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tv   CNN Newsroom With Fredricka Whitfield  CNN  July 18, 2020 8:00am-9:00am PDT

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. this is c thnn breaking new. >> hello, everyone. thank you so much for joining me on this day. i'm fredricka whitfield. two civil rights icons gone within just 24 hours. this mornings country is mourning the monumental loss of long-time congressman and freedom fighter john lewis. he died overnight at the age of 80 after a six-month-long battle with stage four pancreatic cancer new of lewis's passing comes as we're learning that reverend c.t. vivian, one of martin luther king jr.'s most valuable generals also passing away at the age of 95, his family telling cnn he died of old age and nar cautural causes. that's how they put it. both were recipients of the
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medal of freedom, even when they were met with multiple beatings and multiple arrests. congressman lewis referred to it as getting into the good trouble, necessary trouble. speaker of the house nancy pelosi ordered the flags be lowered to half staff. we have yet to hear from the president on the death of john lewis. here's a look back at his towering legacy. >> reporter: throughout his life john lewis stood for people's right. born on an alabama cotton farm, he not only lived to see an african-american elected president, he would be a major part of making it happen. >> tonight we gather here in this magnificent state in denver because we still have a dream.
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we still have a dream. >> reporter: lewis growing you was angered by the unfairness of the jim crow south. he credited martin luther king jr. forr inspiring him. as a student, he organized sit-ins at lunch counsters. in the early 60s, he was a freedom rider, challenging segregation at interstate bus term nainals kroacross the sout. the embodiment of nonviolence, he suffered beatings from mobs. he was the youngest speaker at the 1963 march on washington. >> we do not want our freedom gradually, but we want to be free now. >> reporter: then two years later led a march for voting rights in selma. ♪ >> on the edmund pettis bridge,
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he and other marchers were met by heavily armed state and local police. they were set upon and beaten. lewis suffering a fractured skull. it would be remembered as bloody sunday. he galvanized the nation. voting rights signed into law. lewis was arrested more than 40 times by police according to his congressional office. >> i'm on my way. we're going to win this race. >> he was elected to city council in atlanta, then to congress in washington, representing george's fifth district, fighting against poverty and for health care while working to help younger generations by improving education. he reached out to young people in other ways, writing a series of graphic novels about the civil rights movement, winning him a national book award. in a life of so many moments and
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great achievements, it was the achievement of another in 2008 that perhaps meant the most, the election of president barack obama. >> we have never been just a collection of individuals or a collection of red states and blue states. we are and always will be the united states of america. >> a dream that lewis thought was too impossible imagine years before. >> this is an unbelievable time in our history. martin luther king jr. would be very pleased to see what is happening in america. this is a long way from the march on washington. it's a great distance from marching across the bridge in selma in 1965 for the right to vote. >> in 2011 after more than 50 years on the front lines of civil rights, lewis received the nation's highest civilian honor,
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the presidential medal of freedom, placed around his neck by america's first black president. lewis wasn't content to just making history. he was also dedicated to preserving it. considered the impetus of the smithsonian's national museum of african-american history and culture. he never stopped stirring up good trouble, as he liked to call it, boycotting the inaugurations of george w. bush after the 2000 election and vocally opposing donald trump in 2017 citing suspicions of russian election meddling. at a protest, the counselicilma riled up the crowd. >> we must never, ever give up. we must be brave, bold and courageous. >> let me bring in now ambassador andrew young, a former congressman and an early leader of the civil rights
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movement who worked closely with john lewis during that time and throughout his decades-long fight for justice and equality. ambassador, so good to see you. mr. ambassador young, if you can hear me, this is fredricka. how are you feeling this morning? >> i can barely hear you. some static in it. >> oh, my goodness. okay, tell me, if you can -- >> now that's good. >> tell me, if you can, your thoughts about congressman lewis on his passing. >> well, you know, john has been on this case for 60-some years, and he has been in every phase of it. you mentioned some but he moved almost directly from the civil rights movement into the voter education project, where after getting the voting rights bill signed, he followed vernon
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jordan at the southwide voter education project and moved across the south registering those voters. we were also together in india at the 50th anniversary of king's visit to india. i can remember john being so happy to be in the presence of gandhi's legacy. that's one of the things that was characteristic of our movement. we went back and we read gandhi and we read w.e.b. debois. i would hope people would go back and read john lewis's book, which i think was "good trouble" and read the books of c.t. vivian because we have tried to lay a foundation for this
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generation to carry on and i must say that they're doing wonderfully well, spectacular. but when you add the human rights problems to the problems of the coronavirus and climate change, there's a heavy burden waiting for this coming generation. so they really have to be prepared for it. but this is -- black lives matter was a wonderful start, especially because it wasn't just black lives. john also put a lot of time in creating the black jewish coalition here in atlanta when the temple was bombed shortly after some of the incidents that occurred here. and we realized that it's not just black lives that matter but it's the lives of all oppressed
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people and the lives of all of the people of good will that will make this work. >> you were impressed by the young people engaged in mufl movements right now. just reflecting, you were a very young man when you got engaged with this movement and really was alongside dr. martin luther king. congressman lewis was just 15 years old when he wrote a letter to dr. king about being inspired by dr. king. and then he would be this teen-ager and a man in his young 20s who would be right in there with you, with you and with dr. king. where did this tenacity come from? >> from 15 to 80 is a good record. >> that's an amazing record. talk to me about his tenacity and what you saw in him all of these years. >> well, john's strength was his
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humility. he had almost no ego, no sense of his own self-importance, but he had a sense of his spiritual power and he also had a very charming sort of personality where even when you disagreed with him, you couldn't get mad with him. and i think -- and he didn't get mad with anybody who disagreed with him. he learned to disagree without being disagreeable. and that's one of the reasons i think we all live so long is we had no anger in our movement. we understood the complications of racism, and we saw it as a sickness, not something that people were -- you know, you don't get angry at anybody having polio, and you don't get
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angry for people if they were born in a situation that deprived them of the love and understanding of different races or genders that made them prejudice. >> that was a common thread that it appears you, reverend, and your fellow brothers john lewis and c.t. vivian would have. tell me about the late now reverend c.t. vivian and your thoughts about this brotherhood that you all shared. >> well, c.t. vivian started back -- c.t. vivian was leading demonstrations in peoria, illinois in 1947. and then he went to work at the national baptist publishing house in nashville, and that's where he began to work with jim
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lawson and reverend kelly miller smith to round up diane nash and james babble and marion barry, who later became the mayor of washington, d.c. there was a tremendous cadre of talent and ged ca dedication in that national movement and it really opened up the doors for the other college campuses and they were the ones that picked up the freedom rides when they were stopped in alabama with bombs and threats from the klan. c.t. vivian, though, was with me down in -- he was in selma with john and i was there also but where we got beat up was in st. augustine, florida, where the sheriff deputized a group of
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klan and gave them permission to beat us up. but people never fought back, they never got angry and dr. king told me to try to -- that there was no need to keep marching, that we should slow down a little bit because we didn't want to get people more seriously hurt. but we wouldn't stop. we kept on going until the civil rights bill was passed in 1964. >> ambassador, mayor, reverend andrew young, thank you so much and thank you for all that you have sacrificed, all that you have given, how you've maintained the fight for all these years and passing on the baton and now helping to also honor these amazing foot soldiers in congressman john lewis and c.t. vivian. thank you so much, reverend. appreciate it. >> thank you and god bless you.
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>> thank you so much. stay with cnn as we mourn the lives of congressman john lewis, as well as the legacy of c.t. vivian. we're also celebrating how lewis lived, happy until the very end. ♪ ♪ ♪ because i'm happy, because i'm happy ♪ my name is christine payne, i'm an associate here at amazon. step onto the blue line, sir. this device is giving us an accurate temperature check. you're good to go. i have to take care of my coworkers. that's how i am. i have a son, and he said, "one day i'm gonna be like you, i'm gonna help people."
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you're good to go, ma'am. i hope so. this is my passion. if i can take of everyone who is sick out there, i would do it in a heartbeat.
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8:18 am soccer practices... ...and new adventures. you hope the more you give the less they'll miss. but even if your teen was vaccinated against meningitis in the past... they may be missing vaccination for meningitis b. let's help protect them together. because missing menb vaccination could mean missing out on a whole lot more. ask your doctor if your teen is missing meningitis b vaccination. welcome back. in georgia governor brian kemp is now suing the mayor of atlanta and several other local governments over the mask mandate in the city of atlanta,
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despite new cases continuing to rise across the state, governor camp is challenging the mayor's ability to limit public gatherings and close restaurant dining rooms. >> i'm confident that georgians don't need a mandate to do the right thing. instead issuing mandates that are confusing and unenforceable, i'm asking government to enforce the current executive order. >> the cdc is in our own back yard. the cdc has said that wearing a mask will help stop the spread of this virus. >> natasha chen is joining me from atlanta. for several days now we've talked about the governor threatening this lawsuit. now it is official. >> yeah, fred. this is an escalation of tension that's been going on between the atlanta mayor and the georgia governor.
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after the law was file, governor kemp tweeted this lawsuit is on behalf of atlanta business owners and their hard working employees. he said they need to get food on the table and that local elected officials are trying to shutter their businesses and hinder the economic recovery. bottoms responded to that on twitter saying that more than 3,000 georgians have died of covid-19, that she and her family are among more than the 100,000 georgians that have been tested positive for this virus. this has been going back and forth for quite a bit. if you look at the case numbers right now in the state of georgia, especially in the first half of july, that trend is going steadily upward. so that's why the atlanta mayor had this mask mandate and tried to roll back to phase one, which of course the governor has said is unenforceable because the executive order from the state does not allow local orders to supersede and make anything less
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or more restrictive than what the state asks for, fred. >> natasha chen, thank you so much. joining us is the mayor of athea athe athens, georgia. welcome. >> thank you for having me. i hope you're well. >> i am. the governor suing the city of atlanta hit hard, just like many major cities across the country, the city's mayor putting into place a mandate of wearing masks and the governor suing on those ground. what are your thoughts? >> on this day when we're remembering congressman lew is and his great work, i think very much of his hallmark phrase of good trouble and it's good
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trouble and if it's to preserve the health and life of everyone in her trouble and across the state, we're simply asking for what is true in 49 other states, either for there to be a statewide norm for mask requirement or for there to be a local allowance for that same requirement. in dense urban environments, people come into close congreta with one another and we need the tools in our box to eliminate the spread of the coronavirus at this time. that's all we're seeking. it's simple science, it's -- i'm frustrated to see this has gotten political. >> how does anyone make sense of a governor leading a state that is being hit particularly hard by coronavirus who would sue a city mayor, a mayor who is
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committed to promoting the health for the populous and not suing because she's withholding the care of the populous. how does anyone make sense of that? >> much of governor kemp's support came from rural components of the state, places that at least early on were less hard hit and certainly bristle a little more at any kind of regulatory requirements. if you couple that with the president's admiration for and friendship with president trump, i think you get the perfect storm for this. unfortunately, we are not following the path of many, many other republican governors in texas, in arkansas, in alabama and elsewhere who are saying, listen, political allegiances aside, we simply need the tools in the box to keep ourselves
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safe. >> so mayor girtz, you lead the city of athens. at the nucleus of athens is the university of georgia. you've got students who are thinking about their fall semester, parents who are really concerned about the fall semester, whether their kids are in college and beyond. what are the measures that you want to promote in your city and does it come at the same risk of potentially being sued by the governor? >> we are going to maintain our local mask mandate here in athens. we've been enforcing this over the last week and a half since it's been in place simply by directing people to put masks on and if they don't have them, distributing those masks. >> why you believe you are not being sued? >> it's a great question. i think certainly this brewing political competition between mayor bottoms and governor kemp is at the heart of this. there's no secret she's
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vetted as a possible vice presidential candidate. we are mayor kemp's hometown. one would think if there was anyplace he's going to begin with this conflict it would be here. again he's going to atlanta. political has wisdom has been if the governor wants to gin up the base, they can throw darts at atlanta and that's seem to be the form here. >> mayor kelly girtz, appreciate you being with us today. thank you so much. >> thank you. >> meanwhile, states are fighting to slow the spread as hospitalization and death rates increa increase. in florida, cnn's rosa flores is in miami where icu beds are now exceeding capacity and the mayor in miami saying there are no
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more warnings but real enforcement of mask mandates there. >> you know, fred, you're absolutely right. and the state of florida just releasing their number numbers yesterday, reported yesterday with more than 10,000 new cases. here's the reality in miami dade county. the positivity rate is 27%. this is according to miami dade county data. their goal is not to exceed 10%. well, they've exceeded that for the past 14 days. icu capacity is at 119%. their goal is not to exceed 70%. the good news is is that the county does have extra beds, more than 400 to convert into icus. now, despite these metrics, miami dade mayor carlos jimenez says he's not ready to impose more restrictions, he's going to be focusing on the hospital numbers. city of miami mayor suarez says
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yesterday he has evidence that masks and wearing masks work, that it's helping the case number, that's why the case number in the city of miami is dropping. he says that even though a few days ago, fred, he was ready to shut down the city, now he said that he's not there yet, that he's masks are helping and so he's ditching the warning and going straight to imposing fines starting on monday. fred. >> and those fiends are $50? >> yes, for the first offense, it $50. >> rosa flores, thank you so much in miami. we'll check back with you. as the nation, the world for that matter, remembers congressman john lewis and his impa impact, president donald trump has just issued a proclamation that flags will be flown at half
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staff to honor john lewis for the rest of today. hike!
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good trouble, necessary trouble, that's how the late congressman john lewis described his lifetime fight for equality. he is among the civil rights foot soldiers enduring countless indignities, beatings and multiple arrests, for liewis, something like 44 arrests and we're learning that c. tht. viv, another civil rights activist has died. last time i saw all three of you together was in selma in 2015
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during that 50th anniversary. you are part of that brotherhood. tell me what it is like today with a heavy heart, celebrating the lives of c.t. vivian and congressman lewis. >> like a hole where my heart used to be. the reverend a few weeks ago, reverend lewis, they made their mark in time. >> what are your memories of congressman lewis and how at such a very young age, barely 20, he would be the youngest member of this movement and really become such a leader so soon. >> john was so determined. john suffered his way, took the
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beatings in the head and the body. he was on the bridge. i remember him fighting and never giving up. good trouble. >> and he would say that, never give up. never give up. when was the last time you had a chance to talk with him? >> about two weeks ago in his office together, we had determined to have a fall -- talked about the rainbow registration campaign. he's a gift that never stopped giving. he never stopped. never stopped. i remember him as a fierce freedom fighter, always
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nonviolent, fought with love and determination. he was a champion, a hero. it was on his shoulders riding on the bus, the right to vote. he was born in selma, alabama. it should be the john lewis bridge and not the edmund pettis bridge, it seems to me. >> c.t. vivian was about 15 years his senior of congressman lewis. what are your thoughts that the two of them would pass away within the same 24-hour period? >> this really is the mystery of
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death really, they happened so close, they were very close in life and very close in death. i'm sure heaven rejoicing. i think president obama and lewis. john lewis, president obama, we were all so proud with his election. it was our dream. we honor and praise him for his work. >> both of these men because of president obama would receive the medal of freedom awards, a different period but they would both be recognized for all of the work that they have done for their lifetimes. what is it that you hope that people would always remember about the legacy of these two
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men? >> well, they focused on what mattered. the most important aspect of democracy is the right to vote. the black lives matter movement is changing the way we see things. police patrol -- you control police, you control services. they focus not just on police, they focus on those who control the police. this movement will be embracing that. >> reverend jesse jackson, always a pleasure to talk to you. wonderful to hear your thoughts, your words, your memories, your experiences with these two amazing men, these icons, whose shoulders we all stand on. thank you so much, reverend. >> thank you so much.
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>> and stay with cnn as we remember the lives of two civil rights giants lost in the last 24 hours, congressman john lewis and reverend c.t. vivian. up next, my exclusive interview with reverend vivian after he was awarded the presidential medal of freedom years ago. >> only the things that help you help somebody are really worth the effort.
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or dental procedures. ask your doctor about eliquis. and if your ability to afford... ...your medication has changed, we want to help. a frightening new problem emerging in one texas county. the blackhealpublic health dire corpus christi says 85 babies have tested positive for
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coronavirus. the county has seen a spike in new cases. carlos del rio, executive associate dean for the emory school of medicine in atlanta joins us. good to so you. it shocks a lot of people because now we're talking about a large body of very tiny little ones, does this potentially reveal that perhaps there have been a lot of children, a lot of, you know, infants that may have been exposed to coronavirus but perhaps the symptoms are different and perhaps they don't necessarily test positive? could it be that a number of children have been overlooked for having been exposed to coronavirus but they haven't been treated or connected with the ailment by name? >> well, it's possible but i think what's more likely what happened, fred, is that the kids really stayed home. the parents kept the kids at home, school is closed, parents kept their kids isolated so the
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kids were not really exposed to the virus. now as we're opening, as people are going out, people are going to summer camps, people are going to day care, we will start seeing infection of the newborns and of the young children. i think we need more information, we need to learn but we thought at the beginning of the epidemic, you know, under the age of 18 you don't get infected. we know that's wrong, that's probably not correct, and we probably don't know exactly how much they get infected and how much they transmit and what the spectrum of disease is. the babies issue is probably related to the mothers getting infected. when a mother is infected, it likely because she's so close to the infant, it's very likely the infant will be infected. bringing down the incidence in society is critical to stopping this. >> should we be paying attention to the symptoms children are exektinge exhibiting a little differently? >> yes, we can but even when
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they get infected, the children, teen-agers, tend to be very asymptomatic or very mild symptoms you wouldn't dream about, like my tummy hurts or i'm not feeling well today and maybe have no symptoms. that's a challenge because those children, they get infected, we don't expect they come into the household and infect the adults and the grandparents and when a grandparent ends up in the icu, you realize the children brought it home. >> i had a neighbor that had a sore throat, they didn't think it was a big deal. the next thing is the child's father had coronavirus, tested positive for it. the child would test positive later but the parent would be hit particularly hard, whereas the 15-year-old child only had a sore throat. >> that's usually the case. that's what we're seeing over and over, and that's why it is so complicated to control this disease. that teen-ager, that young kid,
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nobody would expect it. when they come home, it transmits to adults and that's when we hear about the disease. >> you wrote about a case on a flight where two people positive for covid-19 but the rest of the passengers did not, likely because of mask use. does this show how important wearing a mask can be in fighting this disease? >> i think the evidence is overwhelmingly positive that, yes, the answer to that is yes. not only in a flight but you're making the point. i didn't write that article actually, just tweeted the paper, but also in, for example, there's a recent study from missouri of two hair stylists that were infected. they had over 160 clients, everybody was wearing a mask. nobody got infected. there's data from health care, and when we implemented universal masking infection of health care workers went down. universal masking is the way out of this epidemic as far as stopping the spread and we need
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to have a national mandate on universal masking. we cannot wait any longer. >> i was just about to ask you, are we using the terminology universal masking because that sounds more digestible to those who don't like the idea of a mandated massi mandated masking but you're saying both of those things. >> i think evidence is clear if you recommend masking, levels don't go up. what makes masking levels go up is making mandates. when you make mandates and you can get masking levels up in the order to 70 to 80% wearing mafa masks, the transmission markedly drops and we can open our economy in a much safer way. if everybody on a flight is wearing a mask, it's safe to be on a flight, even if other people are infected.
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today we remember two fallen civil rights heroes. both congressman john lewis and reverend c.t. vivian died in the last 24 hours. reverend vivian had a long history of fighting for civil rights, marching alongside
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reverend king multiple times. the minister participated in his first nonviolent protest, a lunch counter sit-in, in peoria, illinois in 1947. president barack obama awarded vivian the highest civilian honor in the nation, the presidential medal of freedom in 2013. that year was also the 50th anniversary of the 1963 march on washington. and i had the honor of sitting down for a conversation with reverend c.t. vivian back in 2013 where he reflected on the significance of that historic march, that medal and momentum. could you have believed 50 years ago that the march would be as indelible, have this indelible place in history? >> we knew it would have an imprint, but i never thought it would be this deep. now think what we're talking
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about. really, without -- without that victory, we wouldn't have an african-american president. and i never thought -- i never thought we would have one for this century. remember this. martin luther king led a moral and spiritual movement. he did not lead a political movemen movement. and his remarks and his great statements don't back up a political movement. they back up a moral and spiritual understanding of life. >> so now you're on a mission, or you continue to be on a mission. >> that's it. >> it's been your life to be on a mission. the president made it very clear that the 16 recipients of this presidential medal of freedom in his words goes to men and women who have dedicated their own lives to enriching ours.
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>> that's exactly right. >> so what does it mean to not only be one of the 16 recipients but to share this day, this honor, with the names like ernie banks, oprah winfrey, gloria stein steinem, sally ride. >> let me tell you if it doesn't allow you to help other people, it doesn't matter who you got them with and it doesn't matter what the honor looks like. or where it comes from. you see what i mean? only the things that help you help somebody are really worth the effort. >> so this, in your view, is not an honor to represent all that you have done, but you say this is incentive to continue to do more. >> of course. of course, and you got it exactly right. we have proven that we can solve social problems without violence if we choose. and that mean s at every level.
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>> reverend vivian's pledge to keep fighting was as constant as the fight you'd see on his face. always jovial. always hopeful and optimistic about the day when we are all treated with equal dignity and respect. and as we head to break, a live look at a mural in memory of congressman john lewis in atlanta. and we'll be right back. ♪ ♪ we've always put safety first. ♪ ♪ and we always will. ♪ ♪ for people. ♪ ♪ for the future. ♪ ♪ and there has never been a summer when it's mattered more. wherever you go, summer safely. get zero percent apr financing for up to five years on select models and exclusive lease offers.
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paycom frees you to focus on the business of business. to learn more, visit young woman: yeah, thanks mom mother: of course and thank you guys for these gorgeous flowers, so thoughtful. young woman whispering: hey, did you bring the... the condoms? young man whispering: what's up? young woman whispering: condoms young man whispering: cond.. condor? young woman whispering: condor. why would i say condor? condoms! condoms. father: condoms charlie. she wants to know if you brought any condoms. young man: yeah i brought some. announcer: eargo, a virtually invisible hearing loss solution with high quality sound and lifetime support. the introductory pricing of our best hearing loss solution neo hifi ends august 3rd call or go online now to save $300
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