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tv   Jose Diaz- Balart Reports  MSNBC  December 17, 2021 7:00am-8:00am PST

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begun as chatter and built up through repetition. it takes all threats seriously and urging people to report anything suspicion, but it's unaware of any threats to schools. >> but do they know how this thing started? >> they don't. they don't know what it was in the beginning, whether it was one specific person with an actual threat, or just sort of chatter that got built up. >> well, if tiktok had some standards and controlled the content that they put out, they would know a lot more. pete williams, thank you so much. and thank you at home for watching. that wraps up this very busy hour. jose diaz-balart picks breaking news coverage right now. >> good morning, it's 10:00 a.m., 7:00 a.m. pacific. i'm jose diaz-balart on what is shaping to be a very busy friday. there's a huge demand for testing and vaccinations as
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covid-19 cases rise across the country. on capitol hill, democrats suffer a major setback in efforts to urge social reform to their social spending bill. we'll look at what comes next. meanwhile, a former minnesota police officer who shot and killed a young black man during a traffic is to be is set to take the stand in her trial any minute now. this as the biden administration exits talks on potential compensation for migrant families separated by the trump administration. and we'll look at what is being done to help immigrant communities affected by last week's devastating tornadoes in kentucky. and there's some good news from haiti, where the remaining group of american and canadian missionaies abducted have been freed. they'll be home soon. and right now, the u.s. is facing an explosion of new covid
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cases. the average number of new daily cases has jumped to more than 120,000. that's 70% higher than in early november. in new york city, health officials say the percentage of people testing positive doubled over the last week. in miami, take a look at these long lines. people waiting to get tested. that's from yesterday. and while this all has the feeling of early 2020, the big difference this time, we have vaccines and treatments. however, the cdc is now recommending the public should prioritize pfizer and moderna's vaccine instead of johnson & johnson when possible. joining me now are msnbc anchor, lindsey reiser in new york city, and nbc news correspondent, erin mclaughlin in los angeles. thank you for being with me. lindsey, back in early 2020, new york city was at the epicenter of the pandemic in the u.s. now, once again, the city is facing an uptick in cases. what's the latest there?
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>> reporter: hey, jose. take a look at this line behind me. we're at city md, urgent care. many of the people in line are waiting for their covid tests. a gentlemen i had just spoken to says he has been in this line for 9 1/2 hours. we spoke to people who got in line before 6:00 in the morning. this place opened their doors at 7:00. a lot of them are raveling internationally, so they need to test. some of them have been exposed, somebody that they know and had contact with had covid. we spoke to one woman who was symptomatic, so she wanted to get tested as well. but this is all taking place at a time when we are seeing cases skyrocket, the governor of new york tweeted yesterday a case rate of 18,276. that's the highest that we've seen since january, since the winter surge. a 40% increase just in one day. let's listen to what some of the folks in line said to me this morning. >> one of my coworkers was diagnosed with covid, and with
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the upcoming holidays, i just thought it was the prudent thing to do, the responsible thing to do. i'm going to be around family members, and i think it's a good thing for all of us to be thinking about. i got here about 6:20 this morning and i'm probably about the 30th person in line. i thought, i'll get there early and, you know, i'm glad. i'm actually happy that people are taking it amongst themselves to do the right thing and get tested. >> reporter: so new york and new jersey are seeing omicron rates higher than rest of the country, about 13.1% of positive cases are omicron compared to around i believe 2.9% nationally. yep, there it is, the graphic on your screen there, jose. so here in new york, jose, we've got some broadway shows, restaurants closing down because of outbreaks among fully vaccinated performers and staff. it is reminiscent of 2020. so they'll expand hours at city-run testing sites, add more mobile and brick and mortar sites, passing out about 500,000 rapid at-home tests and a
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million masks to community organizations to try to curb this spread. >> and meanwhile in california, covid hospitalizations are once again on the rise. >> that's right, jose. hospitalizations are on the rise, case counts also on the rise, and authorities are growing increasingly concerned about the spread of the omicron variant, especially when you look at what's happening to the south of the state at uc san diego. and it's worth looking at uc san diego, because they have one of the few sequencing programs in the country that's sequencing every single confirmed covid case. right now they're seeing that 25% of the confirmed covid cases in san diego are of the omicron variant. and i was there november 29th, when they did not have a single case of omicron. so they're seeing an expo nen it shall rise right now in omicron cases and scientists there tell me that they are projecting that omicron could become the
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dominant variant in san diego, starting as soon as next week. and so we're seeing other counties concerned, as well. up north in santa clara county, which is one of the most vaccinated counties in the country, with a vaccination rate of 80%. they're bracing for a deluge of omicron. take a listen to what their health director had to say. >> so when i look around the corner ahead, what i see is a deluge of omicron. what i see is perhaps one of the most challenging moments that we've had yet in the pandemic. and i think it's challenging because it's not what we're expecting. >> reporter: dr. cody there recommending a multi-layered approach. she says it's not enough to be vaccinated. she's urging everyone get a booster, but beyond that, masking, testing, all of the things we've been hearing about
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since the beginning of this pandemic, jose? >> erin mclaughlin in los angeles, lindsey reiser in new york, thank you so much. and you can watch lindsey weekend mornings on msnbc starting at 6:00 a.m. eastern, 3:00 a.m. pacific. thank you for being with me. joining me now is dr. eileen marty, a doctor of infectious diseases at florida international university. doctor, it's great to see you. let's talk about on thursday, 6,300 new cases since september. what's going on? >> this is the most contagious form of the sars cov-2 virus that we've seen yet and the numbers are absolutely skyrocketing. especially that we don't have any requirements that people do the things that are necessary to reduce that threat. and that's part of the problem. and i think people should be aware that, yes, our hospitalizations are going up, but what's really dramatic about
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that is that we have so many tools now to keep people from being hospitalized, that what you're really seeing is a surge in cases in urgent cares and emergency rooms that don't get admitted, that would have gotten admitted before we had these treatments. so when you see that the numbers in hospital aren't as high as they were, it's a little bit misleading. and i think that's a really important point. and i think another important point, jose, is that i think people need to understand there are many, many hosts for this virus. there's more than 500 different species in which this virus can replicate easily. and therefore, there's no evolutionary pressure on this virus to become less serious. its only pressure is to increase and spread. and the one thing we can all do is get ourselves immunized, and
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while this is going on, especially in communities where there's high transmission, absolutely use every public health measure available that everyone's familiar with to reduce this spread. >> so, doctor, do me a favor, explain something to me. because i didn't really understand this whole 500 species thing. what is that -- what do you mean? >> so if a virus is, you know -- it needs to replicate. it needs to get from one host to the next, right? if there's only one host that is serviceable, then there's the evolutionary pressure to become less severe, because it can't kill out all of its hosts or it kills itself. but when there are so many different types of species, there's, you know, everything from minks to raccoons to deer to hippos to tigers that this virus can replicate in, then it doesn't have a pressure to
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become less severe. and if you think about it, think about many other -- think about rabies, for example. rabies is just as fatal today as a clinical disease as it was 10,000 years ago and more. why? because there's so many species in which the rabies virus can live and thrive, several of which, you know, can live with the virus without any complications. and that's the problem with sars cov-2. it has so many choices -- >> yeah, just something more to worry about on this. it's just horrendous. what about this whole thing of the people that received the johnson & johnson vaccine and what the fda is telling us. >> so we've known since the late 1990s when we first started trying to do viral vector vaccines that many different adeno viruses can in rare conditions cause clotting. and the adno virus 26 that's
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being used for the site in the johnson & johnson unfortunately has that rare, but real possibility. and therefore -- and of course, we also know that there have been more cases of it that haven't been publicized, and we really needed to do that. there are several things that make that the least best choice. the best choice is to take a vaccine that's the safest and most efficacious. and when you look at the numbers and look at the data of the use of the pfizer and moderna, you see that those vaccines have been the absolute safest and most efficacious. >> thank you for clearing things up for me. now to capitol hill where democrats suffered a major setback in terms of putting immigration reform into that huge bill aimed at fight climate change. the senate parliamentarian has rejected a plan to provide temporary protections for
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millions of undocumented immigrants who have been in this country since before 2011, saying it does not meet special budget rules being used to pass the bill. a group of democratic senators issued a statement last night saying, in part, we strongly disagree with the senate parliamentarian's interpretation of our immigration proposal and we will pursue every means to achieve a path to citizenship in the build back better act. with me now, jake sherman, founder of punch bowl news, and an msnbc political contributor. jake, good to see you this morning. this was kind of a surprise for those who get surprised easy, i guess. here's some of what illinois senator dick durbin, a leading proponent of immigration parliamentarian's ruling. >> we're considering what options remain. >> is there a plan "d" or whatever, wherever we are? >> no, not at this point. >> so durbin says that there are no plans right now for "d," "e,"
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or "f." are democrats essentially saying this is the end of the line for immigration reform? it's either in the build back act or in no act? >> well, let's unpack this a little bit. number one, this is now third time that the parliamentarian has knocked out immigration in the pilled back better act. we have a better sense on where the parliamentarian is on that issue. and as you noted, there shouldn't be any surprise, because this has happened now a number of times. the question then becomes, do they try to take another stab at it. a lot of people up here, republicans and democrats, don't think there's any plan that would meet the parliamentarian's muster. that's the first -- that's the two big dynamics. and when this bill goes back to the house, if the senate passes it, will progressives in the house say they're not voting this, because it doesn't include immigration reform? that's another issue. there's some talk and it's really just talk, it's not reality. i want to emphasize that, about overruling the parliamentarian. that's not going to happen.
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joe manchin has said that he will not, under any circumstances, underrule the parliamentarian's ruling. schumer could, i guess, fire the parliamentarian. he hasn't shown the appetite to do that either. you mentioned, is there an opportunity to do immigration reform outside of the build back better act? of course, that would be subject to the senate's 60-vote threshold, unless the senate blows up the senate rules and nukes the filibuster, gets rid of the filibuster, which is also not happening, at this point. so they're really in kind of a jam here when it comes to an immigration overhaul. and just one more quick point here. the immigration overhaul that they had in this piece of legislation, in the build back better act was relatively tepid in the sense that it did not include a pathway to citizenship. it just basically regularized people that were undocumented. meaning that it gave them legal status. it did not include that very important pathway to citizenship that people -- that advocates believe is very important for undocumented immigrants. so, all of that being said,
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democrats are in quite a pickle here. >> and jake, you know, a lot of like, for example, a group of members of the house are saying that this should not be acceptable, that it has to be immigration reform, it has to include a pathway to citizenship or else they'll reject it, which is something that you were talking about. the fact is, that in the past, they've seemed to be able to change their political strength on this particular issue. if there is some form of immigration reform. but if there's none in this build back better bill, it -- is there a chance that simply they'll say, can't do? >> so that's the big question. that's the question that the house is going to face in a couple of months, presumably, when this gets out of the senate, which is, something -- is this large-scale bill that touches basically every part of the social safety net, presume apply, if it stays in tact, is this better than nothing? are we willing, meaning house
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democrats, not myself, are house progressive democrats willing to pass this, without a pathway to citizenship or any immigration language, and that's going to be a difficult situation for many people to make, especially given how long so many undocumented immigrants have been waiting for a pathway to citizenship, waiting for legal citizenship in this country. nancy pelosi's marges are very night. if she loses a few democrats, she can't pass this. but that's the crux of the question that democrats will be facing. is this large bill, which includes all sorts of what they consider to be improvements to society, is it better than nothing? or would they rather have nothing without immigration reform? that's kind of the binary question that they'll be facing next year. >> jake sherman, thank you so much for being with me this morning. appreciate it. >> thank you. coming up, we'll take you to minneapolis where kim potter's rile is starting back up and we could see her take the stand in her defense today. and later on, we're in
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kentucky where the death toll from those tornadoes is still rising. i'll talk to someone who is working on getting help to people who desperate need it. you're watching "jose diaz-balart reports" need it you're watching "jose diaz-balart reports" for strong protection, that's always discreet. question your protection. try always discreet. >> man: what's my safelite story? i spend a lot of time in my truck. it's my livelihood. ♪ rock music ♪ >> man: so i'm not taking any chances when something happens to it. so when my windshield cracked... my friend recommended safelite autoglass. they came right to me, with expert service where i needed it. ♪ rock music ♪ >> man: that's service i can trust... no matter what i'm hauling. right, girl? >> singers: ♪ safelite repair, safelite replace. ♪
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show up, however you can, for the foster kids who need it most— at . 20 past the hour. highly anticipated day in the trial of former police officer kim potter. today, potter is expected to take the stand in ore own defense. she's faing manslaughter charges in the shooting death of daunte wright during a traffic stop in minnesota earlier this year.
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nbc's shaquille brewster is live outside the courthouse in minneapolis. shaquille, court is back in session. what do we know today? >> reporter: of course, we're waiting to see when kim potter will take the stand, but the defense has called as their first witness for today, dr. lawrence miller. he's a psychologist and the defense is bringing him up to help the jury understand their perspective of what they say happened. we're going to hear terms like action error, slip and capture, we had the psychologist up to explain why they believe kim potter reached for her gun when she thought, she says, she was reaching for her taser. this comes after we heard from several witnesses yesterday called by the defense that were intended to poke holes in the case that the prosecution has been laying out. the prosecution is saying that it was criminal. that kim potter should have known better than pulling out her gun instead of her taser, as she said she intended. and the prosecution is arguing that if she did intend to pull out her taser, even that was unreasonable. but yesterday, the defense brought on their own expert witness and they brought on a
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former police chief of the brooklyn center police department, and both of them testified that even if potter intended to draw her gun, that was justified and did not violate policy. now, on continuing resolution, the prosecution is saying that these folks were too closely aligned to law enforcement, that they had sympathies towards potter, but you're getting a sense of what the jury is hearing and the idea that the prosecution is laying out one set of facts and the defense is doing what it can to poke holes at it. we only expect two witnesses for today according to some courtroom conversations that we were hearing after court yesterday. dr. lawrence is the first, and that means potentially, we're assuming that kim potter could take the stand at any moment. >> shaquille brewster, thank you so much. we'll, of course, stay on top of this. still ahead, we're on the ground in kentucky, where they are still picking up the pieces after last week's tornadoes. we'll ask an aide worker what's being done to make sure
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26 past the hour. we turn now to kentucky, where any moment the state's governor is expected to give an update on the recovery efforts from the weekend's deadly tornadoes, as we learned a missing 13-year-old girl was found dead in the debris, bringing statewide deaths to 76. the death toll across the affected five states is now at least 90. i want to bring nbc news correspondent, jay gray. he is in mayfield, kentucky. jay, how are things on the ground today? >> jose, difficult. and they will be for quite some time. adding to that is the rain today. it's been raining since last night. at times, it's intense. take a look, we want to give you a firsthand look inside or what used to be inside one of the homes here many dawson's springs. this is what you see playing out block after politic after block here. and you can see, it's just ravaged this entire area, torn down the wall, ripped apart the roof.
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and as you walk out and through this area, you can see the scope of this devastation. it's overwhelming. even those who have worked in situations like this before say it's incredible to see the force of wind that came through this area. you talk about the search effort. it is ongoing in this rain. right now, and maybe we'll get an update as you talk about in the next few minutes here, but right now we know that there are 16 people still missing in kentucky. that number drown dramatically. that's good news here that they've located several of those who were missing over the last couple of days here. as for the cleanup, the recovery, i've heard a few chainsaws in this neighborhood today, but only briefly because of the rain. and driving into dawson's springs, you see all of the electrical workers, all of the trucks just on stand by waiting for things to slow down. they can't get up and work on
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replacing electricity here right now because of all of this rain. at delay adding insult to the injury they're already dealing with. and it's unfortunately going to continue to rain in this area for the next few days. and we could, this weekend, see some severe weather. >> jay gray, thank you so much for that update. appreciate it. as recovery efforts continue, hard-hit communities need a lot of help. but for some, especially immigrants, it's hard to actually access resources. my next guest is one of the people bringing help to those struggling to seek it out. leyla becker from bowling greens international community liaison program joins me. thank you so much for being with me this morning. you're delivering some resources right now. who are you helping? >> well, we are right now at a neighborhood where we have received about 30 afghan
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perilees and we're delivering some resource os them. so zpi we want to ensure that our afghan neighbors are not left behind. >> manual that. you leave your country, start a new life here, and then all of a sudden, this is just devastating. some of the hardest hit areas, you have a lot of latinos living there. in mayfield, 15% of the population there. i want to play for you a clip of a latino family i spoke with in mayfield. >> i was just praying to job, please, job, if you want to take me, don't take my granddaughter. >> now what? >> there are probably thousands of families like this one who
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now have to start again. probably don't have access to, you know, home insurance, federal assistance, et cetera. how can they get help? >> right. the city of bowling green is coordinating a citywide effort with community partners that specialize in helping our immigrant and refugee communities. thankfully, we have billed the capacity to make sure that we have language needs among the population. and we are doing some specific fund-raisers to earmark funds that can be accessed by immigrant families without a lot of the red tape or paperwork that other, you know, government or bureaucratic process often place on accessing those funds. >> so, leyda, where are those? how can people reach out and help? how can the people that are watching say, i want to be able to help them? where can we send help? >> well, we don't have an
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immigrant-only organization here in bowling green. that's been one of the things that has been difficult to coordinate. we don't have one that's specifically targeting latino immigrants. my office is open to any foreign born seeking city government services. despite all of that, we do have a coalition, the community partnership for refugee and immigrant families, and all of the information on our social media platforms on how to give specifically for the tornado recovery and ensuring that access is given to all populations, regardless of language that's spoken or immigration status. and so that has been one of the efforts, that started early saturday, as we were having a lot of focus who wanted to contribute to give back to tornado victims. our latino immigrants that have been impacted come from many different nationalities, from el
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saadorans and cuban to mexican immigrants. and an entire congregation were just celebrating one of their remodeling additions to their local hispanic congregation when that got tumbled to the ground. i met with the congregants as they were picking the debris, and even amidst all of the tragedy, i was offered a hot plate of food on an evening as they are collecting what's left of their belongings. >> that's how they are. it's an extraordinary community. and i'm glad, leyda that you are out there. very quickly, have you ever seen anything like this before? >> i have not. it's been rather difficult, even as i was, you know -- i've not been in bowling green as an immigrant. i emigrated from venezuela when i was 13 years old. bowling green, kentucky, has been my home here. i now have a family.
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my family huddled in a closet in our home. our home endured some damage. not nearly as bad as other homes, but even amidst that, i started making calls early saturday morning and i realized that many of our community leaders who had been impacted from other ethnic groups and other nationalities and even people that i knew had passed away. so one of that particular street on moss creek avenue, nearly every single household that was impacted and the majority of the fatalities were minority victims and foreign born. and many of them, people that i personally had worked with and knew. >> leyda, thank. i'm so sorry. i really appreciate your time and everything you're doing. thank you. president biden is speaking now at south carolina university's commencement ceremony. let's listen in. >> distinguished faculty, i
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learned a long time ago that if you wanted to get anything done with jim, you went to his wife. >> all kidding aside, the story that jim tells absolutely accurate. i had -- i got what we called shellacked in the first two primaries. and i kept saying, i'm waiting to go to south carolina -- i mean this sisincerely, because come from a state that has the eighth largest african-american population and that's the source of all of my support in delaware, for real. and i got down here and things were moving pretty slow. and i remember miss emily saying to me, and i heard her say it to
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jim, we should be for biden. and she was an incredible woman. not only did we win, but i think we won every single district. and i just want you to know that it matters. and jim saying to you, you know, if you don't succeed at first, try again. a lot of you have already figured out that you can do anything you want to do if you set your mind to it. but one of the things that most people don't focus on anymore is an awful lot of people like jim, like me, miss emily, like a lot of you, who know and expect it to do something significant. i come from a family with a raised in a three-bedroom split-level home with four kids,
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a mom, dad, and a grand pop. we were fine. don't get me wrong. we weren't up by our bootstraps, but technically low to middle economic class. and i used to stutter really badly. and stuttering is something that everybody can still laugh like hell at. i had trouble talking until i was well into high school. but i was convinced that my mother would say, never bend, never bow, never kneel, never give up. just get up. just get up. and that's one of the things i like so much about hbcus. which i've been part of for a long, long time. the reason i got elected in 1972 is because of an hbcu called
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delaware state university. they organized from -- [ applause ] so, folks, you're inheriting an incredible tradition, graduating from this university. on inauguration day, i placed my hand on the bible and looked out towards the national mall. and what did i see? i saw south carolina state baseball cap. oh, no, not kidding. not kidding. talking to two former presidents, clinton and bush. today i look out and see jim in his south carolina state cap and gown. jim, i'm honored you asked me to be here as you receive your
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diploma. you earned it 60 years ago and never got a chance to receive it in person. i know that miss emily is here. the students that are here today, that earned scholarships in her name. students in the honors college in her name. and she is always in our hearts. she was a genuine gift, a dear friend to jill and me, and a great american. and she loved is this institution. she loved this institution. [ applause ] thank you president conners, the board of trustees, faculty, staff, one of our nation's great universities. although i'm from delaware, the president of delaware state used to work for me, went and got his doctorate and said, this is not a good job. i'm going to be president of the university. but all kidding aside, of course, president harris is a proud howard alum. she might have something to say about delaware state.
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and to my family and friends, the class of 2021, i know the pride you feel for this day, adds well. graduates, you already did this, because jim did it, but i always do it, and jim, as usual, is always ahead of me. you really do owe those folks up on the bleachers a whole hell of a lot. a whole heck of a lot. and i'm sure not a one turned to a husband and wife and said, guess what, no tuition next semester. but i just want to say to the parents, we know, like me family, we know the sacrifices you made to make sure this day arrived. and you're the ones that helped you get through this period. and you've got a lot to look forward to. graduates, i know you've already stood to thank your parents and their families, but the fact is
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that congratulations, you earned it. you earned every bit of it. i know it wasn't easy. bloat learning, getting sick from covid-19, feeling the pain from those who have lost loved ones, the uncertainty of a devastated economy, the reckoning on race not seen since the '50s and '60s. your time here has come during a tumultuous and consequential moment in modern american history and it's led you to graduate at a real inflection point in history. no graduating class gets to choose the world into which they graduate. every class enters the history of the nation up to the point that has been written by others. but few classes, every once in a few generations, enter at a point in american history where it actually has a chance to change the trajectory of the
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country. and that's not hyperbole. you face that inflection point today. and i'm confident you'll meet the moment. you're ready because you're part of a proud and sacred rich, an hbcu tradition, more than 180 years of excellence. institutions that instill a sense of purpose and commitment to make a difference in all their students. not just to lift up yourselves, but to lift up others. an institution grounded in the belief that every american, of every race, background, and zip code should have a fair and equal chance to get as far as their god-given talents give them. incubators of scholars and educators, advocates and athletes. leaders of industry and entertainment, faith many medicine, arts and science.
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the molders of trailblazers and visionaries and public servants. you know it. you know it better than anyone. hbcus have helped produce 40% of all the black engineers in america. 50% of all the black lawyers in america. 70% of all the black doctors and dentists in america. and 80% of all the black judges in america. folks, i see hbcu excellence every single day in my administration, and i'm not exaggerating. vice president harris, my cabinet, michael reagan, administrator of epa, senior white house staff, staff across my entire generation. graduates -- i'm here to congratulate you, but also to let you know that your country,
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and this is not hyperbole, is counting on you. they're counting on you to change, to turn the dial at a moment where we have a chance to do it. and that i'm committed to doing everything i can to make the real the process of all americans, all of you. that's why my administration has delivered $5 billion so far to hbcus just this year. just this year. with more to come. because there's nothing you're unable to do if you have the product. puff the laboratories, if you have what a lot of these hbcus aren't endowed like these other universities. but for south carolina state, it helped, to help clear the planses of more than 500,000 students and student debt. it helped students weather financial hardships caused by the pandemic and stay in school. it financed the residence hall
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the largest in south carolina and that's why we're working to increase and we will get it done with jim's help in the house, pell grants, another $1,500, so particularly black students and lower income families can attend four-year colleges and hbcus. that's why i'm proposing an historic event to expand hbcu programs in high-command dmand field like cybersecurity, engineering, and health care. these are the big-paying jobs getting out now, but too many hbcus don't have the laboratories, they have the intelligence, the intellectual capacity, but they don't have the research in front of them. we'll prepare new research and development labs that prepare students for jobs of the future and establish hbcu research hubs
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all across this nation. i also reestablished the president's board of advisers on hbcus, led by a friend of mine, dr. tony allen, the president of delaware state university as i said, you still work on my staff, to engage the private sector to advance hbcus and it's beginning to happen, i think your president will tell you. vice president harris is in constant contact with leaders of the divine nine. i signed an executive order to advance hbcu excellence across the administration in everything from policies to funding and part of that effort includes recognizing outstanding hbcu student scholars, like your student government president that we just heard from, giovanni. congratulations. but there's always more we can do. we're going to lead the way just as jim has led the way. what makes jim so effective as the highest-ranking southern
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african-american ever in the house of representatives is jim never forgets where he came from. don't you ever forget where you came from. that's your secret power. you understand. there's no one more effective who knows how to get things done than someone who understands the need to get things done and the people who need it. i mean it. who understands what folks are going through. that's jim and that's many of you, and that was me graduating years ago. with the infrastructure that we just wrote and signed into law and that jim did so much to pass, we're going to create better jobs for millions of people to rebuild our roads, highways, bridges, cities, small towns, rural committees. it means more opportunities for black businessmen, black contractors, black engineers, building black communities back to where they have to be. and i mean it.
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so if you don't know the community, it's hard to know what it needs. it means every american, every job, being able to turn on a faucet and drink clean water, because we're going to rip up every lead pipe in america. and something that jim has really championed, it means everyone should be able to access high. speed internet, urban, suburban, and rural. graduates, you lived it. to students should have to go to a coffee shop or a fast food restaurant to get internet so they can do their homework. we'll make sure it will never happen again. this is the united states of america, for god's sake. and criminal justice reform, we need it from top to bottom. i believe we need judges who understand the experience of the people where they come from. that's why i'm proud i pointed more black women to the federal bench and the circuit courts and more former public defenders to
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the bench than any administration in american history. the previous record was three black women in eight years. we've confirmed four in less than eight months and there's more we can do. there will be lawyers and judges who will be in charge, who understand, understand real people and the needs of people. on police reform, i share the frustration and i know the family well of george family justice act and policing act. i know the family well. it's not been passed to the senate, but the fight's not over. despite republican obstruction of justicism in this bill, we've made changes to the federal law enforcement policies that i have the ability to do with the stroke of a pen. the justice department has band choke holded, restricted no-knock warrants. it's also ending the justice department's use of private prisons, rescinding previous administration requirements that u.s. attorneys seek the harshest penalties. the justice department has
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opened a pattern and practice of investigation in systemic misconduct of police departments in phoenix, minneapolis, mt. vernon, new york, but we're just getting started. this administration is going to continue to fight for meaningful police reform in congress and lu additional actions. and you'll be our next generation of elected officials. police chiefs, civil rights leaders, leading the way. you see what just happened in new york city? first black woman, the head of the police department. with my american rescue plan passed after historic investment in community policing and violence intervention programs. they're shown to reduce violent crimes as much as 60%. we need to spend money to give the police the help they genuinely need. why is a police officer showing up to the suicide threat of someone threatening to jump off
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a building? we need more social workers there. we need more psychologists there. they need help. people to prevent violence in the first place. we're expanding summer programs and other services to keep young people safe and set them p for success. we're helping formally incarcerated people in communities. if someone gets out of jail after serving time now, they get a bus ticket and $25 and end up under the same bridge that got them there in the first place. so i'm going forward to make sure that everything that's available to anybody else that's available to them, notwithstanding the fact that they already served their time, we're going to reinstate access to pell grants, job training, proven pathways to a better life. we need you. we need you to leave a lot of these -- lead a lot of these efforts. we're working to stem the flow
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of rogue gun dealers to curb epidemics of gun violence. no greater victims than the black communities. we talk about these massive shootings. well, guess what. there's a massive shooting every day in urban america. the number of lives that are taken. you'll lead the way as community leaders, faith leaders, nonprofit leaders. that's what my daughter is doing right now. she's a social worker. she's heading up boys and girls clubs across the country. we got to give people alternatives. we've got to give them a reason to think they can make it. we're also going to use the federal government's purchasing power for billions of dollars for devastated small businesses including minority-owned small businesses to access government contracts. the goal i've set is 50% increase in the number of minority contracts going to minority firms by the year 2025.
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what did we learn? we learn there's no difference between the black entrepreneur and a white entrepreneur and success except the black entrepreneur usually doesn't have a lawyer. usually doesn't have someone who is going to be an accountant to get it set up. the idea is as profound, but the help is missing. you'll be the entrepreneurs and business owners accessing that opportunity and reinvesting in your communities. on housing, it isn't -- it isn't right. if a builder goes out and builds the same home and two different sides of the interstate, one in an all white neighborhood, one all black, same home, the moment the last screw or bolt was put into that home and somebody occupies it, the black home is worth 20% less than the white home. the moment.
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the moment. if you live in a black community and have a better driving record than someone in a white community, same automobile, your insurance is higher. it isn't right. that home owned by a black family is appraised at a lower rate at the same time. we're aggressively taking on housing discrimination. how do folks make it to the middle class from working class circumstances? many of you have done that. many of your parents have. you build equity in your home. that's how 90% of the folks make it to the middle class. they get an opportunity to own a home and build equity in the home. it allows them to borrow against it. you send your kids to school to do a whole range of things and you're going to be the ones leading the way, not just benefits. you lead the way because you understand. maybe most important of all, we have to protect that sacred right to vote, for god's sake.
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think about it. i got started in politics because of the civil rights movement. i noticed some of you are looking. some of you are looking like how do you know the black national anthem? because i sat in a black church after going to 7:00 mass and being a practicing catholic at 10:00 on the east side getting ready to go out and desegregate restaurants and movie theaters in my state. guess what. i've never seen anything like the unrelenting assault on the right to vote. never. i don't think any of you on this stage have. it's not a joke. and folks, as john lewis said, it is the only -- without the right to vote, there is no democracy. it's not just about who gets to vote. or making it easier as we used to try to do to make people
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eligible to be able to vote. it's about who gets to count the vote. whether your vote counts at all. folks, i was chairman of the judiciary committee for a long time. at the end of my stint before i became vice president, i was able to pass the extension of voting rights act for 25 years and guess what, and convinced strom thurman of south carolina to vote for it. no, no, not a joke. i thought we're finally, finally, finally beginning to move. but this new sinister combination of voter suppression, election subversion, it's un-american. it's undemocratic and sadly, it is unprecedented since reconstruction. vice president harris is leading the efforts for us, but on the anniversary of bloody sunday, i directed every single federal agency in the united states government to vote access to
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voting and each agency is heeding the call. for example, the department of veterans affairs is making it easier for veterans and families to register to vote. we're going to use va facilities and open them up for everybody and no one is going to stop anybody. but across the board. in addition, the justice department is doubled the voting rights enforcement staff, challenging the onslaught of state laws undermining the right to votes. we supported democrats fighting for voting rights since day one, maing sure she with unanimous -- every time it's brought up the other team blocks the ability even to start to discuss it. that other team. they used to be called the republican party. but this battle is not over. we must pass the freedom to vote act in the june lewis voting
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rights act. we must. we're going to keep up the fight until we get it done, and you're going to keep up the fight, and we need your help badly. and finally, we continue to confront the oldest and darkest forces in the nation, hate and racism. you know, there's a through line from owensboro massacre that happened 53 years ago that killed three students for whom this very area, this arena is named. to darkness that pierced the grace of mother emanuel church in charleston which i visited tort to the torches you never thought you'd see in the modern times. people coming out of the fields in charleston, i mean, in charlotte, virginia. charlottesville, virginia, carrying torches and nazi
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banners, screeching, most anti-semitic and anti-black rhetoric in history. hundreds and hundreds of them. and when asked, the guy who had this job before, when asked what he thought about it, he said well, there's some very good people there. hell very good people. they're racist. they're fascist. and folks, that was four years ago. i never thought i'd see that in my career. the violent and deadly insurrection on capitol hill 11 months ago on january 6th. i'm going to say something self-serving. i supposedly know a lot about foreign policy. i've known every major world leader in the last 40 years. i've spoken at over 140 heads of state since i've become
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president. you know what they all ask me? is america going to be all right? what about democracy in america? did you ever think you'd be asked that question? by another leader? i'm not exaggerating, gentlemen. leader of china, who i've met with more than any other world leader. and putin, both are very straightforward. say democracies can't function in the 21st century because things are too complicated. they move too fast. and time to get a consensus which democracies require. that's why autocracies will rule the day. folks, this is a troublesome time, but it's a


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