FBI asks Jan. 6 suspect about ties to Congress, extremists groups


Tonight on all in. I want to thank my friend. Ralph reed for those overly generous words. I'm deeply humbled by them. Mike pence heckled by his own party faithful as new video emerges of the violence that the capital on january six and the fbi starts questioning insurrectionists about their connections with members of congress then as the bogus arizona audit starts to wrap up the republican fight against voting rights expands across the country. Up taking a look at all these new state laws are designed to suppress the vote. Aurore is rallying for voters in texas and he joins me live tonight plus community holidays. Do we walk. What's the magic number eleven do. We won't twenty barely a day old in the attacks against the juneteenth. Federal holiday have already begun when all starts right now he'd evening from washington dc. I'm linda maxwell. In for chris hayes. There is breaking news tonight out of the district court in washington. Dc we now know that at least one suspect in january six riot is being questioned by the fbi about potential ties to any right wing extremist groups or members of congress. Nbc news is obtained a transcript of the interview. The fbi conducted back in february with a former nypd. Officer named tom webster. He's facing multiple charges in connection with his of the capital that day. And take a look at this line of questioning quote. Have you heard or seen anything in the area about any of the militia groups that have been on the news like the proud boys. The three percenters the oath keepers. Do you have any connections to in congress or any congressional staff or any capital police. The reporter who obtained that transcript will join me shortly but first one of the most frightening aspects of what happened at the capitol on january six. Is that the mob stormed the building and attack any officers who got in their way but they were actually coming for our elected leaders. They tore through the capital looking for specific members of congress. Some riders broke into speaker. Nancy pelosi's office. This image here shows a man putting his feet up on the desk of one of policies. Aides only coming in the capital for democrats. The mob was also looking for donald. Trump's owned vice president they chanted. Hang mike pence because he would go along with trump's plan to steal the election. Remember vice president. Pence had to be whisked away by secret service to a secure location when riders got dangerously. Close to the senate floor. That's where he was presiding over the electoral vote count and it seems like some members of the party of are still kind of angry with mike pence calling him a traitor when he took the stage at the faith and freedom summit in florida. Today i wanna thank my friend ralph reed for those overly generous words deeply humbled by them. Ralph reed knows me well enough to know the introduction. I prefers a little bit short. I'm a christian conservative and a republican in that order. And i am honored to stand before you today more than five months since that awful day and it is still not over more video. Evidence of the horror that happened is still coming out. Today the justice department released new video at the request of nbc news and other news organizations showing a trump supporter scott fair lamb taunting and then assaulting and officer outside of the capitol. You see him here in the camouflage jacket a warning that this footage is extremely disturbing. Got along you won't road. Scott fair lamb has been charged with twelve. Criminal counts including assaulting and officer and carrying a dangerous weapon in the capital and there is another new video also released by the government at the request of news organizations this one showing that same former. Nypd officer was questioned by the fbi about his ties to extremist groups or congress brawling with cops on january six. He's the man and the red jacket and again. This video is disturbing to watch chris. Important off so as the evidence continues to come out day after day and the big lie reigns supreme in the republican party. Threat of the insurrection continues and is still out there. And it is not going away. I wanna begin tonight with the breaking news that the fbi has been questioning at least one of the people charged in the capital riot about his possible connections to members of congress investigative reporter who got his hands on that transcript is scott macfarlane of nbc news four in washington and he joins me now. What have you found is a good evening. Let's start with that. Latest video and those videos are tough to watch and tough to listen to as well the audio so a role so vista role the feds say the most recent video shows thomas webster of new york a retired. Nypd officer a former us marine. So they they're showing in his video. They say a police officer attacking another police officer. He's pleaded not guilty but he is jailed pending trial. But we've got a copy of the fbi interview with thomas webster sixty one pages in a few things stand out and you mentioned a few of the top lines. They he was questioned about any potential ties to the oath. That three percents of the proud boys the far right groups that are at the epicenter of this sprawling january six investigation but he was also questioned about whether he knew any members of congress and congressional staff or any capital police to questions he said no but a former federal prosecutor. Here in dc says that is indicative of an investigation into possible possible complicity by members of congress. The former federal prosecutor causes a very significant set of questions by the fbi. Are lena the answer to all of them from this defendant was no but it's hard to believe they weren't asking other defendants as well. Well that's actually my next question. Is this something the fbi is just asking mister webster or does it seem like this is a standard line of questioning that they utilize for anyone that they're questioning who was involved in january six without any equivocation the focal point the most serious charges in this investigation or against the oath keepers the three percenters and the proud boys. They're accused of conspiracy of plotting and planning ahead of january. Six of having in some cases encrypted communications having radio devices military gear. No surprise at all. They'd be asking defendants if they have any knowledge of or links to those far right groups. Those are the most serious charges now about members of congress. This obviously a lot of talk about what did members of congress now seems intuitive to ask questions about it. It's noteworthy this defendant said no but we don't know yet what the other defendants have been asked. We haven't yet seen their transcripts. It's early in the fbi also was asking about members of congress and congressional staff. Obviously there has been reporting about some members of congressional staff potentially taking eventual rioters on tours. What we know about The questions that are being posed to these folks about ties to members of congress. Is that something. That's coming up a lot. Is it just for mr webster. So far just for mr webster in part. Because that's the only transcript we've seen in. His answer was no the former federal prosecutor. Here in dc says. It's likely the feds have phone records for a number of these defendants. So if there were calls anybody who's under that umbrella of suspicion feds may know it already so getting the question on the records. Important just to check the veracity of defendants so get. It'd be no surprise if we saw that question asked about defendants but we do know it was asked this defendant thomas webster of orange county new york. The other question is ties to capitol. Police officers is that something. That's also being included in standard questioning for folks or was that specific mr webster. That seems interesting considering he is in. Nypd nypd officer himself parallel. He's a former police officer. What's more leaves a former city hall based police officer during the rudy giuliani administration in new york city and sometime before and sometime after former mayor. Giuliani on there. Is that question. Your former police. What can you tell us about police. But something else jumped out. And this this record. They asked him about what they say is showing them video striking officer and he says the officer appeared to instigate it that day. Pushing blame back at the police officer. He's accused of attacking the flagpole with his fists and then toppling over. It's a striking defense. We'll see what happens when he appears in court next week to try to secure his release from jail. Well we will stay glued to your excellent reporting scott macfarlane. Thank you so much for being here. It's really terrific reporting. Please stay safe for more on the ongoing extremist threat in the wake of the capital attack. I'm joined now by. Cynthia miller idris director of the polarization and extremism research innovation lab at american university and the author of hate in the homeland. The new global far-right and she joins me. Now cynthia do you think that the insurrection is still happening. Is this an ongoing threat. In your view. I think we definitely have an ongoing threat in the country and even globally. I mean i wouldn't you know i don't know why would call the this particular insurrection continuing Beyond that event but certainly the anti-government sentiment anti-democratic sentiment the vulnerability. Disinformation too propaganda. Is still there. So i think it's a mistake to think of this as the end of something whereas the combination of something for rather on an arc And we don't quite know yet what the future holds but we. I think it's very clear that the threat is still strong and still out there. Are we prepared for this threat or another attack. I think that that's that's really the question of the hour. I think that the we're we're much more prepared now than we were six months ago as a country. I think there is better awareness. Among law enforcement there certainly better awareness among the administration among the security agencies about the nature of the threat. We have a new national security Plan that was issued this week by the biden administration. That really lays out a plan to tackle this in four pillars That that is going to change. The trajectory of how the country has dealt with domestic violent extremism. So we're certainly better equipped than we were six months ago. But i wouldn't say that we're on top of the threat yet. And one of the threats that i think is a little bit different than the capital attack which is individual politicians and their personal safety. The trump folks. They're really mad at mike pence. They're still angry at mike pence and so you see them. Yelling trader and i feel like individual politicians. Who are the targets of this anger. Are they endanger. How do we diffuse the threat posed by those who believe in and keep repeating the big lie about the election being stolen when it wasn't. I think what you saw today is that it's very difficult to put the genie back in the bottle. Once that's been released and we have been seen globally the assassination of appro migrant politician in germany last year the assassination in the uk of a politician who was pro migrant the threats. The plots were foiled against the michigan and virginia governor's. So we've already been seeing this trajectory of threats against elected officials. And i think this is very consistent with that with that rising anti-government anti establishment kind of threat in addition to the Persistent white supremacist extremists. Threat that we have been seeing for many years. You just wrote an essay for the atlantic arguing that extremism has spread into the mainstream and needs to be treated like a public health issue. I remember back to two thousand. Sixteen hillary clinton at the hiring of steve bannon talked about the emboldening of white nationalist and extremist elements within the right. What's the best way to fight against this. I think it has to start with the very first step. Which is recognizing that. This isn't a problem that can only be dealt with through a law enforcement insecurity lens that that is always a band aid solution that that by seeing this as the problem of defined fringe groups. We really miss the vulnerabilities in the mainstream to propaganda. Disinformation too online manipulation. So we really need a deeper public health type approach that invests in communities that helps people understand what online manipulation looks like. What persuasive extremist tactics like scapegoating fearmongering look like and so then they build their own counterarguments to that and are able to resist it. So it's equipping the mainstream with resilience rather than just focusing on risk and security. So we're in a new administration and they have a different approach to extremists. So let's take a look at what the biden administration has said about this threat of domestic extremists. We are very focused on domestic violent extremism. It is the greatest threat terrorist related threat that we face in our homeland. We are very focused on it. I will highlight the work. Our department is undertaking to combat the most significant and immediate terrorism related threat to our homeland. Which is the threat posed by domestic violent extremism. I consider it. And i think we consider it collectively. The most significant terrorism related threat impacting the homeland time. And you've said the fbi is better prepared than they were six months ago but are they doing enough to combat future threats. I think that they're not doing enough as an administration to the extent that we're not broadening this the the equipping beyond the law enforcement insecurity so we really need to see department of education health and human services mental health counselors teachers parents communities be equipped in addition to law enforcement and security and intelligence agents If we're going to interrupt the threat in a way that makes a real difference in the long term long term is always on my mind. Professor cynthia miller address. Thank you so much for being here and helping us understand this ongoing threat. Please stay safe. Remember how much. Donald trump tried to con black people in voting for him. Remember the feeling you got as a kid getting tucked in a bid or the feeling you get now arms of somebody you love safe and secure. It's a feeling of security. That only comes through human connection. And that's why the people had simply simplisafe home. Security are so important of course. Simplisafe has an award-winning system. That has all the technology bells and whistles. You'd expect these days but the people simply safe really take it to the next level of round the clock anytime you need them. Whether it's a fire of burglary a medical emergency a burst. Pipe or even a problem while you're setting up the system. Simplisafe has a person with the expertise. You need ready to help. Twenty four seven and when you know. There's always someone there to help. Well that's a feeling you just don't get with emile security system to find out how simply it can make you feel safe insecure at home visit. Simplisafe dot com slash. Dateline today the customize your system and get a free security camera. That's sim plli essay. F. e. dot com slash dateline. Today i've done more for the black community than any president. Since abraham lincoln. I'd say nobody can. Nobody can dispute. It was just patently ridiculous at the time and now a new book reveals what trump really thought about black voters as the republican party redoubles their efforts to squash the vote. Baidoa work is launching a counter-offensive to that and he joins me next. Look what do you have to lose your living in poverty. Your schools are no good. You have no jobs. Fifty eight percent of your youth is unemployed. What held you have to lose. And at the end of four years. I guarantee you that i will get over ninety five percent of the african american vote. I promise you. Donald trump at least pretended to court black voters when he was running for president in two thousand sixteen but a new book by the wall street. Journal's michael bender reveals this cynical nature of donald trump's outreach to black voters. I've done all this stuff. Where the blacks. You said the blacks. That's a quote. It's always jared telling me to do this trump said to one confidante on father's day and they all f ing hate me and none of them are going to vote for me and they didn't vote for him in two thousand sixteen or in two thousand twenty. That might not have something to do that. Might have something to do. With the fact that republicans are always trying to suppress black and latinx next boats including in places like texas where last month democrats walked off the house floor to block passage of the voter suppression bill former congressman beta o'rourke is the founder of powered by people major grassroots organization in texas mobilizing democratic voters. They're holding voting rights. Rally in austin this sunday at the steps of texas capital and he joins me now. Thank you so much for being here. Tonight is lena. It's great to be with you and thank you for mentioning that democracy voting rights rally at the texas capitol this sunday at five thirty. This is a great opportunity for texans to stand up and be counted and try to stop that voter suppression. You were just telling your viewers about that is raging across this country and nowhere more so than in texas where you have the the worst levels of voter suppression in the country. You have seven hundred and fifty polling place closures for example the last eight years of voter. Id law that particularly targets minorities in this state. Any gerrymander of our state was described as a racial gerrymander by three judge. Federal panel on top of that they want to end souls to the polls or sunday morning. Boating they wanna make those just a disclose their personal private medical information in order to vote early and then most alarmingly texas wants to reserve the right to overturn future elections simply based on the allegation of fraud. So this is ground zero in this fight. And that's why we want so many folks to come out join us and make sure that our state lawmakers and in those senate democrats in the us capitol heroes loud and clear in past voting rights legislation. Like the for the people act. It could not be more important. And this is a state that understands that s in texas was already one of the hardest places to cast a ballot and you just laid out there so many aspects of this new piece of legislation that will make it even more difficult. In terms of the organizers organizing. You're doing on the ground. What do you hope to gain out of a protest on sunday. And what message are you trying to send to those in power about blocking access to a new demographic votes the pressure that people can bring to bear is really powerful. We've already seen lena. Some of the state republican lawmakers who voted for sp seven elections voter suppression bill in regular session disavow provision of it. They've said didn't mean to to cancel. Sunday morning boating. And they didn't know that what they voted for would allow them to overturn elections. And i don't think it's because they suddenly got religion on issue. I think it's because they're hearing from their constituents. A republicans and democrats alike are outraged that they would be stopped from voting through this As jim hightower calls it a theft of of our elections so if we show up in numbers large enough not only. Can we stop the next attempt to do this in a special session texas. But i hope that we can give president biden in those Senate democrats song encouragement to get the job done on for the people act because much as lyndon johnson in nineteen sixty five needed to be able to pass the voting rights act of that year to create a true multiracial democracy in america and did so in large part because he was pressured to do so by civil rights and voting rights leaders across the country in fact began his speech to congress. That you're by referencing. John lewis marched across the pettus bridge. We need to get out there in person and in public no more tweeting and facebook and colin folks. Got up demonstrate. And i think that's what moves things in this country. At least that's what it's done as what's done the job is stored so yeah. I think it can work. And the alternative is to sit home in despair and that will lead to anything. Generally organisers aren't very cynical. They're optimists and they're like okay. We're going to get to work. That's how they that's how they will Texas is one of the states in america that has seen very dramatic demographic shifts and those are related to the voter suppression bills. They're directly linked because america be minority white electorate by twenty five according to pew research. Do you think this new wave of voter suppression bills is essentially republicans. Admitting that these demographic shifts are not in their favor and so they want you block the ballot box for those who are less likely to vote for republicans you hit the nail on the head that that's exactly what's happening in texas so i i mentioned a racial gerrymander of our state. What that means is that there's a good chance if you're black or brown texas you've been moved out of given congressional district diminish the impact power of your vote or the likelihood that you would vote at all and so much of sb seven. The elections bill that was debated recently in texas is targeted at harris county. Houston texas which zelina is. The most diverse city in the united states of america is those voters that they're trying to stop from casting that ballot and having their their voices heard in. So we've got to overcome that. And we gotta overcome that. I stopping these ills by pushing voting rights legislation and then in texas. There are two million eligible but unregistered voters so masking my fellow texans to get certified as volunteer. Deputy registrars vcr's which allows you to register eligible voters in your county. We bring those two million onto the roles than the system remains richt and the deck's stacked will still by the numbers have a chance to win election so that that's our insurance policy but first step is stopped. The depression impasse voting rights legislation. Like the for the people act before the. Us senate right now beta work. Thank you so much for taking the time out on this friday night. Please stay safe coming up. The final days of the month long effort to money the presidential election in arizona. What we know and still don't know about the people behind it next. The fraudulent audit of arizona ballots from the two thousand and twenty presidential election has been going on for nearly two months and is supposedly nearing its conclusion and audit spokesman says there are an estimated sixty braille ballots left account and the auditors are in the process of finding braille reading staff to count them but even two months in there is still a lot. We do not know about the people running this scam. Even as republicans across the country are making trips to arizona trying to import their own. Sketchy audits back home. Adrian says the former maricopa county recorder which helps organize elections in the county. He will be a twenty twenty two candidate for arizona's secretary of state and he joins me now adrian. A new report seems to imply that doug logan the ceo of cyber ninjas is just the only ninja. There's one one ninja He's the he's the only one doug on. Recent calls to the company's automated answer lining pressing free for sales led to the answering message for logan so did pressing four for human resources and pressing for purchasing and six for the general mailbox. It all went to doug. He's just there's just one ninja at this point. How do we avoid this circus popping up in battleground states across the country nutrition h could shoot again Thanks for having me. And i don't know how we avoid it other than making sure that we get as many people registered in as many people voting across the country for cannons. Were not going to buy into this nonsense for candidates who are not going to be consumed by the sadness of one sore loser. Candidates in at an elected officials were going to believe in truth gonna believe in their fellow. Americans republicans democrats independents alike. Who are actually the ones who run these elections in the first place and does not get mixed up in all of this snake. Oil sales in folks like this mr logan. Whoever else is promoting this nonsense. We need solid people with integrity with honor with experience Running our elections. And we gotta make sure that americans are well educated about these systems as well we we. We've got tough ronin fighting against it has never been easy so how you fight against the ignorance that obviously is spreading because what's happening in arizona with the cyber ninja. It's now being exported to other states. You had officials from pennsylvania In georgia they're trying to manufacture something similar advice for any of the election officials in those states for how to avoid a circus. Like we've seen in maricopa county. Well i think the most important thing to do is speak the truth. Speak it loudly. And don't be ashamed. Don't be afraid to call out the traders who performed an armed insurgency against the constitution of the united states on january six. Don't be afraid to call on the live. it is a lie. Don't be afraid to talk about the great work that you and your folks across the united states of america have done. Elections officials across our entire country have shelford incredible work hours. Threatening many cases says the brennan center in bipartisan policy center. Put out there that report this past week. There's all kinds of things that election administrators like myself have suffered recently and it doesn't matter what party you're in we've got to stand together. Reasonable people of all political stripes against this rising neo-fascism this rising authoritarianism. That will not believe in the truth unless it comes from the mouth of one person and that's wrong it is anti american and we've got a call it out for what it is. We must be strong enough to advocate and to protect our democracy. One of the things that scariest about these voter suppression bills is not just blocking access to the voter on the front end but the change in policies on the back end after the election. You recently announced that you're running for secretary of state in your view. How critically important is that role in maintaining the integrity of our democratic process in the context of some of these bills including Items that strip away the power of these positions look. The officer's secretary of state is no more important than the office of county recorder. No more important than the election director may be appointed by boards of supervisors or county commissioners across the united states of america every level lever every level of this entire machine works together We worked together with secretary. Hobbs We've worked together with other folks across arizona and across the united states of america. We all have important jobs to do now. Secretaries of state are that much more important because this stuff is in the headlines. And it's in the headlines because starting in two thousand sixteen on a little bit before misinformation and disinformation campaigns arranged for and promoted by our foreign enemies were then adopted by some of our folks right here in the united states of america and the fight against that the information. That is good. The trusted information that comes from elections officials across the united states of america. That's what we need to promote. That's what we need to push. And the secretaries of state across the united states which have a varying degree of involvement in either administering regulating elections depending on what state it is. These are the bully pulpits from which is solid information must come adrian fund. Taza was great to see you. Thank you so much for being here tonight. Please stay safe coming up our an eleven year. Old kid is fighting back against west. Virginia's anti trans law and how the biden administration is helping her out. That's up next west. Virginia passed a new anti transgender law. Earlier this year banning trans athletes from participating on female sports teams in middle schools high schools and colleges and not long after that bill became law. My colleague stephanie rule pressed west virginia governor jim justice asking him to provide any example of this being an actual issue in his state. Can you give me one example of a transgender child. Trying to get an unfair advantage. Just one in your state signed a bill about it. I can't really tell you one. I think we only have twelve kids. Maybe in our state that are are transgender. Type kids well at least one of the transgender kids in west. Virginia is now actively trying to get accountability because she's being negatively affected by that law. Eleven year old. Becky pepper jackson wants to run cross country. I ran cross country in in high school and track at her middle school but she's being prohibited from trying out for the girls teams. Her mother has brought a case against the state on her behalf. And now the biden administration is stepping up. Enjoining becky's fight yesterday. The department of justice filed a statement of interest in the case slamming the ban as a violation of federal law democratic congresswoman. Maria newman of illinois is an advocate for lgbtq plus rights and on behalf of her transgender daughter evie and she joins me now congresswoman. You and your daughter are on the cover of teen vogue for pride month and there's a beautiful moment in the piece where you talk about when i told you that she was trans. Talk about that moment and your reaction you know. I think it was just pure joy when if you can imagine in any situation when someone finds themselves finds their authenticity it's joy so i just remember throwing my hands up and saying saying because it was liberating and joyful and i'm so happy for her that she had found herself at this point. Marta retailer greens. Bullying behavior is well documented. But i think you know what became a national story is when she put up an anti trans sign outside of her office with which is coincidentally directly across from yours the lottery. This wasn't planned out. What were you thinking when she did that did she have any idea that you have a background in anti bullying. And what's the best way to respond to this kind of bullying. Because it's so mean spirited you. They will say about the juxtaposition of our offices. I often god his sense of humor. Quitting me next to her But on that sign was highly reflective of bushiest merger deal. Green told the world who she was with that he will sign her hateful behavior. So on the good news. Is that on the support we received from this on nap. Just me but other members of congress that family members that are transgender the transgender community. Lgbt plus community writ large received amazing support wellm support on this topic. Eighty percent of our country to supportive of the At so on again she just showed how small she is. How small the group of people is that on. Feel off similarly to in terms of the justice department's decision to challenge this new law west. Virginia which the governor says only affects twelve kids which is such an odd response What's your reaction to that development that the justice department is saying. No we're not. We're not okay with this law. And they're stepping up to challenge it. Will i still governor on. I would say that there are more than twelve children that are transgender in your state. Just statistically highly improbable on that there aren't many more net so we'll start but secondly it's so good. The the doj is stepping they must. It's a shame that they step in but they are and that's what their job is and they should be doing more of this. We in thirty three states that have come up with these crazy laws that are in searching for a. There is a solution with out a problem every single time. I think he's really needs to beautifully on when you talk about. Uh stephanie roles interview is that please show me one instance. The there's a series of at reporters that went out and talk to all of these authors of these laws and every single time it was. We share study data on episode an anecdote. They couldn't share an anecdote a pro so therefore does not exist. It's a red vera issues like this there in the news but they affect you personally when there's news of an anti trans bill being passed on the state level. What happens in your household. How how does that News get processed in a household that's directly impacted by these laws. It scares my daughter and it scares me now the good news in illinois we are highly protected with a very welcoming on state. That said many states are not so. That's why it's incumbent about On me and on my colleagues to make sure that we've the the the excellence discriminated against. But it doesn't stop there we we can pass it paalea but we need to change hearts and minds of this country humanitarian rights issue. This is a civil rights issue and it's just like anything else. We have to change hearts and minds and legislate. They help one another and together. We're going to be a much gap your nation if we're not just accepting of one another but embrace and respect and loveland embrace love and respect one another. That is a good message for friday night. And we'll have to leave it there. Congressman murray newman of illinois. Thank you so much for taking the time tonight. And congratulations on the cover. It's really beautiful. We'll think he's still ahead. Thank you phil ahead. It's the very first juneteenth. Federal holiday and republicans are already slamming. It surprise surprise that snap today. Schools and offices across the country are closed for the newest federal holiday juneteenth. That holiday commemorates the end of centuries of slavery in the us yesterday it was signed into law by president biden and it will officially be celebrated nationally for the first time tomorrow but not everyone has been in favour. Like karen congressman. Ralph norman who was one of the fourteen republican members of congress who voted against the bill. How many holidays doing wall. What's the magic number this. Put it eleven twenty i. We're going to do for the native. American indians i mean. Where does it stop. And this was such an easy. No vote too. Many holidays argument is just the latest in a slew of week excuses to not recognize the entirety of our country's history and confront. It's difficult truths. Someone has been who has written extensively about our country's ability to reckon with it is Clint he's a writer for the atlantic and author of the book. How the world how. The word is past. Excuse me reckoning with the history of slavery across america. I highly recommended clint june teen new holiday. And it's very different from other holidays. There are conflicting emotions here. I've seen a lot of black people Postings and funny things today about the fact that we are going to be doing this The celebration is about the end of slavery but it also commemorates just are ugly past. What's the right way to celebrate this new federal holiday. Yeah i mean. I think what we have to do is hold the end inness of that. This is a holiday in which we mourn the fact that freedom was intentionally kept from black people in texas over two and a half years after the emancipation proclamation. In over two months after general lee surrendered inap- matic's effectively ending the civil war. And so we warned what was kept from from black people but we also celebrate the end of one of the most egregious. Things is country has ever done adding we have to hold both those realities at once. In when i think june team part of what i think about is how sleepy existence country for two hundred fifty years and black people who've been fighting against the institution of slavery since the day they arrived on these shores which means that the vast majority of people who fought against slavery who offered freedom for emancipation and abolition never got a chance to see it for themselves but they fought anyway because they knew that somebody someday would and i think that that's a lesson for us to when we think about what it means to build a better more equitable and more just world that we fight for not simply so we concede ourselves of because somebody someday will. That's so profound to think about the ways in which you are fighting for future generations. And i think in this current moment a lot of folks are like okay. We have juneteenth as a federal holiday. But it feels like we skipped over a couple of steps like we skipped over voting rights and police reform and reparations. The list goes on. So how do we avoid this becoming a superficial celebration of america moving past. It's racist history when there's so much work left to be done. I think that this is part of the marathon of cognitive dissonance. That it is to be a black person in this country. In which you know we give remake juneteenth the federal holiday And at the same time. There is a state sanction effort in state legislatures across the country to prevent teachers from teaching the very context from which juneteenth emerges from teaching the historical context. That makes juneteenth hospital and so it is this sort of cognitive dissonance. It is reflective of the distance and contradictions of this country. And i think part of what we have to do is ground ourselves in and hopefully juneteenth serves as an entry point to this round ourselves. in how recent. This was all the time that you know. The way i learned about slavery growing up was as if it happened in the age of the dinosaurs. Right that it was like it was in the jurassic flintstones the brontosaurus in slavery they all existed the same time. But i tell people all the time. The woman who new museum of african american history and culture alongside the obama family in two thousand sixteen was the daughter of enslaved person not the granddaughter or the granddaughter. She was the daughter of someone born into intergenerational chatto bond and so these history that we tell ourselves was long time ago wasn't in fact that long ago at all and if we can remind ourselves are sort of temporal toxicity to this period of time than we're more effectively able to identify how shapes contemporary landscape of inequality how shapes our political social and economic infrastructure in profound ways. I always think about the fact that none of this was that long ago. And you know given the fact that there are one hundred years in between emancipation and boating ability to vote for black people and black women in particular It feels to me like we still got to keep working because there's so much time in in between when something changes and when it's a reality in the lived experience and we talk a lot about systemic change we're like we need to stomach change and there's all this nonsense and conspiracy theories about what critical race theory is but at the core of it. We're saying that racism is embedded in many of our systems. And we need to change that. How do we start having that conversation. And how do we turn our conversations towards the policy changes that we need to make that makes a stomach changes possible. I think all of these things are in conversation with one. I think all the time about high grew up in new orleans and to get to school. I had to go out already boulevard to get to the grocery store. I had to go down. Jefferson davis highway that my middle school was named after somebody who owned a a confederate leader that my parents live on a street named after somebody who owned one hundred and fifty enslaved people and the thing about the symbols symbols. They are reflective of the stories that society's telling those stories embed themselves into the narratives communities carrying those narratives shape public policy public policy chicks. The material conditions people's lives so. That's not to say that taking down. A statue of liberty or making juneteenth. The holiday is going to erase the racial wealth. Gap of course. Not but part of these things are these things are all in conversation with one another ottawa. Same need them of ideas. That ultimately i think help us recalibrate our understanding of what has happened to communities so that we are more able to effectively diagnose what communities deserve because of what is historically been taking can't cancel the of conversations. We need to have these conversations even if their hard clint smith will you made it easy and i want to thank you so much. I appreciate you taking the time out on this friday night. Please stay safe. That is all in for this friday night. Chris as we'll be back in this chair on monday. And you can catch me on my show streaming on peacock weekdays at six pm eastern.

Coming up next