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tv   Today in Washington  CSPAN  January 17, 2011 10:00am-12:00pm EST

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ov, whatever your passion is, whether it is the environment or helping seniors or tutoring or mentoring use, there is a variety of different ways for folks to get involved. one thing we are seeing is that the country is going through somewhat of a compassion boom. lester, more americans volunteered despite the economy, despite the hardships so many are experiencing. we think that demonstrates that people want to get vault, they want to help their fellow citizens. that is what they corporation for national & community service does. it provides a platform for folks to get involved. host: heather peeler has been our guest. she's the chief strategy officer for the corporation for national & community service. thank you very much for being on
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the program. and thank you for joining us. the president and first lady will be participating in a service project around 11:00 a.m. this morning. we will have coverage of it. you can see that on c-span3. for more of the measure, you can go to our website, thanks again for joining us for this edition of "washington journal." [captioning performed by national captioning institute]
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>> today is dr. martin luther king jr.'s birthday, a federal recognized holiday. attorney general eric holder participates in a prayer breakfast honoring the civil rights leader, coming up next. then a program looking at the impact is legacy left on today's public policy. and a look at the white house where president obama and first lady michelle obama will take part in several service projects in the nation's capital. to mark the occasion. starting tuesday, the house takes up the repeal of the health care law. what the debate and final vote live on c-span. go to to read the bill on line and continue the conversation on c-span twitter and facebook pages. the chinese president hu jintao will arrive in the united states tomorrow for an four-day visit with the president, lawmakers, and businessmen. this gets under way on wednesday morning with a joint press conference with president obama.
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wednesday's events will wrap up with a visit to the state department with vice president joe biden and a formal state dinner at the white house. president hu jintao will spend thursday on capitol hill meeting with lawmakers, followed by an address to the u.s.-china business council. he flies to chicago on thursday night for friday meetings with chinese business owners before leaving. now the legacy of martin luther king jr. and how he might ever approached current policy issues. among those taking part, naacp initials, pennsylvania senator harris wofford, and kathleen kennedy townsend, hosted by the americans for democratic action education fund in washington. this is about 20 minutes. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2011] >> eric holder is the 82nd attorney general of the united states with a long and distinguished record of accomplishments. i could spend a lot of time
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telling you everything that he's done. rather than trying to do that, i will simply i willhe has a life and career that has been marked by excellence and a commitment to justice and fairness that has earned him by highest respect of his peers and professional colleagues throughout this country and at every level. he is a native of new york city, a product of their public schools, a graduate of columbia and columbia law school. he has worked in the civil rights field and was law clerk at the naacp's legal defense fund. he worked at the department of justice, helping to investigate cases of public corruption. many of you may remember he served as the u.s. attorney for the district of columbia. he was also a superior court judge in the district of columbia. he is the first african-american preserved in the position of
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attorney general. [applause] he was also the first african- american to serve as deputy attorney general, appointed by president clinton. when president obama announced his intent to nominate eric holder as the attorney general, he spoke about his talent and commitment, his toughness, and independents. and he said that he had everything necessary essential to protect the american people, upholds the public trust, and adhere to our constitution. in 1958 rev. martin luther king spoke about being, a drum major for justice, a drum major for peace, and at an event to honor his legacy, i could think of no better person to honor his legacy but a modern day and
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drummer for justice and peace that are attorney general eric holder. [applause] -- our attorney general. after this next selection, i hope that you will join me in welcoming the attorney general of the united states eric holder. thank you. [applause] >> while we are waiting, i would like you to know that the chairman of the d.c. council, mr. brown, please stand.
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thank you. >> [soft piano music playing] to dream the impossible dream to fight it the unbeatable fight oe to bear the unbearable sorrow
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♪ ♪ caller: caller: ♪ ♪
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♪ ♪
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[applause] [cheers] [applause] you.ank thank you. good morning. >> good morning.
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>> i would first like to know who constructed this program and decided to put me on after that young man with that voice. [applause] that is fundamentally unfair. thank you, jocelyn, for that wonderful introduction. it almost sounds like i cannot hold a job, i was saying at the table. a great privilege for me to have done those great things in this wonderful city of ours. i would like to recognize our new city council president, the man i had the pleasure of swearing in just two weeks ago. he is a guy i have known a number of years. he has always been a leader. i think he's going to be a great city council president, not a good one. [applause] and will leave this city to even greater heights. also, there are people here today -- i don't want to pick
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out people for fear that i will miss some. my good buddy ted, has gdone a good job for the people of this city especially the young people. the people i have served with in the attorney's office, people i've known in a variety of contexts in this room. i feel like i have come home here at shiloh. thanks for having me. i was telling reverend smith that there are not very many changes. i was here as u.s. attorney in 1993. he looks exactly the same. [laughter] i hope we are related. [laughter] i am grateful for this opportunity to speak with you, to pray with you, and to join you on this very, very special occasion. thank you again for making me feel a part of the shiloh
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family. today in communities across america and especially in houses of worship like this one, the spirit of dr. martin luther king jr. lives on. his memory continues to touch us. his legacy continues to guide us. his words still have the power to teach and to comfort us. .r. king's legacy binds us this morning as we come together to honor his life, we are also bound by a common grief. one week ago senseless rampage in tucson, arizona, reminded each of us that more than 40 years after dr. king's death, his own tragic death, our long struggle to end suffering, to eradicate violence, and to promote peace, a struggle still goes on. in times like these, times of heartbreak and inextricable
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loss, the power of dr. king's example and the importance of his contribution are really brought into focus. as we continue to mourn those we have lost and as we pray for those who are still injured, let's recommit ourselves to carrying on and carrying forward to dr. king's work. for a quarter-century americans have come together on dr. martin luther king jr. day to do just that. each year we are provided an opportunity to rededicate ourselves to dr. king's vision of racial and social equality. to his efforts to expand economic opportunity and to the values that are at the heart of those great sermons that we all know. the roots of his actions, the core of his character, and the center of his life, all these things we celebrate on this day. his quest for tolerance, his quest for non-violence, his quest for compassion, his quest
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for love, and above all, his quest for justice. today's world is very different from the one that helped to shape and define dr. king's life. because of dr. king, because of those who shared his dream and joined him in his work, this world, this 21st century america is a better place. but we have not yet reached where we want to and where we need to be. that is the reality. we are far from that place. but in the years since dr. king led a march that helped to transform his era and to expand today's possibilities, great progress indeed has been made. i wish that dr. king could be with us here to see the america that he helped to create. i wish that dr. king could see the good will and the great works that he still inspires. i wish that dr. king could see
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this place of worship and as this place of worship continues to be a place of learning, of feeling, and of hope. and that the nation he fought to improve will soon honor his memory by consecrating a memorial on our national mall. that's within sight of monuments to our first president and it's great to match the paper. dr. king -- [applause] dr. king left this world too soon, but each day we are reminded of the many gifts that he left behind, words of wisdom to indeed, an example to follow, footprints to guide our own steps, and a mantle of responsibility that now falls on our shoulders. dr. king spoke often of the fierce urgency of now. when he saw injustice in the world, and felt the need to act. and to do so immediately, purposefully, and elaborately.
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when he looked upon his nation, these are really not only great challenges, but also extraordinary opportunities. he saw infinite possibility. he saw clearly that for every individual to be free, our entire society had been transformed. despite the odds against him, he was undeterred. despite the obstacles before him, he kept his faith. despite those who tried to stand in his way, he proved that in america, large scale, sweeping, righteous change is not impossible. it is not to audaciouso. it is not too ambitious and it is not the province of god alone. we will celebrate the swearing in of john kennedy in april. he ended his inaugural speech by saying something i think dr. king would agree with and something we should remember.
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"on this earth, god's work must truly be our own." each of us has the power to improve the world around us. each of us, i believe, has the responsibility to do so. this is not easy work. we know that it may be inspired -- mired by frustration just as often as by faith. one of the important lessons dr. king left to us was that it was fine to be frustrated. it is fine to be impatient. and progress does not come quickly or when progress does not come fully, it is fine to be dissatisfied. in fact, being dissatisfied is important, if it compels us to take action. if it compels us to take action. routedg's strength was dissatisfaction. it was his hunger for justice, his thirst for peace, and his empathy for others that helped
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motivate his lifelong struggles to ensure equal rights, equal justice, and equal opportunity. dr. king was dissatisfied when anyone anywhere face discrimination and oppression. he was dissatisfied when people of color were denied access to lunch counters, to educational opportunities, and to good jobs. he was dissatisfied when citizens who love this country and honorably served this nation, people like my father who served this nation in uniform, were not allowed to vote or were forcibly discouraged from taking part in elections. think about that. served this nation in uniform and were denied the basic rights of every american citizen. i know this. my father lived it. dr. king was dissatisfied when in the pursuit of his dream of a
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just and inclusive america, he was told to wait, to cool off, or to back down. what if he had listened? what if he had given into doubt? what if he had given in to psittacicynicism? i don't imagine i would be standing before you today in what would be a doctor came's 82nd birthday as our nation's 82nd attorney general. 82ndhat would be dr. king's birthday. [applause] when i consider the opportunities that i have had, i feel blessed beyond measure. i feel proud of our nation and i feel grateful for the family members, the friends, and colleagues whose support i have relied on and i continue to cherish. but, like dr. king, i am also dissatisfied. i am dissatisfied that in our
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nation's capital there are neighborhoods where young people are more likely to go to prison than to go to college. and where kids who have not yet reached their teenage years already have sworn allegiance to a life of violence and crime. i am dissatisfied that in washington today more than 2500 young people are active gang members and that the majority of the city's african-american households do not include a father. i am dissatisfied that more than 1.5 million american children have apparent behind bars and a majority of american kids, more than 60% of them, have been exposed to crime, abuse, or violence. i am dissatisfied that even though crime rates have been on a steady decline for decades, gun-related deaths have increased each year since 2002. and i am dissatisfied that over the last 12 months, the number
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of police officers killed by gun violence has surged by more than 40%. so, yes, like dr. king and like many of you, i am dissatisfied, but i am also hopeful. occasions like this in rooms filled with dedicated, determined partners makes me optimistic about the road ahead. the year before he died, when his long labors had begun to bear fruit and when the changes that he had worked toward were finally taking hold, dr. king famously asked, "where do we go from here?" today his question is ours to consider. where do we go from here? it may not be answered quickly and it may not be answered easily, but it can and it must be answered by coming together, by sharing our concerns and our dreams, and by being clear about what is working and about where we need to improve.
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there are problems to be solved, but there are encouraging signs all around us. i am proud in particular of the work that is being done today -- in today's justice department, this justice department -- [applause] to safeguard our nation's security, to improve public service, protect civil rights, assure access to justice, and to opportunity, regardless of your socioeconomic status. i know that tomorrow's success and our ability to meet our goals and responsibilities will depend on partners like you. throughout the 19th century, twentieth century, and now into the 21st, shiloh's leaders and congregants have found ways to reach goals and lift up those in pain -- to reach out to those in need and to live up those in pain. you have never turned a blind eye to suffering or side away
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from challenges. you have always worked toward solutions. you got law-enforcement officers and community residents together. you have helped bring peace in some of this city's most dangerous and divided neighborhoods. you have advocated not just for law and order in the district's communities, but for greater opportunities and more support for local young people. you have ensured that shiloh baptist church continues to be a strong voice and an effective ally in advancing the cause of justice. this kind of work must continue. so, i thank you for your commitment to this work and for your contributions in determining where we will go from here. the answer to dr. king's question and how at last we will realize dr. king's vision. may god continue to bless your efforts. may god continue to bless our efforts. may god continue to bless this
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city and may god continue to bless the united states of america. thank you. [applause] >> with today being dr. king's thursday -- birthday, federally recognized holiday, next, program looking at the impact of his legacy of today's public policy. speakers include former pennsylvania senator harris wofford. >> i believe that the best way to carry on dr. king's work is to reach out to someone in need and to make an ongoing commitment to community service. >> on the 82nd anniversary of martin luther king jr.'s birth, use the c-span 2 video library. there are hundreds of programs on the lives and legacy -- life
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and legacy of the civil rights leader. >> starting tuesday, except for repeal of the health care law. what the debate and final vote live on c-span and go to c- to read the bill on line. continue the conversation on glitter and facebook -- tw itter and facebook. next, a legacy of dr. king and how he may have taken part. former maryland lt. governor kathleen kennedy townsend is among those participating. posted by the americans for democratic action education fund in washington. this is just under two hours. >> i will start by introducing two rather special people. the first one is cheryl t kagan. i have known cheryl 30 years.
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she has done a lot in those 30 years. she was an intern once. now she is an extern, i don't know. she served eight years in the maryland legislature. they miss her now. she has worked on lots of different issues, important issues. she has usually won. she is hard-working and smart. she was head of the crawl freeman foundation and she gave a lot of money to good people. i hope they remember. the american jewish committee called her a fellow. she is very special.
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for the last few months she has been executive director of the eight ada education fund. i think she is going to do a good job with that. work hard. i am not going to be quite so enthusiastic about michael. have only known him about five years. starting when we did a roosevelt day dinner in new york for johansson. -- joe hanson and michael jay was the political director. he was good. i've known him fairly well for the last few years. he is smart and hard-working. he's not good-looking. [laughter] coulddon't think someone confuse his fellow and --
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they are going to take the leadership right now and move on. [applause] >> thank you so much for being here today. we are delighted to present the r "what would0 martin do" event. the education fund does its best to get the word out to educate policy makers, the press, and activists around the country about the progressive positions and important policies that our country is facing. today's event is especially important for us as we struggled through some of our recent challenges in our country, whether it was the election results or last week's shooting
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in tucson. before i start, i would like to remind everybody to please silence your phones or anything else that might make noise. while you are doing that, i will ask those who twitter, adaedfund is what you need to know. please feel free to tweet. events like this happen only in partnership with a lot of good people. i want to start by thanking congresswoman lynn woolsey's office, her staff and her leadership. she is ada'president. michael j posen is the secretary of the fund. karen traiger, don cooper, will
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wright and others. many of them are here and others outside africa. we thank our volunteers, board members, donors, and supporters. thank you all. i also want to recognize amy isaacs. i think we should take just a moment to remember all those in tucson and in our history who have given their lives to try to make a change because they have cared about our country, care about civil rights, scared about important issues facing our country. if we could just take a moment, please. thank you. in the final days of planning this event, one of the comments
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that michael wilson said was "one thinks i am certain of, if dr. king was at this event, there would be music." i called my friend donald who has been performing and teaching for decades in washington,, he's a teacher at the duke ellington and is an inspiring presence on the music scene, he has many cd 's and has played with not only the great oaks music legends like to the columns and party havens and many more, he played at several rallies for dr. king in the 1960's. it is really my pleasure and my honor to have this program begins with a couple of songs by donald. welcome an [applause]
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[laughter] i think i'd better stick to the microphone. back?u hear that abain the dark days may lie s headquarte may lie ahead
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steep and thorny the paths we trail from tears to glory teach the children the stories other great ones who have come and gone and left us to sing their songs of tears and glory teach the children the stories
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and of our proud history we must tell it truthfully so the children can hear and see and remember the stories dark days may lie ahead steep and thorny the paths we trail from tears to glory
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teach the children the stories ♪ [applause] >> ♪ don't keep your good things locked inside you go out and give it to the world. show everybody your heart is open wide go out, give it to the world give it to the world give it to the world
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if you got something and it's good go out and give it to the world if you got nothing but a song to sing sing it for the world think of all the pleasure your song might bring if you go out and using it for the world give it to the world give it to the world if you got something and it's good and it's good go out and give it to the world. listen to me now if you have learned something from your sorrow, from your pants go out and share it with the world tell your sisters, tell your brothers everything you have gained go out, share it with the world
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give it to the world give it to the world if you got something and it's good go out and give it to the world is your part give it to the world coamme on give it to the world. if you got something and it's good go out and give it if you got something and it's good go out, give it to the world. ♪ thank you. [applause] donald.- you,
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for the first time, americans for democratic action education fund held a national essay contest. we wanted to know what we thought -- what people thought around the world of all ages, of all backgrounds, what they believed that dr. martin luther king would engage in. we wanted to hear it from the world. so we put the words out a, a 500-word essay. we had wonderful essays, recruiting a talented bunch of judges who volunteered their time. their names are in the insert in the program. we thank them for their timecard. newcastle, the chair, is with us. congresswoman lynn woolsey, , tim gonzales, derek figures, ann hoffmann, richard parker, kim parker were the judges. they helped us to narrow to the top five that a were put that ada website for the world to
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vote on. your votes have spoken. the winner of the $500 savings bond is joy ellison, recent graduates of college. she askehas just come back from working for peace in the middle east. i will read her essay briefly. its online. if martin luther king jr. could visit our country this month, he with the nation much change and yet much the same. imagine king catching a bus in downtown montgomery. perhaps he would select a seat in the front next to someone tired from a long day's work for little pay. through the bus window he might see dilapidated schools and foreclosed houses. if he were to open up a newspaper, he would read of another war with no end in sight. if king returned to this
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country upsweep promise and bitter disappointments, he would once again take up the struggle of the poor. he would organize against the upheaval's of racism, militarism, and property. he would invite us to join him. in the 43 years since dr. can's guess, we have not pulled filled his dream of equality. poverty is rising, there is out of reach for too many americans, while the military budget grows. the political landscape king understood well. in his speech "beyond vietnam's" he decries the with war on poverty was abandoned for the war on communism. today we still to spider jets over on an plummet's benefits. the soldiers who fight and die in our army are still overwhelming our nation's poor. if he were here today, king
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would say again, "and mason that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death." he cried out for the chorus of vietnam wher. we have destroyed the era two most cherished institutions, the family and the village. today not dr. king would similarly more poor people killed in iraq and afghanistan. he would point out that we once andn supported the taliban sadaam hussein over the protests of the afghan people. we remain the enemy of the poor in iraq and afghanistan and everywhere are government supports the rights of corporations over the rights of poor people. king wrote, "i am convinced that if we are to get on the right
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side of the world's revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. when machines and computers, profit motives, and profit rights are considered more important than people, triplets of racism, materials law, and militarism are incapable of concord -- that revolution is still alive today. in iraq, afghanistan, america, and around the world, millions of poor people are building a non-violent movement for a peaceful, adjust future. we should not need dr. king to and treats us to join the right side of the world revolution. the poor are calling to us to help them, to join them. and just as dr. king heeded their call may we see their cause as ours. that was written by joy ellison,
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an activist, educator, and a writer. she's our first place as a winner. thank you, joy. [applause] with that i would like to turn michael coxj. he will introduce our panelists and our speakers and our moderator, if you could come and take your seats in the front, please. >> thank you very much, cheryl. that was an excellent essay about what dr. king would do if he were here today. we have numerous very good essays. but we really did not have to go far to really answer the question of what dr. king would do. we only needed to go as far as our own chair marvin rich, who
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knew dr. king and was an activist on civil rights issues and served time in jail with dr. king. we want to salute marvin not just for all the things he's done, but for all the things he continues to do even today for ada. [applause] and for the ed fund. we also have an outstanding panel of people to talk about this important issue. i am going to introduce all of our panelists and up our moderator and i will do it in a way to make sure we stop having the same kind of discrimination. we will do it in reverse alphabetical order. [laughter] we will start with the honorable harris wofford, former senator from pennsylvania. i will not read the entire bible, which is printed in your books. i have had numerous conversations with the former senator in the last weeks. he has impressed me with his continuing energy, is continuing
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spirit, his focus on all the important things. he said to me as i told him that our moderator teaches at howard university, he said, "i was the first white male graduates of power university's law school because when i came back i wanted to be in the middle of the civil rights issues." there are many things you could know about harris from his time in the senate and in the kennedy administration and this time in the peace corps, but i think that shows you everything you need to know about his care and his interest in these issues. he also knew dr. king. kathleen kennedy townsend comes from a long history and tradition of public service as well. for those of us fortunate enough to live in maryland and had an opportunity to vote for error as lieutenant governor, we are especially appreciative of her efforts. she continues to speak out and teach. she's working on a political organization that will be active in the future, moving on with
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things. we want to be a partner with you in that. lots of things i could say about kathleen, but i will not read the entire bible fee. i will encourage her to have a conversation with the rest of us today. rev. douglas canada, will join us. he had to be part of a memorial service for a staffer who recently passed away. he will join us soon. -- rev. douglas tanner. i met him when he was doing voter registration in 1990's. he's been a part of working face into politics of his life. he created the faith and politics institute which merged for democrats and republicans to be able to have a civil conversation not to give up the things they care about the most public to be able to talk about things in a civil manner. he has led them on numerous pilgrimages to the civil rights memorials of this country and is a very good voice for faith and politics. i will be glad when he joins us. hilary shelton is the director of the washington office of
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advocacy for the naacp. he is my lobbyist, from my perspective. he fights for the things all of us care about, for the naacp, for civil rights, social justice, economic justice. he's gone on on the hill. he's a fixture. we are glad to have him in joining us today. i am going to go on to clayola brown, president of the a. philip randolph institute. she is a longtime friend of mine. i always say the place where the labor movement and the civil rights movement meet together, you will find clayola brown pleating and pushing in the same direction, because labor and civil rights are two movements with one goal for social and economic justice for all of us. now i introduce our moderator paul, candy shannon, who is already on wpfw-fm, as a local announcer, but she also teaches
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at hall university in the radio and television school. i have known candy a long time. our kids graduated from high school together. she went to a great high school and a great college in the state of michigan. candela also cares about issues. i will never forget hearing a commercial once for the million mothers march. i thought, i recognize that voice. that was the voice of our moderator is candy shannon. i will turn it over into a candy to moderate this excellent panel and have a great conversation for all of us on "what would martin do." [applause] >> thank you very much, michael j. thank you all for coming this afternoon at the rayburn building. as we have this opportunity and to get together and you think and perhaps -- in fact, i know,
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be inspired by what occurs today. so, i think that we will get started by asking our panel to please give us each a short five-minute list or explanation or introduction about the things that you care about and what that question means to you up front, what would martin do? michael already started introducing folks not alphabetical. why don't i just are to my right and head towards me with ms. brown beginning, if you would, please. >> it is always confusing to me when i can sit in a spot and a smile because i don't have to go first. but that's all right. good evening, everyone.
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>> good evening. >> this is a very good-looking crowd. on a day like today, it is such a pleasure to be with you. first of all, to the other panelists that are presenting this afternoon, it is such an honor to sit with you, to hold a tear an extra hilary shelton, my gosh. you are a giant. and kathleen kennedy townsend, absolutely. let's give them their props. absolutely. he is a giant. and to see my sister kathleen kennedy townsend at the other end to my left, she has worked me half to death without knowing my first name. the a. philip randolph into stocks for social justice in the name of political policies you
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set forth for us as goal. two questions, what would martin do? please indulge me if you don't mind, four minutes. if dr. king were alive as an 82-year-old retiree in the economy, what would he do? he would likely be celebrating his 82nd birthday tomorrow. he would probably be doing that by celebrating the work of the first african-american president and by applauding the passage of the long-awaited health care reform bill. he would probably be part of a victory celebration that would speak to the establishment of medicare and social security and in doing that in a way to remind folks don't touch those things that are not broken. known for his non-violent
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approach to peaceful resolution, he would mourn with the rest of the nation over the senseless and troubleshooting of hours on a congresswoman gabrielle giffords. and for the other victims of that tragedy, they would be pareve mouring. he would shake his head at the hatred-filled rhetoric back prevailed in the early days civil rights activism. he would trace the jagged scar on the side of his face, a permanent brand marking his survival as the vi -- as a survivor of a vicious attack on april 4, 1968. reminders that not all law abiding citizens of the united states subscribe to the tenets of peaceful resistance and
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nonviolence. many would testify there malicious rantings as a legitimate exercise of their first amendment right to free speech. but what about the right to peaceful assembly? also included within the first amendment and within that right. what he might ask himself, "why so much hatred, why so much uncertainty and unrest?" he would take time to recall the sequence of events that would lead to his destiny to that morning in 1968. he would first remember that he was an unadorned civil servant, a servant to the people. as a servant of the people, he promised to serve wherever oppressed people needed his voice to speak out or his support to act on their behalf. he would then recall that he had traveled to memphis, tennessee, to campaign for support in the strike for sanitation workers, looking for those things we continue to look for today.
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.safety, better wages and benefits and union recognition. dr. king's principal of non- violence was the foundation of his career. as a minister and public servants, in the early years, it led to a breakthrough in economic education and social justice barriers, that were blocking black americans to full equality. not everyone welcomes this change. -- welcomed. and not everybody embraced his idea of a peaceful r reconciliation. he traveled back and forth for months to support the sanitation workers. in 1968 it was all about jobs and economic security. it was all about jobs. and in an unsafe environment for the sanitation workers and the mishap that happened with that trash compactors. unfair and unbalanced
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resolution, black workers being sent home without pay, their white supervisors retained for the day without pay is what led to the strike. to add insult, then the mayor was opposed and was on sabbatical to the workers' demands. dr. king at 82 will likely realize this vision of a peaceful demonstration to support the plight of those workers in 1968 and would not become a reality in this common ground could be forged and common values shared. in 2011, it is still about jobs. and economic security. at the end of december 2010, with the unemployment rate still hovering close to 10%, the underemployment rate, that number shooting up to 16.7%. the number of unemployed is 14.5 million with that added. the unemployment rate of the at african-americans
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15. you look at all the things around us that have crumbled. if he were alive, he would reach for a speech at the gate in august of '63, delivered just months after the assassination of his friends medgar evers and just months before the assassination of the nation's 35th president john f. kennedy. dr. king was undoubtedly recall his words to direct a crowd of 250,000 that gathered that day in the sweltering sun on the steps of the lincoln memorial "we havere in d.c. an, come to our nation's capital to cash a check. when the architects wrote the words of the constitution and the declaration, and a promissory notes of which every american is the fall air. this note was a promise that all
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men, black, white, red, whatever color would be guaranteed to the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." dr. king would recognize it now, what he recognized then, that all americans of every shade were all heirs to a promise that america made well over 100 years ago and we are looking for that to be cashed. but there are some things, he said, that i must stay to my people that stand on the one threshold that leads into the palace of justice in the prospect of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. we must forever take up our struggle on the high point of discipline. we must not allow our creed of protest to denigrate into physical violence. again and again, we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting
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physical force with soulful force. we must honor the promise and pursued the dream. america's history is littered with broken promises, but today's crisis also yields the opportunity for great leadership and civil dialogue to merge. it is time to seek common ground and build upon the solid belief of the founding fathers of this country that all men and women are deemed people and entitled to the available rights of freedom. dr. king refused to stop holding america to its promise and refused to stop believing that america could not achieve the fulfillment of its promise. 40 years after the bullets would shatter dr. king's dream and forever changed america's diverse landscape, we continue to attorney for the promise to be fulfilled and the dream to be realized. what would martin do? at 82, i think he would probably log on to and this website and
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he would send his love. today's title would probably be, "i still have a dream." [applause] >> thank you, clayola. next, hillary shelton. >> first, in washington speak, let me disassociate myself from the comments that were made. let me thank our friends from ada for putting together such an important forum. it was an amazing we, the birthday of dr. martin luther king. these people who i am sitting here with are my heroes.
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also, harris wofford. it was angry young who first told me that senator wofford, at the time, he had been the first non-african american male to graduate from howard university's law school, and it was not surprising to me because i had seen the wonderful things he was doing on capitol hill. he was bringing the spirit of civil rights to the hall of the u.s. senate. that is something that i am grateful for, so it is an authohonored to be with him. and of course, kathleen townsend. to see that spirit carry through
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out the family, that tenacious this, commitment, humility, each and and be one of them have been someone that i can talk to and work with. each and every one of them is someone who has carried the tradition and agenda. >> just to interrupt one second to please ask all of us to speak directly into the microphones. it helps everyone here. >> thank you. so the question, what would dr. king do today? certainly, we know dr. king was a man of the gospels, he was a preacher. he was trained in religion. it was that spirit, quite frankly, that moved him to do some of the incredible things that he did in our country. it was that experience, as someone who could do more with that power, to do what had never
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been done before. and even to have the vision that he did, to live up to its creed, never proving itself to that point, to provide a real opportunity for everyone, regardless of race, gender, ethnicity. i think he would rely on and he would actually engage the movement of our country, the growth of our country based in that field. understanding that the movement had always been to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, house the homeless, free the oppressed. those concepts were in a trickle of the involved in everything that dr. king did. i would assume that he would take a look at what we have done so far in those areas. he would look at how we have
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treated the port. certainly, he looked at issues of class. he would see how many times we have had to deal with this with various administrations. we have seen too often the programs of our country have suffered a poor. we have the opportunity to provide greater education, provide health care, give housing, provide all the things that we need in the human condition to be able to survive. we have always come up short, to be honest. we have had to go back to the congress and say, the administration has set out a budget that cuts program that would feed the hungry. we have to restore that money.
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i think dr. king would grimace at the understanding of how this is working. we are not providing basic housing. we have a housing trust fund the bill. we have been tried to appropriate the funds and through that we stand for the things that we say we stand for. the government cut that program back and we have still not see the housing trust fund bill fully implemented. programs to educate our children. watch what happens with title 1 and make sure that our public schools as it everything they need. if you do not have the resources to go to college, you will not do very much in our society. i think dr. king would have understood and talked about how it has taken so long to increase funding for, for example, the
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pell grant program. as we talk about health care for all americans, a basic tenet of the judeo-christian background, making sure that everyone is taking care of when they are sick -- the ugliness that came out of our fight in this country. making sure the poor are taken care of but also communicating that we would move forward a political agenda in a way in which words were utilized that we thought were gone, even if dr. king was buried. that we raise issues and concerns to make sure everyone has health care insurance. even the first openly gay member of the u.s. congress became
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their target. i think dr. king would, on one hand, be disappointed, that we have missed the point in some many places. i think he would also find hope in what we have done. in two years, we have proved that we can move beyond the color of one's skin and vote for them. for the first time, we sent an african-american family to the white house. at that time, the basic tenets to meet those categories had been addressed, at least in the budget that had come from this president, and it has been our struggle to go back on capitol hill to turn around what is happening. but for us at the naacp, to support what they're trying to do. i think dr. king would be torn it, if he were here today. he would learn from many of us but he would also be raising
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issues. i was happy that in the essay that was presented, it's put to what i believe is one of dr. king's most profound speeches. it was a speech given against the support of many of his own friends. when he went to the riverside baptist church in 1967, he raised the issue of that as long as we were put in the position that we had to compete for the issues and challenges and concerns of the poor, with the patriotic investments of our country -- at least in the name of patriotism -- we would find ourselves in wars that would cost millions of dollars per month. that said, dr. king would say that we have an awful lot to do, but the road plan is here for us. if we did ourselves in again, and again, give our faith to a higher power, power to those beyond the limited debates.
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believe me, there are brilliant people but conversation are all all too limited. i think he would look at what we're doing with hope. >> thank you. [applause] >> our last panelist has arrived. we will be hearing more from doug tanner in a moment. next, senator harris wofford. we would love to hear your thoughts. >> great to be with you. and being on panels like this gives me an opportunity to reunite with old friends and make new ones. kathleen is an old friend. >> how old? [laughter] >> you are very young.
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i remembered the first time i've heard harry belafonte singing "where is my friend abraham." how many of you know that? there were not many words. the first time i heard it, i thought, where is my friend john? then the next time i heard him sing it, where is my friend abraham, where is my friend john, where is my friend martin? the last time i heard him sing it, he added, where is my friend robert?
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when i first ran for public office, there was a reporter doing a feature and he was interviewing me, and said, how lucky you were to have worked with john and robert kennedy and martin luther king, and i said, some luck. the three that meant the most to me in my life were all three killed in one decade. just the pain that one feels when you think, what could have happened if robert and martin had lived? one as president, perhaps, and one as a prophet of the progress
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in america, what could have been. of course, we were lucky. we only had abraham lincoln for five years really. we had martin for 12 years on the stage of america and the world. we had robert and his amazing journey. we were lucky. we are lucky that we do not have to be presumptuous and say, what would martin do, what would martin say? i am for the opportunity for all of us to ask, what would martin do and say?
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he was, like our president the other night, a master of words. we are lucky because those words are not only in print, but we can hear them. it is not just i have a dream every martin luther king day. it is all his speeches, and robert's and john's. i recommend to all of us, if we want to drink from a cup that will give us new energy and hope, to do some of the listening and reading of the great speeches. martin was a presumptuous 26- year-old when he took the leadership of the montgomery bus boycott. the first time my wife met martin luther king and perhaps
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was -- corretta, she was driving them to the hilton. he had given an excoriating speech -- i was going to say sermon to an african american fraternity for spending more in one week than the entire budget of the naacp. [laughter] martin got in the car, we drove him home. me and my wife had done a book on gandhi. from time to time, i strategized with martin luther king on his
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own death of knowledge about gandhi. i heard corretta say to my wife clare, from the time martin chose this course, i have had a nightmare that keeps coming back. at the end of this road he has chosen, he will be killed. martin turned around to her in the car and said, i told you to stop that nightmare. dream of what we can do when we are alive. i did not choose this. they asked. he was asked by the group that said, let's have a bus boycott. the women who were in the lead of it said, we need it the pastors.
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somebody said, let's ask martin, this youngest, newest pastor, to be our chair. he had stayed out of these types of struggles. they asked, and he said yes. then in the car, " after he spoke to coretta, he hummed a song. what did we learn from being lucky, being able to hear and see, as if they are here -- martin luther king, robert and john? a lot. king told us a lot about what he thought should be done in the community, in this nation, and in the world. i agree with the agenda items that have been listed so far.
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in the speech that he gave the night of the boycott, that speech should be reread. on the other side of protest and civil disobedience you need to have constructive serviced and corrective action to what you can do. he had -- gandhi had his own point that martin like. we are the government improvement association. it is not just to win our rights as black americans. it is to improve montgomery for everybody in the most fundamental ways. let's not wait until we have won the battle with the law. let's do what we can now.
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actions.gandhi's he cleaned latrines when he came back from south africa. he formed a service corps and cleaned the latrines, scandalized the high caste hindus by working together with untouchables. they said, why did you do this? he did it as a preventive crisis. you can imagine if the latrine or spilling over. he said, why wait for necessary drain cleaning for independence? let's take a shovel and room and go to it. secondly, as to what the nation should do, he said a lot about that. and beabout to organize
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part of the poor people's march. he and robert kennedy were moving toward winning a war toward property. education. of course, in many ways, spoke to how that was the key part of where we go as a nation. in his sermon the night before he was killed, he said, i have been to the mountain top, i have seen the promised land. we may not get to it -- and the thing he had been saying time and again, the mountain is ahead, it still needed to be climbed.
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do i have any doubts that if the health care bill was up for repeal at this moment, after all the work that was done to produce the best the congress could get, a big step toward where keynes wanted to go for good health care for everybody in this country -- to i have any doubt that he would move into action to prevent the repeal of the health care act so that we can go on to the neck steps to provide health care for all and other reforms needed? i have no doubt about that. and lastly, the world. he risked a lot taking on the vietnam war.
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some thought it was a terrible political mistake to take on a controversial issue like the vietnam war. i think i want to end by saying martin luther king was presumptuous in the best way. he did it because he was asked. that is why i think it is great that americans for democratic action ask us to think about this. there may be a bit of martin luther king in this room, a desire to learn and to, fleshed out some of the words that he said, but let's not only ask others to encourage the next martin luther king or robert
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kennedy that will come along. but let's ask ourselves, what do we think should be done? what can we learn from this tragedy that we are now remembering, this moment of tragedy that the country is absorbing, what we have seen in tucson, what we can learn from that? you could see robert kennedy in the back of the track in indianapolis, when he delivered the word to the african-american community that martin luther king had been killed. he said, through tragedy, we can learn, through the grace of god.
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[applause] >> thank you, senator. kathleen kennedy townsend. >> thank you. thank you to the other panelists. i want to thank ada and cheryl kagan. she is a wonderful state legislator. good to be with each of you. when cheryl has asked about this panel, what would martin do? obviously, it was sort of based on what would jesus do? i realized that question is always answered by what you think you should do. really, who knew what martin would do? he was a great leader, a visionary leader, and i wish we
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had his vision, but i have to admit, i am telling you what i think should be done. it is hard to say what a leader who was such a visionary would do. my mother would never let any of my brothers and sisters say what my father would do. he said, who are you to say? on harris' idea that each of us should say what we think, i am going to talk about what i think we should do, but i will also talk about what i think we have learned from dr. king. first of all, i learned that you change over time. he was always devoted to nonviolence, but for a period of time, he focused on discrimination. then he got very interested in jobs, work.
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and then, with great courage, he took on the vietnam war. he lost a lot of friends over that. fighting for the workers in memphis, he lost a lot of friends. at one point, people could understand in the nation is ok to be against discrimination -- although that was controversial. but to be for workers' rights became even more controversial. so he was always willing to push the envelope, to push people further, push people beyond their comfort zone. the question is, do we push ourselves where we are not comfortable? are we listening to -- willing to listen to things that we are not comfortable with? near the end of his life, he said, clearly, there needs to be a better distribution of wealth that was a tough thing to say
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and then, it is almost impossible to say now. as i look at what has been the change over the past 40 years since my father died, since martin luther king died, really is a sense of what we are as a nation. one of my favorite ideas from martin luther king -- i am going to quote this. he said, for some strange reason i can never be what i ought to be until you are what you ought to be. you can never be what you ought to be until i am what i ought to be. that is a stunning statement about human beings and a country and a community, and how we are interrelated to one another, how we are dependent on one another, and how the fulfillment
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of happiness comes from how each of us does well. we have, for the last 30 years, been inundated with this philosophy of freedom which associates one's well-being, the public wealth, with how well a single person gets rich. it is completed political liberty with capitalism. and i think to the detriment of how we see ourselves as human beings and as a nation. i have to say, i am on the brady campaign because i think jim and sarah brady have done a stunningly effective, beautiful job on gun issues, gun regulation. you look at what happened in tucson, what happened to my father, to john kennedy, martin luther king.
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millions of people have died from the bonds since 1968. and yet, after this recent tragedy, everybody has said nothing can be changed. guns since 1968.d if we are truly brothers and sisters, and if my well being is caught up in yours, we will not tolerate the idea that a million people can die from guns. we would not do it. we would not allow -- [applause] and so i think we can talk about different programs. i am thrilled we got health care passed. i believe deeply we need the best indication of any country in the world if we are going to be competitive. but i do not think we are going
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to do anything until we change our philosophy of life. when we said all are created equal, what does that mean? there is a creator that looks upon us and cares for us and wants us to succeed together. we are a society together. you see that in the constitution. the leaders of our country said we should care about the common welfare. and yet, even despite the 2008 difficulties, we have gone back to this philosophy that is, i have mine, and that is all i care about and that is all i should care about. going back to what martin luther king might do, he might tell us we are related to each other, we are part of a seamless
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garment. if we believe that, we have to speak that way, we have to change our thought patterns. as a mother of four, we are equally as happy with all of our children. as a country, we have to lift up one another because that is the lift upy we will stil ourselves. i believe that is what martin asked us to do. thank you. [applause] >> thank you very much. our panelists reverend doug tanner has joined us. we are looking forward to your words also. >> thank you. to be asked to speak on what
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would martin do, those words are a bit jarring to me. i still call him dr. king. i worked a good bit with don lewis, who calls him dr. king, or martin luther king jr.. harris has the prerogative of calling him martin because of his time with him. i will do my best here. i think the best summation of martin's teachings may be from the more house chapter of the book "where do we go from here?" that was published in 1967. i guess i think about this in terms of what he would say to us if he were here now. the chapter is based on his nobel peace prize lecture,
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delivered in oslo in 1964. he worked on that for one month and gave it the prominence it deserves in the concluding chapter of the book. he may well have regarded this as his most important speech or essay. some of us may not have ever heard it. we certainly know i have a dream, the letter from the birmingham jail, but this work is relatively unknown. in that, he calls us to transcend tribe, race, nation, and religion to embrace the religion -- the world house. number two, to eradicate at home and globally the triple evils of racism, poverty, and militarism.
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number three, to curb excessive materialism and shipped from a thing-oriented society to a people-oriented society. and finally, to resist social injustice and resolve conflicts in the spirit of love, embodied in the spirit and methodology of nonviolence. and margin in the mid-1960s -- martin, in the mid 1960's, spoke about communism, we made equate to fanaticism. i can imagine martin saying the world house has a lot more people in it than it did in my day. the weighted information travels, instantaneously, makes our living in the world more urgent than ever. this country is blessed to have a president whose background and sensitivity in raise our
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exception resources for teaching folks in this country how to take care of that house and have up the right kind ofi residence in it. no matter what you think about how he deals with big banks or anything like that, stay close to him in that world house. another thing he might say to us is learned to pray. until you know god is with you in the hardest of times -- learned to pray until you know god is with you in the hardest of times. there was a time during the bus boycott when martin was suffering deep despair over the toll that his role was taking on his family. just after going to bed one night, the phone rings and we
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he got a phone call from an angry man. he could not sleep and went to the kitchen to make some coffee. he was exhausted and confused. he sat at that kitchen table staring at his coffee cup and bowed his head and began to pray. he told god he could not face the future alone. at that moment, he said, wrote, thespoke about experiencing divine presence like never before. he grew to trust it as he had never had before. a few days later there was a bomb. if corretta had been in another part of the house, she probably would have been killed.
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had known fred, who was a contemporary of martin. there was a bomb that once went off in his home but he just walked out. he said after that he knew that god had him in his hands. that gave him the courage to stay with it. well, i do not know how to providential the judge when different lives end, but i know that having the courage to find that sense of not being alone is what makes a life of a friend killed worth, bobby kennedy, martin luther king, what it could be. finally, i think he would be
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saying to us, remember that your adversaries, even your harshest enemies, are ones to be won over. remember, their fellow human beings caught in a pattern, system, and culture. there are not lost souls ever to be found. they will be part of your community if you treat them in a way that invites them. the faith and politics institute has carried members of congress through alabama and walked through the history of the civil rights movement in birmingham, montgomery, selma, with john lewis leading us. we had about 30 members of congress over the years. the first time we went, george wallace was still alive.
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it was the last year of his life. he was in pretty rough shape. the congressional delegation went to see him. i remember john lewis, earl hilliard, the african-american congressman from that area, they walked right in and were as comfortable as could be. i remember a couple of our white, midwestern, liberal members, standing at the edge of the door wonder whether they wanted to walk in or not. george wallace received them with wonderful spirit, they responded with wonderful spirit. two years ago when we went back, peggy wallace kennedy, george's youngest daughter, came to sell my, spoke at the church, and join us in the march
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across the bridge. i think martin would look down and say, yeah, you got it, keep going. thank you. kim [applause] [applause] >> thank you very much to everyone. we would like to begin the conversation and also, we plan to have you included in the conversation before the evening is over. doug, i want to ask, how do we get there? i guess i am thinking, dr. martin luther king was a very special human being, who wrote as he wrote, spoke as he spoke, answered the call and took those
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steps. what can we do it -- and i am asking the entire panel. what can each of us do to help create that kind of movement, inspiration, conversation? one of you mentioned taking action. . what kind of actions do any of you recommend? >> i am going to try this by sharing and experience that occurred at the beginning of this week. in my office at the philip randolph institute, we have a young man named joshua just turned 30. as we were talking -- hilary, we were actually talking about
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your father in law, andrew young. he looked at us and said, who is andy young? that scared me half to death. this is a college-educated young man, very smart, dedicated to the civil rights movement, an activist, will hold nine, wanting to of george anything that came his way. i felt bad and responsible. a part of what we can do, to go to your original question, is to make sure we take nothing for granted in history and a legacy we have inherited. never assume the person next to you, because of the environment they are in, gets it.
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the original movement gave people like andy young a chance. i was fortunate to do work with james orange. i got an opportunity to work for more than 25 years with mrs. i know all three of the remaining children quite well. it is not sharing the stories, not wanting to shell out on the opportunity you have had. each person in this room is walking around with something that a young person has no idea about. i see ann across the room.
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the stores that that woman could share. if we do not share to those who are younger, and to some who are just as old, that is on us. we have to tell the story. we have to make sure is a real story, not just one that sounds good and floury. we have got to tell the story. >> [no audio] i think it is important to tell the stories, which is great, but we also have to organize. we have to win the next election. [applause] ada, americans for democratic action, we have to get more democrats elected. it is pretty straightforward. that means you have to go into
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districts, register people, you have to use the technology to get them to the polls, you have to know what is going on, whether it is the repeal of health care, the tax system, making sure you have the excellent education. you have to organize and get people to vote. if they do not vote, the other side will. one of the things the other side has done -- i know you talk about prayer. we're all human beings, but the problem is, if you make politics ugly, which is part of the process i think the republicans have tried to do. if you do that, it makes people not want to get involved in politics and makes people believe they do not make a difference. certainly, something the ada can do, voting rights, getting
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people to vote, getting people to believe that politics is what makes this country exceptional. reclaim those words, reclaim our history, and when those elections. -- win those elections. >> we just had an election. we are sitting in the rayburn building. for the next year, there will be an agenda before us that we are either for or against. going tof we're reflect the spirit of martin luther king, you take the opportunity that opens and you move. right now, there is an effort to create common ground, a common
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good agenda that goes beyond party, that is going to be tested in all kinds of ways. the members of this body, on this side or the other side of the hill, there are new ones that you think may not listen to us, but who knows where the change will come? but they have to be asked. we have to be learned to be good advocates of action by this body and by the senate. we have to give strength to those who stand for what we believe and show that we are with them. we need to go to a school of congressional action to learn how we can be much more effective on the side of the
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agenda that martin luther king left us with, let alone the new dimensions of the world gives us now. i think a good reason to have been in this building is to say, in every community there is the same kind of process going on at all levels but we are in the capital of the city that makes the biggest difference in the world, and it is our country. this is the center of government. we have a special opportunity to figure out where we can be most effective and go into action. [applause] >> [no audio] the first five principles have
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been important to us, the foundation of dr. king's teachings. there are three principles for organizing that have often been excluded. kathleen townsend raise the issue of being a good organizer. there is an old chance have we used to use. i learned this the first time i went to a southern christian leadership conference. i was just a kid at the time. the chant went, what does it take to help our nation rise? we have to educate, agitate, and organized. when you talk about education, we have to educate on where we have come from so we understand each directory. understand the principle that dr. king held and where they
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came from. mooing that forward, fighting tooth and nail to make sure we do not have to live through a revisionist history. it is not just about huck finn -- i appreciate that, those revisions. in texas, with textbooks, they took out the struggles of our civil-rights movement, the struggles of ethnic people, the struggles of women. understanding those lessons in the past prevents us from making them again. as the saying goes, insanity, by definition, is doing the same thing over and over again in the same way and expecting a different result. we talked about health care. the only thing that is being offered right now in repeal is going back to the mistakes that we made before.
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let's eliminate those safeguards and allow the insurance companies to roll over you again. let's allow them to do their been counting and cut us anytime they want. let's go back to where we were before. you talk about the good old days -- 47 million americans without health insurance is not the good old days. it is an old problem that we have moved beyond by passing an historic piece of legislation. we have to educate our people on what that means. quite frankly, the naacp is a nonpartisan organization. we do not endorse political candidates or political parties, but i thought it was a shame that all those so-called blue dog democrats when running on their accomplishments they made on health care and we finally addressed the eight crimes problem we have -- hate crimes
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problem we have in america. if we did not admit it then, we do not have to solve the problem again. we talk about education and we watch our children go into debt trying to pay their higher education bills. again, organizing and educating them also means that we want everyone to have one. i was grateful the president gave his first state of the union and stood in front of the american people and said, i want everyone to get more education. more is better. if we are talking about moving ahead, those three components are key for us. we want to educate, advocate the principles of dr. king. we saw brooks and being thrown through windows -- bricks being
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thrown through windows. just last week we had 19 people shot. that was somebody's form of agitation, but they missed the point. that is what we have to make sure of. we have to educate on how things work in our country. the nonviolent social change is the way we go about it. as far as organizing, we have to educate voters, educate them on the issues, and on election day, we need to get out there like never before. we are moving in the right direction but there is still this book that comes out every time we take a few steps forward that tries to pull us right back into the ditch. we have some folks, i will leave them nameless, that believes the best way to allow it themselves is to stand on top of somebody else. indeed, we know we cannot move our nation forward -- as a
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matter of fact, as an individual, you cannot go any place else if you are holding somebody down in the ditch. i am happy to be sitting with his people. thank you. [applause] >> i find myself asking, where did dr. kane get the authority to be recognized as the leader -- king get the authority to recognized as the leader? it was not because he had the best ideas in grass-roots legislation. i think it was partly because he got close enough to the pain, to take it in, and be ready to put his life on the line for it.
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i think sometimes it is too easy for us to assume we know what needs to be done, what the results will be if we just tweaked legislation this way or that, if we just passed a bill. we are not personally close enough to the real hurt to be communicating effectively or to be taking the risks that come when one really gets close to it and decides to lead. i would challenge us to be thinking in those terms. >> thank you. i would love for us to open it up to questions from the audience. if you are interested, karen has the microphone. whenever you are ready, let us know your name.
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>> [no audio] there was an agreement that we were all in this together. [inaudible] the language of the right, which
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is supposed to free people from oppression [inaudible] it is used essentially to keep people in oppression. i wonder if you could comment on that. >> i really believe we have to build a language of justice, a language the materiality, and language of community. that is what some groups have done, talking about the common good. i believe it is critical to do that because -- what is a country? it is not just a collection of individuals, people who have a purpose. we have to let people flowers by helping one another. i know we are talking about
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martin luther king but i will tell the story anyway. excuse me. i do not know who i am excusing myself too. in 1968 -- myself to. in 1968, david frost, my father robert kennedy, asked us what is our purpose, what are we here? i'll let each of you think about how you might answer that question. does everybody have their answer? i am not going to quiz you. now i will give you their two answers. they gave two different answers that reflect american ideas. ronald reagan said, the first purpose is to reproduce ourselves. so i thought, my mother, who
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produced 11 kids, did really well on that score. and then he said our purpose is freedom, to be as free as we can without hurting another person. my father gave a different answer. he said, first, you need to have enough food, clothing, and shelter to survive. after that, you help somebody else. you may have no shoes, but there is somebody up there with no fee. -- feet. of course, ronald reagan does not say freedom to do what, freedom from what? i believe we have missed from our conversations, because they have been so dominated by another group, as to what our
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ends are? the end, purpose of the foundation is to build a creative communities for one another. we have to articulate that. i think we have lost articulating it. we have to do that for our country, community, and ourselves. why are we here, if not to bring light to others? [applause] >> [inaudible] writing down the coastal highway, with the pacific ocean to the right, the wind blowing in my face and the sun on may. that is my definition of freedom. freedom.


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