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tv   Viewpoint  NBC  October 4, 2015 5:30am-6:01am EDT

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♪ good morning, and welcome to viewpoint. i'm chris lawrence. today we're going to be diving into the topic of ending violence in black lives matter. with me here today is dr. stephanie myers. she is the cofounder and national co-chair of black women for positive change. you'll hear about that organization. and also, kristin henning. and pastor william lamar, pastor at eme church. pastor, some say we've got this epidemic of violence.
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do we? and is that the correct term for it? >> chris, thanks for the opportunity to share on these difficult, seemingly intractable issues. i was at a meeting at the brookings institution earlier in the week. and they are asking similar questions. i think that we in america journalistically and historically pick up on this story in the middle. if you pick up on the story in the middle, what it appears is that black people are on theo logically, intellectually deficient, and some people say even prone to violence. in order to really deal with this, we have to deal with the policies and political and economic realities that cause what it is that we see in washington, what we see in the united states, what we see, really, globally. i believe that this begins with the violence of bringing people to this nation against their will, with a violence over a period of time that you see in
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jim crow. the violence that you see in the federal housing policies that created ghettos, the violence in educational policy that ensures those who are wealthy get a better education. so we have to view this violence not just as what we see in these neighborhoods, but violent government actions that we think are neutral. and we have to have a more robust conversation about the historical things that impinge about these realities because if you separate those things out it appears that what you see in these communities is just these people who are in some way abhorrent. and what really is happening is these people are acting against forces that have proven intractable historically even when we have policy resolution and legislation resolutions it appears these things do not change. it is a broader conversation. >> it sounds what you are saying, there needs to be a move away from blaming the victim,
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the black family. >> right, right. >> for some of these problems. >> i think the irony of what the pastor talks about and the irony of american history is that not withstanding the sort of long history in america of violence perpetrated against african-americans, today we sit in a society in which the public perception of violence today is almost synonymous with african-american males and black boys and black men. so we're in a society that is now afraid of black men and black boys. the average citizen walks down the street and is afraid of black men and black boys. so when we talk about the epidemic of violence, we have to be careful not to associate, necessarily, the epidemic of violence with this notion of black male violence. instead, i think it's really important when we start talking about solutions and how do we prevent violence in society that we really unpack what we're talking about, what different
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types of violence that might exist. so there is the -- all of the national media about let's say black shootings, or the shooting of the black church in south carolina, emanuel ame. then there is the shootings at the mall, at the movie theaters, at the schools. that's deeply rooted in mental health. >> right. >> right? whereas the shooting at emanuel ame is racism. then there is the rest of the crime, what i call the local, the street crime that ideal with on a day to day basis which i would love to have a conversation about how do we solve that latter one, the third one without conflating it or confusing it with the other two types violence. this notion, you asked about not blaming the victim. what happens for us it's too easy for us when we talk about local crime and street crime to point the fenger at the black community itself. >> dr. myers, i think one of the things that kristin touched on,
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there has been a push even here in the district to add more police to the streets and look at that as the solution to, say, we need more police in these neighborhoods. that will stem the tide, so to speak. >> well, law enforcement currently has its role, but the l.a. law enforcement officers have to be trained properly. if they are going to be in our communities they have to be put in touch with their own internal bias. we have many law enforcement officers looking at our young black youth walking down the street and automatically want to categorize them as being a criminal. that has got to stop. so people who live in neighborhoods want to feel they are safe and want to feel that the police haver there. but the police have to be on the side of the people. president obama had a community policing committee that he established that has gone around the country. and some of the issues that have been raised is the importance of making sure that law enforcement officers know the communities
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that they are serving, that they have contact with the people there, that our community -- because violence is not a black problem. that is a misnomer. violence is an american problem. our nation that we love was born into violence. we know what the whole native african-american situation, our annest is fors coming over on slave ships. white people as indentured servants came into the situation. it's been a violent birthing. what we want the society to do is say enough already. we're in the 21 century. we want to change the culture of violence in america. change the way we think, the way we act and the way we interact with one another. that includes law enforcement. >> that's a great point to jump off on. we are going to pick back up on that in just a second. we want to call your attention to the week of nonviolence. we want to send you to this website, the black women for positive change.org.
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i want to call your attention to the fact that october 17th pastor lamar's church, the pastor lamar's church, the metropolitan ame c
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♪try this technique, put your mouth on fleek.♪ ♪la-la-la-la-la. i'm chris laurance. welcome back to viewpoint. we want to dive back into our discussion with kristin henning, a professor of law at georgetown law school. i want to ask you, if you are not going to blame the people who are involved in the violence, if you are not going to blame their families, who is at fault? and how do we stabilize the community? >> it's interesting. part of what i think needs to happen is to refolk us the conversation. i think so much of the conversation of blame is about who do we hold accountable as opposed to a system-wide, community-wide solution to violence. and so i think what i'd love to
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see is a comprehensive preventative strategy from the beginning. let's stop talking about blame and let's talk about solutions. when i talk about a comprehensive preventive strategy i'm talking about evidence-based programs that are shown to prevent violence from before a child is born all the way through early adulthood. >> like what? >> so what does that look like? so there are at the prenatal stage there are evidence-based programs called for example, nurse/family partnerships where nurses visit homes and help young mothers or expecting mothers prepare to be a parent. >> taking care of themselves. nutrition. their emotions. >> absolutely. exactly. which carries into the next phase, which is the 0-12 phase. so there are programs specifically designed goen help mothers, parents, family raise
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children without emotional issues or to avoid and reduce trauma and maltreatment in the home. then in the middle and high school years, again, there are a range of evidence-based programs that are designed to improve educational outcomes, increase graduation rates, things of that nature. throughout the trajectory. there is a sense in the community that we have to figure out who is to blame and who to hold accountable. and the policy makers time and time again believe that the only strategy, the only way to appear hard on crime is to have a law enforcement strategy, a hyper incarceration strategy, transfer, you know, children to adult court instead of looking at prevention, which is demonstrated to be more cost-effective. >> saves a lot more money. >> saves money. right. >> dr. myers, you mentioned we need to getaround to the idea of treating this before it happens? >> absolutely. that's why we're sponsoring the week of nonviolence in october. because we promote an awareness
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that just as cris mentioned there are approaches that can help families avoid producing angry children. there are strategies and therapies and approaching to parenting that can help a young person avoid conflict and confrontations and bullying. the behaviors that go on, domestic violence in families is a real problem. and we have to find ways before they happen to nurture, to cultivate, and to make people aware. and when i say people, i mean the faith leaders the parents, the elected officials, business leaders, the entire community needs to become aware that we can change the culture. first of all, we have to develop the desire and the will to institute these ideas. so during the week of nonviolence for example, in pittsburgh, we will have the police chief sit at a table with a group of 12 youth and talk about what are the causes, what are they experiencing in violence. and he'll talk with them and
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they will talk with him about, you know, changes. >> you mentioned something. you know, helping an angry young person deal with that in a more productive way, how do you tuesday church to help in that process? especially since you are seeing these kids, toddler, elementary, middle, high school, you are seeing them come up in the church. how do you reach them and help them deal with some of that anger? >> part of the work is troubling the narratives that really dictate the ways that we think about people and the way that we categorize people and their behavior. so for example, you see a picture of george washington and the, quote, unquote, revolutionaries with weapons and their patriots. you see a picture of the black panthers with weapons. and they are evil maniacological violent black men. what you don't know is that the black panthers arose to check police violence, which was uncontrolled in the bay area.
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they were never violent but they were trying to ensure the police were not violent against those in their communities. those textures of stories, making sure that our children know who we are and are not listening and imbibing a narrative about who we are and who we have been that is detrimental to their own psychological health, to their own emotional and spiritual health. so part of what -- on the policy end and the thee -- i think on the theological end is to help people of african-american decent is to know no matter what people may say or feel, they are children of god, at of god and they don't necessarily have to fit into these stereotypes. the last thing i'll say, i think it's very important, this nation has gotten where it is over time with policies that have been
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unfair, with policies that allow certain communities to have a certain leg up. >> let me jump in because i want to go back to this week of nonviolence. we're going to pick up that topic when we come back from break. i want to send you to the website, black women for positive change.org and call your attention to the week of nonviolence october 17th to the 25th. ♪ hand-crafted...layer by layer. the new macchiato from dunkin' donuts. experience the flavor of fall with a new hot or iced pumpkin macchiato.
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dunkin' has a dark roast coffee that's deliciously roasted just right for a bold start and smooth finish that's never bitter. put down the dark roast you've been putting up with and reach for the one you deserve. welcome back to vooi viewpoint. i'm chris lawrence. we're going to dive back in with pastor lamar. you were talking about some of the policies that have been in place that have been contributing to this. >> the last thing i will say is current. with the recent downturn in the economy, the majority was in the black housing market. >> which cratered. >> it literally liquidated black wealth in america. now, the people who perpetrated that, there are no law enforcement ramifications,
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nobody has been arrested, kris is a lawyer, she is a professor. we have to look at how these systems continue to ability violent against black communities. we have to figure out how new policies can emerge to reindescribe civilization and reinscribe american's economic status quo. >> i want to tie this back around to the black lives matter movement and how that relates to the civil rights movement. but even the hashtag black lives matter, it doesn't seem like they do when you look at some of the statistics in places like chirge chicago, where weem are killing each other. >> again, it's -- this notion of blaming the victim. like who in chicago is perpetrating that violence. i guess that's the question is figuring out what it looks like and where it's coming from. this question is critical in the
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black live's matter in the fact that the criminal justice reform is the current civil rights issue of today. the criminal justice system is the system through which blacks are losing the right to vote, they are losing housing. they are being banished from society through incarceration. being denied -- >> didn't we fight this battle in the '60s. you mentioned the black panther party, police brutality, the integration of all those plenties like detroit and washington and new york city. wasn't this the issue 40, 50 years ago? >> the country has changed. immigration has changed. immigration increased. jobs have been sent over seas. the moj mortgage crisis took away a lot of the wealth. we have dynamics that are making our communities more frustrated. the prison system, we didn't have this industrial prison come election 25 years ago. now we have a prison trying to
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fill beds the way hospitals fill beds. and taking them off the street and putting them in solitary confinement. i read something that solitary confinement creates more rage and anger than you can imagine. and we have places all over the country where we have young people being treated like criminals, treated like dogs, like animals. many of these are victimless crimes they are being arrested for. there may be drug crimes. you have situations where people can smoke marijuana and other drugs in some parts of the community and they get a pass. they don't get arrested in a wealthy community. it's simply ignored. in our community they are picked up and thrown into jail for ten years. there is this disparity of justice which kris and reverend lamar are referring to. we know the disparities are there. the black live as matter i
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movement i admire. this is the new generation. the millenials. they are smart. they know social media. we have to find a way to trigger them and get them to real low mobilize their power and their strength in a positive way. you look at the new shows on tv, "empire," and owes, the knowledge and the ability is there. we have to channel it. and i believe they can be global forces for good and for positive living. >> we're going to jump back right on that topic as soon asway come back. we'll take a break. we want to remind you again about the week of nonviolence, october 17th through the 25th. look at the website. black women for change.org. black women for change.org. and october 17th
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welcome back to viewpoint. we're talking about ending violence and black lives matter. when we look at solutions, are there things that will work equally well for girls and boys?
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are there other thing that maybe need to be targeted specifically? >> i think, yes, there are solutions that work equally well with boys and girls in terms of, you know, from prenatal all the way through early adulthood as i indicated. but the research shows that girls, one of the most common triggers for girls to enter the juvenile justice system or the adult criminal justice system is trauma. physical abuse, sexual abuse, neglect, emotional trauma, as well as physical trauma. and so what we need to find is evidence-based -- and there are programs out there, evidence-based trauma informed programs targeted at girls. it's really important to think about it as primary early intervention. so getting girls -- dressing girls at risk of trauma from childhood and not waiting. i think we are too reactionary in our society.
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so we wait until the violence has happened. then we look back and try to mitigate the damage or heal the wounds after the fact. and what we have to do is use some of those programs that we talked about early on, from 0-12, get into the homes, and figure out which homes are at greatest risk of abuse, neglect, domestic violence, and the like, and address that. >> how can the church help, mothers and fathers. >> we partner with persons like dr. myers, with experts like kris. and i see our continued work as that of helping to define these young people in ways that trouble what america says about them. we need to let them know who they are, to teach them their culture, their history, so that they can wade into spaces that are inhospitable to their image, inhospitable to thb their image and be able to fly. >> dr. myers.
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>> for black women for positive change, we are having the week of nonviolence. we are also producing socially responsible media. the viewers can go on the website and they can see a film called on second thought, which is about two young girls both pregnant by the same guy. the whole situation ends in violence. and then we show how would it have happened differently if they had had a second thought. we are using the media to reach the youth so they can download things on their phones and ipads and look at new ways to approach old problems of violence. >> all right. we've been talking about ending vie lense, black lives matter. this is a complex situation, we are not going to solve anything today. great journeys start with one step. a big step will be october 17th to the 25 with the black women for positive change and the week of nonviolence. hope to see you there. thanks. ♪
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right now, a driver slams into an apartment building, leaving a mess for residentses and a deadly crime scene. and charleston under water. floodwaters come pouring down, and the rain isn't done yet, but first we do have some breaking news to pass along. we're working to figure out how a person died after this crash in the district heights area. prince george's county fire department telling us that the person crashed into an apartment building. this is on rushel avenue overnight. take a look yourself. the driver had to be rescued from the car and died at the hospital.

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