tv Attorney General Loretta Lynch Delivers Remarks at National HBCU Conference CSPAN November 15, 2016 5:01am-5:27am EST
relationships between our military and other militaries. and our diplomats and other diplomats. and intelligence officers and development workers. and there is enormous continuity beneath the day-to-day news that makes us that indispensable nation when it comes to maintaining order and promoting prosperity around the world. that will continue. in my conversation with the president-elect, he expressed a great interest in maintaining our core strategic relationships, and so one of the messages i will be able to deliver is his commitment to nato and the transatlantic alliance. that's one of the most important functions i can serve at this stage during this trip is to let them know that there is no
weakening of resolve when it comes to america's commitment to maintaining a strong and robust nato relationship and a recognition that those alliances aren't just good for europe, they're good for the united states. and they're vital for the world. >> republican donald trump is elected as the next president of the united states! and the nation elects a republican controlled u.s. house and senate. follow the transition of government on c-span. we'll take you to key events as they happen without interruption. watch live on c-span. watch on demand at c-span.org or will be on our free c-span radio app. now attorney general loretta lynch talks about the role of community policing on college campuses. she spoke in october at a conference of national historically black colleges and universities. [ applause ]
good morning, good morning. welcome to day two of the national hbcu conference. how has the conference been so far? [ cheers and applause ] wonderful. this morning, i have the honor of introducing the attorney general of the united states, loretta lynch. we can think of no better person to frame our education justice discussion this morning. to members of congress, she said that the divide between law enforcement and the communities they serve is the issue of the day facing our nation. by recognizing our common humanity, our common laws and our common goals, we can, in fact, work on this difficult problem. we could not agree more. as the daughter of a retired minister, and a librarian, attorney general lynch says their commitment to justice and
public service shaped her interest in this work. a graduate of harvard law school, she joined the united states attorney's office for the eastern district of new york in the '90s. there, she forged an impressive career prosecuting cases involving violent crimes, public corruption and civil rights. she is an advocate for justice and a defender of civil rights, as you know. as attorney general of the united states, she has been a steady voice for justice in some very tough times in our country. from the charleston church shootings to the shootings of citizens at the hands of police, to the shootings of police at the hands of citizens, and the orlando nightclub shooting as well, she has been there, calling for calm and bringing us together. in times of unrest, our attorney
general noted, we must reject the easy impulses of bitterness and rancor and embrace the difficult work of finding a path forward together. today, as we continue the conversations many of you are having on your campuses and in your communities, we are honored to welcome to our hbcu national conference, our attorney general, loretta lynch. [ applause ] >> good morning, everyone. >> good morning. >> there we go. how are we doing? how is the conference? how are the hbcus? yeah! that's what i want to hear, what's what i want to hear. thank you so much for having me. thank you, doctor kim hunter-reed for that gracious
introduction. thank you also for your work, your leadership of the white house initiative on hcbus. something that should be at the white house because it is vital to the life blood of all of our communities. let me thank the department of education and secretary king for helping to host this conference. we have some tremendous panelists here. i think you are going to hear from some of them later on today. my colleague, nancy rodriguez, who directs the national institute of justice and calvin hudnet, d.o.j. special adviser for campus security. i want to thank all of you, all of the hbcu leaders, faculty, students, consultants, those of you who care about what is in my opinion, one of our national treasures. thank you for being here today and working on this issue. [ applause ] >> when i look at you, i see the
life blood, the life blood of our nation's hbcus. together, you are writing a new chapter in this proud legacy of service, of enrichment and empowerment, not only for african-americans but for all americans. this country is better and stronger because of you. now, as everybody here knows, hbcus have long been instrumental in this nation's rather halting progress toward equality for all. you have been the backbone of a rising economic and educational tie for african-americans since before the civil war. people don't think about that but this has been part of american history. you have trained our leaders like due voice and thurgood marshall, martin luther king jr. and ella baker. during the civil rights movement of the '50s and '60s, it was the hbcu students that led the way. from the effort of the student nonviolent coordinating committee, that group is close
to my heart. it was founded at my parents' alma mater, shaw university in raleigh, north carolina. yes, i am a shaw baby. my parents met and married there and made the friends of their lifetime and learned and got the grounding that would support not just them but our entire family for so many generations. we all remember the lunch counter sit-ins of the '60s, when four young men from north carolina a&t, walk into that segregated woolworths in greensboro, the city of my birth and asked to be treated like anybody else. this has been the story of hbcu courage and dedication and commitment over the years. it sounds like a simple ask, right? all you want to do is to be treated like everybody else but
as we all know it is as complicated as the history of this country. the greensboro four, we know, were met with scorn and derision but they persisted with courage and dignity. i know some of you have had the opportunity to visit our most wonder new museum, the smithsonian museum of african-american history and culture where one of the stools they sat on is on display. you have to see it. it is just one but it is in there in the educational section. i was able to visit it the other day. it holds a particular significance for me, not just because i was born in greensboro the year before the sit ins, and not just because my father, a young minister, allowed the student young activists to meet in the basement of his church, providence baptist church and not because of this audacious
for its time act of civil disobedience, changed literally the very neighborhoods and the schools that i grew up in. when i look at that stool, they are enshrined in one of the most wonderful places on the mall, what it says to me, what it illustrates for me, is what the hbcus have always given us, the ordinary individual's ability to change the world. to strike a blow for justice. in a democracy such as ours, a young college student can and should have as much power as a well known senator. you don't have to have a name or a title to make a difference. all you have to have is a commitment to an ideal. that's what hbcus have given us for so many years. these are the lessons of our hcbus. we saw those students risk their lives for the causes they believe in.
my father carried me so i could see what was happening and what was possible by young people not much older than me. certainly, i know he looked on them as almost too young to be involved in that fray. it is also the case that our students are our leaders. they are the ones who refuse to accept the indignity, who refuse the accept the disparate treatment, who don't see a point in waiting for things to slowly get better and insist on change. that's what's happening today. the same lessons of the hbcu of 50 years ago are the ones that we have to rely on today. [ applause ] >> that spirit is what we need today. the dedication and commitment
and the ability to hurl yourself into the fray armed with just nothing more than the knowledge that you're right. that's been the training of our hbcu's. that's what the young people have done and now we have young people that are confronting the challenge of our own time. the issue of today. what i feel is one of the most important issues facing the nation now and that's the relationship between law enforcement and the communities that we serve especially our communities of color. this is the issue of today. not only is it defining interactions between people and law enforcement, it's influencing how people feel about government rit large. the relationship of the overall government to our citizens. this issue -- this issue of the frayed relationship and distrust
that we see and the pain that we see, quite frankly, this issue is as old as our country, but as recent as the evening news. that's where we see it. you know we have seen it because the pain of the minority community is especially captured in what we're seeing today. i know it's hard to look at a lot of these things the viral videos of lost lives are painful to watch and painful to see. they underscore this issue like nothing really has and they have actually allowed us to move beyond the denials of the past or simply the inability to understand someone else's experience that we have also seen in the past. to have a discussion about what so many people in the minority people have been talking about for generations. we know the denial and people
that don't have the similar experience and say i don't think that it's that bad. you must have misunderstood. no, i don't believe anybody would do that. so, as painful as today's environment is, it's allowed us to to move past that stage and to bring the minority experience in the forefront like a time that we have not seen since 50 years ago in that civil rights movement when the television cameras showed the young people in the streets. showed the young people being met with the dogs and hoses and showed our young people, our hbcu students fighting for our rights and standing up for their rights and illustrated the star treatment in the government's -- stark reality in the government's treatment of its black citizens and white citizens. as painful as the images are,
they have allowed us to have important conversations with community members and with law enforcement. they have allowed us to talk about these issues and talk about how to change them and to start the difficult process of bringing about real change. these conversations reveal at the end of the day no matter who we are, no matter what we look like, we all want the same thing. we want to be understood as people. not as stereotypes. as individual human beings that had hopes and dreams that want to live lives of dignity and purpose and raise your children for the safety and security, we all want the same thing. we have been able to move to that discussion, but where do we take it? first we hold on to the common bond. we hold on to what we have discovered out of the pain because whether the loss of life has been civilian or law enforcement, there's a family
grieving. there are children without parents. there's spouses that have to pick up the pieces and move on. out of the common bond, we can move forward. one of my personal heros is the late great barbara jordan. also hbcu. one of the things that's struck me the most and one of my favorite quotes when she says are we to be one people bound together by common spirit sharing in a common endeavor or will we become a divided nation? well, i know the answer. we made that choice. we made that choice 200 years ago. we made it 150 years, we made it 50 years ago to come together to call on this nation to live up to its promise to all of its citizens so that we, in fact, can share in that common endeavor. this is the work of our time,
and all of us have a responsibility to help carry that effort forward. that's why when i became the attorney general, i made rebuilding the trust between communities and law enforcement one of the top priorities. one of the top things i was going to work on. we have worked on that in the department in a number of ways. i have done a 12 city tour and we have convened a series of regional justice forums and we have continued the justice department's efforts to give law enforcement agencies the tools and the training equipment they need to serve their communities fairly and effectively. these are important efforts and the department of justice is committed to them. ultimately as we have seen through our history, change comes from the community. change comes from our young people. change comes through all of you. and here is where hbcu is
uniquely poised to play, not just a pivotal, but a leadership role in this effort. we need you to do this now. you're the thought leader of today. you are the think tanks of the community. you have the best and brightest students, but you also see these issues and see the consequences of ignoring them. you know -- you know in particular that an educational institution for those of color is preparing them to move into a world that's going to change everyday and a world that's going to grow and thrive and lead. the young people are leading. they're out there marching in the streets and working on the issues. they're also focussing on the issues. a few weeks ago is with at howard university for a forum, outstanding forum put together by the university. and the purpose of the forum was
to bring police officers and young people together, to have the kind of honest discussions that we have to have. to come and to have the kind of understanding of each other's positions and goals and desires that we have to have, to learn so that we can have the mutual respect that we have to have. that we all have to have. and they discussed everything, from how young people perceived law enforcement to also the role that young people, particularly young people of color can play in diversifying and building the law enforcement agencies of the 21st century. because the people that protect the community have to come from the community. the people that protect and honor the community have to be of that community. they have to understand that community. in fact, it's our responsibility to protect our community.
and it was a tremendous gathering. there were tough conversations. there were honest conversations, but there were respectful conversation. it highlighted for me the hbcu's unique ability to convene the stakeholders in this discussion. you can pull them together, to forge the innovative coalitions. you have the connections to bring these groups together and also to drive a meaningful and productive discussion about the steps that we have to take together. we have to take them together to ensure that we not only do not lose the progress of the last eight years and the last 50 years, but build on it to a better and brighter future for all of us. and that forum, to me, represents exactly the kind of work that i know hbcus are doing throughout the nation. i know they are working on these issues and they are the leaders in this field because this is
what they've been doing throughout history. it's what all of you have done ever since cheney was founded, ever since lincoln was founded, ever since reconstruction and so many other great schools came into being. and ever since my parents walked into shaw and even beyond. and that's what we need you to do today. it's the challenge that i issue to you, is to pick up this mantle. pick up this conversation, to have these discussions. you provide a safe space for courageous conversations. you use your stature. you use your clout. you use your alumni network to champion so many issues and i need you to champion this one, too. i need you to be the voice of thought and leaders on this issue, because this is our issue. it is the issue of our time. and you are training the activists and leaders of tomorrow.
your students are going to be leading this fight. they already are. and i tell you, the conscience of this nation cannot rest until all americans feel not only respected but protected by our laws. [ applause ] so i've been a prosecutor for over 20 years and i will tell you that how we handle our system of laws tells people what we value in this society, whom we value in this society and what we think is important. and if we are not involved in shaping that discussion, shaping those laws and shaping those thoughts, others will tell that story for us. and that has never worked out. that has not been the way in which we have moved forward. we have moved forward by grabbing the opportunity.
we've moved forward by seizing the moment. we've moved forward by harnessing the power of the community of thought and learning of our hbcus and making the changes in this country that all americans have benefited from. and that's what the issue of community and police relations is about for me. are we going to be content as long as so many of our family members, our friends, our fellow americans feel that the law works not for them but against them? can we rest while anybody has that feeling? can we sit back while our young people struggle under that burden? can we not engage? we cannot afford to do so. and we face that question so many times before, on every issue of the day. on the important issues, in fact, that have move this had country forward. it has come to this community to decide how we will take a stand
and every time we have given the same answer. we'll be there. was the answer given by the two famu students who began that bus boycot in tallahassee in 1956. it's the same answer given by the four students at that lunch counter that i urge you to go and see. and it was the same answer given by that young fisk graduate, john lewis, when he led that march across the bridge named for hatred. he turned it into a bridge of peace. every time the answer is, we will be there. and hbcus, i need you to be there now. i need you to be there in this issue. i need you to be there for our young people. i need you to be there in this time because we will not be satisfied, we cannot be satisfied until the promise of this country, the promise of
liberty, the promise of equality is made real. not just real but felt for everyone in this country. i know in so many areas, in so many ways this is called preaching to the choir. re i know that this is your mission, this is your calling. i want to thank you all. students, faculty, administrators alike, for your contributions to this work. i want to thank you for realizing that the struggles of yesterday give us the strength to move on for the fight of today. i urge you to find a voice for justice in our society. not just in our campuses, but in the world beyond, the world that we have always prepared young people to attend. the world that hbcus have always been the backbone of
preparation, of courage and commitment and dedication. and let me pledge to you also, as the attorney general of these united states, that as you continue that sacred work, that this department of justice will always stand with you and stand by you and support you as you take up the leading causes of today. thank you so much for your work, for your time, for your dedication but, most of all, thank you for supporting the education and advancement of our national treasures, our young people. thank you so very much. [ applause ] thank you all. thank you.