‘Republicans often racialize poverty. Democrats often run from poverty’

MacArthur “genius” grantee, founder of Repairers of the Breach, and organizer of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival, Rev. William J Barber II has made eradicating poverty his life’s work. He sits down with host Mary C. Curtis for a candid and surprising conversation.

What’s in a name? Identity, pride and love. Ask Kamala Harris

Every person’s name is special. It demands respect.

I learned how seriously I felt about that at a pre-coronavirus conference, when a speaker who fancied himself Don Rickles but came off more like the rude uncle at a holiday party, prefaced his remarks with a self-styled roast. It supposedly poked “fun” at the attendees, including, apparently, those he barely knew. (And frankly, except for an occasional greeting at conferences past, I did not know this man from a can of paint.)

The Heat: Right-Wing U.S. Militias

The recent arrest of 13 men, some accused of plotting to kidnap the governor of Michigan and planning to start a civil war, has drawn new attention to the threat posed by right-wing militias in the United States. Heavily armed militia members have shown up on the steps of the state capitol to protest the governor’s coronavirus restrictions. And some have also taken to the streets in cities across the U.S. this summer in response to the Black Lives Matter movement. All of this is generating attention from the international media. Here’s part of a report by Britain’s ITV News filed from Louisville, Kentucky.

To Discuss:

  • Mark Potok is a former Senior Fellow at the Southern Poverty Law Center
  • Muhammad Fraser-Rahim is executive director of  North America for Quilliam International.
  • Colin Clarke is a Senior Research fellow at the Soufan Center
  • Mary C. Curtis is a columnist for “Roll Call’ and host of the “Equal Time” podcast.

Exploring America’s Racial Divide

It’s a challenge that has been with America since its beginning: Where are Americans now, as they deal with a pandemic, economic upheaval and a racial reckoning and what are the paths to unity?

The Heat: U.S. vice presidential debate

Compared to last week’s presidential debate filled with interruptions, Wednesday’s encounter between Vice President Mike Pence and the challenger – Senator Kamala Harris – was relatively civil.

Then earlier today, shortly after debate organizers announced the next presidential debate would now be virtual – President Trump said he would no longer participate.

CGTN’s White House correspondent Nathan King has the details.

To discuss:

  • Jadan Horyn is a writer and conservative commentator.
  • Mary C. Curtis is a columnist for “Roll Call’ and host of the “Equal Time” podcast.
  • Joel Rubin is democratic strategist
  • Amy Holmes is a writer for HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher” and a columnist from the Swiss weekly, “Die Weltwoche.”

To remember John Lewis, remember the real John Lewis — and his righteous fight

Many Americans, when they remember the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, reflexively turn to the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, quoting selective passages about content of character. But my sister Joan, who stood under a shaded tent that day, making signs with freedom slogans for out-of-towners to raise high, had a different answer when I asked for her thoughts. Not to take anything away from King, she told me, “It wasn’t just that speech. It was all the speeches.” And what impressed her teenage self most were the words of a man who was just 23, a few years older than she was.

On that day, John Lewis was already stirring up the “good trouble” he favored when he said: “To those who have said, ‘Be patient and wait,’ we have long said that we cannot be patient. We do not want our freedom gradually, but we want to be free now!”

It was a speech that, in an early draft, was a tad fiery for some elders in the movement for equality and justice. Lewis did tone it down — but not enough to lose its urgency.

Some of the tributes to Lewis, who died last week at the age of 80, emphasized his generosity of spirit, evident in his ability to forgive and embrace those who beat him into unconsciousness. But the picture is incomplete without acknowledging the impatience, the fury to make it right, that saw him through more than three dozen arrests, five after he was elected to Congress. Just as those who would have been or probably were in that majority of Americans who considered King a rabble-rouser then and revere him now, many are all too eager to recast Lewis as a secular saint who just wanted everyone to get along.

Of course, they would. It would let them off the hook.

POLITICAL WRAP: Trump Campaign “Culture War” Strategy; A New Silent Majority?

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – President Trump, at Mount Rushmore on Friday night, set the stage for a campaign increasingly focused on “culture war” issues.

“Our nation is witnessing a merciless campaign to wipe out our history, defame our heroes, erase our values, and indoctrinate our children,” the President said.

So, is the appeal of a “culture war” campaign too narrow?

Or is there a Nixon-esque “Silent Majority,” as the President is saying, ready to show up in November?

Click above for more with our political contributor, Mary C. Curtis.

There is more than one way to be Black — and to be an American

Elijah McClain of Aurora, Colorado, was many things. The slight 23-year-old, who looked younger, was a massage therapist one client described as “the sweetest, purest person I have ever met.” He was a vegetarian who taught himself to play the guitar and violin and shared his musical gifts with shelter animals to calm them. Family members said he sometimes wore a ski mask because he was anemic and always cold, and perhaps to create some distance in a world he found overwhelming. (And aren’t we all supposed to be covering our faces these days.) In his final trip to a convenience store, though, he interacted with the clerk and customers, it seemed from video, offering a bow on his way out.

Did he look “sketchy” and “suspicious” to a 911 caller and police because he sang to himself on the walk home and waved his arms, perhaps conducting a symphony only he could hear? McClain told the police who stopped him, “I am an introvert, please respect the boundaries that I am speaking.”

The three officers escalated the confrontation, took him down with a hold that made him utter a too-often-heard refrain: “I just can’t breathe correctly.” One officer threatened to sic a dog on him. If they saw his quirks, his idiosyncrasies, his joy, it did not translate. If they heard his pleas, these enforcers of laws the young man had not broken did not listen. “You are beautiful and I love you,” he told them. He apologized for vomiting as police tossed around his 140-pound body before medics shot it up with strong drugs.

Now, Elijah McClain, who police say committed no crime, is dead.

Special Program – Black Charlotteans: A Candid Conversation On Race

The death of George Floyd and the unrest that exploded across the country has forced a conversation on the table. It’s a wake-up call for America to examine the impact of racism and reckon with injustices people of color face daily. Every Black American has a story to tell. Is the country ready to listen? Award-winning columnist Mary C. Curtis sits down with fellow Charlotteans of color to share some of those stories and reflect on this moment.

Host:

Mary C. Curtis, journalist, speaker, columnist at CQ Roll Call, and contributor to WFAE, WCCB-TV and a variety of national outlets. She is senior facilitator with The OpEd Project.

Panelists:

Tracey Benson, assistant professor of educational leadership at UNC Charlotte and author of “Unconscious Bias in Schools: A Developmental Approach to Exploring Race and Racism.”

Justin Perry, owner and therapist at Perry Counseling Healing and Recovery. He is a partner with the group Charlotte for Black Futures

Tonya Jameson, political consultant, former Charlotte Observer reporter

Leondra Garrett, native Charlottean and longtime community advocate who works with the groups Block Love Charlotte and United Neighborhoods of Charlotte to build community and feed our homeless neighbors.

POLITICAL WRAP: Confederate Monument Controversy

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – President Trump is speaking out about the removal of monuments.

“The unhinged left-wing mob is trying to vandalize our history, desecrate our monuments, our beautiful monuments,” the President said during a rally on Saturday night.

It comes as Governor Roy Cooper orders the removal of Confederate monuments in Raleigh, citing public safety concerns.

Our political contributor Mary C. Curtis has more on the debate surrounding monuments and other Confederate symbols.