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tv   Government Access Programming  SFGTV  June 26, 2019 9:00pm-10:01pm PDT

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i also want to thank our incredible sponsor, susie tompkins-buell and the buell family trust for this summit. thank you to uber and -- i'm trying to remember all of them. there are a lot of them. thank you to the california women's foundation for your work on this summit and for putting it together, as well. so many amazing people, so many incredible sponsors, you'll see them downstairs in the resource fair. the golden state warriors, i know it was hard for us last night, but don't worry. when they move to san francisco, they'll be here, and they'll win another finals.
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[applause] >> the hon. london breed: and let me say, today is about networking, today is about coming together, but we all have to remember is we still have challenges in this country. and part of what we're challenged today is to take our knowledge, to take what we learned, to take this excitement and spread this all over the city and all over the board rooms, positions as c.e.o.s of fortune 500 companies. so the goal here is to sink in
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all this advanced knowledge and think about ways that we can put our best selves forward, but also, we always have to remember to reach back and pull up one another. that's what today is all about, because i'll tell you, had it not been for some of the most incredib incredible women in my community, the amazing mentors who looked out for me, i don't know where i'd be. i'll just tell you a quick story. my first job at age 14 was working as a place called the family school. now, i showed up the first day. maybe i wasn't necessarily dressed like i am in my mayoral attire like i am today. i wasn't dressed appropriately. when i answered the phone, i didn't answer the phone appropriately -- hello, hello -- like i did at a business. and the woman that worked with
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me, she explained what the appropriate attire was, she explained to me the proper way to answer the phone -- hello. thank you for calling the family school. this is london breed, how may i help you? how to type the basic things. but i had an attitude -- yes, london breed had a little bit of an attitude. but she didn't see it as not wanting to help someone, she saw it as an opportunity to help. she saw it as an opportunity to grow. she saw it as an opportunity to develop me into an amazing office assistant because she wanted to lighten her workload. [laughter]. >> the hon. london breed: but she also wanted to make sure that when i went to the next job opportunity, that i would do well.
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she wanted to inspire me, but she wanted me to go to college. and that girl with an attitude ended up working for the family school throughout the entire time that i was in the high school. they kept me there not only during the school year, but year-round, it kept me in an amazing environment where i could get letters for college and they helped nurture me into the woman that i am today. i am so excited about this women's summit because this is an opportunity for us to nurture one another. this is an opportunity for us to be inspired and come together. this is an opportunity to show the world that we are invincible. so ladies, have a wonderful
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time today. roll up your sleeves, and enjoy what we have to offer. at the end of this event, you don't want to go anywhere because you are going to see an amazing performance from an incredible singer, one of my favorites, ledicee. thank you. [applause] [♪] >> mayor breed suffers no fools. am i right? my grandmother used to say that. i don't know what it means, but it means she is no joke. that she is running a $13
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billion city wearing a pink suit. [applause] >> and five-inch heels, and that is what our future looks like. i would like to bring to the stage -- and if you haven't settled into your chairs, settle in, okay? because some of the baddest sisters in the united states are about to enter stage right, okay? so youngsters and elders alike, get out your notepads. the power of this next hour is unpropelled. mayor breed puts on a good show. she puts on a good party. to introduce our next panel is someone we must all watch, we must all take note. beverly anderson is the executive vice president of cards and retail at wells fargo, and she is one of today's best sponsors. let me tell you about beverly
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anderson -- let me just say that again. executive vice president of cards and retail sales at one of the world's largest financial institutions. i need some applause -- [applause] >> -- because we're all about breaking glass ceilings today. she sits on the wells fargo management committee and on the board of the wells fargo foundation. black enterprise has named this sister one of the most powerful women in corporate america. not like the region, okay? in corporate america. to breaking glass ceilings to suffering no fools to providing opportunities for women like us, for changing the nation, please help me in welcoming beverly anderson.
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[applause] >> good morning. i was back stage, going who is she talking about? we need somebody else to come up here. good morning. oh, my gosh, and thank you for coming here. and how about mayor london breed? she's fantastic. she's amazing. and latifah, such energy at 8:00 in the morning. she's amazing. i'm beverly anderson, you heard
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that, head of card and retail services at wells fargo. and i have the distinct pleasure of introducing valerie jarrett and kate kendall, who are going to have a dialogue whom i know will motivate and inspire you. but first, let me say that i am awe struck by all the men and women that are here who are leaders in your own right. so i want you to give a hand for the way you raise your families, the value you bring to your communities, the way you live life to the fullest, so thank you for all that you do. [applause] >> now i know if you're anything like me, you've been in places before where you've thought how did i get here? how did i take this turn in my career? what's next for me? am i confident? am i courageous enough to go down a new path? do i stay? do i pivot? i promise you're going to get answers to this question today.
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i'm particularly pleased to introduce this next guest because it resonates in my own life. i grew up in paducah, kentucky before finding my way to harvard and then into banking. my life has been full of zigs and zags and reboot. it's taken to your knowledge to listen to my -- courage to listen to my own voice, and replanning when life didn't go the way that i planned it. and it's clear in valerie's book, "listening to my own voice,." if and you haven't gotten it, you need to. it is amazing. in valerie jarrett's roles as
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an advisor to the obama white house, and now as an advisor to the obama foundation, let me tell you about her voice. she was born in iran, and then, she moved to chicago, where she was bullied because she didn't speak like other kids, she didn't look like other kids. she retreated into her own world. she moved from chicago, going to harvard. her family tree literally reads
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like the who's who of black american history. this leads me to the second part of valerie's story, resiliency. this was thought out in the ten-year plan that she had. go to college, go to graduate school, get a great husband, and have a fantastic family. has anyone here had a ten-year plan go exactly the way you've planned it? well, i love the way valerie talks about navigating the zigs and zags of life. she advanced in corporate law firms, making partner, but she acknowledged she never had joy. her passions came in life by swerving. she went into local chicago politics, and larger missions, oh, such as serving the president of the united states.
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herma her mantra is adventure is a swerve, not a straight line. through figuring out how to have it all, she realized you can't have perfection, and she also realized that help is a necessity. she learned that freedom can sometimes come when you let go of the plan. valerie truly found her voice during these wonderful swerves. her journey let me to the final insight about her story, and that is her platform. in a recent interview with trevor noah, valerie was asked, who is she advising now? and her answer was very confidently, i'm advising myself, and there are a few key things that i care about, and let's look at them.
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gender equity. she once told president obama that the women in the white house weren't heard, so doing what he would do, he invited them to dinner, told him he valued them, and they all became much stronger in the white house. gun violence. she has been a strong advocate and supporters of the young survivors, particularly those survivors in parkland, florida. and civic engagement. valerie is a firm believer that we must do all we can to strengthen our nation, particularly now. otherwise, we and our children will live with the consequences of our apathy. voting is still one such right that too many people take for granted. did you know that 46% of people did not vote in the last
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election? valerie knows there's still plenty of work to be done. so i got to know her through her book, through her background, and through her work. kate kendall led the national center for lesbian rights for 22 years and is currently the campaign manager of taking back our court. kate's story is equally incredible, having built the nclr into one of the most important and powerful national voices in conversations around equality while raising three children and being an engaged partner. so it is only fitting at this amazing women's event where we're all going to be invincible in a city known for making history and driving transformation that the invincible valerie jarrett tells us her story and imparts
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her wisdom so that all of us feel empowered to find our voices. so without further adieu, i welcome valerie jarrett and kate kendall. thank you. [applause] [♪] >> wow. good morning. there's a lot of you out there. thank you. [inaudible] >> here comes somebody. mine's working -- okay. there we go. there's always a plan b. >> all right. so good morning. how's everybody doing?
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[applause] >> i am -- i'm so happy to be here, to be in this conversation with valerie jarrett, who i have admired for a very, very long time, who was really one of the guiding lights for president obama. i mean, he had his own moral center for sure, but it's also really important to have key leadership and trusted advisors who can always show you true north, and that is what you did with him for both of his terms, so thank you for that. >> it was my honor. thank you, kate. [applause] >> so you mention in your book, one of your chapters is pink me moments, which you can imagine there might be many working in the white house with the obamas. this is one of my pinch mes, to be here with you. [applause] >> so i want to begin with -- i
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was stalking you last night on twitter -- and don't worry, you won't even know i'm there. and i noticed a tweet from you that i just want to get a little bit of a read about where we are right now in this moment because this has been a -- a troubling week for democracy in this country, and you tweeted a statement by the federal elections commission ellen weintraub expressing her dismay and distress, and the fact that she would not allow her office to endorse or abet a foreign power providing opposition information to a candidate in an election, which donald trump said he would accept. i'm just wondering about that, what do you think about this moment and what do we all need to do to ensure that our elections are fair and free from corruption?
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>> well, i have to say, i have conflicting feelings about social media. i have kind of a love-hate relationship with it. in a lot of ways, it's brought us together to communicate, and people that don't have their own huge megaphone can use it. but often, it is so mean and nasty. my daughter keeps telling me, don't read the comments, but i read the comments. i say that with caution because i don't want all the mean people on twitter to following me on instagram. i try to stay positive and not get frustrated with the way people behave. but i have been frustrated by the lack of people to speaking and do what's right. when you see something as basic as interference in our elections, which there is clear evidence happened last night,
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attempt after attempt to infiltrate and influence our elections, that's not what a democracy is about. just as an example, if some foreign government wants to give you information, don't you wonder why? don't you assume they're trying to influence the outcome? and if you truly believe in the democracy of our country, don't you want to be selected by the american people, not someone else? and that is so basic, and that's why i'm getting worked up. i think yesterday at the new york times, they had a great event, focusing on gender equity, and i made a point of saying thank goodness for the press. i said how do you feel because you've come under personal attack, and she said i'm fine. but it's not fine when you and your families are put as risk because of irresponsible
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behavior. my book is called finding my voice, but the power of each of us individually and the awesome energy of all of us collectively, using our invoices to be engaged and minimally vote, let's start by not being disenfranchised by ourselves. and then, we have to put pressure on our own secretaries of state. that is who's really responsible. yes, we have to have the federal government investigate and the d.o.j. trying to find out who is influence it from abroad, but we also need our own secretaries of state stepping up to the plate and doing everything they can to ensure it's not happening, that there's no meddling in the election itself. we tried in the obama administration, to sound the alarm when we heard the
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russians were trying to influence the election, and we said let's have a bipartisan hearing to do what we can. and there was a deafening silence by the republican party. now how much confidence do you have in yourself is by getting people not to vote, and the people targeted inevitably were young people and people of color, so it's up to all of us to watch what's happening and be vigilant about ensuring that it's fair, by putting pressure on the officials that can have an impact. and then, we have to look at how we're using social media and are we regulating it appropriately. and i know one thing, that it's being used as a force for bad and evil, and the question is how do you stop that from
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happening while not i hnvading our right to privacy and freedom of speech, and hopefully, we can figure it out. >> yeah. i've been listening to the mueller report on audible. i feel everybody should, it's a duty of citizens. it makes it chillingly clear that on every single platform, in every single day, the election was interfered with. i want to get back to the bok.. the book was a tremendous read, it was riveting, and it was not only about your time in the obama white house, which was amazing, but you began your book at a time, 79th floor of the sears tower, questioning your life. then you end your book with your acknowledgements and a
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question your daughter, laura, asked you, what would you tell your 30-year-old self? so there are a lot of times between when that happened on the 79th floor of the sears tower, and the end of the book, but what would you tell that young valerie jarrett or young women who are facing a decision point? >> i have so much to say to you, because i look back to that person and she's almost not recognizable to you. let me do the 30-year-old valerie jarrett, when i came out of college, and i thought i needed plan. i will say i drifted through college. at first i majored in premed. my dad was a doctor, until my boyfriend invited me to the anatomy class the same semester
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i took organic chemistry. then, i thought i could go to business school, but there was this great party before the gmats. and i never made it to the gmats. i had an older sister here in san francisco, and she said go to law school. it'll buy you some time. and i thought okay. but i thought i needed a plan for the next 20 years of my life. i'm going to go to school, i'm going to figure out what my passion is in the practice of law, i'm going to fall in love, i'm going to get married, have a baby by the time i'm 30, thinking about that biological clock ticking away -- fortunately, it takes later -- and i'm going to live happily ever after. so for the 2e7b years right after that, 21 to 31, i did
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that. i got out of school, i went to a law firm, and i went to an even better firm. i married figuratively the boy next door in that our mothers grew up in the same apartment building, our grandmothers were friends, our dads were friends. i had a crush on him since he was eight and i was 12. totally unrequitted. he was an altar boy. i used to go to church with my grandmother frankly just to see him, hoping he would pay attention to me, and he did not pay attention to me until i was 19 and he was 25. and i was at a friend's wedding, and he looked me, and i thought i'm going to marry you. what could go wrong?
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oh, my gosh, so much went wrong. but i did have my daughter just shy of my 29th birthday. best thing i ever did. and wouldn't you know, my little daughter who's now 33, is having a baby. best month of my life. so i begin the book, sitting in this fancy office. i was the first lawyer in my family. my parents were very proud of me. i was leading a life that many people thought would be that perfect life, and i was miserable. i was miserable in my marriage, i was miserable filling out time sheets, and i couldn't even figure out what i'd done, and i didn't care so much about the clients, to tell you the truth. i know i'm hitting a chord with some of you. you know that feeling. and i felt, well, what am i going to do? i was not meant to be this miserable. and so one of my best friends
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worked for the city of chicago, in the law department. and i know there's many of you here in public service. one of the reasons i like to support events sponsored by mayors is i spent the next nine years working for three mayors of chicago. and i'll never forget, one of my friends said why don't you consider a life of public service. you'll feel better about yourself and i'll have a life mission. and i did. i have to say, at the same time that i'm struggling in this marriage, i'm trying to be the perfect wife, the perfect mother, the perfect lawyer, my perfect self. and i thought the way to do that was to be perfect
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everything. t this is the thing. i thought -- i also thought if i were just smarter, if i were better organized, more efficient, if i slept fewer hours, then maybe this wouldn't all be so hard. and what i didn't realize, i was number one, making it hard on myself, and number two, particularly in the law firm, the deck was stacked against me. i was trying to compete on a completely uneven playing field, and i had no life outside of work. i was nine months pregnant trying to close a real estate deal, and i would say i'm going to the vending machine, or i'm going to check my voice mail. but those of you know when you're nine months pregnant, what do you do?
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you go to the rest room. but it wasn't something that i felt i could say to the men in the room. and that swerve was when the adventure began. so swerve ladies, swerve. >> swerve. [applause] >> you were born in your iran, and your early childhood there sounds ideal. i'm very concerned with where we are headed, and i think it's about the feelings and thoughts that people have about the middle east and iran specifically. [inaudible] >> -- and being at war? >> well, first, my childhood --
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so you're wondering, what in the world was she doing being born in iran. my father was in a position, and as he was coming out of serving in the army, he was looking at serving at an academic institution. he wanted to do research at a large teaching hospital. and he couldn't find a job equivalent to his white counterparts when leaving the army. so my mom and him said let's look at opportunities outside the -- of the united states. he was offered a job in shiraz, iran. of course his parents told him don't go. you don't know the language, you don't know anything about the government, and of course, it was before the days of cell phones. my parents were just like, look, there are no opportunities here, so they
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took this leap of faith, and they went to iran. and i was the second baby born in the hospital. they practiced on some other baby first. they're not sure whatever happened to that baby, but i came second. we lived there until i was five. but my father did some research in iran that caught the attention of folks at the university college of london, and so they went there for a fellowship. and from there, the dean of the university of chicago heard my father give a paper, and he offered him a job at the university of chicago, my father's dream job, and that's where he spent the rest of his career. and he used to stay to me sometimes the short he was distance of where you want -- shortest distance of where you were to go is the longest. now, the relationship was very different with the united states than we have today.
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the shah was very interested in improving health care, technology, so physicians were being recruited from all over the world to develop hospitals all over iran, so that's what took my father there. so the people of iran are good and wonderful and decent people. i think in terms of what we do with iran, what we tried to do with other world leaders, including france, germany, russia, iran, the e.u., is enter into a deal that prohibited them from developing nuclear weapons, and that that would be good for the middle east, and it would be good for the united states. and the current administration walked away from that deal. so now, who knows who's going to happen?
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it's totally destablizing to the mididle east, and we shoul be worried. but you have to say to yourself, in this current environment, why would you ever start a war if there was a diplomatic alternative? but we had one, and so i don't know what the current administration is doing to us, but we are in a less stable position as a result of pulling out of that deal. >> yeah, we are in a less stable position because of this administration. i was struck by the tone of your parents and really came to love them. when your father passes later in the book, it was emotional for me having lost my mother many years ago in 2003. it is one of those losses that you never get over, and it is a very unenviable club to be in.
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but you spoke about the love that you have for your parents and they have for you. and they were clearly your number one champions. what are some of the gifts that they most gave you -- your mother is still alive. >> yeah. >> and tell us sort of where she is and where are you in your relationship with your parents? >> i'll talk about my mother. if i talk about my dad, i'll cry. my mother is 90, almost 91. she's still working -- yeah, who does that? [applause] >> 52 years ago, she started a graduate school in early childhood education. she also still drives. that's not funny. i'm like mom, use lyft. i'm on the board of lyft.
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you can use lyft any time. i'm still working on that. but she and my dad, they just loved me unconditionally. they set hi expectations but -- high expectations but then gave me the tools to succeed. they said you're black. don't expect anything to be easy. life is going to be hard, but you'll have us as a safety net as long as you're working hard. now my mother did crazy things. when i was going to stanford, she calculated what every single class cost and gave it to me on a piece of paper and said, if you're ever tempted to cut class, this is what it costs us. where my father thought the world would be my oyster. even though my dad grew up under jim crow, and my mother in chicago, i realized much
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later in life when -- this is a good story about my parents. it sums them up. interestingly, after president obama won in 2008, he and the first lady went on 60 minutes the weekend after the election. you can tell from the interview how much in love they were, how much respect they had for one another, and the love for our country. and that's the same thing i picked up from them so many years earlier. my dad was ill at the time, and we watched the interview from his hospital room. all through the campaign, they were convinced that there was no way that a black man would win a presidency in their lifetime. they used to say, don't you think you should get back to your day job and not traveling
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so much? when he lost new hampshire, my mom was like, don't you think you should go back to work? i'm like no, if he doesn't win, michelle is going to shut this down. at the end, she asked me, what made you believe that he could w win? and i said mom and dad, you raised me to believe that if you had a goal, and you stuck to that goal, and you worked hard, and you believed it, anything was possible. and my mom said, well, i never believed that. and then, my dad said, well, me either. and i shared that story because it was the first time that i was shocked, quite shocked, because this was the way that
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they raised me. i realized for the first time my parents raised me aspirationally. not shackled to the floor, but free to explore in my own reality. you try to raise your children not in the world you know but in the world as you know it will be, and so that sums up barbara and jimmy bowman quite well. [applause] >> there's so much about your time at the white house that is riveting and also funny. i laughed out loud when your -- you had to sort of eat what president obama ate, and the meetings, they just all had it prepared and brought it all up. president obama, he's ripped, and it's because he doesn't eat. and you said he's eating his
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u umpteenth salad, and he looked down, and he said this salad is sad, and everybody was like okay. we're not going to eat salad anymore. our current administration, it would just be enough to make me lose my mind for many of us, and yet, your equilibrium through the time that you served kp served exudes from the book. how did you do it? >> i'll tell you another story because this is really a big piece of it. so first of all, when i worked in local government -- another pitch for local government, i had a chance to really experience what service is all
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about. and because your constituents are proximate to you, you're right there -- you can't go to the grocery store, or they flip notes under your door at hope. she said so-and-so stopped me about this development. i really liked that, but you learn that it's 24-7, and that you're always on, and that you are there in service of people who need you. and that experience really helped shape my attitude in the white house. and one of my complaints about washington is people forgot why they were there, and they needed reminders, and they were willing to put their short-term political interests ahead of you, the american people. and part of how i kept myself grounded was i had story about the earlier people. but the story is this.
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maybe about march of 2008, we were in texas during the primary season. we thought the primary would be over a lot earlier, but it's still going. and it's early one morning, about 7:30 and president obama, he's not a morning person. i am. i was happy to start in the morning because this is the best it's going to get all day. but i had to learn to tamp it down because he isn't. a guy in the elevator said excuse me, senator obama, he said sir, i have something i want to give you. and he pulls from his pocket a patch from his military uniform. and so senator obama realizes what it is, and he said of course, i couldn't possibly accept that. and they go back and forth with the gentleman insisting, back and forth, back and forth.
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finally, the gentleman says sir, i've carried this patch with me every day for 40 years. it's given me the courage to serve in the military, and i've had some ups and downs in my life, and right here, i want you to have it. and i burst into tears. i don't cry these pretty tears. you know how you can't catch your breath sometimes, and it's a very small elevator, and i'm just trying to shrink. so later in the day, i said to then-senator obama, i said, what did you do with that patch? and this was long before people started handing newborn babies ten-deep over to him in a rope line. and when they started doing that, i thought, he'll take care of the baby if it gets to him, but some of them never got to him. you're handing your baby to a
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stranger. and i said, wehere did you put it? he said, in my pocket. i said no, i meant, how did it make you feel that he's separating from this? sorry to the men in the room, but you know, too. >> there's a reason that i'm a lesbian. >> all right. that's the best line of the entire day. but to your point, he comes back at me, and he said, i put it in my pocket. and so he reaches in his pocket, and he pulls out about ten or 12 different trinkets out of his pocket, and he told me the name of the people that gave it to him, if he knew it. and fast forward, i get to the white house. and i thought, what am i going to do to keep myself grounded? i there were some people that i met that stuck with me. there were others, but for some reason, that act of generosity,
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that belief that if i give this to you, it will help you, and even though i'm separating from my dear, dear possession, it's for the greater good. and so i thought how about if every single day, when i get to the white house, i think about him as i'm coming in through the gates of the white house, and it will remind me of why i'm there. so for four years, every single day, did i that. to me, it's -- i did that. to me, it's about what our campaign was about. it's about inclusion, people knowing they can make a difference, collectively and individually. a reporter heard the story, and she called me just before the term, before we went on vacation, and she said, i want to do a story on that guy. and i said no. what if he was an axe murderer?
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well, don't you know, she found him, and she sent me an e-mail. his name is earl smith, and he's head of security at a hotel in austin, texas. i was on vacation with the obamas, and i was on the treadmill, and i got off and wrote him an e-mail. mr. smith, i don't know if you remember me, but i was the woman that burst into tears on the elevator, and i just wanted you to know that you are the one that inspired me. and he wrote me back, and said i remember you, and there's not a day that i don't regret giving that to him every single
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day. so mr. smith came to the inauguration, and the day after, i brought him into the oval office, and he and i were joking in the outer oval, and he was just as delicious as i had fantasized him to be. he was a wonderful man, laughing good sense of humor. as he entered into the oval office, he saluted president obama, and of course president obama saluted him, and of course i burst into tears again. and at the last inauguration, i invited him to sit with mrs. obama in the box. i say this all because it was never about us, it was about you. and what worries me now is it's starting to feel like it's about us. we have to keep focused on you, and that's to me, what leadership is all about. it's an unselfish act for the
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greater good. [applause] >> thank you. [applause] >> and we're saying the carnage to communities when love of personal whatever overcomes love of country. just hearing that makes me so nostalgic. i'm entering into the five stages of grief after the election all over again. >> i'm sorry. >> i called a colleague this week and told him i was going to be interviewing you, and i told him, what should i know? you could tell -- everybody i talked to about you couldn't stop talking about you. i'm like i have got other
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things to do, but they just went on and on about you. so what he said was you were the conscience of the white house. i can't imagine a higher compliment, especially when you're surrounded by barack obama and michelle obama who already have a pretty strong sense of true north. so -- and i don't want to take anything away from the president's leadership, and i want to speak specifically about lgbtq issues. brian and ellie and everyone else i've talked to said again and again that you made the white house's centering around will be bank account issues and what the -- lgbtq issues and centering, that you were more than an ally, that you were the tip of the spear. you ready ran interference to make sure the white house was in the right place.
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and i guess i want to ask, where does that come from? we all -- i guess it's more important than ever that particularly white people be the fiercest bad-ass allie for black people in this country than we've ever been before because our future, not just people of color, but our future depends on that. but that's in the midst of seeing tremendous peril and damage. in the midst of the obama white house, you continued on point to the white house being in the right place when it didn't really require that you do that. so where's that come from? >> well, i think all roads lead back to barbara and jimmy bowman and how i was raised. i know what it's like to be an outsider. here i am, with a british accent, i come from a country that nobody's heard of. i used to get bullied in school. i know what it's like to be a
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woman surrounded by men, and i know what it's like to be an african-american woman and everybody else is not. and i believe we're supposed to be our brother's keeper and our sister's keeper. and i grew up in a time where all kinds of people who fought the good fight against injustice, and that's how change happens in our country. the mentioned the moral spear, and brian is the whole. brian was just true blue and determined but also took a lot of incoming heat. and i think one of my favorite
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stories, when the white house was rainbow lit, one of our interns was doing research, and she brought me an idea. she said how about if we light the house in a rainbow after the marriage equalities decision comes down from the supreme court? and i'm like that is a damn good idea, girl. and it was the most requested photograph of president obama's entire eight years in office. and one of the most extraordinary days of my life. and i spent the entire evening on the north lawn of the white house watching the sun go down with so many people who had worked on this for so very long.
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so i say this to say i had a lot of good company, and that's what it takes. change takes people who feel their responsibility is to fight for the greater good. and if everybody is be treated equal, our country is not as good as our country should be. i encourage you to read the speech that president obama gave in the rose garden after the equality decision. that speech was written in like an hour, because it was the day we were going off to charleston for reverend pinkney and the others killed in shoot -- the
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shooting. i called the president and he picked up the phone abruptly, and said what? i'm, like, so i said all right, well, president obama, the marriage equality decision came out today, 5-4. and there's a long pause. who won? oh, shoot, i buried the lead. he said oh, what a great day. he comes down, and called the plaintiff and congratulate him and write a speech, and the rose garden usually, the unwritten rule is if you didn't work on the issue, you're actually supposed not to go out in the rose garden, you're supposed to be busy. the rose garden is just people who were directly involved in it. that day, the colonnade was packed with young staffers.
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he said that day sometimes these moments come like a thunder bolt until you realize what led up to it. i think in our current climate, we expect things to happen like that. i'm disappointed as many of you are in the last couple of years, but our democracy takes hard work, and it does zig and zag. by the time the supreme court ruled, it was 37 states and the district of columbia, and now, love means love for everybody, and i'm so proud that happens under our watch, but don't forget the decades of work that helped people get to that point. >> absolutely. [applause] >> i remember that day so well. nclr had been involved in one of the cases that went to the
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supreme court, and i stayed in san francisco. much of my team was in d.c., but i thought i want to be home, i want to be here when it happens, and i was doing at 10:00 a.m. what everybody else was doing, refreshing the blog. and it was really early for us, 7:00. it was the summer, so the kids were asleep. and it refreshed, and it says it's the marriage case. and i remember i could feel the blood just drain from my head, and then, it said, opinion my kennedy, and that's when i knew we'd won. and so i screamed, the dog starts barking, and the kids wake up. it was an extraordinary day. i remember when i clicked on somebody on social media and saw that picture fortunaof the house, i burst into tears.
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but that juxtaposition, it feels -- when we won the doma ruling, and the doma rules was struck down. that was the same day that the court eviscerated voting rights. when we won marriage in california, we won marriage in california, and then, it was taken away by 3rprop 8, the ve same election day that obama won his first term. i feel like you've been on that wild swing and yet sort of found a way to thread it and create a narrative where we're all in it together. >> that's the hope. and you're right. there were lots of swings in one day. the emotion was often raw. the day that -- the day that don't ask, don't tell was repealed by congress was the same day that they didn't vote on the dream act and move it forward. and my team had worked on both
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issues, and so everybody was crying. some people were crying because they were upset that the dream act fell through, and some people were crying because they were relieved about the repeal of don't ask, don't tell. i remember, i went up to -- cecelia munoz oversaw many of these issues in my offices. so i went down to the oval office to check on president obama who's been working the phone on both issues, and i said gosh, everybody's upstairs crying. and don't you know, he walks into cecelia's office, and he said look, i appreciate how upset everybody is, but for those of you disappointed in the result, realize how long it took us to pass don't ask, don't tell. we've got to keep up the good work. and i say that to those of you that are as devastated by what's happening at the border
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of these countries, separated with no idea to reunite them, we can stop this. we may not be able to stop it today, but we can stop it in two years, so i do encourage everybody -- >> yeah, amen. amen. we have to stop it in two years. we can't go on like this. [applause] >> so my final question is you thinking a little bit about your future. we talked a little bit about this. i'm involved in a project right now, having left nclr to reform the supreme court. specifically, the strategy is to, at the earliest opportunity, after we win in november and run the table, drop a proposal to the president to expand the supreme court by four justices. democracy is hanging by a
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thread, aided and abetted by this court which is ridden with partisan interests. so i want to know if you would be one of those justices. >> that's hilarious. [applause] >> me who has not practiced law since 1991. >> don't even get me started on kavanaugh. >> that's such a dark place. let's not go there. >> let's talk about you being a supreme court justice. and if it's not that -- >> can i talk about what i'm doing? >> yeah. >> well, i thought after the election, i have the best job in the world, and i started during the inaugural parade. it was really cold, and i started on january 20, when i