Rep. Maxine Waters and Alzo Slade on Recent Protests’ Impact | Shelter in Place Episode 12

published on July 2, 2020

you

God took the rejected stone and made him

the cornerstone of a movement that's

gonna change the whole wide world this

week saw the funeral of George Floyd the

unarmed black man killed by police on

the streets of Minneapolis now America

already seems to have been changed by

his death with protests still ongoing

and new legislation making its way

through Congress so in this episode

we're gonna speak with representative

Maxine Waters but the political effort

to reform the police and with our very

own alzo Slade who has been reporting

from the streets of Minneapolis Maxine

Waters is the representative for

California's 43rd district and has been

at the forefront of efforts for police

reform since the 1970s including in the

aftermath of the LA riots in 1992 she's

also former head of the Black Caucus and

in recent years one of Congress's most

outspoken critics of President Trump

representative waters thank you for

joining us I'm delighted to be with you

today so I'm just gonna jump right in I

know you're very busy you recently

tweeted George Floyd cried out I can't

breathe in his dying moments he called

for his mom black moms all over America

must be struck with the realization that

this could have been their unarmed black

son being killed by a murderous cop as a

black mother do you have to have this

conversation with your family oh when my

children were younger we certainly did

my son we have to have the conversation

with them about what happens if you

stopped by a police officer because so

many young black unarmed males in

particular women too but males have been

killed by the people that we pay to

protect and serve or beaten or framed

even and so I've gone so far as to work

with others to print up cards with

instructions

that they should carry in their pockets

with them so that it tastes them you

know to make sure that their hands are

visible at all times to make sure that

they don't talk back to them and anger

them and give them an excuse to beat up

on their and this is pretty pretty

regular ly done by mothers in the

african-american community let's talk a

little bit about the justice and

policing Act it was put forward by Karen

bass senators Cory Booker Kamala Harris

congressman Jerrold Nadler they've

introduced the justice and policing Act

which is an approach to hold police

accountable and change the culture of

law enforcement can you unpack it for us

what are what are some of the attributes

of that well let me first talk about

what I think is one of the centerpieces

of it and that is the chokehold the

chaco is used you know in police

departments all over this country and

even though some cities have said

they're banning it the police use it

anyway and there are no penalties for it

it was popularized here in Los Angeles

with a police chief named Daryl gates

and in a beautiful time in about four or

five years they had use it and killed 16

people in 12 of them were African

American I started on Daryl gates and I

organized and I went to the police

commission and I organized a lot of

black women and we watched in front of

the headquarters and I wrote editorials

and I did a lot of press but I kept on

him and how that the chokehold and the

battering ram that he used he had this

all steel arm on it and something on the

end of it that would break down doors

but that was work then I was involved in

helping to get rid of the journal Cole

in the battering ram and he confront him

about his racism and about the way that

they basically brutalized a young black

man at that time he also popularized

arresting them making them get out of

a car and there's Sunday best whatever

and lying flat on the ground legs spread

wide open arms spread wide open these

were his tactics and he was one of the

worst police chiefs we ever had so

speaking of that since 1992 just when

you were joining Congress you've been

you've been you know you've seen the

history from Rodney King tell tell tell

now what's changed what has changed is

the acts are still perpetrated against

people of color against poor people in

in particular people living in public

housing etc for me what has changed is

we haven't had the organized effort like

was done in the Civil Rights days where

they confronted you know a violation of

their basic human rights or where they

were able to get the voting rights bill

but they were able to eat in public

places and get the accommodations that

had been denied and so we did not have

that organized effort we didn't fight

hard enough I don't think in order to

try and get you know the federal

government more involved and in terms of

the civil rights violation of civil

rights and so I don't think we bought

its heart as maybe we could have or we

shouldn't have and I just think that we

didn't have any change for the bad or

so-called that it was still there and

still now as we talked young black males

are being brutalized on the streets

while they post protests are going on

but we've also had a killing and I've

also gone back to think about some of

the investigations that have been going

on for almost two years it had been

Baton Rouge one young man who was shot

in the back six times and that

investigation has not been resolved and

so it's still going on you've said and

I'll quote you again is there a brave

member of trumps cabinet who had moved

to initiate the 25th amendment to remove

him from office now is the time to save

our country before this would-be

dictator takes us all down a is that

possible before November and if not how

important is the electoral cycle come

November

well there are a couple of things I

think when you have such a problem as a

president of the United States who talks

about pulling out the military on

peaceful protesters you have to keep the

conversation going

you cannot recede in the way that you

talk about him and get others to think

about him a minute 25 may not be

possible it may not be reasonable to

even ask but you got to do it

I'll keep raising based about him in

ways that will make people think and so

the Democrats are focused on getting him

out of office we've got to get him out

of office to save this country and to

save the democracy and so we've got to

work hard we've got to make sure that we

can beat him in the electoral states and

that's what we're doing we're working it

we talked to former attorney General

Eric Holder about the importance of this

election and he said he echoed your

sentiments he said look our democracy is

at stake people this country need to

understand something

now I'm not an alarmist but our

democracy is on the ballot in November

if November is so important how do we

get the boat out especially for young

people well first of all I really do

believe that the President of the United

States is assisting us and getting out

the vote

you see on the street those are our

voters many of them are our new voters

who will be voting for the first time

and they are gonna turn out we're on our

way now we're on our way and I'm so

appreciative as I watch them grow and

get involved politically so the protests

recently have been the largest since the

assassination of Martin Luther King is

this a catalyst for change is this a

springboard can we finally fix these

wrongs I see change in the air I really

feel it I really feel it let me tell you

what convinces me more than anything

else that change is on its way it's in

the air I've never seen so many whites

on the street with facts and Latinos and

Asian's

and in some of the protests areas that

almost 100 percent whites out there I've

never seen these kinds of protests in

some of the southern states who would've

thought that Texas had one of the

biggest biggest rallies and protests of

any state I've never seen anything like

that we've never seen anything like that

in the United States and so I think

something is happening

[Music]

I think that this legislative package

that we're putting together that we have

put together that it's gonna be fought

very hard and I don't know how far it

will get I don't know I'm a bit struggle

we're gonna have with McConnell and the

Senate I don't know if it will ever get

to the President's desk I don't know if

the president would ever dare sign it

but that does not matter because they

cannot stop the movement now and that

movement will realize itself in the

elections where we will have a

progressive movement that is created

because of what I see happening now

Maxine Waters thank you for your time

today

well thank you for having me I

appreciate it so much thank you I want

to reach for my phone and record but I

know if I reach for anything and I very

well may get shot

we're in Minneapolis Minnesota right now

in the middle of a protest Oh George

Floyd Al's Oh Slade is an Emmy

award-winning vice news correspondent

who's just been on the ground in

Minneapolis

now we don't normally interview our own

people but alzo has done some of the

most important reporting from the

protests and was also detained by police

despite displaying his press credentials

also thanks for joining me was that me

but one of the reasons why I wanted to

interview you is I watched what you were

doing in Minneapolis I watched your

coverage and I was so blown away that

I'm like look I want to interview this

guy doesn't matter he works for me or

anybody else I think it's just amazing

what you guys did on the ground okay

can you just tell me what it's been like

to be a reporter in Minneapolis in this

past week it's been interesting because

it's when I when I first started working

with Vice I used to joke but there's

much seriousness ingest that I was not a

warzone correspondent if I had to wear a

flak jacket or a helmet that was not my

story and unbeknownst to me I would find

myself in a war zone in my very own

country there's a wall of cops so it was

it was a bit surreal and you know not

only just as a journalist but as a black

male journalist you know on the front

lines covering this thing was a was a

bit surreal

how does it feel to be a journalist

in your own country covering a story and

I mean it's up alright i i've been

handled like that by the police before

it wasn't anything that was unusual for

me i think when it comparatively

speaking to you know with reference to

what we were there covering i would

consider you know being roughed up by

the police a bit and walking out of

there with my life and my breath still

minimal right because what we're

covering is the killing of black man at

the hands the police right and so if a

couple reporters get roughed up by the

police of course with regard to freedom

of the press that's egregious but with

respect to what we were there covering

is minimal so when you're talking about

i don't want to go to a war zone and i

want to wear a flak jacket but yet

you're covering domestic politics and

it's like a war zone where you feel for

your life

what's the ontology what's the

metaphysics that is going on in your

mind it's kind of out-of-body if you

will because in the back of your mind as

I said before as a black man growing up

in America it's not the first time I

fear for my life in front of the police

being in that situation during the

protest I was I was concerned more for

the folks that were with me right

because wasn't just me by myself and as

a journalist I want to reach for my

phone and record I want to be able to

document this to myself but I know if I

reach for anything but what they tell me

to reach for and that's the sky then I

very well may get shot for me and my

crew which consists of two other black

men it was do what the hell they say or

what you fear may come to pass

when I was watching your interaction

with the people you were talking to

there was a lot of honesty raw honesty

that came out of your question

do you think that because of what's

happening in America were finally having

the discussion that we probably should

have had 10 years ago 20 years ago 30

years ago absolutely yeah we should have

been having these conversations for

quite some time but I think a lot of

people say these conversations are

difficult to have and they're difficult

for different people for different

reasons

they're difficult for white folks

because it makes them uncomfortable it's

difficult for black folks because we're

tired of having them right and so

there's a group of people that had these

conversations 1020 years ago it didn't

take and then another generation come

and then they recognize that we still

have racial problems then we have to

continue to have the conversation but at

this point in 2020

you see clear video and we're in the

middle of a pandemic where people are

home and all of they're doing is

watching television and so you get this

combination this this this this gumbo of

events and circumstances that make it

right for people to go out on the

streets and speak loud because they're

pissed off at what they see and a lot of

people we're tired of talking and that's

why you saw what we saw in the streets

when we went to Minneapolis because

they're like we ain't talking about

which seems to be the antithesis but

here's the problem

we had many periods of discord of

protest but we still have the same

problems and what I've been talking to

people on this show about is okay if we

don't use kovat if we don't use what's

happened in Minneapolis if we don't use

what's happening in the world today as

sort of a springboard for change then

it's just another news cycle is this the

catalyst for change or is this another

news cycle from what I saw on the ground

is the catalyst for change

he's not doing his job and so you know

when we don't do our job what happens we

get fired we get fired so he needs to go

we're already seeing some change

happening in Minneapolis where you know

the City Council has made it a

requirement to stop any police officer

that they see engaging in excessive

force right they've made the chokehold

illegal but the problem is is these the

changes that we're seeing now are the

changes that we should have seen 20

years ago the the leadership expects

accolades and expect the people to kind

of simmer down after they give them what

they should have given them 20 years ago

and so in that respect it may be a new

cycle if the people in the streets don't

have a strategy to go beyond marching in

the streets right because you can't be

in the streets every night for the next

five six months to two to five years

right and so one thing that we have seen

is people transitioning using that

energy that they had in the streets and

taking it to the ballot box to the young

people don't think this is over

without long road we don't need you to

tighten up

[Music]

do you think we need kind of a

sledgehammer to shock us I mean as an

environmentalist humans don't like to do

anything unless there's a gun to our

heads and now we're sort of finally

waking up a little bit do you feel that

that's the same with civil rights in

America right now that we're finally

waking up to the real questions and

we're looking at it in a real way I

think I think we are looking at it in a

real way but it's the beginning of it

right this is the right now we are in

the middle of the emotional reaction to

it and not and I don't think emotion has

the power or the juice to take you the

distance you have to have willpower or

after the emotion leave because it's

work this is a marathon it's gonna be a

lot of work and emotion won't carry you

there what do we need to do now to go

forward in 2020 in a positive way where

should it go what I'd like to see is is

that passion in the streets transition

into some very tangible strategic moves

that don't necessarily have to be seen

above ground there are organizations

there are folks I think when you speak

of Millennials and and Jen's ears

they've woken up I got I spoke to some

folks in the street some young people in

the street and I could look in their

eyes and tell that after this protest

movement is done they're not finished

and so with the younger people they're

starting to recognize that voting does

matter and not necessarily on the

federal level but on the city level

right the local level people are

starting to wake up to understanding

that the things that directly affect

them aren't happening right up the

street at the little community center

where they have these meetings that only

gray-haired folks go to from what you've

seen on the streets from your reporting

you know talking to all these people on

all sides what's your message to all the

kids who are watching today

what would you say off the record which

is now on the record because we're on

to the young people don't think this

is over their long road we're gonna

need you to tighten up we're gonna need

you to educate yourself on finances

educate yourself on educational

leadership you don't have to wait for

somebody to teach you because we have

all the resources at our disposal right

now

that generations prior didn't have and

that's why we were used to subscribe to

one or two leaders like dr King and

Malcolm X but right now there's a wealth

of information out there and you don't

have to have upper-middle class

background of a planet background to

access it right so don't subscribe to

the one leader model because that one

leader is is within so tap that jumper

and get your ass out there and continue

fight on that No

thank you very much you're an awesome

journalist

I'm just proud that you're on the vice

team glad to be here

[Music]

you

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