tv Congressional Black Caucus Legislative Conference on Women Voters CSPAN September 18, 2018 5:50pm-7:41pm EDT
president clinton. host: we will let can start and there. guest: susan mcdougal was convicted of serious felonies that led to the collapse of a savings and loan in little rock, arkansas. she was found in contempt by the united states district court. susan has made these allegations, and they are false. clintons andto the their finances, i never alleged were wealthy at the time. they are, in >> creep's "washington journal" live every day with news and policy issues that impact you. coming up wednesday morning, laura dawson and duncan wood discuss the nafta renegotiation and u.s.-canada-mexico relations. d then "the hill" national
correspondent reed wilson talks about state ballots. be sure to watch "washington journal" wednesday morning. join the discussion. >> boem congresswoman terri sewell is joined by democratic congressional can indicates from massachusetts, the current political landscape. the discussion was hosted by the congressional black caucus. it runs about an hour and 45 minutes.
ms. sewell: welcome, everyone. this morning we're going to discuss the 98%. why do we call ourselves the 98%? for those that don't know i'm terri sewell. i represent alabama's seventh congressional district and we will claim the fame helping to elect the first democrat u.s. senator from alabama in 25 years. it was black women who really showed up and showed out. 98% of the black women who voted voted for jones and it was a huge blocking -- voting block for him. today's panel is called the 98%, black women organizing, voting, and winning in 2018. i know that all of us are very cognizant that the person in the white house, number 45 -- i don't think i can say his name -- has given many challenges to the folks in our communities
and i think that it's really important that we as black women take our rightful place. i think we've always been -- we've always been the backbone of our community and i can definitely say we have been the backbone of the democratic party for a long time. i think we're just finally getting our due, and i think it's really important our panel today talk about the importance of getting out the vote, not only in organizing and mobilizing, but also black women having their seat at the table, finally running and winning in 2018. [applause] ms. sewell: i want to give a big round of applause for our panelist, johanna hayes. our e latosha brown, moderator, ms. rye. who else do we have? we want to thank all of our candidates that are here. i know that in the room we got
other candidates, black women that are running up and down the ballot and we want to uplift them as well. each of these women is making history this year and they are here to share their insight and discuss the lessons learned and talk about what it means to mobilize our community in elections. so i want to thank all of you for joining us today. most of us here know that it takes a lot of hard work to put one self-out there as a candidate but it takes organizations and mobilization. none of us get here alone. i often said that perhaps the most humbling thing i ever did in my life was running for office because you realize that you're one vote, you're one person, and in order to actually win you have to mobilize, organize and get the most votes. in alabama 50% plus one in order to win. and that takes asking people for their support, asking for money, asking for their time, and asking for their support. so you're constantly asking. it is not for the faint of
heart to be a candidate. and i think it's so important that we really focus on not just black women organizing to elect other people but african-american women organizing and electing each other which is really important as well. [applause] so today i'm going to -- we're going to get started. i want to make sure that all of you know our wonderful moderator who is not only a cnn commentator but she's also the c.e.o. of impact strategies. i know angela back in the day when she -- when i first got elected and was a new member of the congressional black caucus. she was the executive director of the c.b.c. angela brings lots of -- lots of energy, lots of information. and just a wonderful spirit in talking about the 98% black women, organizing, voting and winning in 2018. angela rye. [applause]
ms. rye: good morning, everyone. so it's not sunday, so we have a singer in here on the panel. and i really know that it's really early and that's why y'all are -- good morning -- she did not know i was going to do this but i'm going to humbly request that my good friend, who is an organizer extraordinaire. she has so many wonderful, powerful stories for her work on the ground in alabama, georgia, and everything else she's done to show us that latosha, rs matter, would you bless the congregation? we have to take woken here, right? ms. sewell: i must say she's
from my hometown of selma, alabama. ms. brown: and your mother is my mentor. ms. sewell: my mom, the first african-american woman to be elected to the city council in selma. she served on the city council. ms. nancy sewell. everybody fondly knows her as the real congresswoman from alabama. ms. brown: ♪ well, the first thing i did right was the day i started to fight keep your eyes on the prize and hold on hold on well, the last thing i did wrong i stayed in the wilderness a day too long keep your eyes on the prize and hold on hold on hold on hold on he keep your eyes on the prize and hold on
hold on ♪ amen. amen. [applause] ms. rye: i would say thank me later but you can thank me now. [laughter] wow. latosha, we love you so much. i'm so grateful to be sharing space with these folks. y'all, i have been, i think, in a political depression since november, 2016, in real life and i didn't realize it until the -- you know, we had stacy abrams situation and then andrew gillan situation and then ayana. there is this beautiful moment, a "new york times" photographer captured your stepdaughter with tears streaming down her face the night of your election and i'm like -- right now just thinking about this picture, i'm about to tear up. did y'all see it? her name is torah, right? number one, just a beautiful
child. but you see, like, this -- this dream of hope in her face, in this picture, and so i really want to start with you about why you do this work, about why it's important for all the other little girls out there who didn't get a picture snapped by "the new york times" -- if y'all have not seen it, know it's frameable for your wall and every time donald trump does something else dumb, you can look at her and know she has an ayanna and we have an ayanna who won an election that was just moment us and huge. please talk to us about why you do what you do for all the little coras out there and for all the big coras who had tears streaming down your faces too. >> it's incredible to be with all of you today. bear with me, y'all. i got this -- my husband just walked in. that's good. [applause] but that means it better be on
point because he will let me know. but bear with me. this is my preacher rasp these days. but -- so let me just start at the beginning. first and foremost, i need to say that adage that you these days. it inay you need to see order to be it is so true. i grew up as a child feeling mentored by the example of shirley chisholm and barbara jones, although i never had the privilege and honor of meeting them personally, i felt i knew them, and i was a unique child. i was going to school and church in fake pearls, in you leaving my sh -- emulating my sheroes. oratories,here their cadence.
that is where it all started. the most for medical influence in my life -- the most formidable influence in my life, when i care about, is my mother. >> my mother is a survivor and set and also domestic violence. two generational trauma. in the midst of all that there were so many reasons why we had every reason to go into the
corner and remain in the position that never came up. we felt invisible invoices, and government did not always advocate for us, however, my mother made sure i was not cynical about government and the role of government, and she took me to vote with her in every election, so she made sure that was my civic duty, and it was all right. to fight for, to demand for, to advocate for safety and affordable housing, how we schools, the quality of affordable health care, but she also made sure that i knew it was not up to us to place the burden squarely on the shoulders of government and solidly at their feet, but we had to do this work and partnership, and that has directly in how i govern today. i maintained throughout my campaign that the people closest
to the pain should be closest to the power driving and informing the policymaking parents over entrenchedfor every systemic inequality and disparity that we are living in, what i know is that solutions exist within communities, and that is how i will cover. the last thing i will say is i was elected to boston city council in 2009. commentary of being the first woman of color elected to the legislative body, and took over 100 years. before you were elected, who suffered -- women or black folk? i would say everybody. because we know government is more effective when it reflects the citizens it serves. it is not a tribal kumbaya. it is about cognitive diversity, right? the issues that are spotlighted in more robust, the initiatives
are more endurance, so i ran for the boston city council on a platform to save girls, girls who did not even know they needed saving. people would tell me "go run a nonprofit. that is not the job of municipal government." but i knew better. we cannot afford for these girls to grow up to be broken women. i knew that not from data -- i have lived it! i knew the narrative was dominated by black and brown voice were at a rubin risk, which was true, but it is not healthy boys were being raised by women who had survived, and or, physical or sexual trauma. y'all, violence against violence. this. i got to get out of it is clear to me that the needs of girls were not being met muscle this is why this works.
it is the spotlight, to empathize, to make sure we are holding the narrative. it is not about my brother's keeper or my sister's keeper, it is an and, and our destinies are tied. so that is why i do this. she is about to break another record, since she has no republican opponent, she is going to be reversed african-american woman to represent massachusetts. [cheers and applause] >> absolutely. >> having run against a 20-year incumbent. and that is a hard thing to do. congratulations. >> thank you. >> i think that is actually a good point to kind of follow up on. sewell mentioned that a lot of us could not come out and publicly help ayana. we are going to be real in here today. >> yes.
angela: i want to go to you, johanna, because of your experience. you knew i was going to do it. i saw your face. i felt like you gave me an eye roll. >> i'm ready. angela i'm glad you asked. we always have these conversations where we talk about the pipeline. where is the pipeline? as the pipeline is developing , because you were not waiting for permission, where are the courageous soldiers whoo have your back, when you stand up and say "i can represent us better than you can do for us," right?
>> yes. angela: i want to talk about what you experienced in connecticut and talk to us about -- you had shenanigans that went on. they pulled this in the nomination process. we can talk about that and really what the path forward is for us when we can't wait for anyone to stand up for us. jahana: thank you and no. i appreciate the question. finally we will have this conversation. let's talk about it. just really quickly to add to what ayana said, when we talk about role models, it's not always people in power. for me, no one in my family took me to vote and talked about school, but i was interested. everything i learned about school was at school. it was asking questions. not always of people in positions, but good people who worked in the corner store and lived in my neighborhood and people who were struggling, but had good hearts. i learned how to be a role model and mentor and making something out of nothing.
it's very important for us to remember that somebody is watching. you are somebody's hero and you don't even know it. i never imagined running for any elected office. i realized today that i had been preparing for this for the last 20 years. it's what you do when nobody is watching that is more important. i remind everyone who is running and not running, by your presence, use whatever you have to pour into somebody else's life. when i was national teacher of the year. people step in and out and give you what you need at that time. step aside. that's what true leadership is. it's never about you. it's about the people that you serve. i am so grateful to the shirley chisms and the miss dots. there was a woman in my building who lived on the second floor and the only person i knew with a full set of encyclopedias. can you imagine? they used to give us the samples, so we had a couple, but miss dot had a full set. [laughter] ms. hayes: let a tell you. i sat at her table and i just read. i would go to her house after
school and read her encyclopedias. she had them and they were hers, but she shared them. she had school supplies. i went to her house. i think for us, that sense of community and community building, i know for me has been the foundation of my life. to the question you just asked, i'm johanna hayes and i'm running for congress. [cheers and applause[ ] ms. sewell: we heard that! and we are going claim it. she will be another first. connecticut never had an african-american woman represent them in congress and you are looking at the next congresswoman. from the state of connecticut. ms. hayes: so i announced my candidacy not even out of the space of frustration, but i have something to add and there is a perspective here that is missing. i have literally, i asked myself
the question -- who will speak for these children? speak for the people who cannot speak for themselves? they didn't ask for this. who are in a situation where they have no voice and who will speak for them? i am going to run for congress. i announced 13 days before the connecticut convention. at the convention, on the second ballot, i received the nomination, which was unheart of. everyone sat you don't have a network, and no one knows you. i had never run for office. i had no money. i was running against someone -- not incumbent, but someone who had a 30-year career in connecticut politics. i received the nomination. don't get excited. because i received the nomination and after a series of vote switches, i lost it. it was taken away by three votes. >> say it again. that's voter suppression inside the party. ms. hayes: i was on a screen
like this, and the screen went black. the leader is tallying votes and then comes out and says that i no longer have the nomination. i'm two points behind. angela: i want to clarify, jahana. the republican party did this? ms. hayes: no, this was a democratic convention. i left thinking you know what, i still left with 49% of the votes. this is tremendous. i outperform and did more than i thought i would do. in the week that followed that, it did not sit well. this is the part that's important. a panel was convened with the state party to appeal the results of this convention. everyone said to me you should not go to this convention. you will burn every bridge in the democratic party if you show up at this hearing. hana?ich party, ja
ms. hayes: so i went and i sat in the back. i said i'm going, because this is just wrong. i'm going not as a candidate, but as a voter in this district. i trust you with my vote, and if you are doing this with the lights on in plain sight, then i can't imagine. so the convention, it was -- the ruling that went unanimously in my favor. i did speak. everyone warned me against it. i said i'm doing this for the people who don't have a voice. you have to figure out -- what are you willing to lose over? >> that's right. ms. hayes: i got some of the votes back and still did not have the endorsement. i was a vote behind and i said i'm going to primary. this speaks to what you just said. i met people who said to me, it's so crazy that i'm even here. i met people who said to me, will you be able to stand up to this current administration,
democratic leadership, will you be able to stand up to this democratic leadership, even when it's not popular? i said that's a very strange question coming from the same person unwilling to stand up for ,me even when it's not popular. -- for me, even when it's not popular. we are in the same party, and you are telling me you support me, but yet you can't step out. i think that is what happened. we can't accuse other people of being unwilling to do it. you know, i am in a very unique position, and i watched and i pray about it and i'm humbled by it where you receive this overwhelming support. i went to primary and the candidate who had no money and no network and no political clout and won 62% of the vote. [applause] ms. hayes: and then people, you get flooded with advice and support. it's easy to support me and popular to support me now.
i am so incredibly grateful for the people who prayed with me and walked with me and stepped out with me. i think it's very important to acknowledge when the votes were switched on -- i'm sorry. >> no. ms. hayes: there is a woman here today, her name is veronica and she was one of the chairs. one of the delegates at this convention. it was her town that was switching the votes. she went in not supporting me. they had a candidate, but literally the same thing. this is just wrong. she stood up at the convention and was very vocal and made her voice known and she said i will work every day to help you get elected. because this was just wrong. people were breaking party lines, stepping outside, defying, if you will, public leadership.
i get labeled as this insurgent candidate. you know, this is not that revolutionary. this is not revolutionary. on the one hand, you are applauding us for standing up. are when we do it, we insurgent. i'm a democrat, but i will not just step in line or step in somebody's footprints. wrong is just wrong. [applause] angela: veronica, can you please stand? i want everybody to see you. cheers and applause[ ]
angela: how many of you all -- we all need veronicas in our life. whether you run for an elected officer, you need somebody who is going lift up your arms and have your back and stand up for what's right. seriously. tears in my eyes. ms. hayes: she took some hits for me. angela: i believe it. ms. hayes: that did not go well. and veronica said "i don't give a damn."
ms. hayes: it did not go unnoticed. it was a very difficult primary. very difficult. people had to be bold and unapologetic. angela: i will go to ayana. ms. pressley: before i was on the boston city council, i was an aide on the federal level for 16 years. i was a faithful foot soldier since i was in utero to elect democrats throughout the common wealth of massachusetts and throughout this country. i was running to represent a district that is 57% people of color, 30% foreign born, 40% single female headed households. massachusetts, the birth place of the abolitionist and the suffragettes had never elected a woman of color in the 230-year history of the house. we are the bastian of liberal politics, but we are rhetorically liberal. when we stand for diversity and inclusion, when it comes to power and wealth, the standards change. people thought it audacious after 16 years of my toiling in democratic politics, eight years as an elected official, three times as the top votegetter that i would run. in a district that's 57% people of color. what would happen audacious and a gaffe is if i didn't run. [applause] ms. pressley: what i want to say
-- i want to acknowledge this. i knew it was going to be lonely and uphill and bruising because we don't primary democrats. i was up against a progressive good guy. 10 terms, 20 years. they had not had a choice for a generation. he earned 23% of the vote 20 years ago and had gone unchallenged for 20 years. what i'm going to say is that establish folk will feel, i believe, more emboldened to , especially black leadership, if they know you have their back. >> repeat that. ms. pressley: we play -- if they know that you have their back, we play small. we play small because we are afraid of our own power and because the goal here is addition and multiplication. so folks get afraid. because they don't want to cancel themselves out in the elevation of you.
this is about their own fear of their political capital. but if aides aren't saying, well, look, i can't go against that because i'm going to lose that donor or lose that endorsement and lose the foot soldiers of that union, they'll step out. i believe that. so the conviction is not just of us that will put our names on the ballot, but it is of all of you that support the people behind that and the people that are already there. that will embolden folks. angela: there are literally like tears right here, like, i'm psyched. this is -- this conversation as is spiritual to me. there's something about it that's just like -- i'm going to say it this way. kamala harris told me, and it's something i keep repeating to folks, that in this work we have , we have to remember we're not alone.
and i'm saying that to you because, to ayanna's point, she just said, if folks know you have their back, they'll do it. if you recognize your power, know you're not standing up alone, not going out to fight trying to win an election or supporting it like a veronica is or jahana, you will do different. right now, what we are experiencing is a tremendous shift in the party. for the first time no, the democrats are not republicans, right. we know what the republicans are espousing our way. this is not on the cbc foundation. i'm standing as an individual, it is a nonpartisan organization , but i'm partisan, dammit, and we're going to talk about racism. [laughter] angela: the thing that we have to get right, particularly as democrats, as progressives, particularly as we go further down the line to young people who don't identify in either one of those boxes, right, we have to get rid of the institutional racism that has been pervasive in this country and has infected
the republican party and the democratic party. [applause] angela: the conversation is spiritual to me because i'm like, thank you all for being bold enough to tell this truth in this room, but also on my instagram live, so we'll make sure the democrats -- [laughter] now here's the thing, ms. sewell, i have to come to you, what is astounding to me is so often we talk about there's not enough black representation in the south, in the south, in the south, in the south. the south is struggling with racism. the liberals in the north have it. massachusetts, connecticut, democratic party, like i want to hear from you on -- jahana said it best, she said "i want to know who is going to speak for these kids." you have been a champion for voting rights for us fighting back against republican voter suppression, but what do we do when we turn back around and see
some of those same suppressive tactics to keep us out and isolated? what do we do to make sure we're holding the party accountable and not keeping our voices out, silencing us, and showing we really can make us better? that's what this is about. rep. sewell: first, let me just say, congress is going to be ok in the 116th congress, because we're going to have some great voices added to this. >> yeah. rep. sewell: i think the most important thing to remember is that the power lies with you all as voters. i just want -- we couldn't do this, we could not do this, without people coming to support us, to, you know, retweet our stuff, help post content. we can't do this without you. that includes being bold enough in the face of power to speak truth to that power and to call it what it is. i think that -- when i think about the south, i was the first black woman to represent alabama
, and it was in 2010. i can't believe alabama beat massachusetts and connecticut in getting a black woman to congress, but 2010 is still too long. unless you go and activate and engage your civic engagement, what is your vote? it's for not. all of us to get where we are have to be disruptors. that is a fact. and it is a lonely road. you have to uplift your husband, your mother, your family, because they are the ones who have your back. you have to believe at the end of the day, and in your belief, others will believe. when i think of voting suppression, i come from
selma, and i have to tell you it is disheartening on my watch the time i am in congress, the shelby condition came down that totally messed with the -- camebility of the down. not enough of the groundswell. legislation rarely comes from the halls of congress. legislation bubbles up from the street. grassroots activism is where it has happened. so until we stand up and say modern asian restauranday supprn tax, noso no more poll more reciting all 67 counties in alabama in order to get your right to vote, you get your right to vote if you register.
but unless you go activate and engage your civic engagement, what is your vote? and yes, every level of government affects everything we do. we have to get excited about the fact that now shelby, a decision has happened, 33 states, 33 have enacted forms of voter suppression, be it a photo i.d., which i know many millennials shrug their shoulders. what do you mean a voter i.d. is suppression? think of all the people who do not have a photo. state legislature can determine what form of i.d. is valid, and when a hunting license is valid but a state university student i.d. is not, there is a problem. [applause] >> yes. rep. sewell: that's alabama. when a photo i.d. in those
popular photo i.d. is a driver's license and folks in alabama, because oh, we're running out of money, the state legislature decides to close down dmv's where people get driver's license, that's voter suppression, people. there are modern day barriers to voting, and unless we get upset about it, unless we are fighting about it, unless we are calling it out, whether it's internally within the democratic party or it's external to -- in our government, in our nation, we've got to get excited about it. i can tell you, i see my interns nodding, because i have to ask them -- why are millennials not excited about voting? there was a big presidential debate, and there was notrg onequestion about voting. did you notice that? people are not excited about voting. because we all have a right to vote. when people closes down polling stations because we no longer have the voting rights act of 1965, the "full protections of " of the voting rights act of
1965, and they don't have to give you advance notice they're closing down polling stations, so you see lines wrapped around the building -- think about the people who struggled to get to that line, who have -- to leave work early to go vote because alabama, we don't have early voting, because it's 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. on a tuesday. period. full stop. we've got to get excited about it. i think that i believe in deliverables, and i want you all to know that we can't do it without you all, and as candidates, the three of us are candidates, with these two are activists on the ground working to mobilize and do field and get people to the polls. what kenya did an amazing job as the dnc's -- [ applause ] ... [cheers and applause] the dnc'sl: african-american outreach -- she came to alabama and lived in alabama for literally three months on the ground. you know, when doug jones says "it is not about doug jones,"
i'm here to tell you he's right, it's not about doug jones, it's about alabama wanting to have a voice in congress that reflected their values. no one was more vested than the seventh congressional district. my district happens to be the majority minority district in the state of alabama. for the longest, all 10 years, eight years that i was here, i was by myself. the lone democrat in alabama's delegation. no one was more vested in having a democrat than me. but i could not have done it if we hadn't had people on the ground. now you know, you've been doing this a long time, natasha has been doing this a long time. latosha has been doing this a long time. it's important that we give credit where credit is due. there's not enough african-american operatives who get paid. latosha: that's right. that's right. rep. sewell: field operatives,
there are not enough african-american pollsters. when you do this work you're having to hire these people and the people that you're hiring often don't look like you. latosha: tell it. rep. sewell: that's a problem. there's a problem. when i look at young women -- that's why i am so pleased to have an african-american woman as my finance director. she needs to learn how to raise some money. [applause] >> stand up. stand up. rep. sewell: that's important. that's important. because you have to give opportunities. we have to give opportunities. we have to create opportunities for ourselves, let's be clear, none of us got up here because somebody anointed us, so we have to create opportunities and then give opportunities for others. i would love it if we could pivot to why it's so important. we spend millions of dollars for house races, and most of it is on television when really, it's the people driving folks to the polls that actually gets votes that elect you.
tv doesn't vote. but i'm just saying, we've got to figure that out. i would love to hear from our activist, you know. angela: i'm getting there. ms. sewell, so i love her because this is the same energy she has about protecting you all's voting rights, even if you don't live in alabama. i want you to know this is our voting rights champion in the house of representatives, and we thank you. like i love her. like if you're not excited now, i don't know what to tell you. about going to vote, about registering to vote, and protecting the vote. thank you, ms. sewell. latosha, i'm keeping my eyes on the prize. ms. sewell, in her remarks, i'm about to get in trouble, i'm not going to look at her, she talked about wanting to ensure and and alabamians wanting to ensure they have someone that represented their values and their interests in the senate. you were a key to ensure this 98% number turned out for doug jones. i want to talk to you a lot about what you did to get women,
black folks, excited about going to vote against roy moore, but also for doug jones and then i , and then i want to ask a follow-up question, about how he got that tremendous benefit, what we do to ensure he doesn't forget -- for those of you who don't know, the context is the senator shared the stage with the lovely terri sewell a couple days ago for an opening session here and -- oh. hold on. i asked him if he were going to vote for brett kavanaugh's nomination right now, how will he vote, and he said he doesn't deal in hypotheticals. i asked him, i told him i'm sure there are a lot of black women in the room who want him to deal in hypotheticals, so he still
did not, but he had a meeting with him next week. for those of you who need an action action item when you leave here, 202-224-3121 is the switchboard operator for the capitol. call doug jones and tell him black women everywhere said [ "naw."ghw, that's [laughter] angela: we got to do something. latosha: you're right. i think the alabama wasn't about doug jones. what we said is this ain't about roy moore. and so it's important that we're having authentic messages with our people, because, let's be honest, we're saying that when we're going out in the street and talking to young folks and talking to people who are saying i don't want to vote, any of you
all who have done election work, i don't believe my vote is going to make a difference, how many of you have heard people say, they're going to do what they want to do anyway? this question, i want you to be honest, how many have you felt like either one of those. and i do voter work every day of my life. i'm raised in that because unless we start from a framework of authenticity to be able to speak to what people want, it's not really about voting, it's about power, it's about how do we build power in our communities, so that we can actually think about and talk about self-governance. at the end of the day, the way that we win wars, we win them on the ground. even when we win in the south, there is an idea that the south is not progressive. i am not surprised that the south was first. there have always been women leading the vanguard. shirleylark, surely
chisholm, we have always created strength. i think what happened, even in the race for doug jones, the race was not about doug jones, quite frankly. what we said is this is not about the democrats, this is not a public and some of this is not about roy moore, this is not about doug jones -- this is about us. honest. when we are going out of the streets and talking to young people and say i don't live vote, i do not believe that my vote is going to make a difference, how many of you all have heard that? raise your hands. how many people have written say -- there they are going to do what they want to do anyway? how many of you actually felt like either one of those? and i go to work every day of my life, i am raising that because unless we start from a framework of authenticity, it is not about voting, it is about power.
it is about -- how do we build voting in our communities so we can talk about self-government? we're the majority in the community and should be controlling the budget. that's like a non -- like a no-brainer, right. but at the end of the day, we have something to offer for all of americans. we have something to offer when we're talking about health care, for all people. when we're talking about rights for all people. ultimately what our work consisted of was actually using the infrastructure -- because i am from alabama and a southern baptist, you know, there's a bible story my grandmother would say, she would talk about moses and moses thought he wanted to get something different, and god said use what's in your hand. family. use what's in our hand. what we have when we don't have resources and don't have the people -- when we don't have the party support, we have the people. and when you are able to touch and connect and mobilize people,
that's what will make the difference. it is not by accident what you saw in alabama, that's not by accident. the south is rising, y'all. say you heard it here. the south is rising, right. what you saw in georgia, what you're seeing in georgia with the african-american woman, that's years of work, of people toiling that created that space. what you're seeing in florida with andrew gillum, that's years of folks. the reason why the polls don't know, why all of the polls are wrong, is because they're talking to the wrong folks. they're not talking to the people we're talking to. they're not talking to the miss josephine down the street. i guess he was talking to them? -- but guess who is talking to them? we're talking to them. particularly in alabama and other places like alabama what has happened this is for you all as well, we have always, this is the idea that you don't have infrastructure, that in the black community there's no infrastructure, and particularly
i've heard this in the party field, and being a consultant, right, that part of it, our infrastructure -- we've always had infrastructure even during -- during our enslavement, there was always a system on that plantation to move food, there was always a system to pray, there was always a system to learn how to read that worked for us. it has always worked for us. that's what we actually have to plug into. ultimately what we do in our communities now, and i think all of these women, if you ask them, they've all had strong grassroot relationships. it's relational organizing that actually has helped and is feeding the campaign. >> absolutely. latosha: certain things we did is, we actually worked with grassroot groups, they may be churches and may be women and the sororities or fraternities, the infrastructure that is available in our community being able to tap into that infrastructure and being able to share a message, an authentic message about people listening
, instead of always going to folks trying to extract something from them, that they see you coming to the door, you have somebody that calls you and you see them on your phone, and you don't want to answer the phone, because they want something, right, right. people don't like that. but it's different when people are actually listening and listening to what folks -- folks will tell us what they want if we just listen. i think what ultimately in alabama what happened is, what has always happened to help with the liberation of our people, it is using our power around our relationship, being able to connect, being able to say authentic messages and being able to tap into the existing infrastructure. just know the south is rising. [applause] right. >> i love it. >> i love be you. angela: i want to come to you, because it's important, you have to sit -- if i could define this
in a way, it's the dual consciousness that w.e.b. dubois talked about, but you just don't have to do it in the country as a black woman but internal to the party. we haven't been bashing the party, but setting the stage for the truth about what's happening and what needs to change, and you're there to work on that. i want to give you this other example to respond to. she's not here to talk about it. she was supposed to be on the panel, but stacy adrams, an example i've used a lot in speeches now, black people, especially running for statewide office, are often told they're not electable. have you heard that? right. they're not electable. not enough of y'all heard it. you heard it here first. stacy abrams is one of those people, and the party establishment, including black folks, the establishment, systemic racism can come from multiple shades, because it's systemic. so including black people in the party establishment, told stacy abrams she wasn't electable so
much so that they engaged in what i'll call voter confusion, right, by putting someone named stacy evans on that same ballot with stacy abrams, hoping that black folks and oppressed people and disenfranchised people wouldn't know the difference. but we came up with a thing called black safety. facts. black safety ended up beating -- so black stacy ended up beating white stacy because she was more qualified. to go back to what she had been saying she had been working and proving herself. and gave white stacy a platform on something. anyway. [laughter] so i want to go to you, kenya, to help us understand how the party is going to move out of this, especially with the recent -- there was a situation also in the same race, the chair
of the party, tom perez, told stacy abrams he was not getting involved in primaries, but he just got involved in a primary. he endorsed governor cuomo in the new york primary, because cynthia nixon was running against him. so i want to understand how the party is going to start working itself out of its hypocrisy and what your role will be in helping to shed that. because it's so important to the 98% and so many more, you can get the 2% if y'all can check this out, because as latosha said, they're going to do what they want to do anyway, the only way out is for us to start having these conversations and moving to action that looks different. kenya: well, i'm actually going to quote our black caucus chair and say, while they're going to do what they're going to do, we're going to do what we're going to do. that -- being from the south, you hear stuff like that all the time.
it's not just about being -- running for an office but just coming from that particular region of the country you always have doubt and that doubt comes sometimes from our own people. one thing that we have to do as a community is keep going. we can't let other people determine who we are. whether you're running for office or organizing or whatever. you have to approach -- and it's one of the approaches i take on the inside. angela, we've had different conversations about me going to the party and about that, but, you know, i believe -- you got to be everywhere. i need -- like i believe that out of pressure comes diamond. i need your pressure. that's how i'm able to do things i'm able to do within the party. it's not just me, but other women who look like me that do things this work. i came to uplift my colleagues, i report to her, who is a deputy national finance director, we need your support and come in the form of pressure or criticism or whatever, because most of that is valid. one of the reasons i came to the party because it was valid, and i believe that i could only make the change that i needed by
being there. if we're not at that table, we are definitely on that menu. you won't see changes because we were in a position to say, we need to invest in black rural communities when we could, not to a candidate, but to infrastructure, like latosha said, we've always had infrastructure. you have to know how to operate it. we can't depend on people who don't look like us to organize us. that's our job. and we do that well. [applause] >> and you to have the support. dir. clanton: you to have the support. angela: i was getting ready to ask -- what does support look like to you in that role? i think it's an important thing to understand, because there is a balance between constructive criticism and the support that you need to really be equipped to move the party in a better, stronger direction. dir. clanton: well, support looks like terri sewell, it
looks like speaking out, a convening of congressional members with the party infrastructure and saying, what y'all are doing ain't enough, and we need money on the ground. i've been saying that, but when she says it, it helps move things. before support looks like folks like you who call us out, right, but also looks like people who send me texts or calls or e-mails, people i haven't speaken to in a while, to say thank you because you're there, i can see the difference, i feel the difference, even when people who i have known forever and looked up to, called sister, called friend, text me. it looks like that. looks like ordinary women who say thank you. people in pittsburgh, people in cleveland, people in baton rouge and new orleans, people in alabama, birmingham, that looks like support to me. melanie campbell, all these people who have it for a long time felt like this was their party now, because i'm there and doing the work every single day for ayanna pressley, for johanna
hayes, for ayanna pressley, for stacy abrams, for folks who don't know and commissioners and state representatives who need a shot, they need a platform, they need a digital cut for them. i'm in a position to say can we get some crew down there to get this done. it ain't much, but it's enough. that's what we have to realize. [applause] yeah. rep. sewell: most of us who get a seat at the table have to speak up. you have to say -- what she can't say. waikinya can't say to some of the stuff i can say to tom perez. the reason why doug got in office was because there were a whole bunch of people he doesn't even know that did a whole bunch of work to help him get there. you need the resources. i want to make sure the resources coming in from the dnc went to the people. she's sitting at the table at the dnc. the dnc is coming to alabama asking us for to mobilize our resources for them, you have to
say to tom and jamie, and to their credit, they listened. i said, you have got to put money on the ground. do not come to alabama, doing another television ad -- doug has enough television ads -- not another mail piece -- he had enough mail pieces -- we need to activate the people on the ground, who have been doing this work for free, they need resources. they need resources. helping direct that is important. so, you know, that wasn't just calling tom, that was talking to chuck schumer and at the dsdc. they have resources, but you want them deployed in a way that makes sense. so when you get to the table, not just -- it's not just getting to the table of power, when you have a seat at the table, what are you going to do with that power? >> that's right.
angela: you said something very important. you said you want them deployed in a way that makes sense. i think i would add to that sentence and say, in a way that makes sense to me. because people will tell you how to deploy and this is how you campaign and this is what you need to do, and i remind them that's not working. phone banking is not the only way to run a campaign. you have people who have done this and done it effectively, who are unwilling to imagine it any other way than what they've always done. and what i'm trying to say as a listener, as a voter, as a constituent, but that didn't touch me. we're at a place you have candidates who are being bold and unapologetic and saying "i'm willing to try something different." that is getting some pushback. because there are different ways of being and doing. there are different ways of communicating. i said it's 2018.
i understand and appreciate your advice, but this is something that's going to have me left behind. that's a 2010 campaign. >> that's right. ms. hayes: we have to deal with the time we are in and the people we are talking to. >> that's right. ms. hayes: i am a candidate in connecticut running for congress in a district that is 73% white and has never elected -- the democrats have never elected a person of color to this seat. i have to run a campaign that touches and speaks to the people in the district that i live in. so you can't come in and dump advice on me that says "and this works," and i say, "yeah, but not for me." if you're not willing to listen to me, don't invite me to the table, take a picture of my smile, but tell me don't open my mouth. i'm not that girl. [applause]
latosha: i think we will do a disservice in this moment if our conversation does not -- if we don't have a critical analysis about what party politics mean. i think we really do have to have an evolution of thought around that. primarily because i do think that the paradigm of political parties in general, both republican and the democrats, have shifted. trump was not the party candidate. let's be honest. now they claim him now because they're all scared. he wasn't the first, the second, the third, the fourth, the fifth. he attacked all of them and got there. they still don't know. and i think part of that is because there has been a paradigm shift in the roles of political parties in the country that we really have to be engage in that conversation, so that we're not -- i always liken it to what i call the blockbuster syndrome. do you remember blockbuster? ok. so blockbuster at one point was
on every single corner, right. they were on every corner, they had the market on lock, right. and what they did is they provided a service. their service was on demand video. people who wanted to have movie, they go to blockbuster, right. and so they were even on wall street, they were doing that well, that lucrative, had a monopoly. they had it on lock. along came something called netflix. [laughter] latosha: the service, the need didn't change. the same demand was having video demand. right. on video demand. what they did is their service delivery, their framework changed. i think we can look at -- i think the democratic party has to make a question of, are you going to be a blockbuster or a netflix? [applause] latosha: so i think the blockbuster model of we need to make sure we're putting all of our resources to attract the moderate white voter, i don't
know -- if this ain't a demonstration that that's a blockbuster model, i don't know what is. i think there is -- we have to have deep conversations and an analysis talking about how the landscape has changed, right, and what we need to do and not necessarily what the -- how i see it is what will the party do, getting the party -- the party is going to have a seat at the table and invite us. no, no, no. it's our table. [laughter] >> that's right. latosha: we have to think about it, power for people at our table. then the vehicle and our partners and the framework in which we set the table, becomes something different. it's not about necessarily trying to tear either party down or particularly the democratic party, particularly since that's the party that is really aligned and then a value to my community, right, but it is around, just in my life, i surround myself with folks who push me, who are critical of me, who want me to really operate at excellence.
we want the same thing. we want this party to operate in the spirit of excellence, so that it is reflective to the people it's supposed to serve. [applause] angela: and on that point -- [ thank you, latosha. on that point, i want to say to -- because i heard you getting emotional, i know it's a tough job. i know it's a tough job, but the reason i didn't want you to go is because i did not want you to go into blockbuster when you are netflix. i want you to have your own table. so i'm not saying that there's no benefit to you being there, but to me as your sister, the benefit is greater to you from the outside, what you can do to help reshape and reform that party. we talk all the time on our team, there's an article, and i hope you will read it, in the harvard business review that came out a few years ago called "understanding new power," and the problem is it's an old power paradigm. we gave you a black stacy versus white stacy example, you have
ayanna, we know that's an old power model. she's better than that. no shade to the party but shade , because it's true and doesn't feel good, but that's why. i just want you to know that publicly. i love you, i don't like that. i'm not doing anything for the party right now, and i'm also not a republican, i'm progressive, but i believe that progressives don't have to tell me how to reach black people better than black progressives can tell us how to do that. i think that's an ongoing theme. >> all of us. >> yeah. dir. clanton: not all of us are
progressives, ms. sewell said. well, i think, and i appreciate you for that but say that my decision in coming to work for the party was never about me. it was about my people. >> i see. dir. clanton: because my people have to be in this world and have to exist, i owe it to our community to make sure that someone like them is there. it's not about me, it's not about you, it's not about anyone else. i am not a member o it's about people like my aunt and my cousins who don't have this opportunity. people from a small town like canton, mississippi, 13,000 people who see me and see them and see their voice being represented and even though i'm not a member of congress, they need someone who works for them every single day. it's not just people of canton, but also the people of the united states. the black people of the united states. the women people of the united states. all people of the united states. need someone in that position, in a position, that is willing to go to bat for them even when it's not popular, when it's not fair. let me tell you one of the things in going into alabama, can you get this -- i can't get nobody. you can't ask me to come talk to my people for free. i'm not going to do it. i have -- i was raised, born and raised in the naacp. my grandmother was a charter member of the canton, mississippi, naacp with an eighth grade education.
i don't believe in free labor. don't believe in it. [laughter] [applause] dir. clanton: be real about it, this work for us is not just about race, it's about responsibility. it is about responsibility to people who look like us who don't have the privilege of being able to come to d.c., sit on the panel, and talk about what we think. no. they live -- these are lived experiences that we have to go to bat for every day, and as a person who has several experiences, i'm going to do that always. [applause] >> all right. ms. pressley: so on this blockbuster/netflix theme, what i do want to say is, because now ultimately we won by 18 points. i did not accept corporate pac money. we raised $1 million in grassroots donations, the median contribution was $64. hold on. i have people who contributed $1, experiencing homelessness
living in shelter that came every day. 14-year-olds that were canvassing on days that it was like walking the surface of the sun, it was so hot. 250 black men behind the walls of nci norfolk, who endorsed me and organized their families on the outside. >> come on. [applause] now what i'm saying -- and miss josephine on the phone. calling all her church ladies. what i want to say is that i don't -- we can't get so focused and frameworked and model we forget message. >> that's right. ms. pressley: so people keep asking me what am i going to do about the leader, and i say the same thing, it's not an artful dodge of the question, would you hire a principal for a school if you didn't know the mission and value statement of that school?
we need to have a discussion about the mission and the value statement of this party. not -- [applause] >> that's right. ms. pressley: now listen, we get marketing. we got some awesome slogans. i'm trying to get beyond hash tags unless they woke, but beyond a value that we espouse and hashtags and bumper stickers, but putting in equity to make thosety values real. those brothers endorsed me because they felt seen and heard. the 14-year-olds are canvassing because they felt seen and heard. miss josephine felt seen and heard. when we talk about the millennials, we had a meeting with our state party, i do want to talk about not just the dnc, let's talk about the state parties, the ward committees, ok. we need to get granular in this
reform, ok, but they said, "well, you know, this was just magical." no. there was nothing magical about it. [laughter] ms. pressley: what happened is, when you demonstrate to people that you give a damn about them, then they give a damn about democracy. [applause] >> that's right. ms. pressley: you have to show up and meet people where they are, and i had plenty of consultants and this consultant industrial concept that were fired because there was not an alignment of value and told me i was wasting my time on college campuses, but i want to say these young people showed up because i was talking about one-time cancellation of student debt. they showed up. they showed up because -- i'm going to say this as a voter, we have given elected officials and policymakers a pass. they get to talk in slogans and check boxes -- and listen, i was the only candidate that had a violence in trauma plank in my platform. why did i have that? most elected officials you go to
and say what are you doing about violence, they say "i support gun control." we tell them that's not good enough. you go to them as a woman and they say well, i support choice. are you good? they go to immigrants and assume every immigrant is latino. you know how many black immigrants live in the massachusetts seven? they will say i support immigration reform. are you good? they go to the lbgtq and say i support marriage quality, are you good? we don't live in checked boxes or bumper stickers. we live in intersectionalty, and we need to demand more and , and that's why, democrats, it is not enough to just talk about a blue wave and democrats being in the majority. what matters is who are those democrats. that's what matters. >> oh, my god. the doors of the church are open, child. >> so i'm just saying --
we have to have a conversation about the guts and the soul of this party and our message, because all the reconfiguring of the service delivery without a message that is resonating and authentic doesn't matter. that's what we have got to get straight. i reject the notion that this is about working class white folk and everyone else. i reject the notion that we're going to have an actual debate about if we are the party of jobs and the economy or of criminal justice reform when the issues are conflated. i'm not choosing. we have got to get that straight and then we can get to the , service delivery. >> that's right. ok, so i mended, the doors to the church are open. and before there's a benediction , there's time for the congregation to ask questions. let me tell you something about this church. we had enough preachers, including the moderator, and i just want to
ensure that you have a question. and i know this has been spiritual, and even i want to vacated, but i need to -- i need you not to. i need you to promptly get to your question and ask your question to one of the panelists and if you do not, be an abrupt church service because i have to cut you off. there's no organ, but i will cut you off. we'll take your question. name, where are you from? >> well, good morning. >> good morning. >> i am karen stanley fleming, and i do currently live in buffalo, new york, but i am from the distinguished congresswoman's great state of alabama. [applause] my question is for her because when i hear some of the righteous anger of the sister from mississippi, hello, where my husband is from, and alabama, there is something about the self rising again. and so my question representative sewell, what was in your mind when you set aside that $31 million for
historic rates preservation? i'm feeling it had something to do with if we understood our history, we could get on fire about voting. if you would share that with this audience, maybe somebody here needs to apply for the $50,000 or that $500,000, because i certainly intend to on behalf of my parents, high school in alabama, so if you see that application coming through. >> that's a lot of shout outs. >> all right, that is all. >> what were you thinking? >> so, really, i think it goes to having a seat at the table. what my -- the seventh congressional district is birmingham, selma, montgomery, marion, tuscaloosa, a lot of historic stuff happened there. and i see it as an avenue for economic revitalization. it was a little selfish, but it's not just my district. so many other districts would benefit from it, as well, because we know that if we don't learn from our past, we are going to repeat the past.
i think that -- so the -- i went to the president at the time, obama, and i said, i think that for the 50th anniversary of the selma and montgomery march, it is not enough we have a department of interior with historic preservation grants. how about we do specific grants for civil rights sites? and then clyburn said why don't we do specific , grants for civil rights sites on hbcus, too? we started a conversation based on our life experience knowing that those kinds of historic preservation grants can be a catalyst for economic revitalization of our community. there's too many of those churches that are crumbling. on saturday, tomorrow, will be the 55th anniversary of the 62 baptist church bombing of the -- where the four little black girls killed. it's never lost on me i walk the halls of congress because they cannot. and what are we doing to move it forward?
what are we doing to pay it forward? historic preservation grants for civil rights sites and there are 31 million, you were right, fyi are available. special grants you apply for and do october 8 for this -- and they are due october 8 for this fiscal year. if you want any more information about it, go to my website. sewell.house.gov. october 8. >> can i just say representative sewell is not just fighting for people in alabama. she championed and led the charge to get child car as a reimbursable campaign expense. i was the first candidate in connecticut to use it. and i was told, well, let's wait and see what other people around the country are doing. i don't care what other people are doing. i got a child, and i need some child care. so she was helping me before she even knew she was helping me. i know that by me doing that and having that show up as a line
item on my report, the person at home thinking about doing this is saying, i could never do this because i have a child, you know, we're breaking down barriers from 50 years ago, barriers today and just reminding people that no, you can do this. stand on my shoulders because i've already started to pave the way for you. for that, i thank you. >> thank you. >> hello, i am mark harrison, from the washington, d.c., area and prince george's county next door. i have a question about the point that you raised about the party not endorsing -- staying out of primaries. all right. i want to hear, does that also include members of congress? should they stay out of primaries as well? the issue has become the issue of incumbency and some -- one of the candidates up there now, some people didn't want to endorse her but she won anyway, the sister from boston. so we have this concern even
with cbc members who are concerned about incumbency. you have to endorse the incumbency. what is the position on staying out of primaries? is that the party apparatus or what about members of congress themselves? >> well, thank you for that question. the reason that that's the position that we try to take in most instances is because it gets us in the business of picking winners and losers. you know, we believe that will of the people shall decide. that is what we ultimately say and encourage our state parties do the same thing. they don't necessarily follow those rules. sometimes that puts us in a compromising position. because of where we sit we don't want anything to tip the scales. we saw in 2016 where people 's trust in us became more of an issue and so we try to stay away from that and across the party apparatus in general. when i say party, i'm not just
talking about the dns but the dga, all the other sister committees. that is the practice and i think that also just for members of congress, they don't want to be seen as tipping the scales either. so that's kind of where we are as democrats. and the will of the people is choosing people like ayanna pressley and like jahana hayes and that's what we want to see. then you get the message to your point that things are shifting and then we have to also change our way of thinking and doing. >> we are having to, you know, we're ushering a new paradigm in every way. disruptive candidacies disrupting congressional wisdom, when they can run, and how they run, and when. so i told every aspiring candidate do not put so much emphasis on endorsements because oftentimes those endorsements aren't working. they didn't invest resources. so it is ultimately about us having the runway and bandwidth
between the people. the last thing i want to say is, we need to develop a new litmus test for many of these political mobilization empowerment and women's advocacy organization. ok, because they are defaulting to an incumbency clause or a member's voting record on one single issue and an issue that i consider to be the floor and not the ceiling. i think when we -- when we're talking about endorsement, it is not just about the dnc as a party. all of these organizations are going to have to rethink what their litmus test and criteria is as well. >> thank you. next question. >> oh, lord. i didn't see any -- like hey. i'm sorry about that. >> that is ok. my name is cassandra, and i am an obstetrician and gynecologist , and i am concerned about the
reproductive rights of women. that's why i'm here. i'm glad to see you here. one of the things that i have seen just on the media is like the messaging and kind of staying on message. the republicans have it down for whatever reason. they stay on message whether it be true, false, negative, they stay on message. right. but the dnc i feel like -- i guess this question is to miss clayton, how do we get people to how doton, i'm sorry - we get people to stay on message from a democratic side? i believe in collective bargaining and my concern is a lot of the people that we're mobilizing are going to become independent, and if we don't stay on message, our collective bargaining is dispersed. >> yeah. more than just being a tent, we're a tapestry. when you think about the contract between the two parties, it's easy to be a republican. right. they are all about what they are against, seldom what they are for, unless it's like, you know, like small taxes and all that other stuff.
but for us, it's a little bit different. right. and i think we struggle with this, we have been struggling with this for a long time, and one of the things that, you know -- i will talk about the table a little bit, it's been referenced, one of the things we're doing with this tour at the table, our black women's tour, we're talking to folks trying to figure out what are the issues you care about the most. because it will come a time for a platform before we go into convention in 2020 and we will need to know from ordinary people about what they care about and figure how we reassemble those folks to talk about what that stuff really means. far too long we've depended on people who aren't like us to tell us what we should be thinking or feeling and i'm approaching it from a different perspective. i'm approaching it from a cultural perspective because everyone, even within our culture, there's differences and there are different opinions and just because we're black doesn't mean we all agree when it comes to issues about reproductive issues in total. it depends on where you're from and your moral beliefs and all that
stuff. it's hard to define that and to pinpoint that, but i promise you we are working every day. that is a constant conversation we're having right now about what that looks like. you know? sorry i could not have a better answer. [applause] >> good morning. , nativeis doug shabbos new yorker, currently a boston resident, and i am so proud -- my name is doug chavez. as a matter of fact, i am gleaming with pride at our leadership, and i'm looking forward to seeing all these wonderful leaders overly improve the democratic party and politics in general. amckly, some may think i naïve, but i still envision, at least in boston, we have a lot of latinos that got the height the congresswoman, and i feel the best way to advance under representative communities of
color in this country is to build a stronger coalition and bridge with the black and brown communities, which i feel lack. hate, and it creates a pit in my stomach when black and brown communities are pitted against each other. can you believe we can build this coalition bridge? obviously, i don't think everyone, even in the brown communities, we don't all agree and we're all different. we're not a monolith group. but i just want to see a vision if that includes that and i pray it does. thank you. [applause] >> thank you. >> i love it. i say that, we have to learn -- the thing that has been most rewarding and the most humbling
for me is that, across the board what we have received is support from groups. we have japanese women, 120 of them in california, that are writing postcards. we have a group on election in the primaries of order -- of puerto rican activists out of arizona. we have a group of progressive white, and maybe 80% of the initial campaign for the bus tour we're doing around the south has been supported by progressive whites. i think, ultimately, if we are talking about issues and we are connecting that authentically, what human beings do not want access to health care? like, really? there are some that want other folks not have access to health care. but we are not talking about them. i think having a coalition, and
this has been said, it is being able to have a message that is about the larger question of how we workund together to advance an agenda that impacts all of us, knowing that there are nuances. i hate when folks say they are -- color, because i do not trust you. i have to be invisible for you to be all right. right? i think it is important that the nuances and culture and richness of the cultures, at the end of the day, i like roses because they come in all different colors, and flowers. it is important if we are talking about, and there is evidence of that in the women are up here, it is generational, -- our future is building the broad-based intergenerational, and duration -- interracial coalitions.
i think that will connect us is we are standing on issues, and what concerns us and really being inclusive in our message. >> two t-shirt moments came out of today. strategizing since slavery, and if you are color blind, i don't trust you. that is veronica right there. >> i am a proud resident in connecticut where my future congresswoman jahana hayes will be winning in november. we going to claim that. i do have a question. i ran for city council last year and lost -- to be continued. my platform was representation matters. the question i am asking the women who are running, what can we do as a party to have better representation of black people -- black people working in the as campaigning
managers, finance directors, field directors, whatever? i am happy to say aesha is the coordinator for and at title, field rep, she is just there. shields to galvanize the volunteers for my area. but how can we have more young people, black people, old people, whomever, get involved and work on these campaigns? we get a lot of volunteers. we need more. we need y'all to volunteer and write checks. but how can we get more representation of us to work on these campaigns? >> i think part of the reason why we are here is because we are talking about how black women have been underrepresented. people did not hear our voice. i see the same thing happen with millennials. let's learn from our mistakes. when we invite people to the
table, do it in a meaningful and purposeful way. i had a nine-year-old on my campaign that did the phone banks every day. won the award. he came in, and asked him to put stance on envelopes. he said, i want to talk to people. i said, give them a phone. it is so funny because when i went out to the community, people said, i just got a phone call about you from the most amazing nine-year-old. you cannot hang up on a nine-year-old. i was like, we struck gold with lamar. i say that -- we have to learn from our mistakes. we cannot be in this room having an autopsy on what we did wrong with black women, but then continue to perpetuate those same offenses to millennials, to brown communities, to disengaged communities. i say to people when they come into my headquarters, tell me what you're good at and i will find a place. you can't just put anybody on
the phone. i'm talking to people and i'm like, not putting you in front of people. that is not your gift. >> that's right. >> that is not your gift. listen to me, when, and i will turn it over to you, but when i became national teacher of the year, when i decided to run for congress, one scripture settled in my soul and it has guided me and carried me every perhapsay, and it is -- you have been chosen for such a time as this, for such a time as this. so when people walk through your doors, that is their moment, too. you can't take that away from them because people have come in and said i don't know how to volunteer. i've never done this before. you don't want to diminish or devalue anybody's gift. so i say to them, tell me what you know how to do and we'll figure out a way to fit that into this team. and that involves some creativity. some boldness. some diversity of thought. some educating of others.
some sharing of your own gifts to feed important to the lives of others. and you can't say there are two paid, canvase are or phone bank. that is not how this works. i, too, do not believe in free labor. i work too hard. and if you want to keep people, you have to show me i matter. you can't just invite me into your room so you could have a photo op of a full room but i never get to talk. and when i do talk, you never hear or consider what it is i said. you never include this as part of your strategy moving forward. nobody has time for that. ain't nobody get time for that. i say, we do not even need headquarters. here is a list if you have a phone at home. but just figure out a way to do this different in a way that is meaningful and purposeful. you can't just ask me for my vote. but that's it.
i don't get anything, nothing? come to theto party, not at the vip table, we don't get to talk. and i think that is how millennials are feeling right now. if they are saying to us, i don't watch commercials. i fast forward right through. and we're saying the only way we're communicating with you is through a tv commercial, you already lost them. i was a high school teacher for 15 years. yes. and i'm going to tell you something. as i taught civic education and i registered every student who came through my classroom as a senior to vote, and i will tell you, most of the students are registered unaffiliated. they are not picking a party. they are making you work for their vote, and they take it with them if they don't like what you are doing. they say, i don't know, let me wait and see. i have an 18-year-old son. through the primary, i checked his registration. he unaffiliated.
i said, in this house, you don't vote, you don't eat. and he said to me, he said to me and it is probably my proudest moment, well, what is your platform? what do you stand for? tell me what you're going to do for me. and if that wasn't me coming through him, so i think we have to be cognizant of that. people want to know, what are you going to do for me? i'm promoting this message that says we can't just wait until we are affected by it, we have to fight for it just because it is the right thing to do. but what we are affected by definitely frames our decision-making, which is why the civil rights legislation was so important to representative sewell and why she led the church, and not one of her male -- why she led the charge for including childcare as a campaign reimbursable expense. we have to make sure that when we invite people and ask them to come into our space, we actually want them there. and that, i think, is the challenge of the party. we've been invited, but don't really feel welcome. >> before you answer, can we do
this quickly? we have several other questions, and we only have eight minutes left. >> i am sorry. >> i appreciate it. but nobody else can answer that long. -- >>s quickly, thank you quickly, thank you for being teacher of the year. and we need more teachers elected to public office. [applause] that is why you got to go. quickly, you asked how to get more people of diversity and diverse backgrounds into campaign work. we have two programs, three programs that we're pushing right now to get more people of color involved in democratic campaigns , and i'm not talking about field organizers, i'm talking about finance consultants, press people and communications people that is team blue. we're looking to deploy around the country because races to win in november. we need all types of talent. i don't believe
you can't go to communities that don't resonate with you, it is hard to do. but the other thing is team blue, new blue crew we are focusing on college students on campuses. if you want more information, see me after this. >> yes, ma'am. >> good morning. i'm an abolitionist, prison and police. i'm a former public defender and currently a master's student at nyu studying policy. and i'm curious to know, i'm a firm believer that the system is working exactly how it was intended to work. so until it is no longer, oppression will persist. so i'm curious to know your thoughts on abolition but any inspiring words for a young woman looking to affect policy in a positive way for
communities of color. any advice that you have? thank you. >> before anyone answers, let's do this quickly. i'm going to try to get all of these questions in and then let everybody close out and we'll wrap. abolition is the first question. >> my name is alexis locket from arizona. i work in financial aid at one of the biggest community colleges in arizona. so we have a lot of brown and black students. i want to know, as a millennial woman, young black woman, what can i do as an activist? i just feel like with my studies, i don't know if i'm doing enough. what is enough as a young millennial? >> thank you. next. i am from arizona, here as a student. i've always been a little confused about my idea of blackness. black men are not supposed to have emotions other than anger
or happiness. our emotions are marginalized as far as what we're supposed to do in society. and black women have been marginalized to the point of not even really being part of the discussion until now. and i haven't even seen the things i've seen from black women recently, previously, and i have an amazing mom. she's the greatest person i've ever known. my dad is not shabby. married to my mom, he's always a great protector. i don't have a story. i come from arizona with 7% black people. and i don't have a story to fight for, really. >> yes, you do. i see, the civil rights movement in my house when i grew up. and i am still confused about blackness sometimes. i'm not after the caucus. you're all role models and you
just stood for what you believed in, not knowing you would be up here one day. i'm sold on black women for sure. [laughter] >> y'all can clap for that. that's all right. [applause] >> i do need your question. >> coming from my position, i do not know if there is anything i can push forward now, but what can i do for candidates even outside of my state? >> good afternoon. my question is for representative sewell. you mentioned voter suppression. the getting of the preclearance provision -- the gutting of the preclearance provision. what are strategies we can do to overcome those challenges? because you
mentioned polls are closing, certain documents are no longer valid. so what are the challenges we can use to overcome? >> good morning. i am the owner of a political firm in nashville, tennessee. at the state and local level, we talk about black women organizing. we see a lot of women of color running against each other, and not a lot of pipeline building. what are some of the suggestions you would have as we work at the local level? from counsel to congressional. but at the local level, we still fight with each other so much and often times lose races that we could be winning. what would you say to folks that are working on that? >> good morning. i am a jamaican native attending the university of connecticut as a freshman. as someone wants to be a future society, ioday's want to know, how did you get through the challenges and obstacles you faced?
you sure that the paths took was not smooth. i want to know how you overcame it here but gave you strength? what gave you strength when you felt like you wanted to give up? >> hello, i am a freshman at howard university. and i just had a question about what she was saying about young people not really voting anymore. my question was, what would you say to somebody like me who is interested in politics and wants to get involved? how do i inspire my classmates? sometimes that makes me lose hope. i want some inspiration. >> good morning. i am a recent graduate from virginia state university in the -- and i am also a bronx, new york, native. i just came back from field organizing for cynthia nixon.
my question is, a lot of millennials feel like people do not want to vote because nobody it's speaking to us or because the message is not worded toward millennials. how can we make sure that message is worded toward millennials, and how can we ensure millennials are inspired to want to vote? because people for ayannaed to vote pressley, but when they do not speak to our values, we do not want to vote anymore. how do we make sure our votes matter and we are not a backend voter? >> final question. >> >> good morning. i am from new york city. districtmber of council 37. i wanted to find out -- i am late to the party, so forgive me.
do you utilize organized labor and political action or grants to help with phone banking and things like that? maybe you can talk about how organized labor can help in your process. >> this is congressman sewell's for him, so she should close us out because we're over time. so i am about to blessed you with several questions. the first question is on modern-day abolition, where do you stand on that? the second is on financial aid, and is a doing enough in her current capacity. the next question is some confusion around blackness, and what can you do for candidates who represent your values? because he knows he rocks with black women. the next question is on voter suppression, the challenges and can we overcome those? the next question is building the pipeline at the local level, how can we do that?
and a wonderful consultant as this, we have an inspiring future leader, how do you come over obstacles? then, young people need to be inspired. she is going to do that in these remarks, so we will cover that. and then nobody speaking to us, a millennial question. and where are the candidates because everybody does not get to vote for ayanna. not yet. and then the final question is on utilizing organized labor, which i know you do to support your campaign, and that is it. >> first, was this not an awesome panel or what? [applause] >> can we stand up, please? we have to make sure we give a hand of applause to our moderator, who kept it real. you always do. i will take a point of personal privilege and say we will be here for at least five or 10 minutes afterwards, but to
the extent i do not get to your questions, i am sure one of the panelists will take a stab at it. i will take another point of personal privilege and thank the alabamians in the house. [applause] i know we recognize our elected officials, sheila tyson, a city council person. next to her is the birmingham city councilman. i know cancel men hilliard was here in our minority leader of the state house of representatives from alabama is here, anthony daniels. i want to take another personal point of religion think my staff, who are amazing. [applause] raise your hand, my chief of staff. i want to thank my communications director who gave us all kinds of great communication. thank you so much.
>> massachusetts is in this room , too. i do want to acknowledge it. we have elected suffered county sheriff -- suffolk county sheriff. >> thank you. >> let me close out by summarizing everything the young folks who ask the questions asked. power is in your hands as the electorate. if you take nothing else from this panel, i hope you take civic engagement. it is important. who you elect is important. that you vote is important. that you vote in every election is important. the best way to get involved is to know the power you have as a member of this amazing democracy.
let me repeat that. we live in a great democracy that allows us to protest, as john lewis would say, get into good trouble peacefully. we live in a great democracy, but what makes it less perfect is the fact we are human. we have to get off of our , you know, the complaining and realize everything that affects us can be changed through the vote. when you do not feel like voting, that is when you have to vote. when you feel like your vote does not matter, that is when you need to vote. how do you do that to the young people? my mom, who was a librarian, and i was blessed to have library books in my house growing up, used to say, bloom where your plant is. you do not have to be a
candidate or a member of congress to make a difference. teachers make differences every day in the lives of people. [applause] >> a lot of educators in here today. >> members of organized labor differences every day to the quality of life to all those who are employed. you can bloom where your plant is. so i challenge you to choose an issue, whatever your issue is, and to galvanize interest among your peers around that issue. that is called advocacy. i dare you to be an advocate. and i dare you to choose a candidate. the going to say, based on 98% in this panel, that that candidate the a black woman. invest youronly time, which is valuable, but you give money. and i cannot ask that without doing my part.
women whoamazing two will be joining me in congress -- [cheers and applause] >> yes, i love it. oh, my gosh. check.s not a corporate $2500. >> as a former executive director, i am just saying this, this is in her personal capacity, not on behalf of the congressional black caucus. but that is awesome. >> put your money where your mouth is. it is not how much you give, it is that you give. called investing in the people. ok. so what i want you to remember, all of the folks who asked questions about what to do to get engaged and how can i feel excited and what could i do about voter suppression? write a check. support a candidate.
support an issue. support a party. get engaged. get engaged. you cannot be on the sidelines in this election. november 2018 is a -- they say all elections have consequences. that is true. and that all elections are consequential. but i want you to know that right now we have no checks and balances. in this democracy, we need to have checks and balances. so i am begging you, as a member of the house of representatives, to help us flip the house. and you can do that in your individual capacity. [applause] so if you are not old enough to vote, make sure your momma, your daddy, your grand momma, they vote. and if you are, if you are a voter, go and vote. we have gotten great at registering people to vote. and when i think about doug jones' campaign, it was very organic. we were all singing from the same hymnal, which is, your vote
can matter. collectively, we can make a difference. collectively, when we go vote and we vote in numbers, we elect amazing candidates. and that's how we move this nation forward. so i just want all of you to know we should all feel inspired by the folks on this panel and i hope that you're inspired enough that you will choose an issue, choose a candidate, and go and vote in november's election. thank you. [applause] >> thank you, everyone. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2018] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org]
[indiscernible chatter] saturday, two retiring members of congress, republican senator bob corker and democratic congresswoman niki tsongas talk about their experience in congress. >> so important for us as a nation to continue to be a begin to the world -- a beacon to the world. when we stoop to uncivil discourse, stoop to pettiness, we have to remember that the
entire world looks to us. they do. >> i am deeply concerned by our president on many levels. on policy. he has not been helpful to long-term relationships across the globe. you can read about that on a daily basis. long-term allies who question the support of the united states. he suggests that we in the united states can go it alone. i do not think that is the case by any means. we have extraordinary power, but we need partners around the globe to achieve the goals we seek. >> join us for these conversations saturday at 8:00 eastern on c-span and c-span.org or listen with the free c-span radio app. senate judiciary committee has postponed a vote scheduled for thursday on the nomination of judge br