tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN January 19, 2015 6:00pm-8:01pm EST
>> the national action network engages people. we engage people everyday on the ground. we engage our state legislatures, international legislators, in the capitals of cities and in washington, d.c.. we, of course, engage corporate leaders and seek to hold him responsible, and accountable to communities across this country. >> this is our first line of defense in dealing with issues on the ground and creating a grassroots movement to respond issues. our chapters were together with the national staff to ensure the communities are protected against injustices and treated fairly. ♪ >> the national action network has a house of justice. it was dedicated and named by
one of the mentors of reverend sharpton, reverend jesse jackson. we try to live up to the meaning of that name -- the house of justice. every saturday, we hold a community rally that is broadcast throughout the nation, both on internet and on radio. we make sure that people can come there, that are looking for help, they need assistance, that are looking for referrals. we hold a monthly legal might in order to give people in our community and affordable way to get direction on some of the legal challenges that face them in their communities, all of our chapters duplicate those efforts in many ways. which is how we stay connected to the communities that we serve. we try to know what the needs are within that community, and we try to help people meet those needs.
>> i'm not asking you to think about what we have already done, see can be satisfied with our progress. i know this isn't the national satisfaction network, this is the national action network. but i am asking you to draw inspiration from the facts that we know change is possible. i'm living testament that change is possible. [applause] we know we have the ability to put our shoulder to the wheel of history and steer america towards the promise of a better day. we know that we stand in other shoulders, and step-by-step, inch by inch, we make progress. >> one of my primary focuses within the organization is to engage our members on the national level. the organization is still
growing. we have over 1600 now. it's important that our members become active members of the organization, not just supporting us from a distance, but to really become active participants of change. that's what we gear to increase and to promote. >> we operate seven regional offices in new york, washington, dc, atlanta, miami indianapolis, los angeles, detroit. we coordinate the work of our chapters. the goal is to turn demonstration of the legislation. action networks provides a voice for the next generation of social change agents. young people across the country advocate for issues addressing social justice, education, youth violence, and conflict resolution. it nurtures young people in
gaining skills in various areas, including leadership training, social networking, media and legislative advocacy, and public speaking. we have a weekly program called the huddle, that allows people to converse in a setting that is informal, safe, and with their peers about issues of relevance in the community. >> i think what makes this the best, what makes us a leading organization is that we believe in the work, we take it seriously, and we do it diligently. ♪
[applause] >> so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow. i still have a dream. it is a dream deeply rooted in the american dream. i have a dream that one day, this nation will rise up, live out the true meaning of its creed. >> dr. king said somewhere, we must come to see that human progress never rolls on the wheels of inevitability. we emphasize that. never rolls on the wheels of inevitability. he went on to say it comes through tireless efforts, and persistent work of dedicated individuals, who are willing to be coworkers with god. or as my mom would say, doing god's work. that is what all of you are all
about. as you fight for economic justice, racial and gender equality, and trying to stem the tide of new attempts -- new attempts to restrict the right of our people to vote. it's the everyday actions that you inspire, that are going to keep human progress rolling forward, and keep it from sliding back. >> we are here today, because we must ask this nation -- deal with the fact that just like 50 years ago, the state has taken a position to rob the human rights and civil rights of citizens with state right projected laws
that this empowers federal law. -- disempowers federal law. we have seen in staten island, with state grand jury's have suspended the right of due process. and we have come to washington to call on this congress and national governments to do what was done before. we need national legislation and intervention to save us from state grand jury's that save the right to people on tape and you won't bring them to court. [applause] when i saw a black man put his hand on the bible and become
president, i'm inspired today what i see young white kids holding up signs saying black lives matter. i know the media won't show that. i know they will say we only had 500 representing thousands. but i don't care how much you try to discard it, we shall rise again. the people united will never be defeated. because god gave me a new life -- and new light, and i'm going to let it shine. and the shine for michael brown. the shine on eric garner. god gave me my light, let it shine.
>> national action network continues to bring awareness to local and national civil rights issues around this country. we had a major part in amplifying issues like standard round, and bring the fight to florida, stop and frisk in new york, and voter rights issues around the country. we have always been a voice for the voiceless. >> when i was down in texas, everyone was celebrating the day the civil rights law was finally passed. remember -- there were decades in which people sacrificed and worked hard. change doesn't happen overnight but it happens as long as we don't purposefully give our power away. every obstacle put in our past should remind us of the power we
hold in our hand each time we pull that lever or feeling that oval, or touch that screen, just have to harness that power. we have to create a national network committed to taking action. we could call the national action network. [applause] >> so many of our children are victims of senseless gun violence. and this leader right here stood his ground and stood with the trayvon martin family, and the trayvon martin foundation, and so many other trayvon martins all over the united states. he did it with passion, he did it with commitments, and he was dedicated to our cause. and that is why we are indebted to him for life. on behalf of accent, and all of us here, we present to you
the icon award. thank you, so much. [applause] >> every day i get up, i have only one wish -- and that is that every morning i wake up that every bigot, every brutal person, every wrong person in this land will say damn, he's up again. [laughter] [applause] >> this gives us a unique ability to support our efforts and comedic ending to the nation the work of the organization is doing on a daily basis. in a way that few progressive organizations are able to do.
>> we see a new america. we see an america of equality, of justice, of fairness. we march because we are going to bring a new america, one nation, under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice -- not for some, not for who you choose not for who you like, but for all. we believe in a new america. it's time to march for a new america. it's time to organize for a new america. it's time to register and vote for a new america. we are on our way, we are on our way, we are on our way. [applause] ♪
>> at this time, i would like to bring back to the stage our founder and president, reverend al sharpton. [applause] >> thank you jenee. at 1:00, we do our public policy forum with the mayor, and others at our national headquarters. and then, at 3:00 this afternoon, we will be bringing hundreds, where we will be laying a wreath at the site
where two new york city policeman were killed brutally and viciously. tonight, a vigil for eric garner, the chokehold victim. why? because dr. king was about fighting for justice, but he was also about standing against senseless violence. it's important on king day, we send a message, the yes, we want to see justice in specific cases, but that we are not anti-police, we don't hate police. most police are good. they risk their lives everyday. in the spirit of dr. king, we start here with those that have influence. we go to new york with the mayor and others, and then we go to show that we denounce the violence against police. but we have the right to question specific cases. that is what dr. king did, and that is how we are going to spend this day. [applause] let me acknowledge also, we have been joined by one of the real
champions in this country, and a want technology and. he did not want to speak, but i must technology in. -- acknowledge him. he has my brothers keepers initiative, broderick johnson. we are so happy to have you with us. [applause] and also, working on the white house initiative on education excellence for african-americans, a real champion. he works very closely with our sister organization, education for a better america. if i had finished college, he would be working with me, but he deals with the more educated younger side of nan. david john. president and ceo of them in tc, --mmtc. kim. from the brennan center, nicole
austin hillary, one of our partners. [applause] the assistant secretary for civil rights at usda. [applause] where is congressman wynn? [applause] i'll be glad to have you as well as claudia withers, who is the coo of the naacp. stand up, claudia. [applause] ok, she's over there. you should sit them closer to the mainline. [laughter] glad to have you. i'm honored that one of the leading figures of civil rights in our country, leader of the
leadership conference of civil and human rights, brother wade henderson is with us. [applause] and i mean, he is a pillar in the civil rights community. also, leah from the greater washington dc chapter. give a hand. [applause] let me move in the program. i know that we are going to present awards out, executive director going to help us with that. i can get into new york. i'm so happy and honored that others, that my friend president cox, who was honored last year is with us.
as i said for now, is with us. i must say, jim reynolds is a real -- i know the young folk who of done the program, but i'm not allowed to do that. but i have been known not to. i'm glad for all four honorees but certainly, i want to say that it is extremely an honor for us to have a -- as our speaker today, young man who is energized this country, when you think of national politics clearly into 2012, everyone was electrified by this young man. but like most men and women that make their mark, they do not become intoxicated with the high, and they do not become depressed with the lows. one of the signs of knowing whether someone is headed towards a real mark is how they handle high moments and low moments. this young man heralded by media
as the next whatever -- said i'm not going to go for the halos, i'm going to continue to work. and he did, as mayor of san antonio, and came on to conquer the continued drive for affordable housing in this country. she mentioned the movie "selma," one of the things about that in the debates in the civil right candidate, what was right what was wrong, johnson's role, half of the argument is why the older guys names weren't in the movie. but we will leave that for another day. [laughter] heather told me to be nice today. the one of the striking parts is that it opens with dr. king getting a nobel prize. and most people that would have gotten a nobel prize of 35 years old, and on the cover of time
magazine's man of the year would never have gone to selma alabama. he would have said i have achieved it, i have made my name, history is complete. the story of king is with the prize, he went to selma. with the prize, he went to birmingham. most of us go to selma to try and get a prize. i respect this man, because with the national media raising him he said i want to roll up my sleeve and make sure that people in public housing, and people in subsidized housing have a friend in washington. and that is why we are honored that she has come to share with us on king day, in the spirit of dr. king, the secretary of housing and urban development, julian castro.
good morning. thank you for the invitation to be here today, and more importantly for the the advocacy and leadership in your voice. i also want to thank it knowledge my colleagues, who have been who have been fantastic rattling those of us in the and to secretary burwell and heather foster who are here. i want to thank jenny ingram and all of you who were part of the national action network. today is a joyous day, when we gathered to commemorate the legacy of dr. martin luther king. it is a day of reflection about who we are as individuals, and what we stand for as a nation.
and how we can bring dr. king's dream to pass, it's also a day of some sadness, because we lost a true visionary, a brilliant man too soon. it's a day of celebration because his life, his ideas, the brilliant example he left endures. we can see that every day in the work that you do in your own local communities and that national action network does. but most of all, as other speakers of said, it is a day of action. a time to put into deed the example that he left, and the ideals that he championed.
we gather today at a moments of momentum in america. our economy is growing again, we have seen 11.2 million new jobs over the last 58 months. we have seen the unemployment rate dropped down to 5.6%. the fastest drop in one year since 1984. the numbers tell us we have seen the best economic growth in our country since the late 1990's. we see that in the housing market, with more folks going to work in construction because housing has doubled over the last five years. folks feeling confident because foreclosures have fallen to their lowest level since before the housing crisis. president obama has led this nation to an economic comeback
we also note that there is still tremendous work to be done out there, and that our charge in this year, in 2015 must be one thing above all else. to create opportunity. if you are black, opportunity. if you are white, opportunity. if you are young, opportunity. if you are old, or young at heart, opportunity. if you are rich or poor, or somewhere in the middle, our charge is to create for you opportunity. we call hud the department of opportunity, because 2015 marks 50 years that this department of housing and urban development has had as its charge the
mission of creating a chance for every single american to have a decent and safe place to live in this country. we are going to keep going strong in 2015. just a few days ago in phoenix arizona, the president announced a reduction to mortgage insurance premiums at our fha that has traditionally been the most powerful vehicle for first-time homebuyers and minority homebuyers to get a loan, so they can own a home and have a piece of the american dream. we believe that over the next three years, this is going to ensure that .2 5 million more folks of modest means have a chance to own a piece of the american dream. and that over those same three
years, up to 2 million folks are going to save $900 annually because of this. at hud, we believe in the intersection of housing and opportunity in people's lives. that is why we are focused on ensuring that, for the 5 million folks who live in public or subsidized housing, if you are a young person, that you want to be getting a great education. if you are a working age person, you should have access to job training. and the information and resources you need to get a decent job. so that you can provide for your family. it's also why we know that we need to take a big picture approach to community revitalization. you see, is not enough to just focus on housing. because what if the neighborhood is not safe?
it's not enough to just focus on housing because what if somebody can't get to work? or what if they don't have a job? or what if they can't make sure that their child is getting a good education, so they can move up in life? we believe in a holistic approach. we also know that in our beautiful nation, the richest nation on earth, there is still far too many americans who don't have a home at all. five years ago, the president did something bold. he was the first president to set a marker, through an initiative called opening doors, they said we would effectively end homelessness in the united states by 2020. since that time, we've seen a 33% reduction in veteran
homelessness, and significant reduction in family and chronic homelessness as well. and every single day, the 8000 employees of hud wake up and go to work in partnership with nonprofits and individuals throughout the united states to ensure that folks can have a home that, in america that has always been the land of opportunity, that folks can continue to rise. on this day, when we celebrate dr. king's call for a colorblind america, and also, one that offers economic opportunity to everyone, matter who you are, or where you come from, i'm proud to join you as we push to create prosperity for americans
everywhere, to commit ourselves to action, to use our time and our talents and our resources to not just do for ourselves, or for our own families, but to do for others as well. it is a wonderful ideal, one that we celebrate today, and that we live out every single day. thank you for doing that. we appreciate it. [applause] >> give another hand to secretary castro. [applause]
i'm going to have our executive director come back as we do the awards. i do want to recognize d.c. council member at large vincent orange, who works with us every year and is one of the outstanding -- where is vincent at? [applause] and another of our giants in the civil rights community, the irreplaceable, irrepressible barbara -- of the lawyers' committee. [applause] as we -- every year we present several awards to people that we feel have shown in their lives the spirit of dr. king.
be like king awards. and our staff selects them and will give them. the first award, i will present with them. and then they are kicking me off, they say the older folk have to get off the stage. they mean that now. [laughter] but this brother represents one of the real frontiers that we are yet to conquer, and that is dealing with economic and business in this country. dr. king formed a group called operation breadbasket, which was part of his organization. to receive economic or to fight for economic equity and parity. its new york chapter, i was the
youth director of when i was 13 years old, a year after he was killed. i grew up given total orientation on our fight for social justice and legal justice, most equal, our fight for economic justice. no one has personified that and exemplified that more than the winner of the economic justice award. he has worked from the tireless days of washington and chicago to seeing his friend barack obama become president of the united states. but on his own rights, what he has done with new capital, opening doors that never had been opened before by a person of color, but performing is not enough to get you in the door if you embarrass us once you get in. the validation there is that we show that if given the chance we can perform. and he has never not performed.
which opens the door for us. but he never forgot where he came from. you measure giants not by how tall they stand, but how tall they stand on their own two feet, because i have found in life that a lot of people that i looked up to were standing on ladders and were really not standing on the ground on their own two feet. this man is tall. we look up to him, but there is no ladder under him. these are his two feet, grounded in his community. with his head held high. i'm honored to present our economic justice award to the chairman and chief executive officer of loop capital, james reynolds. [applause] >> thank you all, so much.
thank you all, so much. it is a privilege for me to be here today to receive this great award from such a great man. and my particular hero, reverend sharpton, particularly on this wonderful day, king day. when i started my business 17 years ago, i had several missions. one was certainly to have a successful business, because of you don't have a successful business when you start a business, you really are not going to do much else. but then, given that, to stay involved in my community and do every single thing i could to make my community proud of any success that i would have and have had. and it is always humbling for me, and coming from chicago, i've been around some great leaders. but to be on stage with a man
like reverend sharpton, who has sacrificed so much for so many. so thank you all. i really appreciate this today. thanks so much. [applause] >> before we go any further, i know we have a birthday. it is mr. foster's birthday, so we want to give them a round of applause for being here on his birthday and celebrate with us. he is the father of heather foster, from the white house. so happy birthday to you. the next award is going to be presented is the breaking barriers award. i've heard her name for a while now, and finally had the opportunity to meet her today. but her work obviously precedes her. her reputation and her work has been talked about in this town and beyond the borders of the city. she was confirmed by unanimous consent of the u.s. senate in
december 2010 to be the 14th chair of the equal employment opportunity commission, the eeoc. her term recently ended. we thought no better time to honor her and to recognize the work she has done with the commission. she has had lots of other awards, including the rue.com hr's most influential by human resource executive online. she was america's leading black woman in public service and the power 100 of the list of the most influential minority attorneys. so this is not her first time being presented with an award, but obviously, it is very, very deserved. and we are honored to have her here today. at this time, i would like to present our breaking barriers award to jaclyn berrien esquire. [applause]
she also has a big fan club in the building. >> i will hold this for you. >> thank you, so much. i'm just thrilled beyond words. one of the byproducts of spending time in brooklyn i think is that you do always have brooklyn in the house. and i have a hometown crowd. i'm a d.c. native. [applause] yes. i've had the blessing also of working with so, so many people who are here today, the leaders of the civil rights movement beginning of course with reverend sharpton, and the national action network's leadership, but so many people who have been a knowledge today, who are my longtime friends and allies. dr. king once said when evil men
plot, good men must plan. when evil men burn and bomb, good men must build and bind. when evil men shout ugly words of hatred, good men must commit themselves to the glories of love. where evil men would seek to perpetuate an unjust status quo, good men must seek to bring into being a real order of justice. one of the great benefits, i think, of the movie "selma," the great film that so many of us have had the opportunity to see -- and if there's anyone who hasn't, please, do see it -- but i think one of the wonderful things it does is it shows that as important as dr. king and the other leaders of the civil rights movement were -- and truly, they were important -- there is no movement without the masses. there is no history until we make it. and one of the things i always
carried with me to my work and in my work at the equal implement opportunity commission was the fact that the commission exists because in 1963, hundreds of thousands of people had the faith to believe that this nation could live up to its promise of liberty and justice for all. but importantly, they married that faith with the action of marching to washington and marching just a few blocks from here to the national mall to make sure that they demanded that this nation deliver jobs and freedom as it promised. the equal employment opportunity commission was created because of the civil rights act of 1964 that was passed in the wake of that great march. and the "selma" film reminds us that the civil rights act of
1965, the voting rights act of 1965, was passed because of those marchers, those brave men and women and children who faced down the police, the fire hoses, the dogs in birmingham and in selma and all across the south. we stand here -- i'm able to stand here and everything i have ever been able to achieve is not because of any solitary effort. when i spoke to the staff of the eeoc, i would always say there is no such thing as solitary success as a leader. you only succeed as a leader because of the effort of all of those you work with every day. so today, i'm grateful that i have this opportunity. i don't deserve this recognition, but what i do know is that i'm grateful, first to god, i'm grateful to my friends and family who enabled me to serve in the eeoc.
i can't name them all, but i certainly must acknowledge my first and greatest supporter, my husband, peter williams, who reminded me this morning that we were engaged at a concert with stevie wonder singing, as we were working and hoping and working and fighting to see that there would be a martin luther king holiday. so 31 years ago, we were engaged. [applause] to my pastor, here in washington, my d.c. church home, michigan park christian church. the pastor, marvin owens, and his wife, first lady barbara owens, who are here with me today. to president obama, who entrusted me to serve as the chair of the eeoc and to the administration colleagues, both those who are here today and those who are not, but who
worked alongside me to enforce the nation's civil right laws. to all of the eeoc's public and private sector and civil rights and human rights community allies and partners and and stakeholders and to all past and present eeoc employees, who are represented here today by three very special people and guests who have come to join me today. they were indispensable during my eeoc service. they were indeed the wind beneath my wings. particularly james price, who recently retired after more than three decades of service in the federal government and heroic service in the united states army during the vietnam war. thank you all for being here. these men and women and the more than 2200 men and women i had the privilege of working with at the equal employment opportunity commission are those who truly
deserve the credit for the eeoc's achievements. and i am delighted to stand today and to accept this award and share this with them today. thank you. [applause] >> she said she wasn't deserving, and i had to tell her, she is definitely deserving. i think when she came up to the applause, it proved just that. so let's give her another round of applause. [applause] a lot of people know about national action network's activism, specifically when it comes to issues around criminal justice reform and police misconduct. but we focus on a whole host of issues, including health care. two years ago, we hosted our first-ever health care awards luncheon.
that sort of focused on and brought together the need to pay attention to health inequities that exist in the black community. and obviously, secretary burwell was here, speaking about some of those disparities that exist within our community. one of our great partners for that luncheon was the aetna foundation. when we started thinking about this year's awards, we wanted to lift up as part of the king day celebration, we wanted to lift up aetna again because the work that we think about in terms of healthy living is so important to us being able to continue the fight that we talked about. so we chose floyd green -- where is floyd? there you are. he is the vice president and head of committee relationships of urban marketing for aetna. he is responsible for aetna's philanthropic investment for the brand, and he is the recipient of many professional and civic awards, again, well deserved
including a presidential meeting with jimmy carter to discuss foreign and domestic policies, and the international global award for excellence and health care marketing. most recently, he was honored by blackdoctors.org at john hopkins center for health disparities solutions. it is very fitting that we give today's mlk merit award to floyd green iii. [applause] >> good morning. i am deeply honored to receive this award from reverend al sharpton, as well as the national action network. at aetna, in 2000, we came to washington to ask the correct racial and nothing data for our population.
at the time, folks were afraid that the big bad insurance company would use this information for unfair rating and prejudices and bias and stereotypes. we said no. in order for people to really understand and get the right information and right health care, we need to know who people are, where they live the language they speak, what culture there from. they said no. we said we are not going to give it to marketing people. we will only keep it with our case managers. so that all people can get the care they need, and again, folks that no. it wasn't until our chairman went on cnbc, and one of the analysts said to our chairman, don't you believe it's racist to collect ethnic data on the population, and he said it's racist not to. and so, for years now, we have been using this data to make sure that all people, the matter
who they are, get the information that they can get, that they need to make informed decisions about their health. martin luther king said that one of the greatest forms of inequality is that of health care, and that it is most shocking and inhumane, and we are working diligently to make sure, especially now that people have access that they get the tools they need to make the right decisions about their health care. something that is personal for me is that martin luther king talked about dreams. what i have noticed across the country, when we look at total health, is our kids' inability to dream. one of the reasons because of that is removal of arts and arts education in the school system. and that we must put a crayon back in a child's hand so they can create rainbows. [applause] that a child may struggle with
mathematics, but yet, can play a trumpet and understand fractions. and through that playing the trumpet, that person can go on to be a physicist or an engineer that someone may not necessarily know how to do reading comprehension, but they might learn a line in a play or they might be able to comprehend a character in a role and through that be able to read and go on and become teachers of this great nation. for the arts are important for the development of a society and the development of a culture. the arts will take us into innovation and create a new world for us. we have to have our children to believe that they can dream. so that while stem is important, science, technology, engineering, math, i personally believe and my corporation stands behind that steam is the engine that will move us forward. [applause] and for those of you who are not
familiar with steam, it's science, technology, engineering, the arts, and math. and it is that engine that will hopefully, one day, allow all kids, no matter who they are where they live, what culture they speak, from, allow them to dream of. so thank you for this honor. i am deeply grateful. [applause] >> so our last award and certainly not least is our lifetime achievement award a lifetime of service award. augusta thomas is a woman i have yet to meet, but have heard a lot about. she was actually a classmate of dr. king. so it is very fitting that she would be getting this award. she knew him before he became the dr. king we knew and loved.
she was reelected as the national vice president for women and fair practices in 2000 nine. as the national vice president her mission is to expand the training program. she started her career in the federal government in 1956 she first joined a sge. she was someone who sat in at the greensboro lunch counter. i am sure that we will hear more about her. when i spoke to one of last year's honorees, he mentioned she would be a perfect fit for the king day awards, because of her lifelong service and commitment to justice and equal opportunity. we were delighted to present her with the award. unfortunately, she could not join us, but we do have someone
who knows her well to accept the award on her behalf. here we have david cox president of the american federation of government employees. [applause] >> well, good morning, brothers and sisters. you know, isn't it a wonderful morning? let's just stop to think about it. barack obama is president of the united states. that is an achievement. now, i just heard from the secretary of housing and urban development and i am telling you, you know, that is an achievement, too. look, dr. king's dream is alive. we also heard from our secretary
of health and human services -- a woman, yes -- dr. king's dream is alive. ms. augustine was born in 1922. do the math right fast. she had to have a little medical procedure. she is not here because she is elderly because she was working her butt off in the senate in louisville, kentucky, just a few weeks ago. she will be back on her feet and joining us in a few more weeks marching again as she has been marching all of her life. i am so very honored and privileged to receive this award for somebody that i admire and someone who has mentored me my entire life, ms. augustine thomas. now, i asked her, what do you want me to talk about this morning? what would you say on accepting
this award? she has many, many stories. the one she wanted me to share with you this morning, that all of her life she has stood up for workers, for union members, for winning fair wages, dignity on the job, and equal opportunity. in 1960 she was living in louisville, kentucky, and had six children. the lord was eventually going to bless her with nine. had six children. she's all four don't men on tv who were sitting in at the greensboro lunch counter. they needed help in greensboro. she was outraged with what was going on.
thank god, today augusta thomas made north carolina a better state with her work and her actions. when she saw these young men she said that these young men need help and has spent her life helping others. so, she went to her husband and said -- i told him, i was going to go to greensboro -- and, you all, this was 1960 before women had arrived in this country. he looked at her and said your father and i will discuss this situation. well, they came back and told her it was too dangerous. you are a mother, you know, you are a wife, you could get hurt and go to jail. you could even be killed.
and she said, i understand all of that, but i am going. well, they talked for a few in minutes and said, ok, we are going to agree to let you go. she said no, i want you to stop right there. i told you that i made the decision, i'm going. i don't need my husband and my father telling me whether i can go or not. yes, ms. augusta was a fighter for women's rights in this country also. so she went on to greensboro. ms. augusta sat there, day after day. people spat on her. they hit her. they kicked her. they knocked her off the stool. she kept getting back up. she was arrested twice in the process. as she tells the story, as she
tells it to me, ms. augusta is very light skinned. she said that they were more vicious, more evil, and more wicked to her because they thought she was white and that she was being a traitor to her race. but, you know, ms. augusta is not a traitor to any race. augusta thomas is a person that fights for every individual in this country. and she told me to end the story today that she believes in helping anybody who cannot help themselves at the time. and it does not matter whether a person is male or female, black or white, gay or straight, even a democrat or a republican. she said, if they need help, we should help them, we should stand by them. when i think of all of the things augusta thomas has done in her life, i will tell you brothers and sisters, join with
augusta thomas, join with the dream of martin luther king, encourage someone to get an education, that needs to get a chance in this life, help us child, get the arts back in the school. first of all, go out and get someone to vote today and register them to vote and live the dream forever, for dr. king and for augusta thomas. thank you also much. miss augusta, thank you from the bottom of our hearts for this award. [applause] >> now you see not only why we
honored miss augusta, but also you see why president cox was the one to accept the award. i want to draw your attention back to the video screen. king day is something that we all look forward to. it became a law in 1983. it was first observed in 1986. but all 50 states did not observe it until 2000. it tells you we have had progress, but it is ok while for us to see where all the states have observed the holiday. at this point i want to knowledge that the president created a video and he will tell you more on what you need to do, but he is part of the dream that dr. king talked about. so at this time, i think the video is ready and we can turn our attention to the screen.
[video clip] >> hi, everybody. today we pay tribute to dr. martin luther king jr. we reflect on the lessons of his life and the extraordinary change that begins when ordinary men and women are willing to stand up for the progress they seek. we draw strength from his unbending commitment to justice and his commitment to moral force and belief in nonviolence. just as we celebrate what he achieved, we recommit ourselves to our unfinished work defending the dignity and equality of all people. that is why today we come together in a national dady of -- day of service, because as dr. king once said, life's most persistent and urgent question
is, what are you doing for others? cleaning up parks, visiting hospitals, working at food banks, reading to children. they are doing their part to honor dr. king by heating his call to serve. to everyone out there volunteering today, thank you. to everyone who wants to join in, it is not too late. just go to www.mlkday.gov to find a project happening right now near you. dr. king is an inspiration to millions around the world, including me. we feel his legacy all around us, in our schools, communities, halls of government, and most importantly in our hearts, how we treat each other, with kindness and respect, binding us together as one american family. that one day all americans would treat each other as brothers and sisters. let's do our part to make that dream real, not just today, but every day. [applause]
>> is everybody having a good time? i told you we would have a good time today. you all having a good time? we are closing in on the end of our program, but we have two very special presentations that we want to have right now. really, one that really focuses on education. and education, as we all know in this room, education is key. knowledge is power. we also know that that is one of the main reasons why people of our color were shut out of the educational system, because once you learn, you are able to grow. whether it was the little rock nine or frederick douglass, they had to have an education. the national education network marcus -- the executive director of the education for a better america. the mission of the corporation is to build ridges between policymakers and the classroom by supporting innovation in the
delivery of education, creating a dialogue between policymakers, community leaders, educators parents, students, and disseminating information positively to impact our schools. if we are ever going to get out of the hole that we are in, it will come through education and be led by individuals like dr. marcus wright. let's bring him to the stage now. >> thank you. i do bring greetings from education for a better america. we are only two years old, but we have been able to partner with universities and school districts to conduct a myriad of programs for parents and students across the country. for example, this fall we conducted a higher education awareness tour in miami-dade county. that district went on to bust
-- tpoo bus thousands of those students to the polls to vote early october 27 and october 28, 2014 election. dr. king, the man that we celebrate today, once posed the question, what good does it do a man to have access to an integrated lunch counter if you cannot afford to buy his wife's dinner? he was calling for what so many have been working for this room, access and equity. we want an equitable way we can raise our families on. [applause] david johns is here with his teach the babies movement, has been a critical call for action. to early childhood education of a high-quality nature. we can assist in that movement
by making sure that those programs are implemented in an equitable fashion and by encouraging parents to teach their babies to read, talk, and sing at least 30 minutes per day, to cultivate brain development. ultimately, civil rights activism like that must be complemented by policy prescriptions from legislators and from collaboration from service providers, with all of us working together accomplishing more than the best of us working alone. as we seek to move from demonstration the legislation, we cannot forget preparation because after the doors of opportunity are opened for access, we must make sure that we have the skills to walk through it.
unfortunately, due to breakdowns, many of our young people are not prepared and that is on us. let's renew access to equity, it equals a better america. access plus equity equals a more perfect union. with access and equity we can , truly be a nation with liberty and justice for all. thank you. [applause] >> thank you. thank you so much. for my favorite part of the program, this is the part where we talk about what next, because as we look out at the fights that have taken place, it was always the younger people who helped to lead these fight in the future. it was those that led the fights in the past. it should be no different today. when you take the young people and ask the question, what is wrong with the youth of today? just look at what is right with
the youth of today. -- you saw the video. who was on the front lines behind reverend sharpton and side by side with him? who was there with president obama needed those people to get the word out about the campaign to win in 2008? who was the one out there that made sure that the word got out? it was those young people, tweeting, twitting, we didn't even know what they were doing on those things, but they turned our people out. today we have a president, an organization, a health plan. so to talk about what the use is doing, please bring up rihanna patterson, who will tell us what the youth have in store next. [applause] >> good morning, everyone. my name is brianna patterson and
i am the northeast regional director for the national northeast action network. i am so excited to be here this morning to bring you remarks from the perspective of the millennial generation. first i would like to say congratulations to all of our honorees this morning and your dedication to be like king and continue to be like king. i would like to thank reverend sharpton for his -- and his staff -- for hosting this annual event to honor those who are doing the work and making sure that we are trying and striving to be more like king. i also want to thank reverend sharpton for giving myself and other millennial generation leaders the platform, his mentorship, and his shoulders to stand on. after seeing the film "selma" last year, i realize that dr. king understood the importance of bridging the gap between old and the new. and then a young john lewis
understood the need for strategic planning. the two of them were the links that bridged both generations together. being that dr. king and reverend sharpton were both young when they started, i feel that my message to young people and to all americans is we have to study dr. king's character and his implementation in order to reach greater heights. we have to understand that in order to make the movement progress we must come together and get out of the mentality that we can do it alone, because dr. king knew that it would take more than just that to make this movement progress. i also want to leave you with this note -- we are going to have to come together in order to make the world a better place.
so i leave you with this scripture that has played a role in my life and, i am sure, everyone knows it -- a house divided against itself cannot stand, let's come together in peace and in equality. thank you. [applause] >> i am very proud of her. you did a great job, brianna. [applause] at this time, we would like to thank our sponsors for helping us to put on this event year. we are honored to have lots of sponsors who give us their support. and first is the american federation of government employees. next is comcast.
macy's. sciu 1199. walmart. next we have ge and luke capital. 32 bj. i am not sure -- i hear a litle whoop over there. bet networks. aetna. jackson lewis. pepsico and mtc. i would also like to knowledge that we have the honorable judge anna rigsby here with us. thank you for joining us. i know you have had such a wonderful time. i feel like i should bring jade gave it back. -- j david that. yes, he will do it. but we will say that for next year. i wanted to thank the d.c. bureau staff for putting on this event. it has been a long week, but there is lots more to come.
we do not tire easily. we have a long road ahead. thank you for joining us this morning. we know that it was early and we look forward to seeing you again at some of our future events. please check out our website for more information, as well as our annual convention taking place april 8 through 11 in new york city, we hope that you join us for that. have a great morning. remember, today is a day on, not a day off. [applause] >> tomorrow morning, a preview of the state of the union address. we will talk with two presidential speechwriters. and a conversation on obama's proposal for a middle-class tax cut. "washington journal" is live on c-span at 7:00 a.m. eastern with headlines, your phone calls,
tweaks, and facebook comments. congress is back in session tomorrow. the senate returns tuesday at 10:00 eastern to continue debate on the keystone xl oil pipeline. house coverage is live on c-span , and the senate is live on c-span2. tomorrow night on c-span and c-span2, the state of the union address, live at 9:00 p.m. eastern. >> mr. speaker, the president of the united states. >> our union is strong. we do not give up. we do not quit. it is because of our people that our future is hopeful, our journey goes forward and the state of our union is strong. the state of our union is
getting stronger. we have come too far to turn back now. it cleared away the level of crisis. and we can say with renewed confidence that the state of our union is strong. it is you, our citizens, who make the state of our union strong. >> just after the president's speech, the republican response from senator joni ernst. you can see senator ernst's response immediately after the president's speech on c-span.
>> the deadline for the steenkamp video audition is tuesday. get your entries completed now. bring a student that can mentor on the three branches and you for you to win the grand prize of $5,000. go to studentcam.org. >> jeh johnson laid a wreath this morning at the margin the 13th memorial in washington. joining him was the district of columbia mayor and the national parks service. ♪
i will be your master is germany's this morning. -- this master of ceremonies this morning. it is cold but it could be colder. we thank you for coming to celebrate what would've been his 86th birthday. we recognize and it is almost profound that he has been dead 47 years longer than he lived but his words and his movement and his spirit are as relevant now as they were when he was with us. then a bus -- many of us have known and read and studied the book that he wrote in 1967 entitled "where do we go from here/" and how relevant in 2015, as we looking at unrest all over the country, at confusion about how we as a nation, about race, we
deal with issues of violence and uncertainty. chaos or community? such an unbelievably important question because many of us in communities are asking that very question right now. to lead us in prayer to begin this remembrance is dr. joel ratcliffluff. as a move forward in prayer, let us ponder the question that is laid out, because if we do not come together as a community regardless of race, regardless of ethnicity, assessing socio-economic background, if we fail to understand its united community is not about how much we agree, but how much we are willing to sit face to face acknowledged the humanity of each other, and even in our disagreement understand that
together to make america the best that she can be. at this point i would love for the reverend to come forward and lead us into prayer as we push forward in this remembrance. >> let us pray. when our eyes are too full of our own visions and our ears are too full of our own sounds dear god, break through the narrow constructs of our minds so we may become more clear about what is true and what is good and what is beautiful. together this day thanking you for -- we gather this day thinking you for how you have brought us, how you have kept us and in the shadow of this
great monument how dr. king's vision yet looms upon us and challenges us to rise up and become prophets, to become speakers of that which is true. we pray for this nation, we pray for this world, we pray for our children, we pray for our future. we bless the memories of those who have labored for equality and justice. now,. of grace and god of glory grant us the strength that we need and the boldness to forge forward. it is in his name that we pray, amen. >> a thank youmen. >>.
and we have a number of partners and representatives coming forward to bring greetings. i would like to introduce each of them now. they will come immediately following the other. first is harry johnson. he will be followed by the chairman of a foundation, and then a former director of the parks service and advisor to the secretary of the interior and great friend of the memorial foundation will come forward. >> good morning, good morning. sorry to get you up so early. we wanted this to be any day of remembrance and service and wanted you to start the morning here at the memorial. when we built it several years ago, we got it for this purpose that on this day people from all over the world have a place to come in remember to and know that dr. king stood for justice for all of us.
i bring you greetings this morning run the memorial foundation, our partners with us today, mr. brandon andrews, will you stand up and be recognized. we thank you for partnering with us. thank you. we are also today -- i want to mention our board members who are with us, guide figures michael bennet -- guy vickers michael bennet, we you please welcome our board members. you're welcome here any time day and night, and we thank you for your support. this is a great day when we celebrate 40 years from the opening of the memorial, and you are the fourth secretary of homeland security. with that being said, i would welcome mr. vickers. >> good morning. good morning.
there you go. i coming from new york and the weather is great here today as far as i'm concerned. he had been in single digits, signed feeling pretty good. i brought my head because in 2011 when i was with tommy hilfiger, we passed out over 20,000 heights in october for the -- 20,000 hats in october for the dedication. on behalf of the board of directors, i want to say thank you and thank you for coming out. harry has already acknowledged the board. i would like to thank the memorial staff who are doing a tremendous job. as president of a foundation, we are still committed to participating and doing what we have to do financially to keep the dream alive as it relates to
the memorial. i am pleased to say i have my lovely wife with me, and this is how you spent a day of reflection. our company in closing is also -- we challenge our 35,000 employees to get involved and volunteer on today's date. so again, thank you very much. >> madam mayor, ladies and gentlemen, and my warmest greetings to our young people who are honoring us today, about our young people. dr. king wallace jr wrote a paper on the purpose of. education, and he concluded that education in essence is intelligence intelligence plus character.
at the age of 25, with his phd degree from boston university, he was asked to lead the board of montgomery. the rest is history. to our young people, education is intelligence with character. your character is important, and dr. king would ask that we have the best of care or. thank you again for this opportunity, mr. johnson. >> as we celebrate the memory and technology this generational shift that is taking place i have to acknowledge that my elders are much more cooler than me as i am leaving my coat on .i appreciate the wisdom. i will consider it for next year. [laughter] we had with that some leadership shifts that have taken place in the city, and it is my pleasure to bring forward for her first
time speaking as mayor here at the memorial, many of us have been involved in ensuring a shift in power here in d.c., and we are excited about the new blood that is here and the leadership that is to come in the city. so please with me, as we move forward in our celebration welcome the mayor of washington d.c., the honorable muriel bowser. >> good morning, and i will leave on my codes and my boots and i'm so delighted that we are all here to remember and celebrate and be challenged by the legacy of dr. martin luther king. i'm so pleased that we are here and our nation's capital wherever your front in these great united states. this is your city, and dr. king
has a prominent place on this our national mall. we know that d.c. has a rich and robust history in the civil rights movement. i was honored to go with a group of our young men to watch "s elma" yesterday so they too would know the history of dr. king and how important he was that they would not only know about the marches and the i have a drink, israel fight for voting rights -- and i have a dream, but his fight for voting rights. i want to acknowledge the foundation would stop -- would not stop, would not give up, who would ask for everything that they needed so that this generation the one following, and the one after that would come to this memorial and remember a great man a man, a young man -- people sometimes
forget -- i heard a gasp from the children in the theater when it went up on the screen that dr. keene had this dream -- dr. king had this dream, dr. king let these marches, dr. king paul berry's factions together to make sure that we all stayed focus on the ultimate prize, and he was called home at the age of 39. so when we know what he did in his life, we are all reminded of the things that he talkednot only that we would all enjoy the franchise of voting, but that we would all enjoy the security of being able to work, go to school, value education have a good paying job, fight for the middle class, and enjoy the prosperity that is so much of america. i am proud to be here to represent the 660,000 of us in the district of columbia still
fighting that fight, by the way. i know dr. king would be fighting it with us to acknowledge his great life and be grateful that we have this memorial to always remember him by. god bless you all. [applause] >> many of you saw the movie selma. one of the parts that touched me was when we saw seen where dr. king asked the hilliard jackson --mahalia jackson to sing precious lord. music moves the spirit and sets the stage and inspires us when we need to be able to push forward. i'm excited to have our choir
[applause] >> thank you so much. give them another round of applause. [applause] >> honored we are today to have jeh johnson. he was sworn in as the fourth secretary of homeland security. he served in the department of defense. he is a great lawyer and good friend. please welcome secretary of homeland security, jeh johnson. [applause] >> good morning. >> good morning. >> distinguished guests looking
at the program you would think this is all about the brothers johnson today. [laughter] there are a number of morehouse men today. someone pointed out to me that they taught me what religion -- what little religion you know. you ask a morehouse man to show up on a january morning at 8:00, they respond to the call. there are a number of them here today. it is a special honor for me to be special -- to be present with you today. martin luther king junior is a graduate of morehouse college. i am also a graduate of
morehouse college. influenced by many of the same people and things that inspired and influenced our kicking. when i arrived at morehouse in august of 1975 dr. king had been dead seven years, but i could still feel his presence on campus and in the city of atlanta. in 1975 there was still faculty at morehouse who taught of dr. king. dr. king did not hate. benjamin mays, dr. king's mentor was a noble figure on campus. martin luther king the third was my classmate and close friend. the first effort to make dr.
king's birthday holiday was just four days after he was assassinated in 1968 when john conyers offered a bill to make it so. for years the bill went no way. it gained momentum in atlanta in the 1970's. mrs. king made it her mission to see the nation honor her husband every year on his birthday. mrs. king anderson martin enlisted morehouse spellman, and other students as the foot soldiers in that effort. on november 2 1983, president reagan with mrs. king at his side signed a bill that made martin luther king's birthday and national holiday on the third monday in january for the first time in 1986. today martin luther king day is
one of the most recognizable in america. almost every city has an -- has a street named for dr. king. almost every school has a picture in their classroom. in 2015 dr. king has been dead longer than he was alive as has been pointed out. for some of us, dr. king is still a contemporary figure. for most of us, king is a figure consigned to history like the other men for which we have built monuments in this space washington, jefferson, and lincoln. almost every american alive knows the words, "i have a dream" should have -- should be associated with martin luther king. the reality that is in his time.
too many dr. king was a troublemaker to force the social change we now also a great. he challenged the social order of things and pushed people out of their comfort zones. when dr. king arrived in many of the same cities for which a major street is now named for him, the mayor and the police commissioner viewed his visit with dread and could not wait for him to leave. for his efforts, the man we honor with a national holiday and a national monument alongside washington and lincoln was the target of numerous death threats. finally an assassin's bullet in memphis in 1968. he focused the nation's attention on racial discrimination. he led the montgomery boyce --
bus boycott, the march on washington, and the selma march 50 years ago. dr. king did not stop. he began to take on challenges that could not be remedied by a change in law. in the last years of his life he devoted himself principally to two very ambitious agendas world peace. he literally moved to chicago and rented an apartment there. he took off his preachers suit and shoveled garbage all to demonstrate the need for better living conditions in chicago. in the final months of his life dr. king devoted himself to a grand plan for a poor people's march. on his last birthday alive he presided over a meeting in the basement of his church in atlanta and talked to an assembly of blacks, american indians, whites and organized
labor that would converge on washington that year to command the richest nation on earth address poverty. in the final days of his life, dr. king went to memphis tennessee, not for a civil rights march, but to support a garbage workers strike for better wages and conditions. on the final night of his life in memphis dr. king delivered one of his best-known speeches in which he predicted his own death. his famous, i've been to the mountaintop speech. it was largely an address about economic power and the effectiveness of an economic boycott. in the final year of his life dr. king public opposed the vietnam war. he hated violence. he believed it was a spiral that getting the very thing it seeks to destroy.
returning violence multiplies violence adding deeper violence to a night. as he sought, and i --an eye for an eye is not right. his son says his dad wanted a better life for all people. mrs. king's dream of a national holiday for his -- for her husband has become a reality. dr. king's dream of a world at peace for itself has not. in 2015 hatred, violence, and poverty still inhabit our nation and our planet. the good news is that there are many angels among us who also inhabit this planet and inspire us all to do better.
like the health care worker who risked her own life to treat and ebola patient. the scores of people who take this day off from work to go to work performing a community service. on this date in 2015 in the name of martin luther king we must rededicate ourselves to a better world in which god's children choose to feed the hungry, care for the sick, clothed the naked choose conciliation over confrontation brotherhood over hatred, and peace over war. thank you very much. [applause] >> thank you secretary johnson. before harry johnson comes up to follow this johnson, we will hear again from the choir.
following them we will do the wreath laying. we're asking those in the front begin to organize here. then terry johnson will lead us -- harry johnson will lead us a toward the wreath. what i would like to do before our last song, if you are 16 years old or younger, if you would stand up or raise your hand. let's give a round of applause for these young people. [applause] i am here with my wife and my own children. as i think about what king was calling us to do. what king recognized that so many leaders do not is that they are not living that they would create a better world for themselves. they are not living just so they can increase their coffers or
get more degrees. in fact, king said what he wanted to be remembered was not for anything he had achieved. but if he could help somebody as he passed along or cheer somebody with a word or song then his living would not be in vain. we cannot remember him in earnest if we only want to lift up accolades but not carry out his spirit. his spirit said to us that we would give more of ourselves to be able to create a future that we may not be able to enjoy but another generation would be inspired by our impact and would carry on to be able to create what we would never even be able to imagine peter -- to imagine. these young people who raised their hands are a promise of kings spirit erie in the process
of working to create -- in the spirit of working a better america it is in the spirit of those young people that we celebrate as we remember dr. martin luther king today. as we are led in song we will move forward to lay the wreath. god bless you. [applause] before we do that, we know there are media without cameras behind me. if you would begin to move right now as the choir sings we will have you in place before we gather for the wreath laying. thank you. ♪
>> look up your everybody. here we go. look up here. thank you. >> the nation marks the birthday of dr. martin luther king junior today. next a discussion on. then a discussion on race relations with dr. ben carson. later a breakfast in remembrance of dr. martin luther king jr.. following a two-year study a report was released about the cleveland police department. it was part of a discussion at the city