tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN December 27, 2013 4:30am-6:31am EST
mr. leahy: mr. president, earlier this week i spoke about the need for the senate to consider legislation to help increase america's safety by reducing gun violence. i came on the floor of the senate and i urged my yellow senators to abandon efforts to filibuster proceeding to this bill. the senate should not have to overcome a filibuster to respond to the call for action to response to the gun violence they're experiencing. mr. president, i have the privilege of being the longest serving member of this body, and i've watched debate on so many issues. if there was ever an issue where all 100 of us should vote yes or
no, it's here. i was encouraged by the comments of a number of senate republicans that they are prepared to debate this matter and will not support this wrong-headed filibuster. even the "wall street journal" he wouldized against a filibuster yesterday. in a lead editorial titled "the g.o.p.'s gun control misfire." i don't agree with much, but i would quote this: "if conservatives want to prove their gun control bonafide, the way to do it to vote on the floor. senators should understand what is in this floor the small minority of republicans are seeking to prevent the senate from even considering." the bill has three parts. none of them threaten second-amendment rights. none of them call for gun
confiscation or a government registry. in fact, two of the three parts have always had bipartisan support and with regard to the third component, the provisions closing loopholes in our current background check system, senators manchin and too maniy yesterday announced they're going to have a bipartisan amendment for this component as well." and yesterday senator collins, senior senator from maine, and i were able to announce another step towards consensus. and we had previously been eengaged with discussions with law enforcement and victims groups. more recently we have been engaged in discussions with the n.r.a. we have agreed to negotiations to stop the illegal firearms act that addresses all of is substantive concerns while doing as we've always wanted to do,
providing law enforcement officials with the tools they need to investigate and prosecute illegal gun trafficking and straw purchasing. now, senator collins and i are both strong supporters and advocates of second-amendment rights for law-abiding americans. and it seems absurd that some senators nonetheless persist in filibustering the consideration of our bill. we, the american people expect us to stand up and face our responsibilities. whether we like having to vote or: without objection. mr. cornyn: mr. president, yesterday i had the solemn privilege of meeting with coming of the families -- with some of the families who lost loved ones in the sandy hook shooting.
aes as a father, i can hardly bn to comprehend the enormous grief that these individuals have suffered, losing such a young child or a spouse or a mother in an act of what would appear to be just senseless violence. burying your child is something that no parent should have to do. the families and friends of the victims at sandy hook are owed the dignity and respect of a transparent, good-faith effort to address gun violence. i do believe there is a common ground upon which republicans and democrats can come together.
the issue of mental health of the gun owner is that common ground for me, along with enforcing current laws that are on the books. if there's one thread that connects the horrific series of gun violence episodes in our country, particularly in recent times, it is the mental illness of the shooter. in every days the perpetrator's mental illness should have been detected and in some instances it was reported but no report dt reported. these individuals should never be allowed access to gun. this is actually something we can and should do something about. we need to make sure that the
mentally ill are getting the help they need, not guns. as i said, this is something that i believe all of us can agree on. in response to the tragedy at virginia tech in 2007, the united states senate and the congress unanimously passed a measure to bolster mental health reporting requirements on background checks. some states like mine, texas, have received high marks for their compliance. but many states have essentially been noncompliant and the department of justice has failed to adequately back up implementation of the law. so essentially the law that we passed in the wake of the virginia tech shooting to require reporting of people who are adjudicated mentally ill in their respective states is not working the way it should.
rather than just string along an ineffective program, i think ing officer: theful opportunity senator from iowa. mr. grassley: thank you. i'm glad that we're proceeding on this very important legislation. the american people might be wondering why the senate has not been voting on any amendments to the pending gun legislation. the senate voted on thursday to proceed to the bill. thithe senate should debate the bill. that's why i said i'm glad we're getting there. there has been very little debate. the president has said that various proposals deserve a vote and we on this side of the aisle don't intend to stand in the way of proceeding on those votes, particularly on the amendments. and i hope we're able to vote very soon.
last week senator manchin and toomey unveiled an amendment on background checks. the media hailed the agreement as a way to pass gun control. the majority leader announced that the manchin-toomey amendment would be the first one that we would vote on. but, just starting the debate now, obviously we haven't voted, so hopefully we'll get to the vote. now, we haven't voted because despite claims from the other side, background checks are not and never have been the sweet spot of gun control debate. we haven't voted on it because support dears have the votes -- because supporters don't have the votes to pass it at this point. at least that's the way it appears to me. they don't have the votes even though published reports indicate that vice president biden has been calling senators and asking them to support the
manchin-toomey bill. they must not be telling him what he wants to hear. they don't have the votes for background checks even though the vice president has reportedly stated that the opposition to the proposal comes only from -- quote, unquote -- "the black helicopter crowd." well, it doesn't come from that point. manchin-toomey would impose new obstacles on law-abiding gun owners. it would do so even though expanding gun background checks would have done nothing to stop newtown or other mass killing. it would do so even though expanding background checks would do nothing to prevent these killings in the future. i often quote the deputy director of the national institute of justice, and it was
recently -- that institute and that person recently wrote that background checks could work only if they were universal and were accompanied by gun registration. and, of course, most members of the senate oppose gun registration. they know what has happened historically with gun registration. it has led in other countries to confiscation, and members of the senate, but more importantly, lots of people appearing at our town meetings fear that and don't want to go down that road. the background check amendment claims to strengthen the rights of gun owners, but in fact it does mr. durbin: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, we are debating one of the most important bills we've had before the is that the
in a long time -- before the senate in a long time. the reason we're debating this is because of what happened in newtown, connecticut, on december 14. gun violence takes its toll every day in america, in cities all across the country and in my home state of illinois. and we know, because we read and hear in the news of the victims. at this moment, our nation is saddened by what happened yesterday in boston. we still don't know what the cause of that was, who was responsible for it. i just have to say that we're stunned by it. members of the senate that i work with on the immigration bill had planned to announce it today in a press conference. we've postponed that, in respect to the people who have fallen and been injured and their families in boston. it is a moment of grave concern across america, expressed well by the president last night. we wait for the information and details to build a case for
those who are responsible. i, for one -- and i'm sure my colleagues feel the same way -- don't want to rush to judgment until we have the facts as to the partie parties responsible t the sadness we feel for the victims and thed isness w the sl for americans who stand on the side lines and cheer on the runners is profound. the issue of bus is gun safety. it comes before us because 20 beautiful first graders were massacred at their grade school at sandy hook in the town of newtown, connecticut. and six of their teachers and administrators literally gave their lives in defense of those children. there's not a parent or grandparent alive who didn't identify with that horrible loss. last week i met with a group of parents from sandy hook elementary school who in their continuing grief still had the courage to come to congress and
to beg us to do something, to spare future families and future children from this type of massacre. i met with them early in the morning. there wasn't a dry eye in the room, as you can imagine. as they showed me the photographs of their beautiful little children who were gone. i commend him for their courage for stepping forward. now the question is whether the senate has the courage to step forward. this isn't an easy vote. i come from a pretty diverse statement i comstate. i come from down state, illinois, more gun owners than the great city of chicago. for 14 years i ran in an area where the gun issues were very volatile and very important to many people. i took some positions which the gun lobby didn't care for. several times they decided that they would wage a campaign against me when i ran for
reelection. i survived their attacks and eventually was elected to the senate here. this is the first meaningful gun safety legislation that we've taken up since i was elected to this body over 16 years ago. we're here because of newtown, connecticut. there's no question about it. i of coursi often remind peoplee of our own, gabrielle giv giffo, congresswoman, was gunned down point-blank in the face, and we did nothing. no hearings, no changes in the law enforcement it was just another gun statistic to many
[captions copyright national able satellite corp. 2013] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] i've heard some say blocking this step would be a victory. my question is a victory for who? a victory for what? do we really think that thousands of families whose lives have been shattered by gun violence don't have a right to weigh in on this issue? do we think their emotion and their loss is not relevant to this debate? so all in all, that was pretty shameful day for washington.
but this 70's not over. -- this effort is not over. i want to make it clear to the american people. we can still bring about meaningful changes that reduce gun violence so long as the american people don't give up on it. even without congress, my administration will keep doing everything it can to prevent more and more communities. the existing background check system. we're going to give law enforcement more information about lost and stolen guns so it can do it job. we're going to help to put in place emergency plans to protect our children in their schools. t we can do more if congress gets its act together. and if this congress refuses to listen to the american people and pass common sense gun legislation, then the real impact is going to have to come from the voters. to all the people who supported
this legislation, law enforcement and responsible gun owners, democrats and republicans. urban moms, rural hunters, whoever you are, you need to let your representatives in congress know that you are disappointed and if they don't act this time, you will remember come election time. to the wide majority of n.r.a. households who supported this legislation, you need to let your leadership and lobbyists in washington know they didn't represent your views on this one. >> what this means is this issue is not going away. the people behind me who have been hurt physically and motionally with violent, violence, are going to continue working with us. we have not given up. they deserve better. the families deserve better.
so i pledge to keep them and everyone within the sound of my voice assured that i'm going to everything i can to fight for meaningful background check legislation. the fight has just begun. it is not going away. i want to call upon now a little out of order what we do around here normally and call upon joe mansion of west virginia who drafted the piece of legislation dealing with background checks. joe? >> back with rebecca at the hill offices in washington watching a lot of the coverage from 2013 over the the past year on c-span. looking ahead to 2014, you earlier mentioned some of the executive actions that the administration has taken. what else are they doing and is there any ledge slavet effort, northeast congress, for 2014?
>> i have to say that a lot of lawmakers on the hill think that the issue dead. in september, we had the navy yard shooting in washington. harry reid said he would not seek a vote in congress. so right now, the issue appears dead. at least on capitol hill. but i think that might allow the white house to introduce more executive actions if republicans on the hill are not going cooperate. >> and in terms turnover administration, what will we see from them? >> i'm not quite sure at the moment. i know they did introduce the $100 million for additional mental health services this week, but it is too far to tell what they are going to bring up in the next few months. >> you can read her report at thehill.com and follow her on
twitter as well. thanks for being with us on c-span's year in review. >> thanks for having me. >> here's more about guns from connecticut senator chris murphy. he spoke on the senate floor to mark the one-year anniversary of the newtown school shootings and to urge congress to act in 2014. we are about to hit the one-year mark since the tragic shooting in sandy hook, connecticut, that took the lives of 20 little boys and girls, 6 and 7 years old and six of their educators who cared for them. united states senate and the house of representatives that we have not moved the ball forward one inch when it comes to protecting the thousands of people all across this country who are killed by guns every year. even while 90% of americans
agree that people should have to prove they're not a criminal before they buy a gun, that there's really no reason why we should allow military-style weapons in the hands of ordinary americans. we should be embarrassed by the fact that we're not doing more to try to stem the scourge of gun violence that plagues our nation today. but we should be even more embarrassed if this week we cannot pass a commonsense extension and update to the undetectable firearms act, a bipartisan piece of legislation that has been on the books since 1988. most people in this country have no idea it exists because up until this week, it has been so noncontroversial. and so to tell you a little bit about why this is so important, i want to bring you back 70 years to world war ii.
in world war ii, the allies developed a very small firearm called the liberator. and the liberator was capable of only firing one shot. it was a very, very small little gun and the idea was that we would get this out to the resistance movement in europe and they would be able to conceal this very small firearm so that they could get close enough to a german soldier, use the one bullet in the gun to kill the soldier, then take his weapon. now, the program never went very far but fast forward to 70 years later, to a university of texas student who came up with the design of a newly undetectable firearm, a plastic gun that can be reproduced on what is now known as a 3-d printer named "the liberator," the same exact
gun that was developed to be used by the resistance movement in world war ii. and witness also the fact that once he posted the plans for that plastic undetectable gun on-line, those plans were downloaded 100,000 times in short order across this country before the department of state used authority that they had to take those plans down. now, i don't know exactly what the designs for this gun were but it can be used in the exact same way that the -- that the original liberator gun was used. a plastic gun is undetectable by imaging equipment, by metal detectors. it can be used to get into a very secure place like, let's say, a government building. the ones that are being designed today, like the one that the young guy in texas put on-line, can't fire more than a couple bullets but it can fire enough
bullets to injure a law enforcement officer or a security officer, take their gun and do even more damage. and so, mr. president, we have two problems today when it comes to this new issue of undetectable plastic guns. first, the law which was passed in 1988 which bans the manufacture, possession or sale of undetectable firearms. these are firearms that you can't pick up on a metal detector, that can essentially move into secure locations without being identified. that law expires today. if we don't pass an extension, tomorrow it is legal in this country to create an undetectable firearm. but here's the second problem. the second problem is that this new technology that is pretty widely available already, called 3-d printing, has made it really easy to make firearms that
comply with the existing law but are still potentially undetectable. why is that? because to be a legal weapon, you have to have a certain percentage of the weapon be metal so that it can be picked up by a metal detector or a x-ray machine. but because we can now make very creatively constructed weapons with 3-d printers, that piece of metal can be easily removed before it goes through a metal detector and still be used without the metal on the other side of the detection unit. thus, essentially erasing the benefit of having a metal component if the metal component can just be stripped out. it's a pretty simple update that we have to make here. all we have to say is that the metal piece of the gun has to be integral to the firing mechanism of the gun so that if you take the metal out to get it through a metal detector, it doesn't work on the other end. but, mr. president, we're having
a hard time getting that commonsense update, just recognizing the advancement of technology, passed. in the senate and in the house of representatives. so we have these two problems. one, the underlying bill, which is still really good law even without the update, is expiring. we've got to pass it here. and, second, that we need this update to we look back at congress' failure to fass budget and the 15-day government shutdown that closed national parks and limited other government services. that's at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span. >> thursday, house democratic whip steny hoyer spoke on the house floor during a pro forma session where no legislative business is conducted. representative hoyer objected to the house adjourning for the
rest of the year while failing to pass immigration legislation or extend unemployment benefits for over 1.3 million americans. here is a look. gentleman is reserves -- reserves the right to object. and the gentleman is recognized. mr. hoyer: i thank the speaker. arguably, mr. speaker, this congress is the least productive one in which i served over the last 33 years. both from a humanitarian standpoint and an economic one. this congress has earned the disdain of the american people, irrespective of their party affiliation. i rise, mr. speaker, specifically to express my and the democratic minority's strong objection to adjourning this first session of the 113th congress without extending unemployment insurance eligibility or the 1.3 million americans, including 20,000
military veterans who will lose that support in just 48 hours. this number, mr. speaker, will increase by 73,000 people on average every week that we continue to block extension. that is both a moral outrage and another connelly inflicted ow -- congressional ly infected blow. the congress has extended benefits. it is sadly consistent with our failure to pass meaningful jobs legislation proposed by the president. it is, sadly, consistent with our failure to pass comprehensive immigration reform which is broadly supported by business, labor, farmers, farm workers and an overwhelming number of religious leaders and members
of the faith community. it is, sadly, consistent with our failure to pass a farm bill which could give confidence to those in dire need of help putting food on their family's table that this congress will not abandon them. and ironically, mr. speaker, we do so at the very time that our nation celebrates a message of giving and hope. all this we leave undone. after passing a so-called , whose only mise virtue was it was slightly better than the draconian and irrational sequester, condemned on both sides of the aisle, mr. speaker, as unworkable, unrealistic and ill-conceived. and so a so-called compromise that will be tested in just a few short weeks and which failed to assure that pleark will pay its -- america will
pay its bills in the months ahead. mr. speaker, if i thought objecting to this motion to adjourn by unanimous consent would lead to extension of unemployment for the 1.3 million americans who have been unable to find work or to a house leadership bringing to the floor issues that i've listed, i would object to this house adjourning with so much of the people's work undone. such an , mr. speaker, objection would have no such effect. i and my party deeply regret that reality, and mr. speaker, we will return in january, 2014, urging our republican colleagues to address the needs of so many millions of americans who want us to do the work they sent us here to do. therefore, mr. speaker, sadly,
i withdraw my objection. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman withdraws his reservation. without objection, the concurrent resolution is agreed >> congress returns in january with the senate scheduled to vote on the nomination of janet yellin to be the next chairman of the federal reserve and working on unemployment benefits on january 7. the u.s. house always here on c-span and the u.s. senate on -span 2. > we now have secular norm psychological norms that govern our way of seppings in the way s of which a god or goddess can speak to people. for example, the branch davidians. david koresh says he has
insights into the bible and helps other members of the community to understand the bible, particularly the book of revelations better and to understand that they are living in the end times in a way that most don't accept. that by itself doesn't seem to be a problem, but when it leads other elements, then that trigger, both law enforcement's concern as well as the popular suppress concerned, then suddenly, this idea of somebody listening to god and having his followers do things a seem to be other than the national norm is dangerous. that needs to be policed and patroled. >> he argued that religious persecution in america has been prevalent since the 1800's. sunday night at 9:00 on afterwards. part of book tv this weekend on
c-span 2. >> c-span. we bring public affairs events from washington directly to you, putting you in the room at congressional hearings, white house events, briefings and conferences and offer complete gavel-to-gavel coverage of the u.s. house. l as a service of c-span funded by your local cable and satellite provider. now you can watch us in h.d. >> next from tulane university, an event on gender race and incarceration, focusing on women as the fastest growing group of imprisoned people in the united states. this is an hour and 35 minutes. ] >> thank you. it is a pleasure to be here this evening. plentyout and see that
are still worried about their grades and seeking extra credit. thank you to the professor for that lovely introduction. larger part of the campus intellectual project to gauge with michelle alexander's ant, which has gotten enormous amount of critical praise over the years, that has restarted conversations that activists and scholars have been having often in more silo the spaces. hassuccess of the book provided more spaces for public discourse around these questions. me, one of the great challenges of the book as well as of so much activism, particularly within african- american communities around incarceration is the unnamed and almost always unnamed assumption that this is primarily a man's problem, a problem of male bodies being stopped and frisked by police officers instead of
assumptions about male gendered norms associated with black men and notions of violence and the idea that the problems of incarceration and the cost of incarceration are primarily borne by african-american men. part of what we want to do is challenge that by going to the intersection of gender and incarceration, by speaking specifically about how incarceration impacts women. we have assembled a really extraordinary panel and we will try to do as little talking as possible although all the students in my class know that i'll he say that and then talked for 2.5 hours straight. on our penultimate is susan burton, founder and executive director of a new way of life reentry project. she is a formerly incarcerated person herself who after many years in and out and with a
clear understanding of the challenges of incarceration, started a new way of life. she has been recognized for her successes and her continuing activism including being nominated as a cnn top 10 hero and a community crusader and receiving the citizens activist inrd from harvard university 2010, also being a justice fellow and a women's policy institute fellow and a community fellow for the california wellness foundation. heywoodh us is deion who is one of my favorite people. i am always looking for a reason to have her at the table. she is the executive director of women with a vision, a new orleans-based organization founded in 1991. she is one of my favorite people mostly because of her no- nonsense approach to these fundamental questions. women with a vision does not
take on the easy questions when it comes to incarceration. in 2009, she oversaw the launch of the note justice project. n-o.al they filed a lawsuit on behalf of trans women who were labeled and arrested under the street based sex workers crimes against nature law here in louisiana. they were on the sex offender registry as a result of nothing more than having been sex workers. a settlement with the state of louisiana removed 700 such individuals from the sex offender registry. [applause] of course, for her work, women with a vision was also victimized by fire.
that said, she takes on the questions that are not the easy ones. tina reynolds is a cofounder of women on the rise, telling her story. organization that seeks to provide a voice for currently and formerly incarcerated women. she is a formerly incarcerated woman herself holding a masters in social work from hunter college. one of the most important projects that she is currently working on is the birthing behind bars project. we recently focused on the problem of women who are undocumented immigrants being shackled in the context of labor and delivery. heart of what werth does is recognize that this is standard practice in many localities not only for undocumented immigrants he held for nothing more than the status-based crime of being called a legal because they have
crossed a border, but also for domestically incarcerated women. who has beth ritchie been one of my favorite people for longer than it would be reasonable for us to talk about here. the instituter of for research on race and public policy at the university of illinois at chicago. she is an intellectual mentor, one of the people who introduced me to the possibility that in the academy we can both be serious scholars and committed activists. her research projects include a study of factors including rearrest rates for women and young people released from large urban jails and also an examination of public policy and social factors that impact incarceration rates. i teach her book regularly. she is the recipient of the union institute's audrey lord legacy award. "e book that i teach is arrested justice, black women, violence and america's prison
nation." welcome my panelists. [applause] the way that we have decided to do this is to give each person on the panel who could undoubtedly speak for two and a half hours themselves, three to five minutes. i will hold you accountable for the three to five minutes. mostly because i have a series of questions on a variety of topics around arrest, conviction, incarceration and harder community impact that i hope to get to. i want to simply give you a moment to talk about your work a mere scholarship, your activism so that we have a sense of what this broad picture looks like. we will begin here. >> thank you so much. i must include what brought me to my work.
son was five-year-old killed accidentally by an lapd police officer. the height of the world on drugs. -- war on drugs. soon after, i began to take illegal drugs. illegal drugs i was in possession of, i was sent to prison. i was sent to prison not one time, but i was sentenced six individual times. i spent time in prison for possession of a drug. in 1998, i found a place that helped me. the place was in santa monica, a predominantly white neighborhood and when i got there, i got -- i was introduced to recovery and i began to practice recovery. what i noticed is that in that neighborhood people were not sentenced to prison for
possession of drugs. i said, what is wrong? what is going on here? i just saw these two different approaches, same county and the different neighborhoods, other side of the tracks. wasft there really glad i getting help. but really angry that i would be punished, caged, handcuffed, six times when recovery was so much more humane and acceptable. monica, went back to south l.a. and work and bought a house and began to help other women just like me find a place that they could come back to in their community that had some resources with a safe environment and there began the beginning of a new way of life. today, a new way of life has
five homes. over 700 women come back into the community. we have reunited more than 150 women with their children. more than that, we began to organize. we look at how to make policy changes. on 82-18 inworked --ifornia which bans unemployment applications. we began to organize nationally a formerly incarcerated and convicted people's movement. we 10 years ago organized all of us or none. five years ago we started a legal department where two lawyers take on all types of discrimination. discrimination, housing discrimination, looking at how background check companies rapidly report all --es of stuff on people's
for people who are seeking jobs, seeking employment. this whole mass incarceration thing is just -- has totally destroyed communities across this country. what do i do? i just work to make a better world. i work to level the playing field. i worked to give opportunity to people, women and men, but getarily women that never the opportunity to have a better life, to improve their life, to go to college and so forth. i worked to make a better world. thank you. >> hello, everyone. ago, it was really an idea that came from eight women, all of them who were born and
raised in the city of new orleans. we make a joke about how all of , thirdpresent every ward ward, ninth ward, seventh ward, six. [laughter] with theem decided onset of hiv in the late 80's and early 90's that even though there was a lot of talk about how it was transmitted, no one was talking to anybody in the african-american community. that is where women with the vision was born. for the first 15 years, we did a lot of advocacy on the local level in terms of speaking up around different issues that marginalized communities and at that time, that is when new orleans had 10 housing developments and we worked in and around those areas. and harms around hiv
reduction and trying to connect to women. we learn early on that access was the biggest issue. racism was the issue and definitely poverty was an issue. shiftedrina, our work because as many of you know, it became equal playing ground for some and what i call the killing field for others. that because i was here and that is what it felt like. ist we found post-katrina all of the worst things seem to have gotten worse. there seem to be all these new policies that had been in place someway, themehow, state legislature decided to go in and make the penalties worse. to, ok,our work shifted we have been doing it on this level -- it seems like we have to look at laws and policies women in and cycle
out of prison but put them in direct risk for going to prison. work on the our justice campaign was targeting louisiana's crime against nature law, solicitation crime against nature which was an automatic felony. 20 years. you have to follow all federal guidelines as a registered sex offender. one of the things we found was the majority of women being charged were african-american. 79% of the people on the sex offender registry were african- american women. that didn't look right to us. us wehough people told weren't going to be able to fight it, they had tried this , you are not going to be of the to do it because one,
y'all are small. two, y'all are all black and you are from the south. that didn't work for me. the one thing we are all very clear on and that we try to instill in people is that we are born with a power. we should have that. all we do is try to help women find their power. what won was their stories. we wouldn't have been able to do that if the community wouldn't have stood with us. led how that campaign was going to look and what we wanted the outcome to the. i am extremely proud not only for all of us at women with a itself.ut the community those trans women and women who said, enough is enough. small, black women, changed louisiana. exists and women
were taken off the registry and should no longer be placed on. thank you. [applause] >> i am glad to be here. arrested for the last time. i haven't gone back since. , but thisle violation particular arrest or rearrest was different. i was pregnant. buyer to that i had done my time on the installment plan. i had been arrested 61 times and served up to 4.5 years. i was pretty tired of being sick and tired. however, i wasn't tired and sick and tired for me but because i was pregnant. things became a little bit more overt. as far as the treatment i received within the prison. i was shackled and sent to bedford hills where farm records
island was about an hour and a half away. i was shackled by my ankles with a chain between my ankles and i my also belly shackled and arms. i had a five-point restraints. i was maybe 4.5 months pregnant and i had to lean over the bar and hold on while the bus took me up to bedford hills. night.a winter i said, what if the boss gets all nice and turns over? what happens to me if that happens? would someone protect my baby? i said, if this is happening to me, i wonder how many other women it has happened to. i served my time. i did my time specifically to keep my son. it wasn't for me that i served this time. pregnant i began to open my eyes and look and see how women were treated. there were a lot of other women in the prison during that time
that were pregnant as well. we did not receive appropriate food. nutrition, we did not receive appropriate medical care. things started turning for me. the case of my child being taken away from me after i gave birth to him was another issue. where would he go? birth to my son and i was shackled and handcuffed during birth and delivery. that was another scary thing. now i am looking at the safety for my child. son become a co- conspirator to my crime? i said, something has got to change. if this is happening to me than it is happening to other women. i served my time. i was eventually able to keep my son during incarceration i fought to keep him. he and i walked out of prison. he was nine months old. eight years later, worht came andnd -- worth came around
we decided to work on our first policy legislation change what was to end shackling of pregnant women. it was done with an organization and collaboration with incarcerated women sharing their stories about their experience. we are not the experience. we have those experiences. the separate that experience from who we are, we began to share our stories of the practice of being shackled. in 2009, we ended shackling, the practice of shackling in new york. [applause] change massim is to criminalization. >> thank you. i am delighted to be here tonight in part, i will tell you
my story by naming names. to start with, melissa. [laughter] have done for we a long time, susan who runs an incredible program. i say that because my work, my path to this work has been deeply influenced i women's stories. hear theays, when i three to five minutes, i think this is what our midterm election should have been about, these women leaders changing the world. they represent -- you got the short version of incredible stories of these organizations. make no mistake, these are black women up here. [laughter] right? represent, especially they represent and credible on the ground of black women, black queer communities, black young people who are trying to change
the world. would be as, this very different event at the world were ready for the kind of change that they have been working on the ground for for the past 20, 30 years, i don't know how many mycobacteria i want to name their names and their organizations. there is insight in the room. there is the new jim crow, but there is also all these people who have done this work for a long time. says thedo work that -- we that this isn't don't live in a world that celebrates prison abolition, black women's leadership, freedom, opportunities for women to raise their children, places forrieve, opportunity sexual expression that is fair and just, the reason we don't live in that world is because we live in the world that is a prison nation.
the prison nation in the world that says despite all those attempts to survive, despite well articulated strategies for empowerment of black communities and other subsets of black communities, what we have instead is a world, a government that is committed to the politics, the principal, the philosophy of a cursor allstate. when i talk about a prison nation what i am talking about -- ae world that has united states government that has more prisoners than any other place in the world. furtherople spend time away from their families and communities than in any other place in the world. they spend that time in worse conditions of confinement than any other place in the world. they stay in their longer than
in any other place in the world. we have embraced an ideology that says a prison nation caging people because of their race, because of their age, their sexuality, their gender is an appropriate response to social problems. i didn't say lawbreaking. i said social problems. that is what is filling up. metal health problems, problems related to violence, problems related to poverty, etc. when i try to bring to this work is an understanding that we need to change that world, the world of a prison nation that this government has embraced so that women like these are our leaders, are creating the kinds of communities that i want to live in. that to me is a world that is a prison abolition world. i came to this work because i was working against violence against women. stories are these
really about violence against women. they are about incarceration, police brutality, but they are also about violence against women. particularly violence against black women which is the target of the prison nation. i am humbled to be here. i so appreciate the work that you have done. i look forward to your leadership because you are organizing a world that i want to live in. thank you. [applause] >> we will pick up there. i have 493 questions or something. we will get to do four or five of them probably. i want to leave some room for the audience. i want to start where beth ended. the notion of violinist against black women -- violence against black women. i can't think about much of anything without thinking of it through the lens of "12 years a slave." if you have not yet seen it, you must.
there's a lot of discourse publicly about it at this moment, but for me, perhaps one of the most useful aspects of the film is for the first time in a film that is a major -- on major american theatrical screens, we see the intersection of violence and race and gender in a way that has not been previously depicted rror we see in the context of "12 years a slave." it is also possible for those who want to to walk away from the film feeling as though we are now in a sanitize world or at least that doesn't happen anymore. you can see that it is both an entry point into talking about the horror of our national history, but also potentially a weent where we say, at least have clean that up, at least that no longer happens. i want to invite any or all of
you to engage a little bit with me on this question of arrest and conviction and incarceration, those three aspects of the notion of violence against women, particularly marginalized women, black and brown and poor women. >> to be pulled out of your community in chains and put in the back of a car, which is a cage for transportation, and then to be put into another cage the court there until process sanctions you to become him up atain and woke 5:00, 4:00, 3:00 in the morning stripped of your clothing, chian --n a a -- on a
out in the early morning, put on a bus, driven to some place that you know -- that you have no clue of where you are going and pulled off of that bus, cage, put into another again,, cage, stripped having to have every piece and part of your body looked at with flashlights and all the rest, and to be pushed out into a sort of compound where you are $.08, $.16,$.05, and the executive job is $1 an hour, that is slavery in america. that is what prison is.
i haven't seen "12 years a slave." i didn't want to see it before i got here. [laughter] it, i had this other experience that is slavery. the 13th amendment says, as long ofi'm under the auspices being convicted of a crime, the crime being possession of a drug that medicated the grief after babynforcement killed my and never ever said, i'm sorry, never acknowledged it -- i had to go through a lot of healing to even operate to be here today, for giving the accident, but then also -- forgiving the accident, you can also forgiving the fact that this little black boy was killed by a white man with the badge patrolling my
community. >> based on what susan said about patrolling our communities , because even though susan is in california and tina is in new york, tina and i have had multiple conversations about how our communities are policed in the same way. often when you hear about profiling, normally you hear it about black men, black and brown men, or in the last few years, you may have heard what that looks like for people in the community. whenever i think about policing and what that does to our ,lients and the way they think that they are conscious of every move they make because everybody aows in new orleans there is jump-out tuesday -- the police
roll up, even even if nothing is going on -- even if nothing is going on. we work in the community. when we had 10 housing developments, we could be handing out information, doing testing, and it literally, you would get 30-something police -- semi-i automatic automatic, and if you looked like they wanted to stop you, they could. if they want to go through our bags, they could. this is what poor communities in poor communities of color live with every single day. that means someone who is five years old, 10 years old, we live with this. if you think about what that does to your mind in how you think about yourself, that is one piece of it, but then you womenabout what i see for -- many of our transgender
clients always say, we are guilty of walking while trans, not because they are doing anything, but simply because in the police mind, you must be a ax worker because you are trans person. that is what you people do. it is the same way they look at a more masculine women -- i'm going to handle you like a man because you present yourself as one. , just many of our clients a talking crime -- police never had to catch anybody in the act. they never had to catch anybody performing oral sex. they definitely didn't catch sex,ody having sex -- anal the two things under the crimes against nature statute written when we do that -- statute.
we always like to look at things through a public health lens. if we can get the so-called people who run this country to look at things, real public safety, not the one they try to sell people, but real public safety, public health and human rights would be living in a different time, in a different world. was, i will give you a quick example -- we have a latina walking down tulane avenue. she was just waiting for the bus. a car pulls up. do you want a ride? no. where are you going? i'm going to the va hospital. when did you serve? she gets in the car. it is an undercover cop. she is charged with a crime against nature. this is what happens when we give people who have a check or are not put in the position to check their own bias and their
and we havef racism a quota to fill, so let me get you. how womenhink about are targeted, it is normally crimes like this. i try not to use the word i think it," because feeds the stigma, but if you are poor, if you are black, if you look like this -- the latest one i have heard, if your nails are done in your hair is done, you must be involved in sexual work -- i'm like, you're going to get a lot of people i know. policing looks like a certain thing for certain people in certain communities, which is why when you talk about, how do we fight and how do we stand up, some days i don't know how any of us do what we do simply because it is tiring. as soon as you finish one, there will be another. >> can i jump in, a little bit about trying to expand the
notion of policing that i think you are talking about? i think there is the police who police. then there are all the other people who police. >> right. >> that includes people who work in treatment facilities. it includes people who work in schools. it includes people who decide whether or not we are eligible or not eligible for public assistance. also, it includes partners. it is important, at least in the experience of talking about what happens for black women, black queer people, to talk about the relationship between the police, as in the people paid to the police, and the people who feel like they should police us even though they are not paid to do that. between a connection those two. that is part of what i think makes it harder, more particular, and more dangerous
for black women and black queer people. a whole bunch of people are thecing us -- our families, police force, and everybody in between them. so, the notion of policing i think has to be complicated in our discussion. one other quick thing i want to melissa, there is very problematic data that says that the incarceration rates of black women are going down, and the rate of violence against women is going down. big national studies are trained to demonstrate that the problem is not so bad as we are experiencing it. i think the way we need to respond to that is to say, even though there may be fewer black women actually going through the prison, be atl or the cook county jail or bedford ,ills or the l a county jail even though people are not going through the doors, they are being police.
they are being monitored and sanctioned and punished now by places outside of the building, which in some instances is maybe even more dangerous. you never know who is watching you and what kind of rights they may take away from you, like you lose your kids or your public assistance, etc. >> i think that is so true when we think about how we have internalized how it is we need to behave in relationships with other people that we don't know and how we walked on the street, especially as women of color. children, if we are a bad mom, we don't give our children breakfast in the morning. we are looked at as a bad mom. we are involved in a system that says, we should take your child away. when i think about the issues of massive restoration versus massnalization --
incarceration versus criminalization, we have to look communities ofts color. 40 years we survived specific scrutiny where we were bombarded with the policing of other people's systems, communities, people within our communities, and our ways of thinking about how relationships should work. were consistently traumatized and re-traumatized to the point of where it was normalized. >> i want to pick up on that. let me get one more in here. that is the case of marissa ways,der, which, in many reflects this. i have often pushed back against miss alexander's book, the idea of the new jim crow. be bad in its own way. it doesn't have to be the new old bad thing. book titles are almost never crated by the author. we've got to give her a pass on
that one. that said, to bring back the slavery piece of it, i've also always pushed back around any attempts to make anything that is now that thing then, and one of the key aspects of why this thing now is not that thing then is simply what distinguished slavery in the u.s. south in the 17th, 18th, 19th generate -- century is the intergenerational nature of it. slavery there have been in other places, the thing that made the slavery different and unique in human history is the idea that you could expect nothing more for your children either than bondage. been doing this work, and also as i have learned more about the work you do, i am increasingly convinced i have made an error of judgment, and that in fact the current system of impersonation doesn't have this deep, intergenerational component.
and so many ways, the marissa alexander case opens this up. from what we know about this case, this is a woman who had just given birth to a child who hurt -- with her abusive husband. it was very clear that he abused her as well as other partners. in her attempt to protect, shooting more than at the ceiling, she ends up with 20 g -- 20 years or more in jail in florida. she has been incarcerated already for three years. away from that infant who she was trying to protect. i invite all of you at this point to reflect on either the question of the intergenerational nature of incarceration around women and children, but also if you want to to reflect specifically on marissa alexander and what we have learned about the intersection of domestic violence, the intergenerational nature, the lack of interest in making sure that a black mother is at home to in fact parent her
child. myi want to continue discussion about mass criminalization and give you an idea of why i cleaned it that way. safeooking at the adoption families act that passed in 1996 where, because of the languishing of children of color, specifically in our foster care system, president clinton made it so that folks' children could be released from being in foster care if their parents had no communication with them in a timeline of 15-22 months. where did that put people who were incarcerated? the median sentence at the time for women was 36 months. ok? -21 months, the median sentence at the time nationwide was 36 months.
if you did not plan for your child's reunification with you and you had a place for yourself and your child and a job, you could forget about it. most of the time, women were in prison. they would lose their rights to their children. the termination proceedings could continue. in some cases, many of the women didn't know that they lost their parental rights to children. when we make the comparison -- i'm briefly speaking on this -- when we make the comparison about intergenerational, we look at a system that has broken down the relationship between parent and child and the respect for parent and child. myi was saying, making unborn child a co-conspirator to my crime, here we are making children in foster care co- conspirators to their parents incarceration -- parent's incarceration. >> that question and statement makes me think about woodmore.
she was a woman who was sentenced to seven years to life for protecting her son. she shot an abusive boyfriend. he died. the son was about two years old at the time. she went to prison for seven years to life, spent 20 years in prison, was found suitable for parole seven times, and the governor rescinded it seven times, and finally, she was released. she was released, and she came to work at a new way of life. her son when she was released was serving a life sentence himself. she should have been discharged from parole at five years. one of her biggest wishes was to vote in the 2012 primary elections.
she died of a stroke. she never got to vote. she was working on getting her son out of prison. she never got to see her son because she was on parole. the parole capture a year longer. we registered her. they were supposed to discharge her. she never, ever got to vote. she had a lot of things sort of on her bucket list, but voting was one of them that she had never, ever got to exercise. when we talk about intergenerational, we talk about so many women still in this country sentenced to life for
protecting themselves from an abuser. so, when you -- it just brought her back. >> one of the things i wanted to bring up about marissa's case is, a good friend of mine, she always says that there is no other woman from any ethnicity that is judged the way black women -- as harshly as black women are judged. when you think about -- i always give the example of the asian researcher in london who did this research same -- saying, black women were the most unattractive women in the world just the sheer fact that he wanted to do that, the sheer fact for those of you who can
think back -- this is something that has been happening forever we can think about how people make jokes about our hair, whether you are dark. there is a holistic things i can go through -- a whole list of things i can go through. i also think about how that plays when the police are called to a domestic violence case, a situation. how you see me is how you will respond to me, whether you are the law there to protect me, but if you walk -- i'm a thin woman not a thin woman. white people get really intimidated by loud black women.
i don't know what to say to them. i get it all the time. [laughter] i am alright with it. we have seen it multiple times where even in the description -- we just had a meeting about this earlier, last week, about how the description of the woman -- big -- what does that have to do with it? she didn't look weak or whatever. people always wonder why black women don't access services for domestic violence, why the queer community doesn't access it. why would you call those people? for same-sex couples or trans women, i can tell you we hear it all the time at women with a vision. i'm not calling the cops so they
can arrest me. the charges go up when it is us. one more thing i want to add -- we hold a community voices group for formerly incarcerated women. all of them talk about, even when you are free, you are never free. i can tell you, louisiana is one of those states, they really don't want to let you go. even if you are out, the amount of fees that you pay into the system -- for the women who were charged with a crime against nature, once you are out, you have 21 days to pay $500 to put yourself on the sex offender registry and send out those postcards that all of you see in your mail. if you do not do that, you will return to jail. then you do more time and come out again. who has $500 for postcards coming out of prison?
who does that? i don't know too many. if you weren't a sex worker, how would you make that money to keep yourself free? it is as free as you can be. this is how the system really works. they never let you go. we have one client, one woman who says to this day she is paying $800 a month for two marijuana charges, one in texas and one here, in court fees because the job she has, she could afford to pay that. she lost her job, and she is still paying that. if she doesn't pay that $800 every month to the new orleans criminal justice system, she will go back to prison. this is the way that i feel like the system itself makes -- criminalizes people. if i make all of you think that these people are not worthy and they keep using drugs and they
keep going back to jail because they do not want their life to be any different, don't fall for it. it is always a bigger story. this is the way they do that. >> can i just add -- >> i'm going to invite folks to line up. we started late. i do want to give folks an opportunity in the audience. i'm going to keep questions brief. be sure that you do have a question. >> line up while i'm making this point, which might be a little controversial, if you don't mind. i am very impressed with the national organizing around marissa's case. a lot of us have been doing it for some time. it is critically important. it is bringing forward the issue of black women's right to defend themselves and the children. we would not be talking about it at a national level if it weren't for trayvon martin. to me, there is a feminist question of why it took the
zimmerman verdict and the tragic death of trayvon martin to have us focus attention on this black woman. it is kind of a rhetorical question, but it is an important one. >> it is a critical one about who we think is the victim. >> who we think is the victim. who would be talking about her case if the verdict had gone differently? >> that got people to the microphone. >> good evening. thank you so much for being here. i have two quick questions. i t.a. a class at tulane. it is murder and violence in the community. we look at the underpinnings for the violence and murder in our city, what is causing it, and of course, our concert -- conversation goes to the prison industrial complex. it is one thing that michelle alexander did a good job of, given the conceptual framework of how it is financially incentivized.
as this conversation is evolving, i'm interested in how people see working against the momentum of this economic incentive of incarceration. my other question is very simple ira present the black alumni association of tulane. we want to do a service for children for people of incarceration -- people affected by incarceration -- what services are being needed? what are people meeting -- needing? what is the hierarchy of that? thank you. >> since it is new orleans- specific, do you want to take that one? >> being that i am from new orleans and you asked the question, how do we deal with it, i feel like i have been screaming the same thing. we are not going to change what
is happening in the city of new orleans if we don't change the system itself. where we are paying into the criminal justice system, the fact that the prison gets more money than the program, the fact that the prison has become a way to deal with addiction, health, when we could easily be like san francisco, new york, chicago, connecticut, cities who have put that money into programs that will change that. until we change what poverty looks like for people -- people say, it is the hopelessness -- i cannot play with that word anymore. i meet people every day that have hope that something is going to be different.
we don't experience anybody that comes through our doors that do not feel like it could be different, but if we don't change the way the city of new orleans, what they consider our priority, gelling as a priority to keep a safe, and now we are getting a larger one, and the fact that they get $22 a day per person -- we haven't stopped violent crime in the city. what we have done is petty crime, the little things that people do if you have to, community service or helping people in other ways -- we haven't bought into that. i feel like it is changing slowly, but we haven't totally bought into that yet. in terms of your -- >> i want to slide in. i know you've got a ton of people. i want to invite this university to start looking at evidence- based research to show that
those programs are of value. >> one more thing about research. there has to be a moral shift in this country. there has to be a moral shift in each and every one of us. there has to be a changing of hearts and minds and valuing everybody, valuing the neighbor's child, the child in the community over here just as much is your child. there has to be a changing in the hearts and minds of america and the value of every human being to be just as valuable as the next person. [applause] >> i'm going to say this real quick. i know we have other people.
before you invite tulane to do research, tulane needs to talk to us. i just have to put that out there. too often, organizations like ours, people come in, and what they do is they take. they don't leave us with anything. we are actually equipped to do our own community-based artist of the tory research. -- community-based participatory research. >> we talk about evidence-based research as if it is great to fix folks. like they are broken. if you look at the system as broken as opposed to the people first of all, you don't want to see them, and many don't even want to sit next to them once you know -- in my introduction, i said i was formerly incarcerated.
if we sat next each other, you wouldn't know to when you find out, that shift that happens in your eyes and in your heart, it needs to stop. >> let me also just quickly say, the desire to vote. part of the inability to push back sufficiently against the economic incentives for incarceration is the act of disenfranchisement to currently and formerly incarcerated people. it is almost impossible to activate communities around justice questions for currently and formerly incarcerated people, but also when they are kept from being citizens forever all the cities that you named, heart of what we have seen is a massive decline in african- american turnout. it solves this problem primarily by living in communities that
are policed not only by nopd but also by the saw police of private security, and in the context of disaster, they will even call in halliburton. that is jeremy scales brilliant research -- scahill's brilliant research, how halliburton was called during evacuation. the way violence is dealt with in this city is to keep it in the seventh ward and ninth ward. it is also true -- as long as you live in the south loop, the south side -- the question of changing these moral questions what i just heard in terms of the moral narrative, when that discourse comes out of the mouths of the right, what they are talking about is unborn children, which is not what they're talking about, but that is somehow what they're talking about when they say, we should care about every human. they are talking about fetuses,
not black fetuses, certainly not black incarcerated fetuses. if i say something on television like, children belong to all of us, and i am even serrated for months because it is some sort of weird communist plot -- let me go to the next person. >> greetings. thank you all for the work you are doing. my first question, i'm an assistant professor. right now, i get a lot of black women wanting to do research on this subject. i am only one person. what are you all doing, what you have in regards to providing strategies for engaging the next generation of leaders? what do you have in place, how would i engage them, how would i send them to you? that is the first thing. i have them in my office all the time. second, what becomes the role -- i'm a psychologist -- what becomes the role of mental
health services in the work that you're doing? i'm just wondering how you incorporate that. >> i was just great to shut out three things -- shout out three things. make sure that your students know about the insight conference, scheduled for next spring, right, sometime in the bay area. march 2015. it is a wonderful organizing opportunity for women, especially women of color, with activists with an inclination to get turned on to a radical politic for ending incarceration. in the issue of the message violence in the african-american community, active web presences, blogging, looking for research assistance, and then a shout out to a national organization of young people who are taking their communities back and a trying to, again, insight and activist orientation.
i say that because i think connecting people to faculty mentors is one thing. they can come my way. i'm always looking for students and who want to work on some dimension of this project so they can be in a different city, but what i think we want to turn people onto is to be workers, activists, organizers, ready to be involved in the kind of work that the other sisters on this panel are talking about. get them connected to reading and writing and research, but also get them connected to activists. >> byp is the black youth project. black youth project will be represented at our gender and sexuality conference we are having on december 6 rightness room. send the women over to this conference. >> women organizing for justice
-- this was a nine-month leadership development, specifically for formerly incarcerated women, that they went through and learned about policy, learn how to speak to policymakers, learn how to organize, and learned how to stand up and speak and lead their community. that is one of the things we are doing in california, women organizing for justice. >> one of the things we do in new york, we developed a curriculum based on the popular education model, and the curriculum is developed on their success as returning women. the challenges they have met and how they have overcome them. they have developed this curriculum with a focus group of women who have come home and talked about their challenges. this curriculum, they offer it to the prisons, to work with women who are coming home. they went back into the prison and have taught this program to women who are returning. we are talking about sisters who
have served 25 years and below, going back into the prison, and teaching women about the successes and challenges they have had an talking about real issues like relationships and health and wellness and resources that are needed and how it is you have a conversation with your field parole officer. the thing about another organization is the center for third world organization ash third world organizing -- third world organizing. they offer internships to pay you to interim with us. we look for interns who are interested and can get supported through their schools to come and stay with us for the summer and develop programs or assist us with the programs we have. we cannot afford to pay people. [laughter] >> yes. >> again, thank you for being here. i am bonnie schmidt.
i am the chairman of the north shore unitarian universalist church new jim crow task force. my particular question has to do with an issue that was raised in michelle alexander's book, the question being, where are the black man? we know where the black men are. my question for you is, how does that affect black women and their communities? i understand there is something like a 26% gap between available women for marriage and available men. i wonder if you can expand on that and other factors. >> i've got so many emotions. [laughter] >> i will take that question from a public health standpoint. that question -- i don't want to go too deeply, but i will tell
you how probably the cdc -- not that i agree with them most of the time -- but how the center for disease control uses that and how they label that as the number one cause for the rise in hiv rates of black women in this country, because they have multiple sex partners because all their men are gone. they end up finding more and more. then their man comes out, and they get another one. not really looking at the other social determinants of health, like direct poverty putting people at risk for health issues. that is probably the biggest one for me, how we see and how it labels the african-american community. if a child's father was incarcerated or couldn't find a
job -- we all know there are many reasons why people struggle in poverty or with education or with finding employment or a way to make a living wage -- if he is taken out, of course, this is why his children become criminals, as well. when you think about removing them, them being out of the community -- i feel so many emotions around this, i don't know if i'm answering your question -- this is the way they also criminalize and label women and families and communities. >> yeah, they are missing. we are missing them. their children are missing them. their sisters are missing them. our community cries and feels a huge void with all of the men that have been missing over the decade, and all of the women.
while men are the largest body in the prison industrial complex, women are the largest growth number. over the past 30 years, it has risen 800% for women being incarcerated. i don't know that it is going to catch up with the man and the numbers -- the men and the numbers, but it is a huge problem. i can tell you, the children and the women and the homes that we serve, they are missing. there is a lot of pain and the loss of them. we want to begin to see, how do we restore all of our community members? >> let me just say, there is a question of misdirection that sometimes occurs. the conversation -- two things around this -- what is wrong
with black women is the lack of marriageable black men. several things it does -- it creates all black women, p -- women as people seeking husbands. many don't want husbands. they want wives or other marriage partners or other things. it reproduces something that we have known to be true. remember the moynihan report. i just want to recall this. the research was done before the 1964 civil rights act was passed or before the 1965 voting rights act was passed. this democrat, this bighearted liberal democrat decides that the primary problem of the black community, before we are even full-service and, -- full citizens, is single parenting by black women.
that has been the narrative. it has nothing to do but -- with public policy, but it has to do with black women and their pathological relationships to their men and children. in fact, the current single parenting and divorce rates among white women right now are precisely what they were when the moynihan report was released. there is no great upward -- that is what the compulsory pregnancy, abortion for what women thing is -- the final thing i want to say on this is, this narrative about daddy pain is also problematic for me. on the one hand, yes, people have daddy pain. on the other hand, president obama is the first african- american president who didn't have a daddy. i'm going to say that again.
he is the first black man to become president of the united states -- he didn't have a black father in the household, but also has pain and angst. >> motivation. >> i'm not saying if one doesn't have a father it will motivate you that motivate you to be present. i'm saying, we want to be careful about the personal narratives. part of what president obama's story tells us -- the little boy story, not the actual man who is president -- is that if you're black daddy is missing, a white mom and white grand parents who can give you access to education and resources and opportunities ain't a bad trade-off in terms of maybe not your emotions but certainly your life outcome. rather than us trying to create salvation in black communities by marrying off black women to black men, we ought to create the opportunities and resources to sustain --
[indiscernible] [applause] >> michelle alexander herself would say, because i've heard her say it -- there is a part of her understanding of the new jim crow that doesn't interrogate gender in the way that it gives us a possibility of prison abolition. what i mean by that is, we do miss men in our communities, and at the same time, what can we do as people who are trying to envision a different society? i came to this thinking about gender violence. what is bringing them home differently? what would it mean if we brought men home from prison because we were engaged in prison abolition
community building and said, since you have been gone so long, how are we going to engage in a respectful, mutual raising of children, building of communities, respecting of queer, gender nonconformity, instead of saying bring men home to marry women and establish nuclear, patriarchal families? what about, bring men home so we can create a different kind of community, and therefore be on the forefront on liberation politics instead of reinscribe in patriarchy -- reinscribing a patriarchy? >> some of myself who is less fortunate, not a woman of color but knows that everything
you are saying is true -- how do we assist in this movement that definitely needs to happen, and secondly, does tulane service coordinating help with this? >> i sent a bunch of babies over to them and learned a lot. i had been doing service learning in new jersey and chicago. i learned a lot about new orleans through the mistakes i made by pulling my babies and sending them over. i was humbled to hear -- we have to be careful about our service learning model versus and engage fellowship model. >> i will say this one thing. for example, i have a wonderful relationship with tulane's school of social work.