tv ACLU Membership Conference - Sen. Elizabeth Warren CSPAN July 5, 2018 5:01pm-5:31pm EDT
twitter or instagram, or post to our facebook page. c-span 2.n television for serious readers. >> senator elizabeth warren of massachusetts spoke at the recent american civil liberties union conference. she's introduced by aclu president susan herrmann. ♪ susan: good afternoon, everybody. thank you. a very nice call and response. it is my great honor to be introducing our next speaker today, the persistent speaker, senator elizabeth warren. [applause] as most of you know, mitch mcconnell and his republican colleagues did stop senator
warren from reading coretta scott king's warnings about attorney general jeff sessions in the senate. mitch mcconnell said the very dismissive words, she was warned and given an explanation. nevertheless, she persisted. ok. senator warren did persist and king'sd coretta scott letter to millions of people on facebook live. mitch mcconnell's smug victory lap turned into a meme. how many have seen that meme in tweets? [applause] how many of you have seen it on t-shirts? how many of you have the t-shirt? how many of you have seen the tattoo? [laughter] i think that the whole idea of persistence is an apt description not only of that moment but of elizabeth warren's career and life. early marriage and motherhood
made a challenge for her to complete college and law school, but nevertheless she persisted. she launched a spectacularly successful academic career, including 20 years of teaching at harvard law school and becoming a nationally renowned bankruptcy law scholar. when warren fought to establish the consumer financial protection bureau, there were a lot of vested interests on wall street and financial institutions that pushed back. nevertheless she persisted and she won. she got the bureau founded. in 2012, senator warren ran for senate against a popular incumbent in a state that had never elected a woman as senator. nevertheless she persisted and she won. and today she is persisting and being a bright spot in a congress that has become a black hole for civil liberties. among the very many bills senator warren is sponsoring our , a bill to reform outdated marijuana policies, a bill to
end discrimination based on sexual orientation in public schools, a bill to improve procedures for handling complaints of sexual harassment and discrimination against congressional employees, reforming the use of solitary confinement by the bureau of prisons, and i know you're not going to care about this one, a bill to affect children affected by immigration enforcement. [applause] we know that none of these bills but do we want, senator warren to persist in persisting? [applause] i happened to be at a meeting of democratic senators on the morning of february 8, 2017. in a totally nonpartisan fashion, of course. the presiding senator commented that it was very lucky to have aclu president in the room after there had been a repression of speech on the floor of the senate.
what i told senator warren that day is what i would like you to ratify -- the aclu is always ready to protect her freedom of speech. what do you think? [applause] what i would like to do now is invite senator warren to the stage to exercise her freedom of speech right here and now. senator elizabeth warren. ♪ [applause] sen. warren: hello, aclu. all right, i'm so pleased to be here with you this afternoon and i want to say a very special thank you to your extraordinary leader, susan herrmann. thank you, susan, for all you do.
i also want to give a shout out to a person who has shown the deep appreciation and commitment for the fight for justice, anthony romero. [applause] i also know that out there we have some folks from aclu in massachusetts out there. massachusetts aclu, good. all right, let's be blunt. our democracy is under attack. voting, and impartial judiciary , a free press, the rule of law, the foundations of our democracy are under attack every single day. under attack, but not lost. i look out here and i see thousands of deeply committed women and men, people of every race, gender, religion, color,
people committed to building a better future. i look out here and i see donald trump's worst nightmare. [applause] so today, i want to talk about the fight to save our democracy. why we fight and who we are fighting for. like a lot of people, i started thinking a lot more seriously about democracy after the 2016 election. i went to donald trump's inauguration. i know a lot of people didn't, but i wanted to see it with my own eyes. i thought it was important. and i was right. it is burned into the backs of my eyeballs. every time i get tired, every time i get discouraged, i close my eyes. donald trump is being sworn in as president. i'm back, ready to fight. i'm in the game. [applause]
sen. warren: it's true. now when the history books are written about donald trump's inauguration, they will talk about his deeply dark speech. they will talk about how the first fight he picked as president was over the size of his crowd, but they will also talk about the next day, about the women's march. [applause] sen. warren: they will talk about the largest march in the history of the world. historians will talk about a renewal of democracy, a strong resilient democracy, a democracy that springs directly from the people. this democracy is led by women
in pink pussy hats who lead the largest march in the history of the world. this democracy is led by the people who rushed to every airport terminal across this country and said, no, donald trump, you cannot ban muslims. [applause] sen. warren: this democracy is led by the scientists marching in their lab coats, urging our government to protect us from climate change and environmental destruction. [applause] sen. warren: it is led by people with disabilities who storm the halls of congress during the health care debates to put a human face on medicaid. [applause] sen. warren: it is led by the aclu that sues trump
administration to stop one discriminatory policy after another. [applause] sen. warren: it is led by dreamers. [applause] sen. warren: it is led by high school students. [applause] sen. warren: and it is led by all of you. that's why we are here. you bet. [applause] sen. warren: we are re-wiring democracy, but let's not kid ourselves. the other side does not look over and say, they've got a lot of people grassroots who are trying to build democracy and we will just give up. no, the other side has not given up. every day we wake up to attacks on our values, attacks on the rule of law, and attacks on just plain old common sense. you know this better than most
because the aclu is on the front lines fighting to protect the promise that makes america an extraordinary country. the promise that we are still struggling to fulfill. the promise that no matter who you are or where you come from, in america, everyone will have a real opportunity to build a future. [applause] sen. warren: the promise that every kid, black, white, brown, middle-class, working-class, born poor, born in the city, suburb, small town, on a reservation, born gay, straight, trans, this will be in america where every kid will have a fighting chance to realize their dream. [applause]
sen. warren: that's the america i believe in. that's the america i love and that is the america i am fighting alongside you every day to make a reality. and that's the america that gives me a chance to be here today. when i was a kid growing up on the ragged edge of the middle class, my dreams were closer to home. graduate high school, go to college, teach school, have babies, maybe someday buy a home. in my life, there were a lot of bumps and wrong turns along the way. when i was 12, my daddy had a heart attack and my family nearly lost everything. when i was 19, i dropped out of school to get married. didn't work out, but i lived in a country where i could get a first-rate public college
education for $50 a semester. think about that. a country that was investing in highways and bridges and power and all the things that built a vibrant economy and good paying jobs right here in america. i did not grow up in a perfect country, not by any stretch. black and latino americans were locked out of many opportunities and often confined to the worst jobs. women had limited chances and lgbtq people were locked firmly in the closet. but we were an america that believed in opportunity. and slowly but increasingly, we opened those opportunities to more people. i want to take just one example. the black-white wealth gap -- it has been huge since we first
started measuring it in the 1940's, but the civil rights movement of the 1960's stirred a determination to expand opportunity in this country. new laws that increase access to voting, to housing, to public accommodations had a real impact. from the mid-1960's through the 1970's, just about a 15 year period, that black-white wealth gap shrank by 30%. there is your evidence that rights matter. and there is a reason we fight for rights. they have mattered to people in this country. we were far from perfect, but we were a country expanding opportunities, for more and more of our kids. i took advantage of those opportunities, and i stand here
today, the daughter of a janitor , who became a public school teacher, a college professor, and now a united states senator, because america invested in kids like me. [applause] warren: i am grateful to that america, grateful down to my tellers. i believe in that america. but for decades now, powerful gameest have rigged the against working people all across this country. the opportunity to build a future has been moving further and further out of reach. our government has been taken over by the rich and the powerful. a generation of trickle-down economics, deregulation and tax cuts for billionaires has destroyed unions, undermined
public schools, and left us with a crumbling infrastructure. for a full generation, gdp has climbed in this country, ceo salaries have grown by almost 1000%, while wages for working people have barely budged. flat wages, coupled with rising costs for housing, health care, childcare, college, have squeezed families all across this country. black, white, brown, suburban, urban and rural. i want to pick up on my earlier example. remember how that black-white wealth gap was chopped by one third in just 15 years? chopped by one third, when the right to vote, the right to get a job, the right to buy a home, the kind of rights the aclu fights for every day. when those rights were protected, once the republicans
pushed their trickle-down economy and began a direct assault on voting and other rights, the black-white wealth gap trebles. poor kids, black, white, the tino, urban -- latino, urban, rural, got stuck. in 1960's, the chance any child theirdo better than parents was 90-10. by the 2000's the chance to climb the ladder was just a smidge under 50-50. here is the reason i fight. i ran for senate and headed to washington to change a system that was leaving so many behind. i knew it would not be easy, trying to turn a government that worked for the rich and powerful into a government that works for the rest of us. but i didn't go to washington to
duck the tough fights. i went to washington to win them, and so did you. [applause] since the 1920's, the aclu has fought to preserve the promise of america. here is what i love most about the aclu. you don't just fight, you win. [applause] sen. warren: you fight. you fight for the underestimated. those who were left behind, locked out of opportunity. women, immigrants, native americans, african americans, other people of color. bisexuals,ay men, transgender people. mentally ill individuals. prisoners. people with disabilities, and the poor. you began fighting against the harassment and deportation of immigrants in 1920.
you thought for workers' writes. -- right. you fought against the ugly internment of over 120,000 japanese-americans. you said with civil rights leaders, activists and protesters for sit in marches and freedom rides, fighting for racial equality in america. discrimination, fighting for equal rights for women in the workplace and in the marketplace. since the supreme court upheld a women's right to choose in roe v. wade, you have been fighting on the front lines for reproductive rights. [applause] sen. warren: you created the lesbian and gay rights project in the mid-1980's to advance gay rights, and filefought tooth and nail to make marriage equality the law of the land.
yeah. [applause] sen. warren: and now, you are on the front lines of the resistance against this administration. you have been america's true freedom fighters. [applause] thatwarren: now, i know reading that list is a little like preaching to the choir, but we come together for a reason. we come together to remind ourselves that we have filed hard -- fought hard fights before. we have fought hard fights, and we have won hard fights. [applause] sen. warren: and i came here today to make you a promise. we will do it again. [applause] this democracyor . this presidency is not a
dictatorship. [applause] sen. warren: we will defend our country. we will fight for our freedom. ad we will make this america country we can believe in. [applause] so let's be clear about it. when an extremist group like the nra stands in the way of our we areof our kids, going to fight back. [applause] devosarren: when betsy turns her back on public education, and lets student loan companies rip off college students, we are going to fight back. [applause] sen. warren: when donald trump makes a promise to dreamers, then breaks that promise, we are going to fight back. [applause] sen. warren: and i'm just
getting warmed up. [laughter] sen. warren: when racist voter id laws and voter suppression tactics sprout like weeds all over this country, when communities like flint are living with poisoned water and polluted air, when there is still no justice for eric garner and sandra bland and freddy gray and the land of castile and so castilee -- philando and so many more, we are going to keep fighting back. [applause] when you can still be fired from your job because of who you love, when republicans try to rig the senses to pretend that people of color don't exist, when you are afraid to report a rape because i.c.e. could split up your family, when you are treated like a suspect in your daily life because of the cover of
your skin, we are going to keep fighting back -- color of your skin, we are going to keep fighting back. [applause] sen. warren: and if you think we get under their skin now, just you wait. [laughter] yeah. i'm in this fight all the way, and so are you. when you fight back, you may change. donalds november 6th, trump is going to hear all of us, loud and clear, because we are going to vote like our rights depend on it. [applause] sen. warren: but november 6th is our.not evenf close. we have to show people, when we get a chance to lead, things
will start getting better. that we will build opportunity for all. so let's talk for just a minute about who and what we are fighting for. we are fighting for an economy where anyone who works can build a that her life for their kids. that means rolling back the trillion dollar tax giveaways to big corporations, and investing that money in health care, education and infrastructure. [applause] sen. warren: we are fighting for a criminal justice system that promotes equal under law. means, instead of jailing some kid who gets caught with a few ounces of pot, let's put the banker who financed the drug deals in jail. [applause]
we are fighting for an america where equal means equal, and that means passing the equality act and the do no harm act, so no one can be fired or denied housing or told they can't get a wedding cake just because of who they are or who they love. [applause] and we are fighting for dreamers, who are as american as you and me, and just want a chance to build a future. [applause] sen. warren: that means passing amers haveact, so dre a chance to live without the fear of being ripped away from the only home that most of them have ever known. we are fighting for women. and that means we will keep planned parenthood open and make sure women have access to safe,
legal abortions. [applause] sen. warren: by the way, that also means putting more women in positions of power, from committee rooms to boardrooms, to that really nice oval-shaped room at 1600 pennsylvania avenue. [applause] sen. warren: we are fighting for the right to vote. that means a census that counts every person, automatic voter registration, and no more gerrymandering. [applause] sen. warren: and, how about we fight for a constitutional amendment establishing an unquestioned, unassailable, nationally recognized right to vote? how about it?
voting is not a privilege. it is a right. [applause] and most of all, we are fighting for an america that is truly democratic. that means ending corruption in washington, getting rid of the cesspool of money in politics, overturning citizens united, and returning this government to the people! [applause] sen. warren: now, make no mistake. none of this will be easy. but i sure hope you are ready to fight uphill for as long as it takes, because i'm going up that hill, and i need you with me all the way. [applause] sen. warren: so for the next five months and beyond, i ask
you to raise your voice. let's fight to make the playing field level for working people once again. let's fight to restore our democracy, so we can pass the promise of america on to our children, and grandchildren. the darkness of this political moment may seem all-consuming, but i have got a candle, and so do you. and together, we can light the path forward. together, we can save this democracy. and i promise you, i promise you, that if we all stay in this fight, and we all stand together, we will win. thank you. thank you. [applause]
[captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2018] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] >> i am glad to see that you are all joining the intake elizabeth warren for joining us and her work. she is inspirational. i want to thank all of you for being here and being part of the fight. now we are going to go to the more active part of the afternoon, to the breakout sessions where you cannot only get or inspiration but you can get mobilized. have a great day and i will look forward to seeing you at the awards dinner here tonight. have fun. ♪
holds adent trump campaign rally today in great falls, montana. there to support republican candidates in the november 6 midterm election. state auditor republican matt rosen dale and several third party candidates are facing jon tester, running for a third ter m. and forte iseg g seeking reelection after winning a special election to fill the house feet vacated by ryan zinke he. . todaythat rally live at 6 p.m. eastern on c-span. this week, you are watching c-span programs in prime time. at 8 p.m. eastern tonight, racism in america. >> black fears of white people are totally justified, white fears are not. >>
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