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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  January 2, 2014 2:00am-4:01am EST

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in this letter, the queen writes, it was the greatest pleasure for us to be able to join in. we send good wishes to you and mrs. ford. your friend, elizabeth. >> born and raised in a small southern town, first lady roslyn carter also raised her family there and helped run the family business. >> not much has changed here except the president and mrs. carter grew up here. if we went back here, and put a dirt road, it would be very similar. the story begins here at this house. she lived here with her mom and dad, two brothers, and a sister. one of her favorite memories was when her dad would come home from work, go into the kitchen, and meet her mother, give her a big hug, swing her around. ..
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on the night of his passing, she actually took young roslyn smith out to the jimmy carter farm to be with jimmy carter's sister, ruth. this is the jimmy carter boyhood home. it is important to miss roslyn's story, because she would have spent a lot of time out here with president carter sister, ruth. this is a room for jimmy carter's sister, ruth. when rosly carter came out to visit his sur, she would hang out together, do homework, and
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enjoy each other's company. certainly when visiting she would have seen a young jimmy carter and had many interactions with him. this is where they would have attended first through 11th grade. her first memory of going to school here is she made straight a's that first quarter. she went home and showed her dad, edgar smith, and her mom, alice, the straight a's. they were so proud of her, her dad gave her a dollar for her accomplishments. later on in seventh grade, a local businessman had a contest for the student who had the best grade point average throughout the year. whoever had that, he would give them $5. after that year, rosalyn smith
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had won that $5. one of the activities she was engaged in was basketball. she was so excited when she made the basketball team. we have a picture of her in her uniform, in her plains high school letter jacket. i think it was a very good accomplishment for miss rosalyn at the time. this is the plains united methodist church. it is here on these steps where president carter asked miss rosalyn out on a date for the first time. it is also where they got married. it is a special place for mr. and mrs. carter and a special place for plains. this is the train depot. in 1986 this was the logical choice for a local campaign head quarter for mr. carter. if you can imagine, 1976, the hustle and bustle of all the activities here in the campaign. you would have had tables,
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desks, phones going off, and letters coming in and out of the area. miss rosalyn was here helping run the campaign. the whole carter family would have had a part to play. he -- his father, amy, had a lemonade stand here at one point. they used chairs very similar to these to greet visitors to the depot. this is where rosalyn carter helped organize the peanut brigade. it was the offshoot of the high neighbor campaign he used during his run for governor. it was basically a way to get the word out about jimmy carter using volunteers going door-to-door and giving out literature and spreading the word. it is a method so effective
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because -- that it helped get him elected. >> i was so upset them because they -- one of the things i wanted to do is bring attention to the issue and how terrible it was, and what huge services they were. if they could get it out to the public. developed a good program in georgia, by the way. but they just didn't come. so when they were walking in the down floor in the white house, a woman, one of the press people, and i said, nobody ever covers my meetings. she said, ms. carter, mental health issues is not a sexy issue. that i didn't like, but i didn't
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get very much coverage for it. but we toured the country, found out what was needed, founded legislation, and passed the mental health systems act of 1980. it passed through congress one month before, as he says, he was involuntary retired from the white house, and the incoming president never took it on. one of the greatest disappointments of my life. >> thursday, our encore presentation of first ladies continues with the life of betty ford. she had a mastectomy and brought public awareness to breast cancer. she voiced her opponent to abortion rights and spoke openly about premarital sex. she shared her experiences of
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alcohol and prescription drug addiction which led to the betty ford center. join us thursday at 9:00 eastern on c-span. >> our series continues with the five most recent first ladies monday night starting january 13, live at 9:00 eastern on c-span. along with the white house historical association, we're offering an historical edition of the book "first ladies." now available for the discounted price of $12.95. then visit our website with the special section, "welcome to the white house" which chronicles life in the executive mansion at c-span.org/first ladies.
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>> we are in the depalri. we are looking ativannishing ice 1775 to 2012. the purpose of the exhibition is to highlight the rich cultural heritage of the planet's frozen frontiers -- the alpine regions, the arctic, and antartica. this is a photograph of the greenland ice sheet by a greenland artist dated 2008. it is exhibited side-by-side with a photograph by camille semen, also of east greenland. s it is from her last iceberg serious of 2006. many people understand the importance of ice for the planet, its reflective qualities that help regulate the planet.
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but many are unaware there is a collective consciousness in western culture about these regions. so it is important within the context of climate change to let people know these regions are fundamental to our identity. >> there is more from the watcom museum as book tv and history tv look at the history of bellingham washington. c-span, we bring public affairs events from washington directly to you putting you in the room at congressional hearings, white house events, briefings, and conferences, and offering complete gavel-to-gavel coverage all as service through cable television.
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now you can watch us in h.d. >> coming up, the national black caucus of state legislators examine civil rights issues. then a review of the top political stories to watch in 2014. later, a discussion on the history of u.s. presidential powers. >> up next, a discussion on civil rights issues, including voter i.d. laws, gun violence prevention, mass incarceration, and charter schools. this is part of the national black caucus of state legislators annual conference. it is moderated by roland martin. are we doing?right, how i wanted to thank all of you for being here. we are expecting to have some engaging conversation. state officials are here, we might as well get dressed, put a tie on.
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doug looked at this and said -- this must be a working session, so he said no tie. i was going to take mine off in a minute to make everyone feel more comfortable, since he is so underdressed. doug forgot that this is a conference of black people and we dress up. >> i should have known better. >> for breakfast, for lunch, for dinner, for the after party. the after after party. and then just going to bed. see so many of you taping this. we know that folks are watching on c-span as well. first we will introduce our panel. it was a smart move for them to leave. texas, the reason people left years ago was it was
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texas. you know that is right. they came to the alamo and i said come back. we are always kidding and having fun. keep telling him to wake up, that he is delusional. i was joking with our panel, first off. "slavery by another name, the reinstatement of black america." also been the director of public programs at the miller center and has held a weekly public affairs television forum program and is a correspondent at the washington post. doug? [applause] ofcia bass is the mother jordan russell davis, her son was shot and killed in jacksonville, florida, november
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2012, the age of 17, murdered by , who had been agitated about how loud her son and his friends had been playing music in their car. he went on to claim stand your ground. i believe nine shots were fired into the vehicle when the police arrested him, he claims he saw a gun, the tip of a shotgun. the police did not discover any gun at all. of course, she has gone on to the commonsense legislation network and moms for common sense in america. [applause] all right, next up i want to introduce you to the executive of the trayvon martin
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foundation. , part of to kim mccrea the nonprofit organization dedicated to reducing gun violence and helping victims thelies, also serving as sounding board and consultant to martin's parents, as well as sabrina and tracy in the loss of their tragic -- tragic loss of their son, kim mccrea. [applause] last, certainly not least, tamika mallory. she recently stepped down as the national executive director for the national at chin network, reverend sharpton's organization. recently, this past january, she had been involved in a variety of social justice issues and has
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been recognized by multiple a leading voice when it comes to the critical issues facing our country. give it up for tamika. [applause] as we look at the various issues , in terms of what is facing our country, the purpose of this is to deal with a civil rights platform moving forward. before we go down that path, you have folks determining today what civil rights are. thinking about how everyone is , we need toat term understand what comes along with that. each one of you, from your perspective, what do you consider to be a civil rights platform, or defined as civil rights in 2014, from your perspective? anyone know?
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>> i would like to address what is happening with gun laws in this country. it has become an output epidemic. case, with my , we and trayvon as well have sandy hook and aurora, the have seenyard, and we disproportionately what has been happening in the black community based upon the gun law. we have been watching very diligently what has been happening with the loopholes in the law. taken the federal self- defense law and watered it down. under the stand your ground law you are finding people that are able to use their guns in any way that they choose to. for example, the stand your ground law basically allows a
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person to use their gun, use their weapon based upon a perceived threat. they do not even have to prove that there was a credible threat. another loophole is that , the individual actually creating the threat, creating the conflict, those in the visuals are able to use the stand your ground law. >> you think that we should view gun control legislation is a civil rights issue? rights.uman >> ok. >> douglas? >> i agree with that. the few -- the focus on human rights is pretty essential. in terms of what we are really talking about in many respects is not what the civil rights laws say or the execution of civil rights laws or what the constitution says, we are talking about whether all americans, especially young people, know that they can live in a secure society and one that is not pushing unfair obstacles
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to achievements. i throw it out as a bit of a challenge, people who say that they are motivated on civil rights, they have gotten distracted in many respects. particularly legislators, they have gotten distracted on civil rights, which is about not letting the things that used to happen happen. we have all of these laws in place to stop what used to happen, and what used to happen for the most part has stopped. grotesque examples of civil rights violations around voting and other things have largely gone away, we have these laws in place to prevent the things that used to happen, and now we are in this kind of technical argument all the time about whether the laws are being fulfilled or not. do we still need the voting rights act? the civil rights act? court justices wind
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up making rulings on these technical distinctions and we all get frustrated, which is partly because we seem to have lost the narrative of what it is all about. it is about what the society is that we are creating. the young people, the mothers, showing them that this is not going to happen anymore. civil rights is a part of that. i think that some leaders, like many of you, probably need some new scripts, new narratives to talk about these things in a different way. >> how would you define civil rights in 2013? >> it is so ironic that we are here, one year to the date of what happened. since then we have had 109 laws passed, 39 to tighten the
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.estrictions people probably say -- hey, we are solving the problem, but guess what? 39 laws are probably more than we have ever seen. you that from ms. mcbeth's point of view, from sabrina tracy's point of view, if there is one law that would help to prevent what they have gone through, then it is a significant change. 17 years old, trayvon martin, walking. he has the right to walk. he has the right to chew gum. he had the right to do some of the simplest things. person'sels like if a civil rights have been violated only for walking home, you think about something crazy happening
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in new york when the young kids purchase gum. because it is so expensive, what happens to them? the conversation about civil rights is still abstract. as legislators may be the conversation becomes -- what happens when a person feels these issues? done?hould they have is there something or someone in place that they could call? ore kind of legislation policy in your state to address that? a legal recourse? moving forward we want to be able to make sure that we are educated in making sure that there are policies in place to make a difference.
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>> i have seen different groups come to black civil rights organizations and say -- stand with us on civil rights, get when we turn around and see issues very specific to african- americans, those same folks are not standing with us. to get ae be able broad group across the country to understand that you cannot simply look at civil rights based upon your perspective, but if you want folks to stand with stand withst also us. >> that is absolutely a challenge. you know that there are issues and segments, going back to answer the first question, i think about the civil rights movement of today, that is looking at any policy, profiling , or oppression. if you are determined that those things are wrong, everyone
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should be involved in addressing those issues. so often you see race becoming a major issue when people separate around things that they know are wrong. we hear people talking about what happened to trayvon martin. although many people knew what happened to him, they were not willing to stand with sabrina and tracy, they just did not feel they were a part of the conversation. if those people had decided that they would stand with us in our fight -- [applause] it is certainly a challenge. i think one of the things we have done, our legislation, community leaders, it is their turn to deal with the issue. we want to have relationships with whatever it is, with these folks that we see as being grass is greener on the other side, but we do not challenge them on our issues.
quote
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it is as if we do not remember that they used us in their time of need. i think the challenge for us as we said at this time and we talk about our issues is knowing our values. until we get to the point where we get to the place where we say that our children dying are just as important as what happened in newtown. certainly, the newtown shooting hurt me to my core. and i think about that today, it is so scary to think that your child could go to school and just be killed. at the same time, i am on the streets of new york all the time. annette robinson is here as an assemblywoman, we have seen newtown happening every day. in brooklyn, in cities across the country. wherever the people are in chicago, in louisiana, and it is not national news. again, we all ran to newtown.
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>> is on tv one. that is true. that is absolutely true. news. is not mainstream and it is unfortunate. again, we write stories and show up at these events, protests and do these things, but when it is our turn, these people do not stand with us. >> obviously i believe in the civil rights issues, looking at mass incarceration, that is a huge issue. we are going to go through this by topics, like how you create a platform moving forward. year at aning last naacp event. i had a civil rights leader tell gottenoland, we have more support from her public and reform then weis
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have from democratic governors. the reason i am starting this, there are a couple appear -- a couple of people appear elected who are democrats. how many of the folks up here who are elected are republicans? none. why am i asking that question? [laughter] i am asking that question because -- if we are talking about secrets with mass incarceration as an issue that we care about, what happens politically is if there is a republican governor who says that i agree with you, there is a hesitation on behalf of black issue managers not to help them
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because it might help them with reelection. the question i ask for you, to what is morers, important? your party or reform? >> of principle. >> we are going to say principal. that is exactly right. when attorney general eric holder made the announcement early in the fall about changing requirements in the way that the ,epartment of justice sentences that is more of your problem the vastderal problem, majority of victims come to state prisons, but it is true that what they have been able to do, as little as it is, being honest about that, and they have said wonderful things about their proposition for conducting, but they have done extraordinarily little.
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i have a conversation with the attorney general a few months ago saying that i know you want to make changes, but you are the mass incarcerate or and chief. they recognize the difficulty of the question and that the victims of crime who are disproportionately african- american want to see tough enforcement. it is a tough thing. there is no doubt that they have had more support in congress and from republican governors, from conservatives who have been more supportive of the structural changes because of the political views. to that point, we are discussing this issue on tv one and i had a brother who told a police officer -- yes, but -- i stopped. was -- theirfrom
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motive is fiscal. that we cannot afford to keep locking people up, keep building jails, he said that his was moral. did not care what the moral was, but that the solution was in place. here. we are being honest if you are a black legislator in north carolina, you're governors republican. if you are in florida, your governors republican. georgia,, alabama, your governors republican. so, if mass incarceration is going to be a civil rights issue , we will have to work with republican governors. -- i do notight say
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want to be seen as soft on crime. do you say to leslie that this is what is going to happen moving forward, not getting stuck in the party, from some of your fellow white democrats might not help with the reelection? to knowing our value, right? the community members are not doing enough to push that. as the elected officials, you should not just be able to do what you want to do because we push you and office -- put you in office. we have to be able to speak out and speak to the elected officials. we do not do that. we vote people into office, elect them to our seats, and then we do not even talk to them again. we do not put the proper pressure on these people.
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i have to tell you that a lot of times when i talk to members of the community, they do not even know what the issues are, where the governor may or may not be on these issues. in some cases they do not even know who the governor or the elected official is. before we can even get to the answer about how to deal with it , first you have to make the officials feel accountable to thecommunity, meaning community must feel accountable to itself. i know that is not the answer you're looking for, but it is the reality. there is no pressure from the bottom up. once youly that, but have given the pressure -- i have spoken to local, federal, ande legislators, particularly on the issue that i am so passionate about, it is broad for every issue. where are the people that support what you are saying?
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where are they? where are the people that believe what you tell me you believe? we do not hear from them. really incumbent upon our elected officials to speak out. you have been placed in power. you have the power, the authority. we have given you that to stand up on our behalf. you have got to give your constituents the tools to speak out. for example, people across the country ask me -- there are not very many minority women discussed, why is that? i cannot tell you why. i do not know why. i am always trying to recruit people. what happened across the country is happening disproportionately to our people. so, i always say that i cannot answer that.
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i will tell you that this group, this organization has gone beyond and given people the tools to stand up and say what is important to them. as legislators who devise what it is you need to do, you need to give people the tools. give them an easy, quick way to go ahead and call the legislator. you can provide the information for them. you have got to give people the tools to use their voice. therefore, you are the voice. for us. >> i would think that most to know who sense the president is, but they did not take the time to know their representatives of the local or state level, or at the federal and connecting on the
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constituent, who checked opportunity? saying what you support or what you oppose. be conversation needs to given. it needs to be a greater discussion. think about stand your ground. that law passed in 2005. in 2012 everyone was like -- stand your ground? is that? no one knew about it. it was a breakdown of communication somewhere. as we continue to have these kinds of discussions, often the constituency get stiff see the
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end of the around up, things and they say that they have not heard from representatives so and so on ask, why, z. if he or she's here at the and not one of your constituents can appeal to you about a better way to make sure. >> with voter suppression laws, it was the same thing. started running around, elected officials were calling , but they waited until to engage thee
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constituents. they have to find ways to engage and work closely with their communities. a lot of them are doing a lot of great things, but they are doing it alone for no reason. there is no lack of capacity or energy. we have a lack of organizing people and sticking with a particular plan. the stand your ground issue is going to take a lot of work to gear people up again for the midterm elections in 2014 to get them to understand the implications of what can happen. right? up whene have to gear we had people engaged and paying attention to the issue? the follow-through is not the capacity or the energy.
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>> i will agree with all of that, but quick question, any of you from massachusetts? i gave a speech in boston a few months ago and i was astonished justarn that massachusetts passed its three strikes law this past year. with an african-american governor who said he would not sign it, and then he signed it. i was astonished. how could it be that in this age with this discussion you still have places where there is supposed to be real influences from people that care about this , and yet nonetheless? the bigger point here is that there has to be a kind of mobilization. where are the pro-affordable care act rallies? i miss those. similar to these issues, it is strange to me how often these conversations happen and there
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are so many people who feel the way that most of you do, but we do not hear from them. the conversations are inside the statehouse. working across ideological boundaries, that is a part of the future and part of .hat i saw a minute ago you have conservatives and republicans concerned about these issues, that maybe the reason they come to the table, but that conversation should not just be about correcting the cocaine typeseen and shortening sentences, but also let's talk about why it is that the justice system continues to mistakenly convict huge numbers of people -- and the numbers are huge, who did not convict the crime -- commit the crime? we know that, now, from all sorts of studies that have been done.
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there are really large numbers of people. i could run through the math, but there are large sums of people in prison today for things they did not do. that is just a statistical, provable fact. it is not just that they are unlucky. we fall into that trap. this is unfortunate, let's find a way to help them out, when in reality no one ever tries to help them out, they just sit there forever. but it is not that they are unlucky, it is that we have a system of justice -- i am a bit of a historian on this, my book is a history of how we wound up with the criminal justice system that feeds our addiction for putting black men into the custody of the state. system this historical that is designed to fail black people in particular, fail anyone who is not part of the
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main establishment mainstream. worldd up with this crazy where you have people in prison who did not commit the crime, arrested by a black police officer, black district attorney, sentenced by a black judge. all the mistaken actors were white people? in this world maybe it is not so obvious or clear. police chief justice, black managers, black mayors, targeting individuals who were stopped by the police 200 and 48 times. >> and arrested for criminal trespass were going to his job at a convenience store and then being arrested for entering the property where he had a job. these things are going on, but if it turns out there is a hunter somewhere ready to talk
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penitentiary system reform for fiscal reasons, yes, people should work with them and bring them into the conversation. make, point i wanted to going back to senator ted kennedy, no child left behind, he worked on that with president bush. in 2004, hebush understood the issue and wanted to know how to get it done. i have had these conversations with people over the years. they were not so sure -- how was it going to look? others, ie you on 10 am on the other side of the rope on those 10 issues, but the issues are the most important. we have seen these laws being passed across the country. we have seen the supreme court
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rule. laws, i throwarea this out to you, i believe it is a mistake on the part of black and hispanic legislators. to your point, we are framed in the voter support -- voter suppression issue, framed within the framework of african americans and minorities, many of the laws negatively impacting college students, others as well, when you see polling locations being moved. they are very popular, they get moved to a place without many people. the advice you have for legislators here, in terms of dealing with coalitions beyond background. anybody?
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>> absolutely, coalitions are very important. i do not think we could get anything done with one particular person, party, or population. coalitions are very important. a lot of times we, our people, do not want to be a part of it because we want the credit for being the one who came up with the solution. >> looks like some of them agree. >> when i was talking earlier about power in the room -- people here that i mentioned, that is a power in this room. we have annette robinson here, the assemblywoman from brooklyn. i see melanie campbell, the president of the coalition of black representation. lester.o, norma jean deidre malone, a mayoral candidate.
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i could go down this list of people. is already power here. the question is -- before we leave will people get together and say -- who was on the other side we need to call? when we have conference, is it for us to make conference or have social media? of thewrite the list folks that we need to call. i know that melanie does it all the time. on the affordable care act she just had a rally where people got out information about people signing up. but who joined? who said they would help to support and lift your voice and encourage. with the concept to leave. that is where we got this from. saying that they have
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their stuff together, we want to join them and work with them. [applause] so much infighting amongst us, it has been very difficult for other people to join and unite with us, they do not take us seriously. we need to build a coalition, a broad coalition of people that do not necessarily like us but agree on the issue. looking at the voter laws that were passed in texas, using student ids at state universities, but you can use your gun permit? law thatudy the voter was passed in north carolina, the exact same thing. that was passed by college students, and not just lacked once. i have studied this issue. we have been talking about it on radio and television. what i have got to do is brought in, broaden -- brought in --
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brought in the -- brought in the broaden the issue. it is not just about black senior citizens, it is about white folks as well. as part of the platform going forward, we are talking about specific laws, but we have to brought in who the laws are impacting. i was reporter at "the wall street journal" until about a year and a half ago. as we know, a lot of the people in the tea party movement are create -- crying out crazy as you think they are. bulldozing sandwiches and all those other things the representative described.
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among the crazies, there are people who are just zealot and then nobody who is 21 or 18 who has the right to vote should be prevented. that is an example where there are actually people in american who, in fact, our potential allies. in georgia, where i live sometimes -- i know there are that was that he did in georgia by a coalition of groups, local theme party
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and things should have been passed. and it had to do with support for charter schools, traditionally a nonaggressive issue, but it was overwhelmingly supported by african-americans. it went through because african- withcans are so fed up school systems that have failed them for the last 150 years. there are national alliances and unconventional positions and i think that for legislators this will be driven by them to figure out what the new alliances will be. >> what is so interesting here is we know what the companies will do. we know that.
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what are you going to do differently? i agree with what you're saying, thishat is the real take? year? or year after year? what is the difference between what happened this year, the year before, or some other issue? in terms of someone making a difference, i think that that starts now. talking about the coalition, at the important, but same time that is reaching into the pockets of people who do not expect or require a miracle. they expect the network to be a part of something that is lacking. maybe they do not expect the american jewish federation to come in.
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when people realize that there is a change in what they are they start to engage in what you're doing. it mostly continues with the normalcy of what we always do. maybe this is a time when it is , butnger business as usual it will be a true legacy for you and your family. >> we talked about the issue of gun control legislation. i would frame it this way and i would like for you to start in talking about looking forward when it comes to legislation. year on my whole radio show and television show with a phrase that was forbidden.
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it was created as a negative rather than positive. they embraced the phase on the hill, reinforcing the negative. that does not make sense to me. but i would say that that is the exact same thing when it comes to gun control. people who require -- who desire more gun laws should stop using the phrase gun control. when you use the phrase gun control, you are raising a red flag for the folks who are armed amendment, itnd immediately says -- my god, the government is trying to control me. if you're talking about advancing legislation when it comes to the issue of guns, should the discussion not be framed around gunfire? which means something totally
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different. >> and gun safety. gun safety. with our organization we found far less conflicting arguments for those who are for stricter gun control. we are talking about gun violence, gun safety. you have a suburban white mom that believes in the second amendment and who still believes in gun safety. absolutely. we found 90% of the people across the country want commonsense background legislation. and when you talk about control, there again those individuals in
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the nra, you are taking away their second amendment right. and so you have to change the rhetoric so that there is some compromise. even within myself and my organization, we would love the stand your ground laws to be repealed off the books and therefore it was working with a verbiage. understandg i do not -- what are the legislators and who share an hate the
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law. historically, those individuals are likely supportive of republican officeholders. what i do not understand is why supporters of gun laws have not been more aggressive in utilizing law enforcement to say lawait a minute, enforcement hates this law is. if they hate it, you are not opposing us, you are opposing them. we have been on this issue for long time. are the sheriffs? where are the district attorney's? >> they believe they have a lot to lose. they are not going to speak out. people say to me all the time across this country -- i really am for gun safety.
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the governors, the legislators, they do not want to lose their standing. >> but your legislators know how this process works. there will be other things included in the legislation. why did you vote for that? without realizing it is coming up is removed. in the stand your ground case, in which we are all very aware , there was the
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pressure. guess what? people start making phone calls and putting the pressure on, it will be different. that will help to encourage you everyday we are losing eight kids each day to gun violence. this still ties into legislation of gun laws. i have been to numerous protests. i have seen pro-life supporters holding up fetuses and others who had been impacted by
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and getting an issue when it comes to getting the organization past, i would have 100 mothers with lifestyle pressures on their sons and daughters that have been killed, portugal it -- forcing the legislators. >> years ago it was emmett till. let america see. they have these binders. not the mitt romney binders. -- she asks for a photo of a young person who the graduation,
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photo, the class photo, whatever. and i think whatever we try to have a nice discussion about gun as effectiveis not as opposed to forcing someone to actually have to see the niche that is a result. that and roland, i think it is important to talk about -- we say gun violence, we talk about the area we are
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dealing with, right? black ontalk about black crime, black gun violence, there is just not enough. the media is not present, not a light onlp shine what is happening. i don't with the death of a four-year-old baby in new york last year. he was on the playground at an who wasr another girl 15, she was stabbed to death in that same part. caskets, order special the smallest one, they did not have his size. there for the first day, but after that they were not present. his mother has been very involved in the activities. she has gone out to protests. unfortunately, it does not get covered.
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what happens is our legislators disappear. they show up and then they are gone. they are not consistently dealing with the issue. because those are the people who bring the cameras. asking a dumbfor question, we are talking about establishing an agenda, how many the illinois black caucus? who is from illinois? how many people? >> 30. >> 30. and going until 7 a.m.. the black caucus will be on various corners.
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each one of those 30 members one of asked to bring their colleagues from another party, or another fellow democrat, or whatever. you have 60 legislators literally standing in the community where there has been violence, talking to young people about the various issues, where you see the report come on sunday. that is a different tactic. you have a republican legislator who believes in the second amendment and says -- i hear you, but they do not ownuse they have their experience and you have to bring them to the carnage to understand it.
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and in new york we went out to the corners, the hotspots, with ministers, black officials, community members, every friday, saturday, sunday night, until 2:00, 3:00 in the morning. i will tell you, again. people showed up. people were not -- cameras were not there, people that -- things started to fizzle away. when you say this, it sounds >> answer, important to remember, it is true that every member of the media -- i can tell you, we are desperate and falling apart. ago, and when people complain about when the media did this or that, i will guarantee you 99% of the
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time it is not about a conspiracy, it is about incompetence polls -- incompetence. the media is not the solution it once was, and for sure the big that in tv cameras and changes of course the legislation -- that is not the model anymore. the model is you can make your own media and you are talking about that. you have to do that all over the place. what yourself out there -- >> social media -- >> and it is about theater. journalist, but i will tell you it is the theater of policymaking and the theater of legislating action that does attract attention whether it is in the traditional or nontraditional media. continue toat there be hearings in congress that move from one committee to another committee about what happened in benghazi? is there any possibility that that is going to end up in some legislation or some meaningful thing? no. it is just a show.
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you give doing it over and over again, you hijacked other committee meetings to talk about this topic because the people organizing understand there is an audience i will react to that and overtime there is a lot of news coverage of it and there is a tremendous amount of activity around it on the internet. so i would ask -- when was the last time any of us saw a story -- and maybe we have seen them -- but when was the last time there was a story about the origins of a gun that ways used to kill a police officer? have we seen a story? -- that story? shouldn't it be that if you are a policymaker or legislature that is concerned about this, shouldn't it be that not just the terrible, tragedy stories we are more familiar with in terms of the sad news, in terms of the young people get killed in these terrible circumstances, but when a police officer dies, that is something that even the second amendment folks know, will all be in agreement about how well,ble that is,
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-- what doslatures we do to legislate to make sure this is not happen again? that is the other thing i would point out is that immediately -- a year ago, immediately after that terrible tragedy, there was that on my campaign that mayor bloomberg financed that had the actors, and some of it actually turned me off, who are these actors, why are they the ones telling me what i should think , but people reacted to it in a lot of different ways. it actually had momentum and it did make a difference. and then it went away. i think a lot of people -- i do not think the movement toward more gun safety legislation or gun violence legislation, i do not think it was defeated by the other side, i think it was as resisted long enough for the movement to back off. >> in fact, that was one of the issues, as it was unfolding,
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after newtown. the opposition -- and they were simply waiting for it to fizzle out. they were waiting for the attention to shift. and that is one of those things in terms of how you had to actually keep it going. go back to the other issue, i will go to the floor with questions and comments in about 10 minutes. let me ask this question first, because i think it ties into all the things we are talking about, one of the things we keep hearing is narrative and storytelling and communication. or straight -- stored state legislators ?r elected officials how many of you have twitter accounts? how many of you use your twitter accounts? [laughter] twice today?
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that is it? how many of you are on facebook and are asked -- active facebook users? how many of you are on instagram? now, here is why i ask him put that out there. have an all, i do increasing number of younger users who are on instagram compared to twitter and facebook. i put that out there because you actually have to be on all of them because that is where people are. i know some of you are sitting here saying man, look, that is just way too much, but the reality is, and you might be saying that, but do realize and understand how social media works. between facebook and twitter, i have got about 400,000 followers. so when somebody says something out that can be retweeted that all 400,000, so
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while you are leading people out there who can be getting information, and to understand to douglas' point -- people are not watching the evening news the way they used to, i literally read and get more stories every day through my social media accounts then going through any one particular news source. you ares a legislator, trying to speak to issues, you are trying to create public policies, you have to be using social media to your advantage will stop when douglas talked about the issue of creating your own media, the same thing happened, when you look at live streaming, when you look at all the efforts to stream your own content, if you are doing something, a particular rally or whatever, and you are streaming your content, you are not waiting for the local affiliates to show up. gol all your constituents to here to watch our live rally.
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that is how occupy wall street -- and folks are going to their live video stream. we have to embrace all of those ways of communication, communication to drive this public policy issue. i want to go to one final issue before we go to the floor with questions. you made this point i want to come back to it. you mentioned education, and you mentioned tartar schools, and the issue of education, i believe, also is a civil rights agenda. about what happens with education, if you look at the numbers of those who are , they are largely black and hispanic. in terms of the numbers, you look at the schools, you look at where they are located. those parents are saying i am sick and tired of being sick and tired of these failing schools. yet when you have folks who come in and begin to say ok, you were
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on steve perryast night, one of the folks out there when it comes to education reform, when he is talking about charter skills -- charter schools, which are public schools, when you begin to talk about vouchers and online, i will give you an example that to me is problematic. in illinois, i will not name this legislator, but there was a group of folks that had an online charter school. this legislator opposed it. came on my radio show, and i said question -- have you talked to any of the parents of the kids who go to the online charter school? no. have you talked to any of the kids at these schools? no. why are you opposing it? i believe a kid should go to a brick-and-mortar school. i said you do know that this generation of children come out the will of knowing how to use an ipad.
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education andk at retaining information is far different than this generation. before you stand out here and go to the state capital, trying to get this thing thrown out, why don't you go take the time to talk to the very people who go to those schools and say hey, is this working? she finally did, so they realized it was a dumb idea to shut it down. this is a perfect example to me when we talk about education that would happens is we are wedded to a traditional educational system, and if our kids are the ones largely failing, why are our black legislators -- i want to be clear here because many are in this room -- many of our black legislators are in the way of changingfront
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our system. that may offend people in this room, but do not act like i do not know the real deal. if you are talking about education as a civil rights, and the issue is not always just budgets and money, how do we get black legislators to look at it as maybe it is not a question of just public schools but realizing that if there is a different way to make sure our kids get educated, we support that different way, and it might mean public, private, charter, homeschool, online school, i do not care what kind of school if you are able to show results and we back that. l knew we were going to go there. >> i think the thing you're talking about with the parents is very important. in new york city used to that happening with the may oral a legend. election. they voted for him but they said they will fight him on charter
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because they want to make sure charter schools are alive and well in new york. but you cannot win the battle of going against parents because the parents want options, and i support that. i think once we put that down and say we're going to stop fighting and now we will look at how to strengthen public education because i believe the public schools should be strengthened, but we are going to look at how we strengthen them across the board, then we will be able to get to that place and it is a difficult space. issues one of the many we deal with is this old-school mentality of holding on to what wasn't saying we are not going to change. onto what was and saying we are not going to change. your point about parents is very important -- parents want to have options. if you live in a neighborhood where you know the school in that community is no good, you are going to want to send your of there just for the sense being part of a movement to save public education. we want to abort the public
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school, but much child so has to be educated somewhere. clear, my brother is a teacher, my sister's three teacher, my wife, my mama is a teacher, my wife, educator, and so what i tell people is i am against sorry teachers, sorry principles, sorry administrators , sorry school boards, sorry mayors who have control of the schools -- and so if you sorry, i do not like you. let me be clear -- i do not like sorry journalists, i do not like sorry media executives, i just do not like sorry. the reason i am putting it out there is because when you were education, many african-americans get emotional about this because education for a lot of us, our parents, that was the gateway to the middle class. so we think that if we're going against a certain thing, oh, i'm going against my mom and dad. no, i am talking about that kid
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you are talking about. it is also problematic for me, and steve brought this up last night, and i had some heated conversations with people. it is problematic for me for folks who saying i do not like a particular way of education when they actually are not sending their kids to public schools. a legislative standpoint and a parental standpoint, it is for difficult to say i want this education for your kids but i have a choice. i know we get scared by that, and i know -- look, i understand the reality of who is funding many people campaign, who is giving donations, but i go back the numbersipal -- do not lie. the kids failing look like the people in this room. ,o do we either force a change or do we try to say no, let's just hope this current system gets better with a new five-year plan? when each of you speak to this
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issue of education reform and how do we drive it when it is about our students and those parents because those are the folks, according to their studies, more than two thirds of the available jobs for the next- generation, the kids today will not be able to fulfill those jobs because they will not have the educational requirements. >> one thing i will say right off the bat, first i should disclose that i am a pretty -- my personal politics are pretty conventional, liberal, democrat voter can a guy, i grew up three hours south of here in the first chat -- class of children in mississippi to begin the first day of first grade bike and white together -- first grade, black and white together. 1969, 1970. i grew up in a town where my whole childhood, i was making a book about it, i am making a movie about it, was all about the struggle over the schools and civil rights and black kids and why kids and whether we would be together or not. and now more recently i and my
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wife and a few other people from downtown atlanta started a charter school. we started the second one in atlanta. now -- we started on a 16 years ago and it is now a 700-student school and to campuses and it is the most racially and economically diverse public school in the city of atlanta that has great performance. that is not to say that all charter schools are great. i am not a 100% their perfect, but that is a case study in which some real good has been done, and some a black kids and why kids another kind of kids go together to school. that happens in almost no other place in a place like atlanta. even the public schools, the two or three other public schools that have any why kids at all generally speaking have only why kids because of where they are located in the city. so were some of this relates back to some of the other issues in terms of gun violence and others is that one of the other ways to try to stop things from
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-- some of these terrible things from happening is to have a place, a society in which the george zimmermans of the world ared andas sc ready to do some impulsive thing to somebody else because of the way they look like. certain sensesre were more american children go to school together and recognize they share values and share society, i think it will have impact on other things we talk about. more legislative part of this story, and because i have been so involved in this, i can go on for a long time, but the main thing i will say is that i do not understand, i really go right to agree with you, roland thomas i really do not understand on this more than any other thing in terms of ors inlegislatur particular, the traditional public school formula of these local school boards and every county having three or four
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different ones and they're all made up of these yahoos who do not know anything about education or because they got mad about something that happened to their daughter anything great, so they run for their school board, they do not , theyack about education are not particularly good leaders -- there are some exceptions to this, obviously, but any and, it is a bunch of amateurs, and they have budgets that are usually the same size as the county government or the city government that they are part of, so just as much money being spent, coming out of the pockets of your constituents. you have the history of terrible leadership for the first 100 years -- because those that are starting after the civil war -- those things started after the civil war. what did black people get? nothing but obstacles and abuse. and the last 40 years, what have they gotten? failure after failure. failures are not limited to
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african american boards or whiteboards. what i can speak to is the structure. i have become a radical on this. i think there is no argument in defense of the traditional public school structure in america, and legislators, whatever they look like, ought to be able to say ok, let's look at something completely new and different. know ine be clear -- i terms of how folks view this issue, and i think -- i say this because i believe out of all civil rights issues out there, i respect every issue we talked about, there is no more fundamental issue as relates to our people as a civil right as education. there is no other issue because when you look at the numbers, we cannot talk about income inequality and talk about education. you cannot talk about mass incarceration without realizing that 90% of the people in illinois prison and through chicago public schools.
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the biggest issue out of any prison across america is illiteracy that is tied to education. we can go down the line and education is that primary linkage, if you will. to your point, douglas, the advice to the legislator is you do not support failure anywhere. if a charter school fails, get rid of it. but a traditional public school fails, get rid of it, find things that are successful. what happens though is when it is time to begin to have the discussion about change, we have to be honest. we have many black school board members, black city councilmembers, black state legislators who -- i am not sure about that -- i will say it -- you get pressure from teachers unions, you get pressure from other groups, and that causes folks to say no, no, no, yet thousands of our kids are
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sitting there failing. so how do we move folks to create an agenda in 2014 where education is at the top of the list and is not is a question of let's put more money in? some folks have all the money in the world is still not know what in the hell to do with it. >> i think this will be something that will be very difficult to do because what shadows over all of the things that we are talking about today is that basically people in the black community are just trying to survive. and a lot of parents from day to day, you deem them as not being involved in their children's lives, they're just trying to make a buck, they're trying to feed them, they are trying to make sure that they get to work every day, so there again, yeah, it is a very difficult question -- how do we engage the parents? how do we engage the community
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to be active and what is happening in the public schools? they're struggling with my a day-to-day basis -- am i still going to have my job? -- those are all things that supersede what is happening educationally. that is a huge -- >> look, it is, yet when that kid is 18 though, and cannot no, letnnot graduate, me also put this out there -- we brought it. one of the reasons black folks cannot create wealth is because when we have a family member who does graduate, who does go to college, and when that african- american begins to have a job, making $30,000 or more, what happens is that person then becomes the financial supporter and all ofe family, a sudden that person cannot save, cannot invest, and so then of life is's quality
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affected when they are 55 and 60 because we are having to help pay cell phone bills, pay rent, buy diapers, and the reason i am -- look, i went to all public schools my entire life, kindergarten through college. my wife and i are raising six of my nieces right now, so i am speaking from experience. we gravitateis because of the issue of education. when people say why do you believe in choice it is because you have to provide an option for parents in a failing system. and so how do we begin to say traditionalort public schools, but i do support trying something else because if it works, let's roll with it. making that a dominant issue in a way 14 and getting lack legislators -- bl ack legislators to be leaders on this?
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>> one thing that is important for us to look at is schools and committee organizations. we have to wrap ourselves around different models in the schools in our community. that is something we have not done. when you talk about parents being involved, there is a harvard study that says that parents will go to school meetings when the meetings are about things other than just education. they will go if they are going to be talking about health care issues, if you are to be providing resources for where there may be job opportunities, and so on. i think that is also a very key component of it, roland, is broadening what we're doing with public schools and schools in general so that people feel more attracted to be a part of the process. that we have,ting the fighting we have a we cannot let the walls down and try to look at different systems often gets in the way of people gathering round models and joining in being a part of it. i think this is an important
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discussion. nobody seems to be able to get us back -- get us past this point. we have had this conversation over and over and have not nailed to make leaps and bounds that this conversation. in new york, one of the issues has been getting labor and elected officials to sit down at the table and work together. we have had a very difficult time doing that. it is for a much so about leadership. so we hope that the new mayor in new york city will be able to, with his leadership, provide opportunities for usc and other labor unions and committee organizations to sit down on look at these models and find out how we strengthen them. leadership is key to how we deal and that, having leaders position that understand the challenges that everyone is facing, understanding needs of all the community, and are willing to work together. our issue in new york under mayor bloomberg has been that he has been so for public, for
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charter, that public went to the the wayside.to so you have resistant people because they will not give up public school as opposed to either or -- >> i think leadership is key, having people who are in in public schools, my son goes to a military school in pennsylvania. i was so afraid of the options in new york that i decided to tod them to another state live at another school. so i cannot talk about limiting people's options, but just like i had him there in school, i am a part of many things in my community that strengthens the public school operation here. i think that is important. leadership is key. >> to that point, it is so funny when i joined the board of students first, my brother is a public school teacher. my scissors a public school teacher. -- my sister is a public school teacher. so guess where i was hearing advice?
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from the three teachers. now we will laugh questions and statements. i'm going to hold the microphone, no need for you to grab it, no need for you to hold it, if you do, i am going to hit your hand. i know some of you lead a filibuster, you are not on the floor of your state legislature, so i am telling you right now, if you go long, i will cut you. [laughter] come on up. and also, plus, your back is to so camera, so turn this way they can see you. camera there, camera there. comment or question. but that hand down. >> comment. as the president-elect and the chair of the rules committee were over 37 policies come out of this meeting, i just wanted to be very clear that this is not a social organization. we come here to pass progressive
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legislation, and we stood in maryland with the trayvon family and we passed a gun safety laws. we pass progressive legislation in our state as it relates to education. we passed progressive legislation. you ask the question -- the first question you asked what's -- what the civil rights mean today in 2013? and no one spoke to economic justice. [applause] justice,have economic then we have educational justice, it is about all of that, and social justice. deliberated for three and four days, and we brought a new legislators, and we continue to coalesce every single year, and we go to three and four and five in six different states, and we bring in groups and organizations to meet with us to talk about how we move our communities forward. so i just want that to be put on
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the record because this is a live presentation that the national black caucus of state legislators is a progressive organization pushing our community forward, and we will coalesce and work with any group or organization in this country, black, white, or indifferent. and we do that, and i think that we do it well. asians,with the latinos, african-americans, and native americans. so we look forward to continuing to work with all of you as we continue to push a progressive agenda for this country. >> one of the things i am going to do also after the questions and comments is talk about -- and real quick -- a media strategy that i think it's also important. some of you individually have executed this, and i will is plain, sir, what if you got? of memphis, tennessee. >> he that the ipad out. >> it is an interesting
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conversation for the i am a marine also. we are not monolithic in our approach to some of these policies. i have a slight difference of opinion in regards to gun control. the truth is i think we need to be a little bit more courageous addressing personal response ability within our communities, within ourselves also. >> as it relates to what yo? >> as it relates to gun violence and gun control. i prefer not to be told what kind of gone i can own. i would love to own an a ar-15 not too hot but for defense purposes. hey, i would love to own it. >> where do you live? >> right here in memphis, tennessee. >> you need an a ar-15? >> i would like to have one. here is the thing, here is something that is very important -- in most of our communities,
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99.9% of those that are killed through gun violence in our communities are killed by somebody that looks like the person they killed. think about that. so those weapons are not ,urchased through legal means and those weapons are not going gune controlled through control legislation. those weapons are being purchased on the street. now, what that means is this -- we need to start looking at ion in this matter because there are crimes that make us mad and there are crimes that make us fear. we need to start incarcerating and throwing away the key on those individuals that commit crimes and make us scared. it is not a funny matter. sir, i do not know why -- >> go ahead. >> what i am proposing is those individuals -- we'd to start cutting the supply of weapons off at the ankles. those individuals that supply weapons to these minors that are using these murders -- these weapons in the murders in
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chicago -- >> i spent six years working in i have spent six years working in chicago. is, the problem is that you can literally drive 15 miles across the border to indiana and they have done the studies that have shown where a lot of the gun violence is traced to the guns bought at the several different gun shops in indiana. many other states do not have a border state that is that close, but specifically i know in chicago, because we dealt with it, that is a huge issue there. the gun shop in indiana can sell what ever area that is where a lot of the guns are coming from. >> here is the thing, and i will wrap this up -- i guarantee you there is not one single gang member going over the border and buying those ones. >> what is happening is others are going to the gun stores, buying the guns, supplying them as well.
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you can have legislation specifically in chicago. there are loopholes there. that is why i make the point that you have to make it about gun violence and not just gun control. >> i think we are in agreement. that was exactly my point. >> i do not need an ar-15. >> let me finish up. have agendas or pathways for african americans in our communities? i think we lack an agenda in most communities. >> first of all, most of these have a caucus,ou in agenda is established. look -- i have covered places in illinois, texas, maryland, virginia, ohio. i have folks from various states on my media outlets. i understand that agenda. but to your earlier point, talking about coalition, you can
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have an agenda for the black talk -- black caucus, but you have to have your coalition building to get it passed. questiono to this here. i see over here, and then i will go over here. i got you, i got you. what you got? representative larry butler from connecticut -- >> state representative larry butler from connecticut. i happened to be 20 minutes away from newtown, connecticut were all that happened. we came up with our gun legislation to address be violence. when that happened, there was this need to come up with this quick addressing thing, not really get into the substance of it is easy to, so pass legislation about a weapon, that we really haven't addressed the issues about the people who pulling the
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trigger. let's talk about the social- economic justice. if we talk about chicago in the urban areas, it has more to do with that. also, admit to the health issues for these people. [applause] what we need to do there as well. i can tell you, there is a lot more that has to be done. 26 more people killed in your town. people were 40 murdered. -- 26 more people killed in newtown. we have got to press our agenda and talk about supporting states -- we forced our folks to look at some of the urban issues like the people who have illegal guns , make sure that these people have a permit to buy ammunition. they cannot just walk into your little store here and buy all the ammunition they want, ok? but the problem is they can go across the border to new york,
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massachusetts, rhode island, and they can buy ammunition. anyone from new york, rhode island, and massachusetts, please has to law that is going to -- pass a law that is going to keep people from buying ammunition for their illegal weapons, ok? let's chart there. thank you. i'm going to go over here. standup. standup. -- stand up. stand up. >> i am alicia reid. we have 15 african-americans between the house and the senate, so coalition building is always important. we always have to do that. in ohio, during the presidential election they say how goes ohio, how goes the country.
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spoke at the annual march on washington. i talked about how we need a we areate initiative. going state-by-state. the new civil rights movement -- for one, do not lose what we already have. the fight to keep what we have and expand and make those things permanent. when we talk about voting rights -- we had a temporary solution, the voting rights act. that is being challenged as regards its constitutionality. in ohio in 2014 we are launching a constitutional amendment on the ballot for a voter bill of rights. we are moving from just trying to get a bill -- which we do not have the numbers -- we will take it out to the peak will and have a model which other states around the -- we will take it out to the people and have a model which other states around the country -- we will put it in
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the constitution. i think the new civil rights movement is how do we make what we have permanent? we also have our standard your ground in ohio -- we are rallying around what happened with trayvon martin. we had a rally in cincinnati. i got a text message saying they were introducing legislation in olympus four ohio to have stand your ground. we are fighting that. got a text message saying they were introducing legislation in columbus for ohio to have stand your ground. we are challenging our friends and coalitions. we are there with you. we ask that you either with us so we can make these things permanent in our constitution. is ae reason this significant issue, because in in bush versus gore decision
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2000, it was antonin scalia who said the constitution does not guarantee a person a right to vote. in fact it says you cannot be denied if you are a person of to your when it comes sex. if you pass a constitutional -- allnt in your state right. how are you doing? >> thank you. i am the president of the baltimore teachers union. i guess i am not the only non- elected state official here. >> no, there are more people here. >> i am here with labor. thank you. great, progressive state. we believe that education is a civil rights and it is important that we offer great teachers to our students. it is not the union that does not support great education. we support excellent teachers in
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the classroom, and we know the only way out of harvard he and anything is to have great teacher -- the only way out of poverty and anything is to have great teachers in front of our students. >> and to get rid of bad teachers. >> absolutely. there are to be due process to find them another place of employment. another profession. >> believe me -- there have to be a lot of steps of development for teachers. we have programs with these teachers need support. and we cannot just give them six weeks of training and think they are able to educate our true -- our children. there are cultural differences they do not understand. if you do not grow up in the neighborhood, they do not understand when we say "what's up?"
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they do not understand that. we are about supporting excellence in the classroom and making sure there are choices for parents. and we talk about building coalition and working with the community so they can provide wraparound services to those students. great teachers, but bad people got to go. some administrators -- i know that. i have talked to many a journalist. here.next right step on out right here. then we will take more of your questions. >> i am from north carolina. one of the things i've heard quite a bit with these issue dealing with education and charter schools, i think it is important to point out one of the problems with your order schools -- and i am not one of those people opposed to charter schools. i have an open mind. but they are not required to offer free and reduced lunches. they are not required to offer transportation. they are re-segregating our
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school system economically, socially -- >> that is not the case in every state. it in your state. >> while this system may be failing african-americans, our system is failing all americans. when you look at the stem courses, and in places like shanghai -- they are scoring i. to bewhat we ought talking about is making certainly have year-round schools. maybe we ought to be talking about incentivizing education so we get the best and brightest teachers in our classrooms and the top five percent are there -- not that we do not appreciate those who are there today -- but many glass ceiling set been broken in america in the last 40 years. i think it is important -- >> why can't we talk about all
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of it though? as opposed to saying we should be talking about this and this and not this, i am saying this is part of the problem. what should be on the table is traditional public, charter, magnet, a homeschool, online, boucher, everything. cher, everything. you have the marla collins method. works, works. if we start limiting the discussion, we are limiting opportunities. and i get your point about the people in shanghai. i am talking about america where black kids are three and four levels behind their white counterparts, i cannot worry when i amone in china worried about someone in the suburbs and i live in dallas. behind in the
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third grade, we know by the time they are in eighth and ninth grade, they will be dropping out. then they will be involved in criminal activities and the department of corrections. in terms of the total picture -- -- you didout today not have access to capital. entrepreneurship. access to credit. we have to broaden our to empower wealth building within the african- --rican and latino immunity. community. >> i agree with you. i am coming back over there. do not worry about it. >> my name is roscoe dixon. i was in prison for four and a half years. i want to thank you, because i get a chance to look at you for four years on the nn. -- cnn. [laughter] i'm also a former legislator.
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i'm glad i went to prison, because i got a chance to meet the brothers. i was like a lot of forward thinking, crack cocaine babies, and so forth. i did some research and found out who did it too was. it was really heartbreaking, because we did it to ourselves. -- i did some research and found out who did it to us. has never been passed so fast. tip o'neill was the speaker. his district -- went home, came back, within 24 hours the congressional black caucus joined with them and put the thing together. years, 10 years mandatory. the judge could not do anything about it. the point is >>. it is this -- the point is simple. it is this. the brothers taught me a lesson.
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the point i am making -- we have got to get the family back together. almost half of our folk are not voting. they are not voting because they do not have any respect for us or relationship with us. someow that they have done things that maybe they should not have done. some are innocent, as my friend here said, as well. we are a football team and half of our folk are not in the game. we have to get them back in the game and solve what ever that problem is and get them back in the game. we need to read the book by the young lady -- in tennessee. idaho shows you what to do. kick them out. >> all right, appreciate it. going over here. at going to the front row. stand on up, please. that is you. stand on up. all right.
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put that hand down. i got you. >> force of habit. .y name is tonya i am these states senator from nebraska. i represent about half of the black caucus in the state -- >> i was about to say there are about five of you and the whole state. >> what is sad about it is about half of our life children are in poverty. children are in poverty. the way policy is written now, there is no express prohibition from going out and creating a charter school. our challenge -- and we had a big, big fight for lack of a better way to describe it this year in nebraska -- is paying for public education in a state where we rely on property taxes and supplement that with state aid from sales and income taxed. certainly i want to include any
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and all kinds of techniques and totitutions and access public education and a good education. how do we pay for its when we are already -- what i describe as fighting on the floor for crumbs to subsidize our education? >> i will put this out there first. whenever i hear that particular issue, i remind folks there is a failing school out there that is getting money somehow, someway. when i look at numbers -- i do not base it upon, oh, here is the test score. we know how kids are reading. if there is a school that has 200 students or whatever and 80%, 90% failure rate in their schools, that particular school is getting a budget allocation. for me, it is not a question of,
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well, do not take money out. what is happening in that school the multiplier when it comes to resources as well? i am looking at what is failing in that school, versus the failure rate. douglas, go ahead. >> i do not want to walk out of here as the charter school guy -- >> i have no problem with you. >> one thing is i agree with roland. any kind of school that is not working needs to have a trouble surviving, and that applies to order schools. -- charter schools. resegregation -- i get concerned about that sometimes. you look at places like atlanta were 10 years ago, 15 years ago there were about 60,000 children in the public schools of atlanta and 5000 were white. 55,000 black children, 5000
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white children. the 5000 white children, 90% of them attended about four schools in the city and the black children were scattered in all of these other schools that were black. to 99% i am oversimplifying a little bit, but it was mostly that way. 15 years later, you have about 45,000 children in the public school system. the city is growing and growing and growing. the population is going down, down, down. the people abandoning public schools are middle-class african-americans. the middle-class white folks left a long time ago. then you have middle-class white folks like me coming in through alternative channels. when i hear these concerns about recent forgetting the schools, atlanta schools were so segregated already, it was the traditional outlook school system went back to being an overly segregated
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world. i cannot see how any alternative can end up further segregating something that is already almost 100% segregated. >> it reminds people that schools are based on a neighborhood concept. when your neighborhoods are largely white, largely black, largely hispanic, your schools will be largely white, largely black, largely hispanic. >> exactly. if you have one race neighborhoods -- and i do not think we will go that direction. there will be people who tried to start charter schools for bad purposes. there will be. there needs to be police against that. >> a rigorous process. >> the ku klux klan should not be allowed to start a charter school. we all agree on that. but what roland said is what i think is the basic answer. it really is a red herring to say that charter schools are taking money away from conventional public schools. it is moving money around, and
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it is moving money from schools where people are for whatever reason less inclined to go to. these are public schools that everybody attends. and the money that goes to them is still money that is going to be public schools. if they do somehow -- if they are more in lasses where children are successfully learning, i do not know how you can argue with that. --stions question mark questions? >> what we did in the state of missouri, we had this fight with education as well. it was a huge fight with labor, the educators, the principendents, the als, everybody involved. we had this fear.
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charter schools were not performing. charter schools were still not performing at the level public schools were performing at. we had a couple charter schools -- they were still for-profit. even though they are public, the money is still for profit. we had a couple charter schools are closed with a significant amount of money and the kids were left standing outside. that issue had been addressed. -- she hasmember moved on to another public service position -- in nbcsl. we put things in place. we just said, listen -- if we are going to have them, we put legislation in place. i think all schools are important, but at the same time he focus needs to be on the children. another issue we are facing --
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we are asking the parents to weigh in. we have educational reform that starts in january. we have asked the parents. the parents are getting together in writing what they want to see in legislation for their children. i think we represent a body of people. form thatack to that government is for the people -- if we say we the people, let the people get involved and what we legislatively. they have hired us to do a job. we forget we are making decisions for them, but not including them in those decisions. we have parents groups providing information that they want to see in legislation. i think that will be the answer. >> i agree 100%. schools,ree elementary high schools -- you look at all driving around.
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you say, look. you all are going to school at home, on that laptop. does it work? i think that is what it boils down to. that is the last question we can say. i will leave you with this. when we talk about narrative and thetegy, some of you in room have done this. alicia, she has been on my tv show, radio show. folks from other different states as well, depending on the issue -- one thing that you should except right now is there is a significant black media apparatus in this country that i think many of you are not utilizing. >> right. >> if you look at the fact that you have the steve harvey morning show, the reverend sharpton show, d.l. hughley has smiley., ricky
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those are national shows. then you look at the black websites out there as well -- we have a daily morning show on tv one. you have an apparatus that is there to get information out. something happens in florida, allen williams will text me. hey, manall and they, -- and say, hey, man, this is what is happening. folksve to get content to at those places. we assume and we say, msnbc did not cover it, fox was not there, abc, "the washington post," "the new york times." but when you look at the number of black news programs, radio stations, we have a substantial apparatus that is they are. if we do not know what is happening in your state, if we
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do not know what the issue with, you cannot assume that we do. if something is going down in textsnd alicia text me -- me, hey, we have of voter suppression act out. as an organization you should put together what is the black media apparatus? who are the members? when something happens, be e- mailing and let us know. hit me after the fact when a bill has passed in louisiana, north carolina -- that does nothing. it we are on the defensive. letting us know before something passes, when it is in committee, when it is going up for a vote, it allows us to galvanize our audiences, bring in troops, bring in support. tamika knows. something happens.
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they could not depend on reverend sharpton to be the only voice. whom. this is what we are doing. -- boom. this is what we're doing. i will leave you with this charge. you should put together that national black media apparatus and every member get it so you know how to get those stories have ane will and informed vote. all right, around of applause for new members of our handle please. [applause]
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