tv America Tonight Al Jazeera April 4, 2015 12:30am-1:01am EDT
ble this this has lost this long hog hog. >> don't forget you can get lot more pictures and features and background to these new stories we're covering on our website aljazeera.com. that's aljazeera.com. tonight": michelle phan since 2002 she has gone from obscure blogger to entrepreneur. >> i was always creating. i was creating doing comic books, i made my own universe. my own story. >> also tonight? >> i didn't see anybody with my heart running. >> as these candidates make their last rounds before
ferguson votes, the topics are unavoidable. >> what changes do you plan on making? >> not much, i think it's a pretty cool town the way it is. >> thanks for joining us i'm joie chen. the world knows ferguson missouri as a flash point for racial tensions since last year, when a police officer killed a 81 unarmed black man. even in the first days of the crisis the community recognized it was on them to repair their community's identity. the test comes in a few days as ferguson residents have a chance, days before the election, "america tonight"'s christof putzel sees there's a great divide in the two face he of ferguson. >> in streets once filled with unrest, a community slowly picks up the charred pieces of their city. >> i'm adrian hawkins i'm
running for our city council for our ward, ward 1. >> i'm running for ward 1. >> one of the protests may have cleared but a new campaign is in full swing. >> i'd like you to invite you to a forum it's the last one. >> reporter: two-thirds of residents in ferguson are black yet the currently six member member. there are three open seats. one ward has only white candidates. another only black candidates. but in ward 1, board residents are vying for a seat in a racially diverse race. the victor will determine whether ferguson's city council will stay majority white or divides equally between black and white members. >> what inspired to you run? >> it was the death of michael brown, the thought of my children not returning home for walking down the street was way too much to handle and something had to change. >> reporter: adrian hawkins
has been a ferguson resident for 27 years and has had her only hurdles to come. >> i was on government assistance for years as i raised my children as a single mom. but that never stopped me. that was what i had to do at that particular moment. and i went from being on government assistance to a government employee. and i'm doing well and here i am just a little girl from ferguson, missouri, who is now in the middle of the biggest local election in the country. (laughing) i know i'm qualified with my two children behind me and my family and my friends in the community. this is just another stepping-stone. sorry. >> there's all my information on the back. got my recess my type of thing -- i got my resume type of thing . >> i will admit that after the shooting and the fires after that when the grand jury announcement was made you know it put some trepidation on
whether i wanted to run. >> what do you mean? >> well, we're painted with a huge racist brush and we still are. will i be able to sit up there on the council and maintain my compose your? after a while i thought, yeah, i can do that and i need to be running, i grew up here. >> mike mcgrath is can canvassing the same two and a half square miles as adrian hawkins. he now wants to help preserve the town he's lived in for 21 years. >> reporter: how would you see ferguson change over the years? >> main change has been mainly the change in the race pulp. going from a community that was primary white to a community primary african american. here? >> this is my yearbook. i graduated in 1968.
out of this 4,000 kids, there's probably 200 total african americans. it's primary all white. >> out of 4,000? >> out of 4,000. page after page, white white. >> lot of white faces? >> lot of white faces. >> mcgrath has lived from the transformation but devoid of conflict. >> how big a racial divide is there now? >> i don't believe there is any racial divide. you don't see a single street that has all white or all black. it's white black black white. >> you say there's no racial divide? >> i may be a fool for believing it but i don't see it. >> ferguson is divided. a lot of people don't want to admit that ferguson is divided or has been divided. you need to address the problem and not dance around the problem. >> what happens if you don't?
>> it's a powder keg and one day it's going to blow a lot larger than it did in august and september. >> knocking on doors and convincing residents ovote is part of the problem that may seems like a thankless job. each councilmember receives just $250 a month. but for adrian hawkins its was time to lead. >> i thought when my kids were in high school that this was fine but this isn't over. if parents aren't doing what they're supposed to do, somebody has to help the kids here. why not me? why not me? >> mike mcgrath is on a mission to defend his town. >> i was on the law and order, not the protests. i used to volunteer with the police department. i knew the problems and then our president got involved and his toarnlings made it a bigger issue and they fastened those
flames and the report powered gasoline on there. >> last month the department of justice published a critical report pointing to what it called systemic bias in ferguson ferguson's government. within days the chief of police and ferguson city manager left their post. >> what did you think about the reports? >> i was sickened by it. it's one thing to know or think you know that one thing is one sided one way or the other but to have it proven in writing it was really sick thing for me and it was difficult for me to read the report. >> we didn't expect it to be a rosy report. they went in with the agenda to make officer wilson look guilty. the more they investigated the more they talked to the people the fbi and other witnesses the
more it validated the grand jury's findings that officer wilson while it was a tragic event was justified in his action he and was defending himself. some of the other findings they cherry picked. you can do that to back up your side of the story. >> i never thought i would be a politician but i didn't see anybody with my heart running with a passion. >> as these candidates make their last rounds, the topic of race is unavoidable. >> we are good people of this city and we are being treated unfairly. >> we are but however the court system has literally raped this community. >> there was never an issue before. i wish it wasn't before, it shouldn't be, it should be the candidate and not their race. i understand that that's -- there's going to be people that they are not going to look towards qualifications and they're going to put someone on based for that. if they do i can't fault them for it.
in this case if i was the minority -- in this case the majority, had already been disenfranchised, and i didn't see a voice on the council i'd tend to vote that way. >> what changes are you going to make? >> not much, i think ferguson is a pretty neat community just like it is. i will say in the past trying to get african americans in this neighborhood getting involved and being involved in this city, it's a hard fight. >> maybe in this election things will change. >> you're not going to do had a for everybody, a lot of people don't care, they just want to live in their home go to their job have barbecue and have kids go to school and that's fine but if you really wants to make a difference, if you think that there's an issue that needs to be done whether it's street lights or sidewalks or whatever it is then you have to be involved in the process. >> i think our main goals are feeding our families and going to
work and, you know, just trying to make our lives better. i think the incident -- it awakened more than just the sleeping giants of the ugliness of ferguson but it also awakened the good people who want to make sure that we feel included. >> what do you think is the biggest issue facing the community in ferguson right now? >> fear. fear. there's fear that the system won't ever change. won't ever be fair. won't ever offer them opportunity. won't ever give them any justice. >> for mcgrath, it's the simple fear of use losing the ferguson that he grew up with. >> we simply wants to go back to the norm. you don't want everything in the norm, but you want the people to enjoy their markets, let the community be the community, the people that liked the area because of being people. >> that fight will have to end
up in the voting booth. >> if things don't change here it's that example that i keep talking about, leading by example. if we can change things in ferguson, tres of the world, it's just -- the rest of the world, it's just a matter of time for african americans and for everybody. >> "america tonight's" christof putzel is with us. kristof, in order for things to change in their community they are to go to the polls, is that going to happen? >> that's anybody's guess historically there is not a whole lot of black turnout to the polls, just in 2013, the last municipal election only 6% of registered black voters turned out to the polls. >> if this poll turns out, if this election turns out to present same candidates, the same councilmembers that have been there before, what is going to be the reaction in the community? >> you know, a lot of people
feel very beaten down at this point. that's another reason that a lot of black people may not turn out to the polls. they just don't feel like the difference is going to be made. and frankly joie, if there's a community in this country that has a reason to feel beaten down it's black people in ferguson. this upcoming election we will see and it will be a big lesson to the world just how much they have been hurt financially, they have been hurt spiritually and how they have been totally brutalized. >> "america tonight"'s christof putzel. next, the disappearance of a little girl might be the crisis that finally informs change. later here, face of the future. she's already an internet sensation with millions of youtube fans. >> how do you make the magic happen? i mean listen i'm in news i'll never get 11 million hits ever. >> actually you could. >> "america tonight's" sarah
hoye with a story behind her smile and what's next for michelle phan. and hot on "america tonight's" whibt now, learning lessons, and schooling students for success. but who's picking up the tab? find out at aljazeera.com/americatonight. >> sunday night. >> 140 world leaders will take the podium. >> get the full story. >> there is real disunity in the security council. >> about issues that impact your world. >> infectious diseases are a major threat to health. >> "the week ahead". sunday 8:30 eastern. only on al jazeera america.
family in a city shelter created new urgency on the crisis. "america tonight's" lori jane gliha asked top leaders about how this could have happened. >> after relisha disappeared, mayor thomas gray promised to find answers. the city moved less than 200 families. now muriel bowser promises to do better. >> are you confident that the people are safer than when relisha rudd went missing? >> d.c. general was built as a hospital and not optimal for families. >> are they safer? >> i've answered your questions. >> we wanted to see firsthand what kind of place it was for a
child and we've been asking to get in for more than a year but city officials walked away from us. >> i wanted to know how many recommendations have been put into place. are you sure you'll follow up? >> the city has yet to answer our questions or let us into the shelter. >> fast forward april lori jane gliha's report, mayor bowser called for plans to provide neighborhood shelters to replace d.c. general and build permanent housing units for homeless families. them next time on "america tonight". coaching families. >> keep quiet or that's about it for your career. >> "america tonight's" ploirnlings, big athletes, big dreams and the culture that can leave them vulnerable for abuse.
after the break tonight, beauty queeb, the 20-something who parlayed her makeup secrets into an internet power and proving she's got more than a good look. >> america's first climate refugees >> this is probably a hurricane away from it being gone. >> who's to blame? >> 36% of land lost was caused by oil and gas industry... >> ...and a fight to save america's coastline. >> we have kinda made a deal with the devil >> fault lines al jazeera america's hard hitting... >> today they will be arrested... >> ground breaking... they're firing canisters of gas at us... award winning investigative documentary series... the disappearing delta only on al jazeera america >> part of al jazeera america's >> special month long evironmental focus fragile planet
connection can be. >> michelle phan isn't your typically makeup artist. in fact she typically never makes up anyone's face but her own, but when she does it, millions watch. >> it's i can go outside with no makeup and people actually recognize me. >> michelle isn't just a beauty guru, she's an online star. >> here you are, queen millenial, doing it. since 2002, she has gone from obscure blogger to youtube sensation to happy sensation. >> michelle do you sleep? >> i leap five hours. >> she's the beauty and brains of many
ventures, including ipsy. she founded in 2012. >> we have over 100 people work at the company and we ship out over 100 ipsy glam bags every month. >> lifestyle network soon to be registered. >> this is not something where you were handed a silver spoon. you've earned every minute of every thing you've done. >> i grew up in tampa, florida and we didn't have a lot of money, my family and i, money was always tight. >> michelle's parents came to the united states from war torn vietnam. >> you describe your mother as your hero. >> yeah, i look at what she had, when she came here she couldn't speak english, she had less than $20 in her bocts. she came pockets. she had to rebuild everything
from ground up. >> michelle's father moved the family across the country more than once. he was also a compulsive gambler who often lost the rent money. then one day he left and never returned. devastated, michelle turned to art. >> art was a way for me to express myself and for me to also escape. because it was tough growing up as a child. i was always creating. i was creating i was writing stories i was doing comic books i made my own universe, my own story. >> her father's poker habit led to many evictions, which meant starting over in new schools and making new friends. >> it wasn't easy for you. you were kind of an outsider. >> i felt like an outsider. who isn't. everyone feels they're misunderstood in their teenage years. i had moments of being sad but i knew i was able to get out of this rut.
i told myself i'm going to find a way to help out my family. i'm not going to leave any safety net for failure. >> growing up, her brother and her helped to save her mother. everything changed when michelle went to college and received a laptop given to all freshmen. i >> i was so good at showcasing my skills and enthusiasm, the saleslady said had you ever been in sales? i said no. but you're not going to give me a try? she said no. i did my first video. >> posted on 2007 has now been viewed more than 11 million times. >> how do you make the magic happen? i'll never get 11 million hits ever.
>> actually you could. you have a great personality you wear your heart on your sleeve. people want to see that. people go online because they want to connect, want good content and want a community where they belong. >> out of all this, what has been some of the best experiences for you? >> gosh, it's been tough to say. it's been nonstop. i've been working nonstop since i uploaded that first video. it is a little too overwhelming for me, because that's i might become really emotional and cry and be scared at the same time. be scared of losing something so amazing. >> lancome called, google called, you went to paris. >> these are all great accomplishments. they are the steppingstones to what -- to something bigger that i believe hopefully that i can accomplish in the future. and this is why this year i'm
dedicating a lot of my time working towards girls education. >> i'm going to jump in here because you're being a little humble. you're not just helping people and helping students get educated. you just traveled the globe with the first lady of the united states. >> michelle joined mrs. obama in japan as part of the let girls learn initiative. >> please talk about that experience and how it was to get the call from the white house. that michelle obama wants you. >> it was a very wonderful experience. michelle obama told me that her daughters loved my work and they were very excited. and i think maybe they're part of the reasons why i came with michelle obama on this trip. which i'm very grateful for. >> you had said this, that i live, i love, i teach but most important i learn. >> i learn, yes. >> what's the biggest lesson you say you would have learned? >> don't are trust everyone.
especially when they say, "trust me." >> you keep your private life private but you do share. it's also important to let people know about some of the hardships that you've gone through. why is it important that people know that? >> because i need to give them context, who i am what i am where i am today. i wanted them to see i was able to make it out of this poverty. i was able to take myself and my family out of it by doing something i love about. >> michelle eventually reconnected with her father. the man who knew when he named her that she was destined to be a powerhouse. >> what was your name? >> essentially an avalanche. the accumulation of snow it created a trigger technicality. and created this snowball. >> reporter: one of the most
satisfying results of that success being able to give back to her own family. >> when you cashed in, what was the first thing you did? >> i got my family an apartment. they were literally renting out one room from this family, paying like $300 for this room. >> one room? >> one room. you know what we didn't care. we were actually happy to have each other. at least we had four walls around us and a roof. that's more than what most people in this world have. so we were being grateful and i think us being grateful opened a lot of opportunities and doors. >> now michelle wants to show her online followers, she calls them dreamers, that they can do what she did. she has a studio that they can use, the staff studio and equipment are free of charge. >> i wanted to leave behind an infrastructure a road map for any of my dreamers to follow, to again take care of their family,
pursue what they love and live a fulfilling job where they feel they're not going into the job or the 9 to 5. but learn about themselves. >> define dreamers, what are dreamers? >> these are the people that we need to empower in the world they are the ones who can actually make a radical change in society, people who were never given a chance. but now i showed them that they don't need to be given a chance. they make their own chance. they can make their own path and pave their own way. >> are you still dreaming? >> yeah, of course -- are you still dreaming? >> yes, of course. if i'm not there yet, i'm still dreaming. >> sarah hoye, al jazeera, los angeles. >> and that's our show for tonight. tell us what you're thinking facebook.com/"america tonight".