability to launch terrorist operations has been hampered and they may see them as soft targets in the midst of the chaos and use that as an opportunity to strike.
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>> thank you for that report. we have two guests with us now. krish, i want to talk about how structures and systems work here, right? because they're going to be a lot of individuals who are going to find their lives rushing up against the systems. when you hear what olivia troy was saying about the conversations that were being had during the trump administration, how much are we still living with a refugee system, within an asylum system affected within that system? >> it's what we inherited. it was a ticking time bomb. president trump and aides like stephen miller sought to remantle it. what they did is cut 100 offices
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into the country. what they added was layer upon layer of bureaucratic red tape instead of offering these heroes ticker tape parade and a hero's welcome. so the biden administration inherited a back log of 17,000 afghan allies when they entered the office. >> what can be done to speed up this process? >> so the august 31st deadline is putting people into crisis mode. we've been getting calls from siv visa members but they're not booked until september 1st or september 3rd. they're worried about what that means for them. i think the challenge is to have a clear articulation from the administration who are we allowing in and what are our commitments to the reaction to
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get the job done. >> krish, because i think we're having a lot of conversations in the context of this larger conversation about american identity and who we are as americans, part of that conversation is about where we choose to intervene and use our military force. part of that conversation is when we choose to extricate ourselves. part of the conversation that you have long been focused on is whether or not we see ourselves as a country where people can seek refuge and safety. what is the core question about american identity being posed in this snoemt. >> it's about whether we are going to have bep consensus at the core levels. we have the military capability to extricate 5 to 9,000 people per day. we can get out the tens of thousands who are desperately seeking refuge from the grave
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danger that they face because they risk their lives for us and so the question is does america's pledge and promise mean anything. and i think the answer has to be yes. not just because it's the right thing to do, because it's the smart thing to do because we know some of our most vocal allies as we've been advocating on this was veterans groups, national security officials who knew that we needed allies like the interpreters and drivers and translators and engineers who fought alongside us who need our help now. >> krish, you have been on this program many times and you and i have ordinarily talked about the asylum system in the context of what we've been watching transpire at the southern border. help us understand the dangers that afghans who helped the u.s. face when they come across the taliban. what is it that they are uniquely up against? >> so they are facing retribution from the taliban
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explicitly because they worked with the u.s. military or the u.s. embassy. the taliban are going door to door looking for american-affiliated afghans. they are shouting the names of interpreters and translators who worked with our soldiers. they're shouting their names in villages because they know that they have an opportunity to now take retribution against them. this is not theoretical. we've had interpreters and drivers, a few weeks ago i wrote an op ed about a person stopped at a taliban checkpoint, dragged out of his car and beheaded by the military because he served with the u.s. troops for 18 months. there was one taliban interpreter, his family is resettled in houston. he waited ten years in the system. three of his family members were gunned down by the taliban. he was stopped the past year by the taliban and was shot dead in
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front of his three sons. >> gina, former trump officials released a statement cautioning about resettling people. these are the lines of attack, gina, that we have come accustomed to hearing, to bracing for. what is the danger in this moment of politicizing this conversation? >> so, you know, we've worked with. >> there are objectives in afghanistan. on the other side this is talent
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that is here. releasing these individuals, civil engineers, accountants, in business administration and we're helping them get jobs back. there's a lot of hype around who these people are. there's individuals and stories and what they're doing once they get to the united states. we have 2 million job openings in mid skill roles in all the sectors i just mentioned. these are people that can be helping in terms of economic recovery after this pandemic. so i would say get the humanitarian obligation but it's a win for the country. >> when you tune out all of that noise and the anti-immigrant
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rhetoric, what you actually see is that many americans are interested in welcoming these refugees into their communities. what do those efforts look like? >> yeah, it's amazing. the political rhetoric side, it is not matched in terms of the outpouring of community support that we see. we've only had half of the volunteers sign up of what we need and 1/3 of what we need in the long term. there are people willing to donate time, their own money, good, diapers in this community effort. that's where it's inspiring to see that americans will continue to be a welcoming nation. this is a population, they're going to come in some cases with just the clothes on their back. i think they are truly going to get a hero's welcome here. >> my dms are filled with how can people help?
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what do the refugees need when they get to the united states? >> so right now the particular need is in states that will receive the initial kind of arrivals. so texas, california, the d.c. metro area including maryland and virginia. we are looking for people to donate obviously the financial resources for some of these individuals, those basic dollars in the first few days is going to be critical. but it is everything from affordable housing is a major issue that we're trying to address and people are volunteering bedrooms in their houses, apartments that are vacant. in kind donations like food and clothes, diapers, hygiene kits. we also need people. we need people to help us welcome these families as they arrive at the airport to drive them to medical appointments, to help us furnish their modest apartments when they first arrive. so, you know, if you go to the lirs website, we sure could use your help right now.
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>> krish, gina, thank you so much. you are vaccinated, you have do what you can to help us. now the delta variant is surging. should you attend that family wedding? travel to a state with high hospitalization rates right now? going ask dr. kavita patel those questions. katie hobbs will join us to talk about her plan to debunk the bizarre so-called audit report expected any day now. martin luther king iii and the grandson of cesar chavez have in common next weekend.
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what we're seeing is effectiveness in mild disease. we're planning ahead. we're seeing waning in effecttiveness in the weeks and months ahead. >> what can you do while you wait for your booster shot eligibility. joining me is dr. kavita patel. always good to see you. this is in many ways a personal segment. all of us are assessing our thoughts. everyone is in a really different situation. before i get to the individual piece of this, i want to ask sort of a public health piece of this which is should the main focus now be on these booster shots or fda approval among whom
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we're watching cases? >> great question, alicia. no. we have so many americans that need to get their first shots. that is not to minimize the importance of boosters, but, alicia, if every person eligible for boosters got one and every single child, we would still not make enough of a dent. to your point, i do think we need to have a vaccine approved or authorized at least for under 12. alicia, i'm going to be honest. the rates of vaccination in 12 to 16-year-olds is about 1/3 which tells you that there are vaccinated parents who are not vaccinating their teens and i suspect we'll see similar patterns with children. no, the most important thing is to get as many adults eligible today vaccinated. >> so that is the public health piece of it. there are, of course, many more details we can dive into there. i think where people find themselves now is assessing the risk.
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that can show up in myriad ways for me as a mom it's coming in the form of thinking about sending my unvaccinated kid back to school. sort of globally how is it in this moment if we are vaccinated that we need to be assessing the risk in our day-to-day lives? >> yeah, great question, alicia. i just canceled my kids going to an outdoor birthday party tomorrow and i want them to start school. i don't want any threats. the delta variant is real. you have to think about what you are entering. what kind of situation in terms of geography. is it a place where you have high rates? the entire map of the united states is basically high or substantial transmission right now. if you're in the south where there's not even be a pediatric bed to be had, you should absolutely think about restricting your movement. number two, you need to think about your family's risk. we might have unvaccinated family members. those of us who are vaccinated, what would happen if you had a
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breakthrough infection? how would that disrupt your work? the way your family interacts. what risks are you willing to take? the third factor, what are you giving up by not doing something? for a lot of us, i needed to see my elderly parents. i was willing to take the risk of travel for that situation, but you have to kind of think about the balance of what you give up. but the most important thing is to look at the case rates and, alicia, something the public doesn't realize, many states aren't reporting data on a daily basis anymore. we have states not even reporting like florida even once a week. so you are flying blind a little bit but you do need to look at what you're entering in terms of the case rates. >> it is wild to me how often these loop back and just being able to understand what's happening on the ground. you and i have talked a lot about masking, a lot about the way in which masking has become unbelievably politicized. for people who are willing to
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mask, where and with whom should we be doing that? >> the best way to think about it, i like to keep things simple. you should be wearing a mask when you are going to be in a group where you do not know the vaccination status of the majority of people. if it's children, you know they're not vaccinated. even in that situation, it's wise to wear a mask. not just you. the majority of people wearing a mask is what's helpful. the second thing is, i have not seen cases of outdoor transmission. i know people are masking outdoors. it might be psychological. that's fine. we're not seeing outdoor transmission as a large source and we are -- highly infectious surfaces are not a source. i know a lot of people are concerned about that with the delta variant. >> i also want to ask you about travel, specifically travel to hot spots. how much of a concern should that be? >> incredibly concerned. i'm from texas. i have friends in florida.
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they are begging, alicia, begging people to cancel their plans. friends in hawaii, friends in oregon, seattle, portland, pacific northwest, they are begging people not to come. not because they're going to be coming in and bringing in covid, that is a concern, but, alicia, if you come and something happens, this health care system cannot take care of you. if you break a leg, there's no one to see you. the er is on a backup of one to two days depending where you are. we need to give the system a little room to breathe. rethink your travel plans if you're going into any of these areas. the case rates and positivity are 10%. >> it is amazing we have had this conversation about travel, we've had this conversation about how the health care systems are maxed out. i had not put those two conversations together. as always, i appreciate you and your insight so much. thank you, dr. kavita patel. as many election conspiracy
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theorists wait for the final audit, the secretary of state is preparing to dismantle the findings point by point with, you know, actual facts. she's going to join me next. later, how one u.s. veteran thousands of miles away from afghan nis stand worked tirelessly at his dining room table to help get out an interpreter of the country before the taliban got to him. were delayed when the new kid totaled his truck. timber... fortunately, they were covered by progressive, so it was a happy ending... for almost everyone. so, you have diabetes, here are some easy rules. no sugar. no pizza. no foods you love. stressed? no stress. exercise. but no days off! easy, no? no. no. no. no. but with freestyle libre 14 day, you can take the mystery out of your diabetes.
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as soon as next week the group hired by the gop controlled arizona senate can release the final report of the so-called audit into the 2020 election of maricopa county. arizona's secretary of state argues this isn't a real audit at all and the office is, quote, bracing for impact replacing a prebut the tall laying out the cyber ninja review. katie hobbs joins us now. she is running for governor.
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secretary hobbs, your office write, quote, it is clear any outcomes or conclusions reported from the senate's review are unreliable. as such, it is imperative the leaders across the state and country proclaim that the 2020 general election was fair and accurate. secretary hobbs, what do you expect from this report? >> well, from the cyber ninjas report, we're not expecting any kind of credible report at all and we laid out the reasons why in our prebut the tall reports that you just referenced. and this is really a collection of information that we've been sharing throughout this process to just really make it clear that this is not a valid election audit and that nobody should be able to rely on any of the findings that they put forward. >> you and i have been talking about this for months now. so let's talk about what we also have anticipated, which is the ways in which the state gop is
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going to weaponize the quote, unquote findings of this report. >> well, you know, they've been really just undermining the integrity of the election all along and we've said over and over again and this is fact that the election was fair, it was secure and the results that we certified are accurate. those are facts and so people can have whatever opinions they want, but that doesn't make them true. and their continued pushing of the big lie and these election conspiracy theories is doing so much to undermine future confidence in our elections and it's really unfortunate. >> is there a way to prevent these so-called audits in the future? >> well, that's a conversation that i've been having with colleagues across the country because certainly other election officials in other states are concerned about this.
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it seems that these folks are kind of writing the playbook in arizona about how to bring this to other states so we have to be writing the same -- the playbook to counter it. i think there are statutory ways to prevent it. and, you know, just continuing to talk about what a real post election audit is and certainly what it isn't and ensuring that only valid audits are able to take place. >> this assault on arizona's elections come as state republicans attack guidelines. you're a mom. what worries you most about the current state of the pandemic in your state? >> i think the biggest issue is we have kids going back to school right now and just in the first few weeks of school there have been, you know, just fights across the state over masks or no masks. there is state law that isn't in effect yet but prevents local
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jurisdictions from any kind of mask mandates and it's preventing them from keeping their communities safe. we've seen numerous outbreaks already in the first few weeks of school and we're -- you know, it's -- as a parent it is really scary to think about sending your kids into that environment where, you know, your kids might be equipped with masks but their fellow students are not and it's creating unsafe environments for everybody involved. >> republican governor doug dousy plans to withhold federal funding to school districts that defy his mask mandates. nbc news talked to a school official that will keep the mandates in effect. take a listen. >> we have to prioritize our people over that money. schools today are not just educational institutions, we're full social service agencies. we provide food, clothing, transportation, technology, club sports, before school care,
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after school care. all of that costs money. what's more important than the money are the lives we are serving and are entrusted to us. >> secretary, what's at stake for the school districts? what's at stake for the educators? what's at stake for the students? >> i think the bottom line is it is so unfortunate governor dousy is choosing to play politics with people's lives. we are not through this pandemic yet and he's made an absolute political calculation about how he's going to move forward and deal with it. quite honestly, that's one of the reasons i'm running for governor, because arizonans want them to put the politics aside and lead. if they want to join me, go to one afghan interpreter who risked his life to help troops waited six years for a visa. it didn't come before the taliban started threatening them. you'll hear from a u.s. veteran
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who took matters into his hands. the former president holding a rally in alabama which is one of the states being hit hardest by the delta variant. one of the cities the president is going to speak in tonight just declared a covid state of emergency. stay with us. 72,807! 72,808... dollars. yep... everything hurts. only pay for what you need. ♪ liberty. liberty. liberty. liberty. ♪ this is a cold call! this is annie. will you turn to cold washing in tide. unsubscribe. wait, wait, wait this helps the environment. it saves you money. i will take that money. for the environment.
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the ongoing effort to evacuate americans and veterans from kabul. multiple airlines are on stand
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by. it's important to note the commercial airlines won't be flying in and out of kabul, be flying from secure locations in europe and the middle east and back to the united states. no decisions have been made on whether they'll actually be used. since the taliban regained grounds in afghanistan, there's been growing concern for all afghan nis stance, even more so for those perceived as defiant. the top of the list are the afghan interpreters who spent the last two decades. many military veterans forged lasting bonds with afghan interpreters making deals with them, alongside of them, saved their lives. one of those interpreters is zach. his wife, four kids under five. he was promised a u.s. visa for risking his life to help troops. he's been waiting six years for it to be approved. the process continued to hit snags. he ran out of time. the taliban were threatening to
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kill him. major thomas shoeman worked closely with zach and made it his personal mission to get zach and his family out of the country. it was a herculean effort to anyone who could potentially help including senator dick durbin, president biden and vice president harris. they're out of afghanistan as of this week, safe at last. major shoeman spoke with rachel maddow about saving the man who helped him. >> knowing all the different things you tried, all the different ways you worked on this, i feel like i can't imagine if this was -- if zach would have been my interpreter if i had been trying to do this, i don't know what else i would have done that you didn't do. and still it just seems like he barely, barely made it. it feels like this was maximal resources for something that only just barely worked. that's my perception from the outside. is that what it feels like to
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you? >> we pulled every lever, poked every bear. it was just a series of hail marys and when senator durbin, we're very grateful that he took this cause and brought it to the top and we thought that that's it, we're -- that will be it, negative, and there's so many close calls and so many moments where we thought maybe we contacted the right person, maybe we had the right solution to this and it was a series of tragic events that just continued to unfold and so many close calls and it was a very harrowing experience over the last month or two. >> do you feel like you have anything that you have learned that you can say right now about things that can be done to change that process right now, to get people out right now,
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things that can be done in the short term to fix what is obviously a broken system, at least to save some more lives in coming days? >> sure. it's worth noting that the system did not work for zach so even though the fact that zach is evacuated, it wasn't due to the system, it was due to the bravery and heroism of some air force folks and some reins who -- marines who rallied around him. they're trying their best, d.o.d. is trying their best with the very sissiphian task and i think common sense that i can attest this person was there and maybe we can sort everything else out later. it will all buff out later. get them safe, get them secure to a third party location, then let's kind of flush out the details. right now it's every minute,
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every second is life or death and we can't allow some kind of technicality to be the cause that someone ends up executed. right now i just feel thankful. i feel thankful that we have these 18-year-old marines manning these posts demonstrating that there is no worse enemy, no better friend than a marine, demonstrating our ethos, being always faithful. i'm grateful for all of the people who rallied around zach's cause and all of the support we received. it's important to know while zach made it out, there are thousands like him who do not have the same advocacy and that there's still a lot of work to be done. next, new polling reveals the stark differences and opinions on higher education based on race. my next guest thinks we need to not just acknowledge these differences but change them. later, why cities and states still are not giving out billions of dollars in rental
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historically black col ledges and schools have had a surge in enrollment. next year's freshman class could be bigger than ever. hvcus are larger than ever.
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adam hair advice is the author of the state must provide. why america's colleges have always been unequal and how to set them right. i have followed along the publication of this book. congratulations to you. when you say they have always been unequal, how and why? >> so what you really think about the roots of the higher education system, the state higher education system as we understand it today, it was never built on a broad ethos of equality. when the federal government made the largest investment in higher education, it was centered on educating white men. from that beginning, from that inception of the higher education system as we recognize it through now both federal and state governments created, defended and really maintained this inequitable system we recognize today. >> you report hbcus produce an outsized number of black
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professionals. is that a sign of their success or that the system is flawed? >> that's a sign of their success and a testament to what they've been able to do even despite more than a century of discrimination and under funding, right? so they make up about 3% of the nonprofit four-year institutions in the country. they account for 25% of black s.t.e.m. graduates, 85% of black judges. they're still performing incredibly vital service even in spite of this legacy of under funding that states have acknowledged. >> in a recent survey more than 40% of black adults said colleges today are biased towards white values and beliefs. i wonder if those numbers surprise you, what they tell you and also what you learned in your reporting about how institutions are working to acknowledge that bias. >> you know, over -- the numbers don't necessarily surprise me.
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when people think of higher education at large they tend to think of a select subset of institutions, hare vards, yales, looking at your own state, university of texass, university of alabamas. there has been a segregation we into that original ethos and their institutions and also how they profited the slavery and otherwise. georgetown sold more than 200 people in order to sustain its institution. so there is this sort of understanding now, i think, that these institutions are now trying to look for ways that they can sort of provide some sort of redress for that legacy. >> adam, there's a broader conversation happening about the value and the cost of higher education in this country. and i wonder how you believe that conversation overlaps with the conversation you are having in this book. >> yeah, you know, one of the
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ways that i often talk about this current crisis that we're facing in terms of student debt crisis, it's a crisis that's unevenly felt. if you look at black students, they're more likely to take on student debt, more likely to take on more student debt and more likely to default on their loans after they leave college in part because of employment discrimination and, you know, generational wealth. and so i think that the kind of current debt cancellation conversation, tuition-free, debt-free conversation, they score well with this idea of equity and higher education. the more that we think of this not as detached from this broader conversation about the affordability of college and more essentially to it because the title of the state the providing equal education for all students. the more we can put those conversations together and have them speaking to each other, i think the better and more equitable the system will be.
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>> i do want to call out the chyron we have on the screen right now, which is new book calls for reparations to hbcus. tell us what that would look like. >> there are a couple ways it could look. it could look like the states actually funding institutions in a way that is sustainable for equity's sake. institutions that are enrolling more black and brown students receiving more funding. langston university in oklahoma has more black students than oklahoma state and university of oklahoma behind. also institutions that profited from segregation while keeping black students out. the university of mississippi, the faculty literally said they would rare close than enroll a black student, while one historically black college was being shafted out of funding.
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maybe those institutions that profited owe something to the institutions that were serving these students when the other colleges would not. >> adam harris, thank you so much for your time. the book is "the state must provide." the search is back on for a new "jeopardy!" host. at the top of the hour, the former president in alabama tonight for yet another political rally in a covid hot spot. don't worry, i'm not going to make you listen to it. the pandemic is still raging in the south as is republican recklessness. plus, the ghost of foreign policy past. how decisions by this administration and previous administrations shaped the situation unfolding in afghanistan. vere rheumatoid art. and take. it. on... with rinvoq. rinvoq a once-daily pill can dramatically improve symptoms... rinvoq helps tame pain, stiffness, swelling. and for some, rinvoq can even significantly reduce ra fatigue.
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it is back to the drawing board for "jeopardy!." the host stepping down amid scrutiny over comments he made in the past about women and marginalized groups. >> alex trebek! >> reporter: the search is back on to fill the giant shoes of alex trebek. >> the show must go on. >> reporter: mike richards halting production after just one day of filming. he will continue as executive producer, telling staff it has been clear that moving forward as host would be too much of a distraction for our fans and not the right move for the show. the fallout fueled by a new
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report from "the ringer" resurfacing controversial moments from his podcasts. >> the anti-defamation league says his disparaging remarks about jews, women, and asians are no laughing matter, warranting an investigation. nbc news has not listened to the original recordings, who were pulled off line this week. richards was already under fire regarding his discrimination lawsuits linked to his time at the price is right. both cases were eventually settled. >> it's been one debacle after another. >> reporter: the show passed over fan favorites likes "reading rainbow's" levar burton and ken jennings. >> it's an awkward position for the guy who clearly wanted to be the host to be in the position of choosing the next host. i don't know how much longer he can hang on as executive producer at that show. >> reporter: now, new pressure to take a note from the tv legend himself who at one point floated lesser-known names as
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possible replacements, including nhl spors caster. >> the contestants and the writers are the star of the show. >> reporter: now asking the you wouldn't question, who will be next? >> that was nbc's emily akay da reporting. as we begin a new hour, the former president is expected to take the stage at yet another political rally in coleman, alabama, a city that just declared a covid state of emergency. plus, the u.s. is tracking potential terrorist threats from isis against kabul airport and americans trying to get there. and new reporting just into nbc news about how domestic commercial airlines are being recruited to help. and the descendants of two civil rights giants are going to join me to talk about the ongoing attack on voting rights in this country, martin luther king jr. iii and alejandro
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chavez, and why they're event next weekend could change the voter suppression efforts across the country. plus, millions in the northeast are under storm alerts tonight as hurricane henri barrels up the coast expected to make landfall in a matter of hours. we're keeping an eye on its path. this is "american voices." we begin this hour with breaking news as florida hits a major milestone in its uphill battle against covid. new cdc data shows the state just passed three million cases of coronavirus. you would think news like this would give the state's governor to rethink his pandemic strategy, but no. the state's republican-controlled department of education is backing ron desantis' push to punish schools with mask mandates. the state promises to start withholding the salaries of school board members in gainesville, broward county, if they don't reverse their mask mandatesyhe


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