Lisa Garza, Founder, Brian Lehrer discussed on Brian Lehrer


It's the Brian Lehrer show on WNYC fee angry at Bernstein, filling in for Brian Lehrer with us, now, one of the founders of black lives matter at Lisa Garza. She's also a founder and principal of the think tank and activist group called the black futures lab. She's the director of strategy and partnerships at the national domestic workers, alliance and a founder of supermajority a clearinghouse for women's activism. Maybe you saw her up, Ed in the New York Times this week called, dear candidates, here is what black people want, which was pegged to the release on Tuesday of a extremely large survey called the black census project. Thank you for joining us. Lisa garza. Glad you're on WNYC today. Thank you so much for having me. So tell us about the black census project. What, what was the project looking to do? Sure. Well, the black of project was really geared towards doing a number of different things. The first thing that we wanted to make sure to do is to start the path of making black people powerful in politics, what we know is that black communities are incredibly diverse. But yet, the ways in which communities are engaged, politically doesn't actually take advantage about level of diversity, what we are concerned about is making sure that black voices black concerns and black experiences get represented at the state level at the federal level, and what we did to that end was we set out to talk to as many black people as we possibly could about what we are experiencing in the economy in democracy, and in our society, and we have a black communities, very simple question, which is what is it that you wanna see for your future? We talked to black people who lived in rural and urban areas. We talked to liberal. In conservative black communities. We even have to black people who are currently, and formerly incarcerated. And what we found was really incredible. Most of the people that we talked to said that they really had never been asked these types of questions about their experiences. They had not been asked what they want to see out of their democracy. They not been asked what they wanna see in terms of changes to the economy, if we were to project forward, I would say that's a pretty dangerous proposition for the twenty twenty elections. Black people are the most consistent base of the Democratic Party. And yet, the majority of people that we talked to said that they feel very strongly that politicians don't care about them or their experiences and that instead, they care more about big business. And so these are things to consider for candidates and their campaigns. How do you engage communities? In such a way that they can be activated motivated, and energized in the twenty twenty election so that we can change what's happening in the White House. So let's unpack some of that I am curious though just for starters. Your sample size, was thirty one thousand which is he entry? How did you go about getting that all that data? We are really proud of our methodology actually, we intentionally surveyed communities that are often left out of traditional polls, the way that we did, it was that we utilize both online and offline strategies. Online. We partnered with organizations that have huge following that our civil rights organizations like color of change, or black, who have millions of members that join them online to figure out how they can address the problems that they face in their communities, so partnering with those types of organizations allowed us to reach a wide swath of black communities, but we also know that not everybody person is online, and that actually there are barriers for many black communities tax us, the internet. So what we did with Bill partnerships with more than thirty grassroots black led organizations across the nation and twenty eight states and we help to ensure that they. Were able to not only administer the survey at self but we also train those organizations in the art and the science of community organizing and what we were able to accomplish this together more than half of our survey responses in that way, we partnered with organizations, specifically that are rooted in and have deep relationships with some of the communities, under the umbrella of black communities, that are traditionally left out of conversations. We partnered with organizations that work with currently incarcerated people. We partnered with organizations that work with black people who are lesbian gay, bisexual transgender gender. Non conforming. We worked with organizations that were rooted in black communities that were liberal and black communities that were conservative again. We didn't have a dog in the race about what people's politics were, we really wanted to better understand when we're talking about black. Communities. What are the issues that black communities care about, and what a black communities wanna see, for our future, and that's how we were able to reach more than thirty one thousand people that is an impressive number. So, so let's talk about unpacking some of the data that you found. And it's pretty sobering you, you were just alluding to this. But the poll revealed eighty four percent said politicians care about rich people. A lot seventy seven percent said politicians care about white people, a lot just four percent said they care about black people. A lot in three percent, said poor people a lot. So I guess, you know, those are some pretty sobering numbers. I mean, other than the question about sort of the Raisch, the race question of the rich poor question. Is that different from a population sort of Representative of the whole population of the US? Is that significantly more pessimist? Well, I think it's a question of pessimism inside of the most consistent base of the Democratic Party. I think what we're finding in this period is that people are not only cynical about politics, but they are cynical about their government Representative serving them as opposed to serving the wealthy incorporations. And that is something that turns people away from politics and frankly turns people away from participating when people feel like they are up against Goliath. There's not really much incentive for them to show up to the polls. Now what we know about black communities is that it's a little bit different. Black communities tend to be very pragmatic as it relates to elections, and impresses, where there aren't deliberate efforts to keep what people away from the polls, and we should talk about that. You know, black folks are turning out. However, I think what we find and this is true, not just about black communities, but voters across the board is that we have low participation in elections and low participation in elections, has a lot to do with people feeling like change doesn't happen on that level, where in a different kind of situation right now where certainly in twenty sixteen the United States allowed a person into the White House who is changing the rules in ways that are also supporting the limiting of people's participation. While also turning up the heat on some of the issues that are impacting our most vulnerable communities and black communities are no exception there. There are a lot of efforts that are gearing up right now to change what's happening in the White House in twenty twenty and those efforts cannot be successful, if they do not have a clear and strategic plan to keep black voters engaged motivated and activated. And to expand the number of black people who go to the polls. This is really what this survey helps to eliminate are the issues that keep people from believing that change is possible, government level, the issues that are impacting black communities lives every single day, and how their lives are being impacted, and it actually is a window for candidates, and their campaigns and current and perspective, elected officials to better understand what black communities that we serve eight. At least want to see done about the. Problems that exist in our communities. So I would say that the black, census project is really a gift, it's a gift to people who are trying to save our democracy, and it's a gift to people who are seeking to represent us inside of our democracy. And we really hope that candidates, their campaigns and other efforts that are attempting to figure out how to change the balance of power in twenty twenty are really paying attention to the results of this report. My guest is Lisa Garza. She is the founder and a principle of the think tank and activist group called the black futures lab and the author of a recent op Ed deer candidates, here is what black people want. So if you have a question or a comment on that, please give us a call at two one two, four three three WNYC two one two four three nine six nine to with your calls for at least the Garza. So one of the things that you talk about in Europe. Ed piece is about. Sort of the, the ritual, every year of candidates going to have fried chicken in Harlem with hot sauce. You didn't mention this. But there's almost always a stop at Sylvia's and how frustrating that is sort of that sort of gesture, but the sort of meaning in the dialogue stops there, so talked a little bit. And I presume you're talking now to the democratic field. What is it that you would like to see from the candidates? Well, one of the things that we should just be super clear about is exactly what you said, Sylvia's is a great restaurant. So let's just be clear about that food is incredible. But that can't be the totality of engagement, the candidates, do with black communities. And I believe that Sylvia's and others would probably agree with that this isn't an indictment on food. It's an indictment on the ways in which candidates, and their campaigns shortchange black communities by engaging symbolically rather than substantively, many, people might be surprised to know that there are black people that don't even like fried chicken. As a result, you're going to have to do a little bit more in order to capture votes. One of the things that is important for us to communicate to candidates and their campaigns. When you use these types of symbols that in some ways, draw on stereotypes about our communities. It makes it clear to buck communities that not only do you not have a relationship with us. But you may or may not be interested in developing a deeper, one candidates and campaigns should engage communities in the ways that we exist and anybody who's ever been to a black person's household during the holiday season. Nossa black communities are incredibly complex. We have, you know, our boozy cousin. Right. We have our cousin from the hood of we have our black power goal. Right. We have our church going grandmother. And so the reality is, if you wanna engage a black family, you've got engaged black family. You've got to go. Oh, to number of different places where black people are you have to be able to be fluent in the experiences that black people are having whether it's healthcare, and particularly when you go into the south, you need to be able to talk about how you're going to expand programs like Medicaid and Medicare, you need to be able to talk about the, the racial dynamics that exist in, you know, keeping money from expanding programs that disproportionately help black communities in particular, have access to healthcare, you've got a dress not only student debt, but you have to address the cost of college, you've gotta understand that most black families in this country, make at least ten thousand dollars less than the cost of one year of a four year. Public college, you've got to be able to address those issues and unfortunately, fried chicken and hot sauce won't get you there. What will get you? There are. Town halls and other meaningful. Avenues of engagement where you are asking black people. What it is that we are experiencing where you are listening to those experiences where you're listening to the idea that we have for solutions and where you're putting policy solutions forward that not only address the issue itself, but address the impact of structural racism on those issues so that black people can benefit from the changes that you're proposing in the first place. Let's take some calls listeners and black listeners in particular. We invite you to talk to at least Garza a black lives, matter founder and now leading groups, including the black futures lab, which has just published. It's black census project. A survey of thirty one thousand people tweet at Brian Lehrer or call us at two one two, four three three WNYC, two one two four three three nine six nine. To maybe you want to answer one of the black census questions, like what are your top priorities for the next president? Or how can you feel?.

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