tv C-SPAN2 Weekend CSPAN November 21, 2009 7:00am-8:00am EST
>> nip bloiment as reported is at 10%. black unemployment is nearly 16%. unemployment amongst latinos is nearly 15%. the disparity continues. when we look at our teenagers, the unemployment rate for white teenagers is in -- the youth unemployment rate is in the mid 20s. for african-american youth it is in the low 40s. and all that gets counted are those that actually apply for a
job. the real numbers when it comes to unemployment in the african-american community now nears 20%. look at housing. the subprime crisis has been wicked and mean. in its effect on people i has affected people of every, single ethnic and income background. no doubt. but it has disproportionately affected communities of color. we need not hopefully continue to remind ourselves that the current recession and what we are affecting is a reminder that disparities exist in this nation
today. those that say that it is post-racial are twisting logic because what they want to really say is that there is equal opportunity, abundant in the land. and i say i want to celebrate the day that they are right, but it's not this day. it is not this time, and we must have the courage and fortuitousness to stand up to the realities of these facts as we face them. in this nation's capital today, 40 years after the historic great civil rights act of '64, voting rights act of '65 and fair housing act of '68, we do
celebrate the fact that there is an african-american in the white house. and at the justice department. and numbering 40 here in this congress but need i remind you that from 1870 to 1901 there were any number of african-americans who served in the congress of these united states, served in the united states senate. served in executive offices. do you even recall that in 1852:frederick douglass was actually nominated on a ticket to be vice president of the united states? and then, in 1901 there was this speech, i can't remember the member's name, who was the last african-american to serve and
then there was a gulf of some 30 long years without vigilance. without a commitment, great progress that has been worked for can be eroded and erased. and we have to keep in mind as we think about tomorrow, the powerful lessons of history. the powerful lessons of history. i want to say this about public policy. the purpose in getting people elected to office is so they can make a difference. not so that they can have m. c. behind their name. not because they can do an occasional television interview.
the purpose for getting elected to public office is not to just be there. the purpose is to work to make a difference. and that difference manifests itself in the design and implementation of public policy changes. so, today in the capital there is a debate going on about health care reform. an important debate. a serious debate. a debate where powerful interests, spending millions of dollars, organizing all sorts of efforts, pedaling truth and fear, pedaling facts and fiction, are being played out right in front of us. but, for as many panels,
workshops, seminars, reports, congressional hearings, meetings, conversations, about health care disparities, that we have had, now is an opportunity to make the public policy change that addresses those health care disparities. public policy is where the difference is made. politics and getting elected for its own sake means nothing. it is empty. it is hollow. unless when people are seated they have the will and the conviction. and when people are seated, we who vote have the energy and the drive and pay attention to give support to lend our voice, to weigh in.
one thing that is interesting about the congress of the united states, some people who look at the congress of the united states, look at the african-american community and believe that the only people who represent african-americans in the congress of the united states are members of the congressional black caucus. and lo and behold sometimes people wake up. there are blue dogs, yellow dogs, red dogs... no dogs. [laughter]. >> that have african-americans and latinos in their industrdis because a vote is a vote is a vote. my point is that there is an opportunity and we have to understand the role that public policy plays. and we have to understand the value proposition that intelligent scholars play in helping to design and support that public policy. and the role that people play in
promoting and articulating messaging and supporting those kinds of public policy changes. we need to have a debate in this country right now, reverend jackson said it and i agree with it. it is time for a second stimulus. but, it is time for a stimulus that creates jobs in urban communities. in areas of high unemployment. it is time that we not beat around the bush and say what needs to be said. that is a public policy measure. so we have to think about the types of things that we need to do. so those that serve on ways and means have discussions day in and day out, about tax incentives and tax measures and tax provisions. why can't we give tax incentives
to say that every solar panel plant that is built in the united states is built in an urban community? [applause]. >> why can't we take the types of steps that are needed? i say we can. if we are willing to put our ideas into action. our ideas into action. so, when it comes to public policy, i know that the members of the congressional black caucus are on the front lines working. but, we have to build the kind of work approach that supplements and supplies ideas. supplements and supplies support for the kinds of things that we need to do. in this capital next year, there is going to be a big discussion
about the workforce workforce investment act and i was sitting down talking to some very intelligent people with a lot of degrees. and i said there is going to be a discussion about the workforce investment act. and i was asked, well, what in the world is that? i said, it is just a few billions, of billions of billions of dollars that are spent for job training in the nation. and what the workforce investment act does, is it says, where does it go? who gets it? and how is it spent? and that is public policy. the architecture. the design, now it is designed, who wins, who loses, where the emphasis is, that is public policy. there will be a debate in this
capital next year about the elementariary and secondary education act. and the same person said, what is that? i said you heard of "no child" let's leave him behind. that is this elementariary and secondary education act and that is billions and billions and billions of dollars, and how it is spent how it is designed, that is public policy. and my point is, that in our continued efforts, continued efforts, to make the political gains that we have worked for and that we have won, a tool of continued change and transformation, we have to focus in a new and more dynamic way on the role of public policy as they way to braik bring about that kind of change that we need.
so i just close by saying this. i had the great opportunity to be a jackson delegate in 1984 and 1988, as a very, very, very young man, and it was a great experience, and reverend jackson as congresswoman lee said inspired so many of us to believe that electoral politics could be an avenue to bring about social and economic change. and justice. we... forget that very important lesson, that very important light that was lit, many, many years ago, not only by reverend jackson but by so many of the pioneers, in the congress, mayor clever, in the city halls, in
the state legislatures, who fought and who worked and that is what it's all about. thank you. [applause]. >> thank you very much, let me just say to all of our panelists what a brilliant panel you have been. this has been... give them a round of applause, because... [applause]. >> not only were they intellectually stimulating but also inspiring and will certainly inform our agenda as members of congress as we move our pathways out of poverty, opportunities for all agenda. let me ask if any members of the congressional caucus now, any members of congress would like to ask a question of our panelists, and then, congressman honda, waterson and christiansen, if you have a question you would like to ask of the panel, we know how tight time is for members.
feel free and we'll open to the audience for questions. okay. let's open now. for questions, from the audience. i'll start on this side, of the room. and could you give us your name and your organizational affiliation, please? >> good evening, first and foremost, i'm josephine morning the chairman for the southern christian leadership congress of prince georges county, maryland and want to take the opportunity to thank the cdc for inviting us and this has been great and one of the things i'm really concerned about is the disparity in sentencing that we have really been working on out in maryland. because of the crack versus powder. and i would love to know, have we came to some solution, as to what we can do to try to get
some of the people who are in the system out of the system, who have been there for 15 and 20 years, for crack. not a big-time player. small-time. you know, our young people are trapped in the system, and we don't have them getting out any time soon. does anyone have a solution, because weiss are trying to find... if there is anything you can do to help us we'd very much appreciate it. >> who would like to answer that question? >> put your microphone on, please. >> okay. to say again, i don't have a solution but i can tell you what is working. one of the things i said before, is the importance of not looking to national level officials to make these changes. i think in terms of the disparities, you are interested in, the state level is really where we need to start making
some movement. i know that in the state of connecticut, a group of concerned citizens got together, and said, this is having an impact on our young people, and, what are we doing? teaching our young people? why are we criminalizing the behavior to say one form is worse and the other and the legislature investigated those discrepancies and that is an important way to think about it and you said how can we get people out of the system. i think we need to have a serious conversation about what is out there for people once they leave this system, right? we know it is hard for people to get a job. the irony is many of the jobs that people are being trained to hold in prison are jobs they cannot hold once they are released because they cannot be licensed and bonded. and a lot of states you cannot be a cosmetologist, if you have a felony conviction, and that is an important vocational program and we have people leaving these prisons, what i call returning
citizens, we need to think about those incentives and to think about it, not just as one individual breaking the law or about excusing bad behavior but thinking about how is it undermining the strength of our communities, as a whole. how does it affect each and every one of us, in the stability of our lives, i think that is the way -- the way of pressing a response at your state legislatures and also mobilizing your community. >> hi, i'm rebecca meijer's, with the national association of social workers, greetings to representative lee. i -- one of the questions is our association looked at issues of race and racism throughout our profession, has developed some guidelines, how to work culturally competently and we have a code of ethics that addresses this, weaned are still predominantly a white organization. and, after listening to some of the presentations, i just wondered, you talked about
dr. blakey, you talked about how we are in denial and dr. goodman you talked about how race, is just dead, dead science and what things are really important for, especially white people, to take into account, to try to change this around and stop the denial because it greatly impacts our profession and the people we serve. can you hear me? am i on? well, one of the important issues, and i understand you are speaking to a select audience, and you know, so we may be here largely agreeing, but, there is another audience out there, in... predominantly white,
middle of the country, et cetera, audience that really does need to be reached and i think it is important to understand that racism, living in a racist country, is not just an issue of... for individuals of color but it impacts us all, you know? it does us all in. inequality in racism and by class has impact on everybody in society them. other thing i would say is a little bit more conceptual but what i found very useful in my classes and in my public education work, is to talk about white as a race. and that many white individuals don't understand that they have been raced. they have white skinned privilege and are just as much a race as anybody else is and walk around in visibly with the
advantages of white skin as dr. blakey has said and so to get individuals to understand, actually how the category changes through time is important. how the expansion of the white category has changed. how, my great-grandfather may not have been characterized as white but now i have i think, it becomes a very, very important lesson in the dynamics of race and that race isn't fixed, but it is changing and as many people on the panel have said, it is not about a fixed item or a fixed idea of race, but, how we do think about race and how we change how we think about race. >> i get word of messages when i'm not here and i heard there was an earlier question but let me thank chairwoman barbara lee
for the visionary program and the stellar members who are here despite my having to be detained elsewhere for a moment. i think the underlying premise is that we should not give up what is true. and that race and racism exist, we need to confront it, we need to not be embarrassed by it, but we need to be in the business of problem-solving. and so, each of you have contributed to that thought. i know without hearing that there were jobs, economic development and empowerment and i heard most of the speakers and i thank you very much. i want to comment on the work that is being done by members of the congressional black caucus. i don't think there is any aspect of disparities or racial concerns that there is not expertise among the members of the congressional black caucus. and, our joint colleagues as i see the chair of the
asian-pacific caucus of which i'm a member, chairman honda, hispanic caucus, on the issue of crack cocaine, i'd like to weave in several things that i think are race-based to a certain extent. the issue of crack cocaine, i don't see any of my judiciary committee members but we are confronting it head on. we may have an opening. because we now have a bill, many of us started out with bills, on this old issue of eliminating the crack cocaine disparity. we now actually have a bill that is merged... the senate introduced a bill or is about to introduce a bill, and their being challenged by finding a bipartisan member, we are likewise being challenged but we have a premise of eliminating language that distinguishes between crack cocaine in the sentencing. we had my bill that had extensive as expects to at drug courts and other that's i think we'll be able to work through but i'm glad to work with
chairman conyers and chairman bobby scott, to work on a premise bill and a lot of members have bills, and i want you to look out for that. that is confronting it head on. the challenge of course -- and with the justice department saying, without putting words in their mouth, let's say my interpretation of what they've said is we are open to this and this is killing the life expectancy of our african-american, in terms of lifelong for going into jail and the other one is hr 61, good time early release and this is all federal based because in state systems there is a parole. and this has to do with giving good time, for an early release, for nonviolent offenses and nonviolent actions in prison and it allows men, 45 minimally to go out and to be able to secure employment and job training and support their families. i think that is key.
and, it is key, a key element of recognizes the imbalance in the numbers of people incarcerated. my last point that i think really wraps this up and gets all around that this is whole question of education and the 50% droupout rate that is an epidemic. i cannot imagine people don't look at that as a race factor and an lem because it is -- second-classes a whole generation of people. so, my question is, how do we address the question of, or the comment, or the premise that we are a post-racial society when it comes to affirmative, comes to outreach and i use the terminologies, affirmative action, special programs, to stop dropouts in the african-american community, special schools, charter schools, should we be as bold and aggressive on saying, yes,
we do need isolated, pointed, targeted programs, even in the 21st century, and 2009, 2010, because it is really not a post-racial society, or are we apt to, now, say they can do it on their own? i don't think so, but i would like to do it in a way that we bring more people with us, saying you are right. and let's work on it constructively and i would appreciate anyone's comment. thank you. [applause]. >> thank you. thank you very much and thank you for your advocacy. it is inescapable that new look at the current situation with unemployment, and the high levels of unemployment on top of poverty and on top of the fact that after the last recession in 2002, there really was not a rebound, resurgence in jobs, in black and latino communities, that we have to, if we are going
to be, quote, to use the jargon, evidence-based, if we are going to be targeted, if we are going to try to fix problems, where they truly exist, that we have to do things that are focused and that are targeted. if we have the objective of trying to level the playing field. and, that is just inescapable. i like to think of the post-racial rebate. the true thing is what we are moving towards is a multi-racial america. if you look at the compensation and the rainbow or the gumbo or the mosaic of america, the 2010 census is critically important. is going show an ever-changing picture towards a nation that, by the time we get to 2045 or 2050, won't have a majority ethnic group. that is a fundamental reality, that that is this course and
that is the path that we are on as a nation. so, i don't think we... we have to be concerned. and i think reverend jackson addressed this, about the twisting of the youth -- several other speakers did -- the twisting of the use of the word race where people say you are playing the race card and raising racial issues, it is racial injustice and racial dis parties we have to seek, to address, and to correct, and i think we have an obligation as a nation, because if we don't address it, the past and the future, is fraught with even more difficulty. imagine that in ten short years, by 2020, half -- half -- of the high school graduating seniors in america will be black,
they'll be latino, or they'll be asian-pacific island. half. and think ten years beyond that, what that means for the emerging workforce so if you don't address the disparities now, it affects the national body politic. so i think one of the challenges is, we have to frame the discussion. not just about the present and the past. we have to frame the discussion about the future. about tom and what has to be done today, to secure a better tom for all people in this country. and, that is inescapable. you cannot change the reality of how the population and the demography will change. look at the electoral map in 2008 and you kind of break it
apart. this is what is interesting. in 2008, 22% of all votes cast in the presidential election were cast by african-american, latinos or asians, almost a fourth of all votes cast. 20 years ago, in 1988, that number was 12%. so, in a 20-year period that number has almost doubled. now, 2008, it was buttressed by higher turnout, and greater interest in the election. but, it is a demonstration of what is occurring in the nation, and, you leave increasingly more people behind if we don't address the disparities in education, in health care, and in economic empowerment, at the present time, and i think we have to begin to frame the
debate in different ways. >> we have 15 minutes remaining and we'd like to get as many questions in as we could. in the remaining 15 minutes. quick. >> i'd like to encourage us to really celebrate and really make the most of being african-american. i think that this is a perfect moment, not for us to stop talking about race, but for us to really press to remove finally the last vest attention of the -- vest innings by being more race conscious instead of less conscious and fully exploit the african-american cultural... reverend jackson and i and others started in 1989 and let's consistently refer to ourselves as african-american, not just to change our name but to institute a cultural renewal. this is the time for us to make
the most of who we are. to be inspired in politics and civic engagement, in schools, i love seeing the children say, if barack obama can do it, i can do it, too. i love that. and this is the time to plumb the depths of that. i feel a lot of apprehension in this room, i feel a lot of somewhat angst in this room but i want to feel some joy in this room, we are african people in the united states at the right time. [applause]. >> okay, we're going to now take as many questions as we can take. we have 10 minutes left and we'll ask our panelists to respond at the end, we'll try and see if we can at least get three or questions in. >> reverend benson from arlington, virginia a minister member of the national council of the present teary here in --
pez terry in factor detective. as we try to right the wrongs of the inequities we see, i would like to ask all of us assembled here and members over congress that we be cautioned as we move forward to promote the efforts for advocacy for our people and people of color, we do so on a position that supports our president, and his administration, as opposed to being on the opposite end. saying that... drawing on the words from reverend jackson earlier this is the time when we turn to each other and not against each other, because, i feel that sometimes there can be a move to disyet this great man at this great time, and we -- credit this great man at this great time and we need to advocate for the different issues that are placed before us. thank you. into do we have a question? right up here.
>> thank you. carmen morris from miami, florida. sanctuary of moses, combating trafficking and... in west africa. three days after inauguration i went back home to miami and there was someone with an ak-47 in a crowd of 50 people, who went on a rampage, killing some and wounding others. my conservative is thatepidemic celebrating, yes. but there is an epidemic of violence in our community for our young people, they are killing one another. how can we stem this tide? how can our organizations and our elected officials work together to stem the tide, to bring back the pride in our
community and the village environment that we once had? in the churches. in our schools. because our kids are killing each other. and we have to do something about it. it is an epidemic -- of epidemic proportions. thank you. >> thank you very much, one more question, do we have any questions on this side of the room? okay. one more question. from my left. >> good evening, i'm george gardener, i'm a student at howard university school of law, third year student at the school of law and my question is not legal but more practical. essentially, i guess my question is -- for any of the panelists but what would you say to i guess aspiring and current elected representatives, particularly at the local level, who are no doubt aware of many of the issues that we have discussed
tonight, but, who would say at the same time, that they are following towards the example and success of president obama, and believe that race is no longer a primary issue, in today's politics? >> okay, let me ask now our panelists, to maybe take ten or 15 seconds apiece and respond and that will be your closing statement. starting on my end. >> race is still a huge factor in american life. we still live in a country that has a racial contract that is over 400 years old. there has been lots of progress, but i would like to focus on the outcomes, and you know, as other people have said, when opportunity and outcome and health, measures of health, measures of wealth, unemployment, incarceration, et
cetera have equalized we can begin to talk about post-racial. >> this is partly a response to several people, and also to congresswoman -- the congresswoman's question. i'm surprised, amazed how far the propagandists have gotten. the data on the existence of racism is abundant. it is produced by the national research council. it is produced by the urban institute. it is evidentially clear discrimination continues. there should be a way, yes, forcibly, fully, turn those arguments and make them as flimsy, as it appears they are. racism should be a part of what we are responding to, the social worker's comments, should be a part of all of our learning. we should learn about the history of racism, we should
learn about its prevalence but that begins with an acknowledgment. i mean, even dr. phil mcgraw said... [laughter]. >>... the things that are most dangerous to you are things that you very often don't want to acknowledge but they they're things that you must acknowledge, if you are to improve and be healthy. so we have to do the hard work, and i can say that the american anthropological association, recognized several years ago the danger of this vacuum and developed an exhibition with a web site, race, are we so different, is touring the country, with the funding of ford and it provides a forum for discussion and will be here in washington on the mall, in about a little over a year. but we must make more of these forums and i hope the... our
legislators will be... will use the data at hand and be as forceful in combating this nonsensical argument as those who are making this argument have said. >> i would like to perhaps take my time to also respond to the question and concerns and i mean, i agree with the mayor in terms of, yes, the disparities remain, absolutely relevant. the problem is that whether it is a function of equal protection of the laws or due process, that the constitutional amendments that were put in place and on which we relied in terms of pushing those particular issues, in the courts have in fact been interpreted in a very narrow and stilted way based on a very false notion of
formal equality that assumes affirmative action is akin to jim crow and... segregation, i'm a law professor, right, and i teach common law and i say, okay, you do i see a way to get out of this other than the court overruling cases that reached as far back as the mid '70s with washington versus davis, and given, you know, our system of precedent and stare decisis that is not likely to happen and in the alternative you do not throw up your hands... i don't necessarily contend people should throw up their hands and say, you know, woe is us, it warrants shifting to a legal framework that is expensive enough to recognize several measures such as affirmative action are in fact a
government's obligation as long as the circumstances so warrant and as long as the disparities exist, that is evidence that they are warranted. which means... and i am here to say, i do not contend that human rights is the panacea. you know? it has its own issues. but, quite honestly, at this point, to choose between continuing to litigate ourselves into the very small corners that we find ourselves in, with respect to merely relying upon the u.s. constitution and hoping somehow they are going to get religion or get right and somehow change their minds, versus advancing an event that says, you have ratified these treaties and they are part of our domestic laws, hence you have to do something, and, affirmative action is part of what you have to do, and dealing with hate speak is part of what you have to do, and if it boys maintaining the status quo and continued veneration of
whiteness and white supremacy it's problem and our domestic legal system as it stand is much too simplistic to even deal with those concepts, even though it is responsible for creating the complex situation that we find ourselves in today. so, you know, it is not the dis -- that disparities are not important. i think perhaps it will require us to think way outside of the box, in place that's we are not necessarily that comfortable in an attempt to ultimately all achieve the objectives that we seem to be trying to achieve. [applause]. >> let me just simply say that history must always be the lens through which we evaluate where we are now, and determine where we want to go. and, part of this vision in terms of how i approach my own work as a scholar and how i see myself as and mother, as an every day citizen is that i don't want our society to ever become post-race. because it means that you ignore part of me and you ignore part
of our history, and i think instead we have to move the nation toward being post racism then we can talk about what it means to be a citizen and what it means to have a democracy and what we can do to incorporate every voice into that process. thank you again. [applause]. >> just quickly i want to take the question which was about state and local officials and having spent my career as a state and local official, i think the first thing to recognize is, i don't think the president has ever said race is unimportant. i think that the president carries a burden that very few of us understand and it is the burden of the pioneer. jackie robinson. it is the generation of people like my father, who were the first blacks to lead american
cities. it is an incredible burden. it is a burden with one's own people, it is a burden with the majority. it is a burden of expectations. it is walking a path and walking a course that no one else like you ever walked and so you don't have a lot of people you can talk to, and say, what is it like? and he has that very important special challenge, and i think the important thing for... and i tried to make this point about people and elected officials, in positions of... is not to believe in... that symbolism gets things done. simply because you are there and you want to carry yourself, a certain way and look a certain way and talk a certain way, that that gets anything done. that that will make things
indeed happen. and i think the professor is correct when she -- what she perhaps didn't say is that the supreme court has gone down the path of basically making some incorrect interpretations of the constitution. they have a record of doing this. they did it in plessy, they have a record in misinterpreting the constitution, reverend jackson. and a lot of the decisions she mentioned are the fruit of justices appointed because of the outcome of presidential elections. politics, elections count and they affect life far beyond that election cycle. i think she's right but what i learned in state and local government is that sometimes... and it is even the case now,
that sometimes addressing dis parties is a matter of priorities. for example, the t.a.r.p. represented a commitment by this nation's taxpayers of nearly a trillion dollars which was passed in 14 days, i don't think anybody read the bill. maybe... [applause]. >> maybe 25% of it. and we could repair the conditions of some schools. maybe another 25% of it and we could do something about health disparities. i think sometimes it is maybe not simply specific legislation but it is specific measures on top of a shift in priorities. and priorities in terms of where we invest our money.
look at what we have done in this country. iraq and afghanistan have cost us a trillion dollars. the t.a.r.p., another trillion. that is $2 trillion. you want to know where the deficit came from? it didn't come from president obama's stimulus program, 700 or 800 billion, maybe that contributed somewhat and so we as people, also have to have the facts on the table. and understand how things have gotten to where we are, and what we need to address disparities, and i think that is the challenge for state and local officials. to be a voice on priorities. on where the priorities are. the last thing i would say about elected office, half of the members of the congressional black caucus today represent districts that are less than 50% african-american. i think that is, what, 50%? and, when you are an elected
official, you are in a different position, if you represent a majority black district, community or town, versus one that is multi-ethnic and multi-racial. you know, your challenge is and the -- the challenges and the opportunities, that is real politics. and so, one size doesn't fit all. one approach that someone in texas in a district that has african-americans and latinos and whites, might not be the same as someone that represents predominantly rural african-american districts. in terms of what their priorities are and the thanks they give voice to. that is the reality of politics in america, no matter where you stand. it is the responsiveness to constituents combined with a commitment to some philosophy and ideology. >> before i ask reverend jackson to come up and give us some closing remarks, let me take a
moment to thank the, first of all, this panelists, once again, for your brilliant presentations and for your inspiration. [applause]. >> unbelievable dialogue. i want to thank my colleagues, members of congress, for staying here with us, and listening. [applause]. >> and being such remarkable leaders. let me thank the american anthropological association for their assistance in helping to shape the fabulous program tonight. thank you so much. [applause]. >> also, to the capital visitors center for hosting us for this event. i don't know, if terry is here, thank you so much. our director of the capital visitors center who is doing a phenomenal job and i have to thank our staff, patrice, irene, christina and why don't you guys stand? they pulled it together on a moment's notice and i wanted to thank you so much for their hard work and their brilliance and
commitment, to really, the cbc's agenda which is all of our agenda, and that is pathways out of poverty, opportunities for all, reverend jackson, why don't you come forward again, in honor of your 25 years of service, which only 25 years ago, began your run for the presidency, in honor of your life's work, i should say. thank you for giving us this opportunities, for this very important dialogue on this 25th anniversary. >> let me express again my thanks for recognizing our part in this journey, tor making this a more complete union. we have reason to look back, for some joy upon our accomplishments and yet not celebrate before that he game is over.
but i think about august 28th, 1955, emmet till was lynched. it was a little moment but those who killed him were celebrated. they walked the streets 40 years without facing prosecution. august 28, 1963, dr. king spoke of dreaming, of a day when america would honor its broken promise and that day, for those who watched the dream parted, from texas to florida and we couldn't use a single public toilet and couldn't take pictures on the lawn of state capitals, and black soldiers did not have the same rights as lots of p.o.w.s and our money was counterfeited and we were not allowed at howard johnsons, august 1963. and august 28, 2008, president barack obama received the nomination of the the democratic
party in denver, colorado and one sees that growth. on the other hand, we cannot get positioned where we become civil rights neutral. when there is civil rights work to be done. now our adversarieies will nap plate us into a place where we can speak how we feel because we have the presidents of our choice and that is a real nap manipulation and so if you have a decision, a court decision, you cannot use dna as a right to protect people who have been wrongfully convicted. and we all support that position. and men on my staff, came out of school in age 14, jailed 30 years, three years longer than mandela and he was innocent and without dna he would still be in jail, he was on death row three times and we cannot be silent about that. another young man was in jail,
from florida -- in florida, 38 years and 11 years longer than mandela, was freed by dna and we still that he have right, to fight... and it is different than the president's position and of course we'll have different positions and we are free to have positions that enhance the environment that even he operates in. to put this another way, when i was a little younger, i really tell my age when i hired our college... college sweetheart, she graduated from and got a job as a flight attendant for eastern airlines, it was a big deal and made front page of the school paper and local paper and she was a flight attendant, eastern airlines and another brother got a job who was a ball player, as a driver for trail
ways bus. i mean, like that was moving on up the road, and then, another brother got a job as an airline pilot. and he could fly a plane. and there was great excitement because we found we had a pilot but let me tell you, his being a pilot did not make him the comptroller of airline passage. it did not affect the price of gas. it didn't affect the safety of the plane. his being an airline pilot did not affect the options of the flight attendants. and it had nothing do with the structure of planes made by boeing. i mean, he was the pilot of the plane, but, there were powers above even the pilot. and there was an infrastructure beneath him, and he said -- and
the ground crew, it keeps me afloat and the ground crew has a right to fight for their rights, too, because the pilot will not go far without an active, aggressive ground crew and the ground crew has something to say when there are 2.3 million americans in jail and no plan to take those numbers down, we must fight for that because it is the right thing to do. now, the "chicago tribune" says that we bailed out the banksters and put out the homeowners and for soak the children and the banks get 0% interest and students are paying 6 to 8% and banks are charging a fee for free money, and i thought, the president of mower house last week two boys cannot up come back to school next semester, because they cannot borrow any more. and we cannot settle for going just from... we need the rate
reduced and we must not give up the right and the name of law and progress to protest for the right to be right. and i remember, people sometimes, with dr. king sometimes would argue with him and they kept marching and disagreed with tactics and they didn't stop marching and we are making a mistake, to become so tender in the head to give up the edge of civil rights protest. because, if we protest -- [applause]. >> if we give up the edge we cannot affirm -- we cannot close the gap without an edge. we cannot close disparity and we must dis bush the status quo, to close the gap, because there are some people who benefit and i still wonder why the walls came down so slowly. because, some people have been benefiting from the walls and made profit from the because and one reason why we came to the civil rights era, the last one,
a limited -- limited in our out reich because we were bloodied up. we are damaged. dr. king got stabbed. the idea of fighting to get into the back of the bus... [inaudible] the income tax, that case, income tax evasion, 1958. those who tear down walls get bloodied. i was in july july 16, 1960. controversial, left wing, for using the public library and i'm not left wing, i'm right wing, i'm right, i was trying to use the public library, but you are developing a reputation that you cannot get along with white people, no, i wanted to read. i'm called ignorant and couldn't read and called militant because i want to get a book and those who march, for the right to vote, we were blood id and
seemed to be unacceptable, beefrn to the beneficiaries of the voting rights act, to get open housing we had to march and take bricks and what we have done for this generation is we have knocked down walls to build bridges. and those will go across the bridge with a tail wind, must understand head winds made the tail wind possible and that is the combination. [applause]. >> and i don't think our story is not generational. that is absurd. our story is intergenerational. the bible says remove not the ancient landmarks. you can't separate marc from his daddy's protest that's first black legislator in -- that's mayor of new orleans and is urging us to find an intergenerational link and find our relationship with our president by our agenda. i guarantee you, many of things we are fighting for he will not fight for it but if we don't fight for it he cannot grant it
unilaterally. look at this, this... inaudible than he said this was not hand well and they ticket and made it and there was such a reaction to his dealing with that situation, when at least the american files the lawsuit in a big bank for red lining and it was racial justice, and we must not be traumatized. and i -- in our quest for racial justice, and where we have made the most progress, more than china or in -- whether in china or new york, is football, basketball, golf, tennis, and track. it is hard to be the best golfer in the world. it's hard to be one of the best baseball players, or basketball players. and it is hard to be kobe bryant, to be best of the best, or be lebron james, why are we so good at what is so hard to do? we're so good at that the owners
can only get a box seat an observe and their children can't participate and why are we so good at what is so hard to do. it is hard to than. whenever the plan... [inaudible] the rules are public, the goals are clear, the referee is fair, we and call go to the next level, but until that day, until the playing field is even, and this rules are public and the goals are clear, we violate our conscience, we violate those, the mart i.r.s. who made it possible lest we fight back until that bright day of justice occurs. thank you for being a part of that legacy and keep the hope alive. [applause]. >> thank you again, i want to thank the audience for your participation and your attention and your commitment to peace and justice and let me just thank members of the media who are here, thank you for helping us break the silence about this very, very ita