tv Melissa Harris- Perry MSNBC August 25, 2013 7:00am-9:01am PDT
this morning my question, do you still believe we can realize the dream. and martin luther king iii joins me to talk about his father's legacy. plus trayvon martin's mother sybrina fulton on her mission. but first, 50 years later the struggle continues. good morning, i'm melissa harris-perry. live this morning from washington, d.c. where thousands of people turned out to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the march on washington for jobs and freedom yesterday. only one man who spoke from the steps of the lincoln memorial five decades ago remains alive today, congressman john lewis, and he spoke forcefully.
>> i got arrested 40 times during the '60s, beaten, left bloody and unconscious. but i'm not tired, i'm not weary. i'm not prepared to sit down and give up. i am ready to fight and continue the fight, and you must fight. >> although the architect of the march has passed away, many of the inequities that prompted the struggle remain firmly in place. in 1963 the march called for equal access to jobs, fair wages, unfettered voting rights and intraracial segregation, access to decent health care, schools, housing. half a century later the struggle continues. the struggle continues for decent work and humane conditions that pays a living wage of the nationwide unemployment rate is 7.4%. for african-americans it's 12.6%. for young african-american men between 20 and 24 the unemployment rate is an
astonishing 26.8%. >> we need jobs. if we can't get jobs, we need to continue these marches. and if we get tired, we need to sit down in the offices of some of those here that don't understand folk want to work and earn for their families. >> the struggle continues for a living wage for all workers. employees of corporate giants like walmart and mcdonald's are risking their meager lively hoods to agitate for better pay. >> yes, we will raise the minimum wage because you cannot survive on $7.25. >> the struggle continues for full voting rights. organizers in state after state are protesting, litigating, educating to combat mounting obstacles at the ballot box to target poor, minority and young
voters. >> the struggle must and will go on in the cause of our nation's quest for justice. until every eligible american has the chance to exercise his or her right to vote. unencumbered by discriminatory or unneeded procedures, rules, or practices. >> the struggle continues for pathways to economic mobility, a safe place to live, affordable medical care, quality education, the ability to walk the streets of any neighborhood without fear of being branded as criminals because of race or accent or fashion, the ability to grow up with the sunshine of hope rather than the shadow of fear. >> i want you to know there's some interzone, when trayvon martin can be shot down and the perpetrator go free, there's some interest owed, so we march. >> the struggle continues for
those still relegated to closets they didn't choose. the struggle continues for women who seek to control their own bodies and shape their own destinies. the struggle continues for those within our borders but without their papers. >> we must say to congress pass comprehensive immigration reform. it doesn't make sense that a million of our people are living in the shadows. bring them out into the light and set them on a path to citizenship. >> yesterday we commemorated a march, but a march is not a movement. 50 years ago it was just a mom, a captivating, restored and inspirational moment but still just a moment. the struggle began long before that late summer day and it continues half a century later. as we disperse from the mom, the march, the question is do we have a movement that can sustain us in the continuing struggle.
my first guest this morning missed her speaking slot in march -- at the march back in 1963. but yesterday told the gathered crowd to stand their ground. >> make stand your ground a positive ring for all of us who believe in freedom and justice and equality, that we stand firm on the ground that we have already made and be sure that nothing is taken away from us. myrlie evers, medgar evers murdered for his act civil two months before the march. she has been fighting for civil rights for decades. with her clayola brown, president of a. philip randolph institute. thank you both for being here. >> it's a pleasure. >> mrs. evers, i want to start with you. what did you think of yesterday's event? >> yesterday's event was
necessary. it was wonderful. i think it helped to revive justice equality, awful those things we hear about so much. it helped to bring us together. it also served the purpose of bringing lots of younger people together. these are the ones that we see leading us forward. and to me that was perhaps the most profound thing that could have come. we older ones, who have been in so long need to pass the torch. we need to pass the torch to those who are with it today. we're in a high technological society. these people go out of work. they don't have the background and experience because they haven't lived. i see that as my role, being that support system to helping to educate them to the things
that happened than. i think it was something that was badly needed in america not only for those in attendance but those who could hear and see on television and to send a message to washington, to the state houses, to the local levels that the movement is still alive. and we have to believe that, and we have to act on it. i'm one of the old citizens of the time. i could not help but reflect on things such as the fact that we were not allowed -- people of color were not allowed on television shows. we did hold places in government. i used the theme that had such a negative connotation, stand your ground. i hope i got over to the crowd we need to seize that and use it as our own in a positive way.
stand our ground for what we believe, for what we have worked and for what we have died for and move forward. >> it's a reclamation of that spiritual "we shall not be moved" that version of stand your ground. i love what you said about the young people. there was a group from howard university right there near where our msnbc stand was all day. i could sort of watch and see how they were responding. but it was also important what you just said about this notion of the understanding of the history. this is part of what i wanted to turn to you, we talk about the march being 50 years ago. of course, the planning was even two decades before that, because of a. philip randolph. remind us, remind the viewers who a. philip errand dolph why his legacy and the march remains important even now. >> randolph was the orchestrater to the march. bringing civil disobedience and large crowds to washington in order to garner support and
movement was not new to him. in 1941, there was the design for a march because there was disparities within the military and especially ammunitions. randolph went to president roosevelt to say there needed to be a change so those who served would have an opportunity for good jobs. that theme hasn't changed. but it was eleanor roosevelt who went to him and said this is the right thing to do. the march in '41 was called off because the president then put forward an executive order, 8802. with the signature of a pen made jobs that were sustainable jobs available to minorities. >> reminds us, as you were saying, mrs. evers, this was speaking in washington, not just in washington but to washington of the president will speak on wednesday, the actual day that is the 50th anniversary.
what do you hope to hear from president obama? >> i hope that president obama will be very strong in his remarks, whatever they are, but i hope that there will be a sense of a deeper understanding on his part and all of the others who are -- who did not have to go through the battles that we did, and to send a message that will be strong to our government officials that people simply are not going to sit back and accept things as they are. we've seen changes with the supreme court with voting rights and everything. i am here, a person who had to count beans in a jar to be able to answer a question, how many bubbles in a bar of soap to be able to vote. we are still here. the problems still exist. i hope that his message,
whatever it is, and i'm sure it will be the right message for america, that it will be strong, that it will cause more dialogue, and that the people in washington who determine the direction of this company will hear loud and clear what it is that needs to be done. >> we have just five seconds. it's okay. i just want if there's one policy you want to hear from the president proposed. >> i hope that the president will say no longer will the cabinet, the congress hold back something that is so vital to this country. maybe rethink the old idea about using that pen to bring 2 million people out of poverty wages into sustainable work and guaranteed ability to take care of their families. it doesn't take both houses to do that, with the courage to sign an executive order it would
happen. >> what roosevelt did just as a matter of a threat from randolph, yesterday it wasn't just a threat, there we were. thank you both for being here myrlie evers and for your continuing work and keeping the legacy of randolph alive. up next the workers inspired by dr. king's dream. then and now.
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looting that broke out at a march diverted the story away from the injustices they were facing. it was part of the american federation of state, county and municipal employees, now the country's largest union for employees, 1.6 million working and retired members. joining me now is the current president of that union and the first black man to hold the title, lee saunders. he addressed those gathered for the march yesterday. lee, i think people forget this was a march for jobs and freedom. tell me why there's been such an attack on labor in recent years. >> i think they want to move labor out of the way completely. they have attacked private sector unions, private member down to 6%, public sector membership and unions is about 35%. they want to come after us. they still have resources. we still have power. they believe if they take us out as they did private sector
unions they have free rein, and we have to stop them. we have to rebuild our private sector unions. we've got to work with our community organizations, our allies, coalition partners. that's why yesterday was to important. because all of us, the civil rights community, religious community, labor, students, retirees, all of us came together and we made a statement. that statement was we want to be treated fairly. we want to be able to achieve the american dream. right now that's very difficult to do. >> there's been a dramatic decline in the percentage of workers who are covered by unions, part of unions, whether public or private unions. that has a kind of rippling effect for all workers whether they are in unions or not. tell me when you think about organizing unions, are the strategies different, organizing different than they were years ago. >> i think we have to adjust, make changes, go about
organizing in a completely different way. we have to look at new sectors of the economy to organize. my union afscme, we've organized child care, places all over the country. we have taken hits, in wisconsin where scott walker stole or voices and took our bargaining power away from us. we are charged up. they are angry, frustrated, just as american workers whether they belong to a union or don't they are frustrated with what's going on here. they are frustrated the top 1% of the country control 40% of the wealth. ceos are making 354 times the amount what working families are making. that's the largest wage gap in this country's history. we've got to fight back. >> i was just in milwaukee a few weeks ago and thought this is the place interrarnl organizing could happen at the intersection of labor and civil rights, white
working folks, agriculture p workers, blacks, latinoso how do you do the work with sciu and fast-food workers. how do we make sure racial organizing is interracial organizing. we're linking the movements. that's what we must do. we're linking the movement with fast-food workers. we're linking the movement with taxicab drivers who want to organize in city after city after city. we're linking with child care provides, home care workers. it was so important to link our movement with occupy wall street because they were able to signal a tone that we were not able to do. they were not within the union movement but they had a very strong message. that strong message was there was unfairness that exists in this country. the economic equality -- inequality that exists must be addressed. all of us have to work together. that's why dr. king understood
this very, very clearly and that's why he traveled to memphis in 1968. he understood the value and understood the importance of linking sift civil rights with union rights with labor rights, with worker rights. he understood those values. understood larger community to address those concerns. >> thank you so much. we'll have an eye on this show fast-food and walmart work and continued organizing both with afscme and sciu. thank you so much for your work. >> thank you. >> up next, a mother on a mission. trayvon martin's mom sybrina fulton joins me live. my goal was to take an idea and make it happen. i'm janet long and i formed my toffee company through legalzoom. i never really thought i would make money doing what i love. [ robert ] we created legalzoom to help people start their business and launch their dreams. go to legalzoom.com today and make your business dream a reality.
. there were many powerful and moving speeches during yesterday's 50th anniversary of the march on washington but there was one courageous woman who spoke very briefly yesterday. her few words said what everyone gathered on the national mall already knew and had come there to honor. >> trayvon martin was my son.
but he's not just my son, he's all of our son and we have to fight for our children. i'm pleased to welcome sybrina fulton, the mother of trayvon martin and her attorney benjamin crump. so nice to have you here. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> i have been following the work that you have been doing since you lost your son and at every point have been humbled by that work. tell me at this moment that you feel is the most important thing you can do and those of us who are so in fired by you can do to honor trayvon's memory? >> i think the most important thing i can do is continue to fight and just be realistic and not expect things to happen overnight. it took a long time for everything to occur, so it's going to take just that time to
try to get things on the right track. i'm giving my commitment not to give up until i'm resting in my grave. i will fight for my son. i will fight for other people's children, because it's very important that we stick together, we unite and we fight. the other thing -- question you have was what can other people do. i would also tell them not to give up, don't be discouraged, because sometimes how things look in front of you, it's a little gray and get discouraged. don't give up. just continue, continue to take little steps, continue to take little steps and just be persistent. >> that was the theme of a lot of folks maybe because we were 50 years after the march yesterday, many of the speakers, i'm not tired, i'm not going to be turned around. yet it must be exhausting, the
trial, the loss of your son, the trial, the outcorks the media of it all. is there a way to restore yourself in the midst of doing the work. to say i'm not tired, keep moving, take straight from some other place. >> well, i have a strong faith in god and that helps a great deal. god is first in my life. i will tell anybody, i will tell any show because that's very important to me. i don't want people to think i'm doing this by myself, i'm just this super person, super woman and have the strength of 10 women, that's not the case. the case is i pull my strength from god. that's first and foremost. the second thing i will say is it helps to know i'm not standing by myself. i'm not the only one fighting
for our children. so when other mothers and fathers and uncles and grandfather's say, listen, we have to keep fighting. we're standing with you. we're praying for you. we're supporting you. we're supporting the foundation. things like that really help and they really energize me. so that energy keeps on rebuilding and keeps on rebuilding. i talked to crump, you know, and i've said, you know, i have two boys, two sons. one is in heaven and one is on earth. i will continue to fight for my boys. i'm adamant about it because i feel so strongly we have to fight for our children. >> that idea of taking strength from each other felt like such an important part of what was happening yesterday. the foundation, trayvon's law. you were saying to me just before we came on air, this idea
of voting, trayvon at 17 never had the opportunity to cast a vote. tell me about those three things. >> yes, ma'am, melissa. spring, a's apology, no matter what i was supposed to tell everybody at the march on washington that we have to take the conversation that president obama said, we have to take that conversation and move it to legislation. that's so important because the trayvon martin amendment to the stand your ground laws and the passage of these anti-racial profiling laws are going to be germane to keeping our children safe. so we've got to get everybody in all these states across america to come out and vote in this midterm election. trayvon could not vote. the real question is, you who are 18 years old, will you vote? will you be a trayvon martin voter. that way -- think about emmett till, it took a decade after his
death to get the civil rights of '64 passed. his mother knew his death was not in vain because of positive from negative. sybrina and tracy des praes want to know his death wasn't in vain. lets pass the trayvon martin amendment. >> that language, will you be a trayvon martin voter and we will take the conversation started by the president and move it to legislation, of course that only happens if you are a trayvon martin voter. if at 18 you stand and vote where trayvon could not. thank you for your time. thank you for being here. thank you for the ways in which your spirit and your faith give strength to so many of the rest of us. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> sybrina fulton and benjamin crump, thank you for being here. up next, students fighting for the right to vote then and now, 50 years later the struggle really does continue. accomplishing even little things can become major victories. i'm phil mickelson, pro golfer.
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speakers at yesterday's march on washington issued a call for voting rights that rings as true today as it did 50 years ago. just last week in north carolina we got a sobering reminder that students who were so much of the driving force behind the movement are today, right now, being denied those same rights. last month north carolina governor pat mccrory just assigned the worst voters suppression bill into law. barely hours later while the ink was fresh, republican controlled boards of election in north carolina immediately took advantage of the new law by putting students in the crosshairs of their voter suppression efforts. students voting rights under attack in the same state were a few years before the march on washington, a movement that brought national attention to the injustice of segregation was sparked by, yes, students. four of them. from one of north carolina's
historically black colleges. north carolina a & t february first 1960 sat down and asked to be served at a woolworth counter in greensboro. just last week appalachian state university, one of the largest in north carolina lost its early voting right and polling price after they voted to eliminate them. the early voting site at historically black winston-salem state university may face the same fate. after the republican of forsythe county board of elections threatened last tuesday to shut it down. same day republican majority in north carolina pasquotank county voted this man at another historically black college, elisabeth city state university. mind you, the qualifications to run for office in the county are
the same as the qualifications to vote. he has been a registered voter in the county since 2009. by disqualifying his eligibility as a candidate and a voters, the board opened the door to challenges to the voter registration of all students in north carolina who used school as their official place of residency. pete gilbert, head of the republican party, might do just that. that's him right there challenging the registration of student voters. he's told the "associated press" he plans to, quote, take this show on the road. he's going to have to stay in his lane. because as reverend al sharpton said yesterday, the voting rights tour that began with a march on washington is moving forward with its road show this week. >> when we leave washington, we get ready to march, we're going to go to those states.
we're on our way to north carolina. we're on our way to texas. we're on our way to florida. and when they ask us for our voter id, take out a photo of medgar evers, take out a photo of goodman, chaney, viola louisa. they gave their lives so we could vote. look at this for the, a and it gives you the idea of who we are.
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you cannot sit down. you've got to stand up, speak up, speak out and get in the way. >> congressman john lewis at yesterday's march on washington, 50th anniversary, invoking the historical legacy for voting equality, a struggle that very much continues today as former secretary of state colin powell reminded members of the republican party this week. thursday just moment after north carolina governor pat mccrory left the stage at north carolina's annual ceo forum, powell used his keynote address to deliver a strong critique of the voting law. i want to see policies that encourage every american to vote, not that it more difficult to vote, immediately turns off a voting bloc the republican party needs. these kinds of actions do not build on the base but turn people away. in response to the description
of voter fraud likely existing but hard to detect. says you can say what you like, how can there be voter fraud? how can it be widespread and undetected. joining me now nina turner ohio state senator and judith brown, director of the project. i want to start with you, the biggest round of applause, other than for reverend sharpton was for attorney general eric holder. i'm assuming because he said we're going to texas. what does it look for you in terms of federal authority intervening on voting rights? >> it's been great the federal government has stepped up its voting rights work. after the supreme court decision, they decided they would move all of their staff and resources in section 5 preclearance into two cases. they haven't filed section 2 cases in a long time. >> they didn't need to. >> although they could have in
other states beyond the southern states. this really has been an aggressive move by the attorney general and folks recognize it. at the mamp people were giving him love because they know he's protecting civil rights and making a case why the federal government needs to be involved. texas is one of those places sovereign rights, why do the feds need to be in our business. we know why. >> this point you made about outside the south, hello, wisconsin you've been reporting on the kind of battles around labor but now these voting restrictions moving to wisconsin as well. >> rance priebus with his favorite governor scott walker, we have seen a ceasely and endless assault on voter rights, everything from redistributing early vote hours, putting more partisans into the polling place, doing things that will create chaos and long lines so
people go home instead of exercising the franchise. though surprise they do it in urban areas. >> very clearly we saw in the north carolina case around student voting we're going to starting schools and particular schools, schools where we see particular voting patterns. i've been pushing people on the history of the march and remembering it all the doesn't just begin in '63. similarly even in this moment the history of our contemporary voting issues actually don't begin in north carolina, as appalling as it is. ground zero was initially ohio. >> yes, and it still remains that way. even just a few weeks ago gop member, people talk about partisanship, it is the republicans for the most part far right republicans. i'm about truth talk here. grandma say you can put truth in a river five days alive truth going to catch up. only one party trying to suppress the vote, go backwards, trying to crush democracy.
everybody regardless of our political affiliation should hold dear and true those fundamental principles of what it means to be an american. pillar number one, the right to vote, the right to speak your voice regardless of your socioeconomic status, gender, who you love, religion. one man, one vote. why in the greatest democracy on the face of the earth would a party that proclaims to care about those principles try to crush the votes of some groups. it's un-american, undemocratic and we cannot stand for it. so many folks paid a price for this. we forget how far we've come as a nation. we are a nation of progress, not regression. so again, political affiliation out the door, this is about a sense of fairness. in ohio this should not be happening in ohio. they just introduced a bill, professor, to cut early voting days and take away the last three days of early voting. >> on this point about the folks who have struggled, i want to
play again and listen to reverend alma this point about we already have our voter id. lets take a moment there. >> when they ask us for our voter id, take out a photo of medgar evers. take out a photo of viola louisa. they gave their lives so we could vote. look at this photo. it gives you the idea of who we are. >> we decided here in atlanta to make a photo id. this is our medgar evers photo id. we're thinking we'll make one of john lewis, viola, all the civil rights workers. i thought that was such a critically important point. for someone to ask you who are you when you vote? i'm of these people, americans
who have given their blood to vote. >> why are we going backwards. you think about north carolina where we've made so much progress. one of the birth places of the civil rights movement. when you think about sncc and greensboro and the price people paid to move us forward and here we're in 2013 and we have the most aggressive attack on voting rights in that state. if we look across the country, every rollback they are trying in north carolina shows we're moving backwards. and for the people like medgar efforts, for all the people who paid the price, i think we know there's a time. voting rights was mentioned so many times yesterday. people know this is going to be the battle of our time. >> this is jobs and freedom. again, briefly here, wisconsin feels to me like a testing ground for interracial cooperative work between labor and voting rights, between labor and civil rights. do you have optimism that the
people of wisconsin still have enough energy and optimism even after sort of having so many of these rollbacks to do that work? >> yeah, i think so. there's definitely a fight in the people of wisconsin to continue, whether it is about jobs, whether it's about health care and whether it's about voting rights. the people of wisconsin are like the people across the country. when a legal voter is denied the franchise, we cease twb a democracy. what is the thing they say. voter fraud. partisans manipulate the process to achieve their political goals. in the state of wisconsin where governor walker passed photo id, still in the courts, passed photo id, he said it was because of fraud. we've had 14 million ballots passed in the state of wisconsin since 2004 and less than 24 potentially improper votes. >> i've got a photo id. i'm bringing my photo id. thank you so much. you're going to stick with us a
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the struggle must and will go on in the cause of our nation's quest for justice until every eligible american has the chance to exercise his or her right to vote unencumbered by discriminatory or unneeded procedures, rules, or practices. >> that was attorney general eric holder speaking yesterday about his commitment to protecting voter rights to all americans, the commitment the justice department continued to make good on this week with a lawsuit to block the new voter id law in texas. joining me president and director council of naacp legal defense fund. so what is the next step in the
litigation battle? >> it's steps. it's steps. civil rights law organizations including my own have been fanning out across the south. we've been collecting information about the voting changes different officials have been trying to impose. my own attorneys have been in texas. they have been in alabama. i just got back from albany, georgia where there's a plan to close six out of seven polling pla places. we've been in louisiana, we've been all over the place as have other organizations. what you're about to see as we get to the new year and 2014, you're going to see unleashed a wave of litigation that's going to be very difficult for additional to defend. this is not what congress wanted of that's why we had section 5. >> expensive. >> the fight was brought to us and we're going to take it on. what we're going to see is really an effort to bring to light, to bring into the courtrooms and consciousness of americans this challenge to democracy.
you just heard in your previous sequence that's what really this is all about. this is a real challenge to democracy. we're standing at a crossroads and have to meet the challenge. >> it feels to me like this idea that congress didn't want this is also where democracy could flex its muscle. do you have any sense, any optimism we can get a new section 4 formula that will put the teeth back in section 5 from the congress. >> i'm very optimistic but also a practicigmatist as well. people are going to have onpush for this. dr. king did what was called a people to people tour where he traveled with other freedom fighters to galvanize people and register people to vote. i feel like we're in that space now, people to people, mama to mama, brother to brother conversation in this country about voting and how much it is very much a part of our dna as the united states of america and we can't let anybody, as the song says, turn us around.
>> interesting, freedom comes two summers after the march, you see john lewis and passage of the '65 act. is there a way to marry the efforts of litigation that we see with ldf and the kind of person-to-person direct action called important. >> i think that's what you see happening. since the shelby county decision, what you've seen is this is all not happening by accident. this is a plan. the march on washington was understood to be a kickoff of the type of work you're talking about and kickoff of litigation. congress will come back after labor day. this is all planned to make sure that we are building a ground swell so congress will have no choice but to hear people. not just the marches on the street, flooding congressional offices. all of this is part of a planned connected sequence of litigation and activism. the two have to work together.
we know our voice is not enough, we have to be talking on the street. >> not just southern faces. >> not at all. >> ohio. >> ohio, wisconsin, it would be easier if it were just a narrative -- >> for congress to expand this. two board of election members were fired for the crime in montgomery county in ohio, lieberman and richie, for the crime of trying to expand early voting access fired by the secretary of suppression in the state of ohio. >> i love that, the secretary of -- >> fair elections for all. >> secretary of suppression. >> a lot of people holding that job. thank you for your work and thank you for coming in today. coming up next, martin luther king iii talks to me about his father's legacy and where to go from here. also young activist hoping to follow in dr. king's footsteps. >> august 28th, 1963, dr. martin luther king, jr., and thousands
of others marched on washington for jobs and freedom. congressman john lewis was the youngest speaker. and now 50 years later i am the youngest speaker. >> you go youngest speaker ashawn johnson. he'll be here in nerdland when we come back. more at the top of the hour. [ male announcer ] this is brad. his day of coaching begins with knee pain, when... [ man ] hey, brad, want to trade the all-day relief of two aleve for six tylenol? what's the catch? there's no catch. you want me to give up my two aleve for six tylenol? no. for my knee pain, nothing beats my aleve.
pcentury link provides reliable yit services like multi-layered security solution to keep your information safe & secure. century link. your link with what's next. welcome back. i'm melissa harris-perry. we're live this morning from washington, d.c. where thousands gathered yesterday to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1963 march on washington for jobs and freedom. perhaps one of the most notably moment was the keynote address given by msnbc's own reverend al sharpton. take a look.
>> we had id when we vod for johnson. we had id when we voted for nixon, those that succeeded him, carter, reagan, bush, clinton, bush again. why when we get to obama do we need some special id? we need to teach our young folk no matter how much money they give you, don't disrespect your women. no matter how much they promise you, make it clear rosa parks wasn't no who'. a dreamer called john in the bible, john looked up said i see a new heaven. i see a new earth. all things are passed away. i come to tell you, i know why
there's screeching and hollering and talking crazy because all america has passed away. they will romanticize his speech. the genius of his speech was not just the poetry of his words. the genius of his speech was blood shed in birmingham, medgar evers hadn't been killed, james farmer, one of his co-leaders in jail he didn't stand here and discuss the pain. he didn't stand here and express the anger. he sat in the face of those that wanted him dead, that no matter what you do, i can dream above what you do. >> with his speech reverend sharpton not only helped to both invoke and celebrate the memory of one dr. martin luther king, jr., whose i have a dream speech
was the culmination of the march on jobs and freedom, the civil rights movement, he also framed a way for us to look forward because the struggle continues. i'm honored to welcome martin luther king iii, oldest son of martin luther king, jr., and coretta scott king. thank you for being here. >> thank you. >> people often talk about you as the son of martin luther king, jr., you're will the son of coretta scott king, which means you're the son of the woman who carried on the work after your father's death. what did she teach you about how to move the legacy forward? >> i would have to say first and foremost mom and dad taught us to have a love of our selves, to have a love of our community -- excuse me, to have a love of our family, love of our community, love of god. love of self, love of family, love of community, and love of god. all those things are very
important because of the mission, because dad did what he did as a christian minister. particularly as she was getting older, we were getting older, it's the next generation. i'm honored today to be here with asean who did an incredible job in his message. >> asean, it was absolutely incredible to see you standing there on the steps of the lincoln memorial yesterday. at one point you wanted to get the microphone back and you didn't get the chance. what was it you wanted to say if you would have taken that back. >> i wanted to say thank you for letting me take minutes of her time and speak before she spochlt she only had three minutes for all of us to speak. i really wanted to say thank you to her. that's pretty much all i wanted to say. >> tell me what was your most important message yesterday
asean. >> my most important message was to let the people know that chicago school closings are very dangerous and they are not helpful to the community because you're going to have a lot of kids very heart broken to not go back to their public school, because you have to wait and go to a whole other school where you could go to your neighborhood school and cps could put more funding into it. >> one of the things i love about asean and every time i hear him he minces no words. look, this is a bad policy. this is how it's going to affect people. certainly part of the struggle we have as adults, we want to be political. what is the most important no word mincing message you think we need to carry away from this commemoration of the march? >> this kmem indication really it was tone setting.
50 years ago. we saw the voting rights, a case trayvon martin. we've got to have a discussion, address criminal justice system, find a way to in sure it's not constantly reinforced in our society. all those messages, also as it relates to immigration policy. a lot of things came out yesterday. this is a mamp but it's not over. talking about a national action initiative to realize the dream. the dream is not done yet. we'll be going to several more communities in addition to leaving here and washington. >> asean, mr. king's father stood there 50 years ago and said i have a dream. do you have a dream? >> yes, i have a dream that we
should have peace between our two worlds and there should be no more violence in the world. because as you see, there's a lot of violence in chicago and everywhere else. that's my dream is to have peace and no racism in our world. >> that dream of peace and a meaningful peace, not because we're not harming each other but because there's justice as part of that peace, how do we actually have conversations with each other? what you said there, asean, two worlds. 2013 and this brilliant young man is telling me he still feels like we live in two different worlds. how do we build the vocabulary to talk across those two worlds. >> number one, first of all, our schools teach ethics. to teach young people a different resolve their conflicts, human relations,
sensitivity, exposure, diversity, whether we're in schools, police departments, governments or businesses. so our whole society needs it but we can start by teaching it in kindergarten all the way through high school. >> what was the first place, asean, you learned about dr. reverend martin luther king? when did you first hear about him? >> i first heard about him when i got into private school. that's when i heard about martin luther king when we were doing plaque history month. that was the first time i heard about him when i was 4 years old. wow, if i knew he can do that -- if i knew martin luther king can do that, he was a great man, maybe i can grow up to be a great man. >> i'm pretty sure you're a great man already. i'm pretty sure we don't have to wait for you to grow up to be a great man. you're a great man right now. i thought reverend sharpton's
speech yesterday was extraordinary, particularly in the ways he said the mattered because what your father did was not complain but build a vision of something bigger than we have right now. that's what dreamers do, they provide that vision for us. was there any moment in reverend sharpton's speech florida you will walk away and see this is what i will remember from the 2013 march on washington? >> i think perhaps the moment i will remember more than anything else is asean. everything we do is for generations behind and generations yet unborn. dr. lowry on the one spectrum you had older folks, middle aged folks, but asean is something we should always remember not because of what he said but what he represents. >> lets take a listen to asean yesterday at the march on washington.
>> help us fight for freedom, racial equality, jobs, public education because i have a dream that we have overcome. >> when you say we shall overcome, asean, what does that mean to you? >> when i say we shall overcome, i was saying we will overcome the racism that has been done in our two worlds, as i say, because we have recently the trayvon martin case that the jury was all white and they convicted him not guilty even though he had shot and killed this boy, this young boy who was innocent. >> did you have a chance to meet sybrina fulton, who was trayvon martin's mom? >> yes, i did have a chance to meet her. >> what did you-all talk about? >> i introduced myself. we took some picks. she gave me advice to not let
anybody push you around. don't let nobody tell you to do something bad when you know it's wrong. >> dr. king is for so many of us a symbol for the very best of what our country can be. in the final moments of the segment before we go to break, do you have a personal memory of your dad? not dr. king but your king, your daddy? >> i've just actually written a children's book for children between 4 to 8 years old. in that book i talk about my daddy, which is something i'm blessed uniquely to be able to do. we used to ride bicycles, we swam, we played. dad was truly an athlete. most people don't know that. he was also very humorous. we also see him as the leader he was. but my greatest memory is those intimate moments we had, whether
riding bicycles, going to the ymca swimming. every now and then i did travel with him four or five times. i had one memory where a german shepherd dog was there. dad was not very tall. the dog was bigger than i was. almost seemed like bigger than dad. because i was there to grab his pants leg and feel his love, i felt safe with a huge german shepard dog. i must have been 6 years old. i remember that, personal in establisheses. >> the memory of the march, my dad was at the mamp and stood and listened to your father and i realized i had never asked him about it, talked to him about the march. this week i took the opportunity to call and talk to my dad and his twin brother who were there. i just kept thinking how blessed i am that my dad is here. even though i've forgotten all these years to ask him that i could call and ask him. i thank you for the personal sacrifice you've made for the good of our nation.
asean, there is not a person in america right now not rooting for you because we know you are already leading us. i really appreciate you doing that. >> thank you. >> thank you to asean johnson and to martin luther king iii. thanks so much to both of you. dr. king's dream of racial harmony, are we any closer to achieving an integrated nation?
1964, 234,000 black college students, rose to 2.6 million, a ten fold increase. the housing numbers tell a different story, much more somber about how far we've come. 1970, 41.6% of african-americans were home owners. by 2011 that number had risen to 43.4%. there's no doubt about it. the numbers tell the tale where african-americans are when it comes to housing. not just about who owns a home but where we own the home. president and ceo of leadership conference on civil rights, leadership fund and shawna of the president of fair alliance. why should it matter if we live in integrated neighborhoods or not. >> first of all congress said we should promote racial integration, helps with employment, school, education. when you interview white people who live in integrated communities they actually say
what a benefit it is, "they have a richer life with that exposure. same with children of color, growing up they get to learn about different cultures, how to act. growing up that way when you get into adulthood you know how to interact, you're not afraid, you don't sit over here, afraid of people over there. integration has great benefit. >> when we talk about integration and housing, sometimes people bristle a little bit when we talk about race. when you can say your zip code should not determine your life path, yet it really does. >> zip code is so determinative of many other characteristics that make up your life. for example, the quality of your public education is determined or reflected in your zip code. housing stock, quality of integrated housing you live and economic opportunities are often
defined by your zip code. that should not be the way it is. when we talk about racial segregation, concentrated segregation is associated with poverty. the very issues you're talking about now, quality of life available to all americans, all people in our country should not be determined by your zip code and yet frequently it is. >> here is the challenge i will sometimes hear around integration. that is the idea post march on washington as we live into civil rights act of '65, integration meant destruction of black institutions, meant the schools we were going to was shut down, communities that had been robust were broken apart. how do they have integration that doesn't destroy institutions. >> the issue is we don't have integration. we've had moment of integration. in washington, d.c. i moved here in 1990, almost 70%
african-american, now almost 50%. >> less chocolate. >> my son wrote it's milk chocolate or white chocolate. so what we have to do is work with the real estate industry and lenders because they drive this location, location, location and displacement. so integration means we're living next to each other and i'm not looking to sell my house because they moved in. when you lo at it, people living in the suburbs here, you look at silver springs, the old west end in toledo and some neighborhoods in cincinnati, they have been long integrated. people don't run. there's no white flight. >> can you have integration without the loss of -- >> i think you can. lets stick with washington for a minute. it is the nation's capital and yet it did have residential
segregation and reflected segregation in our country prior to 1964. we still have residue of that kind of segregation today. so there are physical barriers and dividing lines. if you're west of rock creek park, for example, you have a better quality of life of housing, education and jobs. if you live east of the anacostia river, you have a poorer quality of life. that is changing and gentrification is obviously reflecting that change but there is some displacement. you can have integration without that kind of displacement but it takes an urban philosophy and policy that helps encourage residential integration we want. >> thanks so much. up next, my conversation with two members of the congressional black caucus. how the events of 19637 affected their lives and our policies now. [ bottle ] okay, listen up!
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two of the states where lawmakers are passing legislation creating some of the most extreme infringements on civil rights today are without a doubt texas and north carolina. the rights of women to control their own bodies or the rights of all citizens to have access to the ballot box as preparations are under way for the 50th anniversary of the march -- as they were under way for the anniversary march here, i had a chance to speak with a member of congress from each of those states, north carolina and texas. members of the congressional black caucus. we spoke about the role of the caucus and the issues facing their constituents back at home and of course their memories of that historic day. >> the thing that stands out in my mind is there were a lot of white people joining hands with black people for a common purpose and that was to address the question of civil rights. to come to washington and see, perhaps one out of four people being white.
not only were they there, they were carrying the signs and supporting the cause. >> you're in texas where we have just this week learned the departme department of justice will intervene to protect voting rights 50 years after this march. are we marching backward? >> that's a very good question. >> being in the district protected by the vote rights of 1965, it is more a part of my heart to be able to save it not for me but to recognize that protests and petition where seeds were planted by the movement are no longer are not old-fashioned tools. >> talk to me about what you can do as a member of congress not in d.c. but here in north carolina to change the vote rights in north carolina and halt what might be potentially the most serious erosion in the 50 years since this march.
>> republicans are not trying to eliminate the black vote. they simply want to diminish it. >> define the margin. >> they want to diminish it by just enough to ensure a republican majority stays in place. president barack obama won north carolina by 14,000 votes. if they can diminish the african-american and student vote by 10 votes per precinct statewide, democrats would become a minority party an never have any influence in policymaking. >> congressional plaque caucus has been criticized in some of the ways president obama is now that as members of the congressional black caucus, members of congress, here you are, you hold these positions. when i look in these communities, i still see crime, i still see violence, economic deprivation, failing schools.
>> if the answer is not simply to elect good and honest, what are the answers to enduring problems we're facing. >> that's a good question, i don't take it lightly. people of goodwill of all races working together to make sure our young people are productive, make sure they have 21st century schools to be educated in, well trained teachers in the classroom, nonprofit programs in the community that can embrace children at risk, on a positive path. a complex solution to the problem. >> you're right in one instance. we don't tell our story, inside the ball game, inside the ballpark, inside the congress every day putting on armor and
being the firewall around some draconian efforts to be able to diminish some of the great needs of our community. >> that was part of my conversation with congressman sheila jackson lee of texas and congressman butterfield of north carolina. up next, the struggle for equal justice by changing the sentencing laws is just the first step. [ phil ] when you have joint pain and stiffness... accomplishing even little things can become major victories. i'm phil mickelson, pro golfer. when i was diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis, my rheumatologist prescribed enbrel for my pain and stiffness, and to help stop joint damage. [ male announcer ] enbrel may lower your ability to fight infections. serious, sometimes fatal events including infections, tuberculosis, lymphoma, other cancers, nervous system and blood disorders, and allergic reactions have occurred. before starting enbrel, your doctor should test you for tuberculosis and discuss whether you've been to a region where certain fungal infections are common. you should not start enbrel
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[ doctor ] enbrel, the number one biologic medicine running a small business riding against the wind. uphill. every day. we make money on saddles and tubes. but not on bikes. my margins are thinner than these tires. anything that gives me some breathing room makes a difference. membership helps make the most of your cashflow. i'm nelson gutierrez of strictly bicycles and my money works as hard as i do. this is what membership is. this is what membership does. it's our black and brown bodies in these cells detained, put into prisons to make profit of off of us. it's our youth being criminalized day after day after day and we must rise together. >> that was the fierce sophia of the organization united we dream at the 50th anniversary of the march on washington here in the nation's capital.
her speech comes on the heals of last week's announcement from attorney general holder the justice kept will overhaul sentencing guidelines for drug offenders. joining me are ohio state senator, former baltimore circuit judge and now criminal defense attorney, william or billy murphy and wade henderson ceo of leadership conference on civil rights. i want to start with you, how important is sentencing reform to this overall movement of justice? >> well, it's extremely important because the sentences have been way too high for way too long. people have gotten an appetite for bigger and bigger sentences. i have to take my hat off to attorney general holder for taking this bold and long awaited move. he and obama -- or the president have long wanted to do this. now there's no election pressure they are coming out with what they believe ought to be done
about the system. too little. got to end the war on drugs. the war on drugs is responsible for the destruction of black family, example of high disease rates in the african-american community, unemployment rate of black people on inner city. the war on drugs is the 800 pound gorilla that must be killed. >> i want to pause there. i'm going uh-huh. there's a lot of people that are going to say, say what, how is it the war on drugs is responsible for those social ills. >> it's depoliticizing in a negative way by getting rid of the black men that are the cream of the crop, entrepreneurial, energetic, take initiative, brave, really masculine men that
went down that path. private industry is subbing the life out of the black community. expense is billions and billions, $73 billion as you pointed out on one of your earlier shows. this war on drugs is really the enemy of progress in the plaque community. >> when you say depoliticizing, already feels like the other way depoliticizes we talk about voting rights, the other piece is disenfranchisement. >> once you're a flown you never have the right to vote. >> for life. >> that overwhelmingly impacts african-american, latino communities, men in particular. there's something wrong with that. once somebody fulfilled their debt to society, why wouldn't we embrace them and bring them back in a holistic way that allows them to bring back their greatness. that benefits all of us. memo to the country, most people that go to prison don't say there forever. it's to our benefit they start to live a good and productive
life. >> they said you were good. you're even better. >> folks are coming out. they can't live in public housing. they can't get loans for schools. >> and jobs. there's an extraordinary burden on those that have already paid their debt to society but it starts with their disenfranchisement from their right to vote. the truth is if you don't vote you don't count. by taking hundreds of thousands of men and women in various communities, states like alabama and florida and others without giving them the right to vote, it imposes a burden which further alienates these individuals from society. we have to respond. i want to go back to what billy said with respect to the attorney general. eric holder's proposal is the single most significant proposal for reform that any attorney general has ever put forth with regard to sentencing. it's move positive that elections do matter. they have consequence. without holder being in his
position, we wouldn't have these reforms under discussion. >> sort of hard to imagine mitt romney's attorney general, whoever he would have been, would have proposed these kipds of sentencing reforms. >> there are a couple of other things. alec, the organization, american legislative exchange council which generally comes up with regressive legislation, they are responsible for stand your ground, is now on the side of sentencing reform. that's big because that's corporate america. that's all big companies. big farmer, prisons, food. >> why? why are they finally moving? >> two reasons. number one they don't want to see folks criminalized. whatever the sentencing guidelines says should be the sentence applies across the board to whites, blacks, latinos together. they get that. they also believe there are too many federal laws,
overcriminalizing folk. they understand that. they want to roll back sentencing guidelines, too. they have been on board for that for quite a while. not all bad. >> really cost as well. 2010, the federal government spent $80 billion on in cars rating people in this country and the states are breaking under the budget of state prison systems that they fund. they can't afford to maintain these prisons at full capacity today any more than they can afford to simply throw money away. >> one of the good things we have done in the state of ohio, hel hello, was sentencing reform. low level nonviolent drug offenders and put them back in community-based corrections. >> diversions. >> yes. we owe that. he or she without sin cast the first stone. all i'm saying is we need to have more compassion for folks and help them get back on the right track.
that keeps awful them safe. >> thank you so much. up next, the parentsifying for justice for their son, the mother and father of jordan davis join us live. ♪ lookin' good, flo! feelin' good! feelin' real good! [ engine revs ] boat protection people love. now, that's progressive. call or click today.
the lynching of one african-american boy emmett till in 1955 provided the spark for civil rights movement. nearly 58 years after his death emmett till commemorated him and put his legacy into context of the 50th anniversary of the march on washington. >> when they fired the first shot when they shot emmett. they fired the second shot when they shot medgar evers, the third shot when they shot dr. king. but we're not going to run,
we're going to march and we're going to change this system. >> as emmett till provided a focal point for civil rights movement five decades ago, so today the death of other black boy inspires newly intense activism particularly in florida where protests against stand your ground laws mobilized not only after trayvon martin's death early last year but also after the shooting death of jordan davis, also 17 years old last november. jordan was sitting with friends in an suv parked in a jacksonville parking lot last november when registered gun owner michael dunn fired eight to nine rounds into that suv after an argument over loud music. two rounds hit jordan. every since his death his parents remained vocal and that's why they are here in d.c. commemorating the march on washington and pushing for more change. joining me now are jordan davises moment and dad, along with the family attorney john phillips. thank you for being here.
did you mean to become an activist? do you see yourself as an activist now? >> it's funny you ask that. i come from a family of civil rights activists. my father was active with the naacp branch for years. i remember as a child sitting in the back seat of the car following dr. martin luther king, naacp, i remember just having our blankets and poet chips and coloring books in the back seat of the car as we followed them around. i remember my father giving speeches all over the country. i had no idea what he was some egg to or what he was speaking for. as i got older and understood, i asked him one day, daddy, you were never there.
you were never there. he said i wasn't there because i was married to naacp. i was married to civil rights. that is so profound to me right now because i understand exactly what he meant. being here has meant the world to me because i'm supposed to carry out what my father started. >> there's mng about watching emmett till's cousin standing there as an duty man and realizing emmett would have been an adult man, that's the age he would have been but knowing your son was lost and feeling like have we made progress. what happened with your son is not the same thing. we don't make equivalencies. but the loss of a child and the need to talk about laws around that loss. goes back for me, my parents were both in world war ii. my mother was a in your, a wac in world ii. she was a nurse.
she always told me a story about those times she was trying to patch up and save lives of soldiers whether you be black or white soldiers. the southern white soldiers told her the n word, don't put your hands on me, even though she was trying to save their life. it was profound to her people had so much hate in their heart they wouldn't let a black woman save their life. they would rather die. that was profound to me. my father said when he was in france and germany and he would drive the fuel trunk to the front. if you were a black soldier, they would take the machine gun off the top they used to protect it against the planes because the southern whites would think you would go up there and shoot them, your own people. that was profound for me. my parents always taught me to have the opposite view of the world and view all americans as
americans and not suffer. for this to happen to our son, again, i'm viewing it this was a particular hatred this person had for my son as a black child but that's not the way america and not the way the world is. >> if the challenge of trying to raise a child to be safe but not to hate. >> that's right. >> how were you walking that path before this tragedy? how were you trying to communicate that? >> jordan and i had many discussions about these kinds of things, discussions about the fact he was a young black man trying to live in a world that would not always embrace him because of the story of his skin. despite that he had the freedom to be who god ordained him to be, who we believed he would be and to continue to aspire to that and for that no matter what, and that he married.
that we had feat in him. we believed in him that he could be whoever he wanted to be, even if he wanted to be a garbage man, he could do that. but do and be the best you could be. those were the discussions we had with him all the time. we know jordan really believed in who he was as an individual, as a person. we have no doubt about that. despite everything that has happened, jordan has turned out to be who we expected. >> is there any way to get justice? i know there's a way to get a conviction. is there a way to get justice. >> justice is spelled one way, defined a million different ways. justice starts with a conviction. this guy clearly did wrong, not only killed jordan but shot at three other boys. stand your ground defense when you shoot three boys leaving the scene, i'm sorry, that doesn't apply, should not apply even though it may be in jury instructions. civil justice gives money, not
that great. then you look where ron and lucia excel and sybrina and tracy are changing the law. it's a butterfly effect. i like to say i was one of the first ones touched. i'm getting chills over and over again. kind of like them getting drug into this my grandfather and great grandfather were lawyers in mississippi and drafted wills for people they said they shouldn't draft wills for, shouldn't go in those african-american houses and draft wills for them. it helped me understand, my skin may ab different color but we're all part of the human race. we've got to do better. my god, i've been so touched by everything this weekend it's indescribable. >> you absolutely set the table for us here. i appreciate how generous you've been with your intergenerational study, that we're always standing here with our parents and our children. and that you have lost your
child is unspeakable. that you are here together and you are continuing to parent him, despite his loss, is extraordinary. i appreciate you continue thoug >> right. >> thank you. >> thank you very much. >> thank you, very, very kch. >> thank you all for being here and for sharing every part of your story. up next, my father shares his memory of the march on washington with me and the moment he will never forget. we'll be right back. for a strong bag that grips the can... get glad forceflex. small change, big difference.
the struggle continues. if you're a regular mhp show viewer, you know it is my father who taught me this truism since my childhood. my father, william harris was born in the shadow of world war ii, grow up poor in the jim crow south, attended segregated public schools in virginia and went off to college in 1960 where he became a student activist. in august of 1963 my father was
21 years old, beginning his senior year of college at howard university right here in washington, d.c. now, his twin brother, wesley harris, was a senior at the university of virginia. and on august 28th, uncle wes took a trailways bus to d.c. where he met my dad and the two had breakfast. and together walked toward the lincoln memorial to attend the march for jobs and freedom. this week, i asked my dad to describe what it was like 50 years ago. this is what he told me. >> and we were early and wes and i were some concerned about whether there would be sufficient numbers of people there to be impressive. just as i think our thoughts were beginning to gather and some level of frustration on that, huge numbers of buses were rolling in, people, the crowd just magnified itself tremendously.
for me, i have to tell you, if it were not for skin and bone my heart probably would, jumped out on to the ground. i had never been in a crowd so large of black folk who came with a level of seriousness and i'm not romanticizing it. a level of commitment and a level of courage. >> my father went on to graduate from howard university. to earn a ph.d. and to become the first dean of african-american affairs at the university of virginia. but most importantly, he went on to work as an advocate for poor communities. he ultimately retired as the martin luther king jr. visiting professor at m.i.t. my father was 21 when he watched the freedom buses roll into d.c. and yesterday his 11 yield granddaughter, my daughter, stood at the foot of the lincoln memorial as we commemorated 50 more years of struggle. as i watched her listening to the speeches on ground made
sacred by the sacrifices of her grandfather, i was reminded of our intergenerational responsibility. the struggle continues, but you are not alone. you stand on the shoulders of giants. they are there with you. showing you the way. and that is our show for today. thanks to you at home for watching. i will see you next saturday at 10:00 a.m. issue. it is time for a preview of "weekends with alex witt" with maria schiavocampo. what does president obama need to say today? the mayor of san diego made a deal with the city to resign. i'll find out what one of his victims thinks of the deal. and if she accepts his apology. she was there when he addressed the city council. plus, an 18-year-old faces sex offender charges for her relationship with a 14-year-old. why the defendant's parents say she's being targeted.
heartburn relief that neutralizes acid on contact and goes to work in seconds. ♪ tum, tum tum tum tums! chemical reaction is the u.s. poised for a military strike against syria? new details today on a developing situation at this hour. blood on that bridge in salma, alabama for the right to vote. >> stirring words and a call to action. will this march on washington affect change, especially when it comes to voting rights? the burden of history, what should the president say to the nation this week? 50 years after martin luther king's "i have a dream" speech. in florida, the saga of a teenage girl and her underage love interest takes a new twist. we'll tell you what she did that landed her in jail. hello, everyone, it's hig