Webinar Transcript • Spark Change: Power, Not Politics

WEBVTT
 
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>>CECILIA: Good Morning, everyone.
 
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I'm so pleased to welcome you to the first of our series of Spark Change for Justice,
 
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a webinar series that will be discussing racial justice, how the COVID pandemic has both revealed and exacerbated systems that harm communities of color.
 
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And highlight the extraordinary work that's happening right here in Brooklyn with our grantee partners. So welcome.
 
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Before we get started I want to do a moment of silence as a very sad statistic emerged yesterday, which is the world has hit 1 million fatalities due to COVID.
 
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So we're going to do a moment of silence.
 
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(moment of silence).
 
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>>CECILIA: Thank you.
 
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So I just want to start first by saying that I need to acknowledge our really generous sponsors who have generously sponsored this video series.
 
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They are National Grid, Santander, and Take-Two Interactive Software, which allows us to bring these conversations with experts and incredible notables in this space throughout this fall.
 
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Please be sure to visit our website BrooklynCommunityFoundation.org to see what else is coming up, and I'll discuss that in more detail a little later on.
 
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A few notes about today's program. We are going to be hearing from -- we're just so honored and excited about this.
 
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We're going to be hearing from Brooklyn Congressman, Brooklyn native, Hakeem Jeffries, and CNN, MSNBC political commentator Aisha Mills.
 
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Aisha is also an esteemed board member of Brooklyn Community Foundation.
 
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Quick note, while Congressman Jeffries is obviously very busy -- quick review of headlines would tell you kind of what's happening right now -- He is running a little late.
 
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And we expect Aisha shortly, she's having a power outage problem, such is our virtual world now where we're so dependent on technology.
 
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They will be discussing the critical impacts and interplay of the upcoming election, Black political power, the 2020 census,
 
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And the impact of COVID-19 on Brooklyn's communities.
 
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Aisha is a seasoned political strategist and social impact advisor.
 
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She has led and won campaigns that built political power for women, People of color, LGBTQ people for close to 20 years.
 
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A nationally respected voice on progressive policy and politics, Aisha appears regularly on national news networks and has published dozens of policy reports and political and cultural analyses about the intersection of race, gender, and sexuality.
 
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She's been recognized as “Out 100” influencers by Out Magazine, The Root’s 100 most Influential African Americans,
 
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and Advocate Magazine’s “40 Under Forty” list of exemplary LGBTQ leaders.
 
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We are so delighted always to have her on our board, and also delighted that she'll be joining us today.
 
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Congressman Hakeem Jeffries represents the 8th Congressional District of New York which encompasses large parts of Brooklyn and a section of Queens.
 
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Serving his 4th term in US. Congress he is a member of the House Judiciary Committee and House Budget Committee.
 
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Representative Jeffries is Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus and the 5th highest ranking Democrat in the House of Representatives.
 
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He is also the former whip of the Congressional Black Caucus, and previously cochaired the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee where are where he helped develop the "For the People" Agenda.
 
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Aisha I'm so happy to see you, I'm going to discuss the Foundation a little.
 
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I'm so glad you were able to overcome technical difficulties.
 
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So before we get into conversation, there is so much to discuss. Even last night there is news about the census, so a lot to catch up on.
 
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And discuss, and we also I just want to say we welcome questions, I'll do that in a minute with all of you.
 
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But first I want to say for some of you who may be new to the Foundation and signed on this webinar of course for our esteemed speakers I want to do a review about what Brooklyn Community Foundation is.
 
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We were founded in 2009 as the first and only public foundation dedicated to New York's largest borough.
 
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And in fact as we know, the 4th largest city in the country, were we a city.
 
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We are a bridge between donors, and nonprofits, to spark lasting social change.
 
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And I want to point out that all of our work and all of our operations are deeply rooted in an explicit commitment to racial justice.
 
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Today, by today we have granted more than $50 million to vital organizations, $50 million in ten years to vital organizations across this borough.
 
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A little bit about our COVID Response Fund.
 
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In early March, and I would like to say, really late February the board stepped up very quickly and said this is going to come hard on Brooklyn, given our demographics, and we need to act.
 
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So really as early as late February, long before many others the board said we're going to do two things.
 
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We are going to increase our draw-down from our endowment to meet this crisis, and we are also going to commit personally and generously to creating a fund. 
 
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So the COVID-19 Response Fund was among the very first in the country to prioritize support -- and the only one we know of right now -- to prioritize support for BIPOC communities in the first phase of our fund.
 
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I really would like to say, first of all, thank you, to the -- are you ready for this? 1600 donors who gave to this fund.
 
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To date we have raised $3.9 million. And if this isn't a sign that Brooklynites really know how to fight hard I can't think of another great example.
 
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In the first -- just in the first 16 weeks, when we were really in a very dire and dramatic part of this pandemic, we were able to get $3.3 million out the door to over 420 organizations and we did these grants on a weekly basis.
 
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So our goal with this fund was make it as easy as possible on these grantees.
 
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We need to get money into the community as quickly as possible. And my phenomenal staff was processing requests for support every 7 days.
 
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And we are incredibly proud and this covered food, and PPE, financial support, low-wage workers, social services for older adults and immigrants and much more.
 
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I welcome you to go to our website and look up the Brooklyn COVID Response Fund.
 
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The next phase of the fund will kick off in October with a community engagement process.
 
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Where we are going to go back to the community leaders and community residents that have been most impacted by this pandemic and learn from them what is the biggest need going forward because we all know this pandemic is still raging.
 
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And we also know that the long-term impact, especially on people of color in Brooklyn is going to be profound and long-lasting.
 
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We are going to speak to those who know best, which are the community leaders and the residents who are going to tell us these are our priorities.
 
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And with that information, we will move in to phase 2 of the Brooklyn COVID Response Fund.
 
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Finally, I just want to say, about that fund, and all donations that come into the Foundation, 100 percent of every dollar donated goes right back out to the community in Brooklyn.
 
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I'll say that again in case anyone missed it: Every dollar donated goes right back out to communities and almost entirely communities of color in Brooklyn.
 
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As a quick reminder, if you would like your questions answered, please type into the Q and A box at the bottom of your screen, I have phenomenal staff members back there.
 
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If you will, looking at the questions and we're going to do our very best to answer whatever questions you have.
 
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We also have closed caption available. Please look at the bottom of your screen to turn those on by clicking the arrow, closed caption, and select selecting show subtitle. Throughout the webinar you can look back at what has been said by clicking on view full transcript, or adjust the size of the captions.
 
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We hope that this will help you all keep track of what's being discussed. Because it's going to be a lively conversation I think.
 
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So with that, I want to turn it over to Aisha, Good Morning.
 
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And why don't we start with just a couple of questions.
 
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I mentioned last night breaking news about the census. Just let me do a quick review on the census, and why the census is so critical to us as a foundation and to us as a borough,
 
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which is that 10 years ago, Brooklyn had the lowest count of any County in New York State and among the lowest counts in the country.
 
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And this is particularly tragic because about 70 percent of the population of Brooklyn are low-income people of color. And so this is really a further marginalization of access to federal funding, access to representation.
 
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So over a year and a half ago the Foundation decided they were going to make it a priority to really focus on the census.
 
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This is about democracy, and about civil rights, and about voice and agency.
 
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And we partnered with Brooklyn Borough Hall, and we've been doing a lot of advocacy and op-eds, and we heavily lobbied the state to please be as generous as possible this time around so it doesn't happen again.
 
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and as you all know, the state in fact committed an enormous amount of money, over a million dollars to this effort, but sadly, COVID happened, and we thought we're not going to be able to do anything.
 
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But yet, happily in early August the state was able to commit almost a half a million dollars, and in partnership with Borough Hall the Foundation has been getting that money out as quickly as possible to leaders, community leaders, to try to increase the count, and this is critical for any number of reasons.
 
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However, of course the news impacts this, the bad news was they moved the deadline from October 31st to September 30th. They, the current administration.
 
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The good news was a judge knocked that down and put it back to October 31st. We were happy our community groups had until October 31st.
 
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And then sadly just last night Wilbur Ross announced that no, he is going to close the census on October 3rd. This gravely impacts communities in Brooklyn and in the country.
 
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Aisha I'm going to start there, but say what you want.
 
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>>AISHA: Thank you so much Cecilia, and I have to say that I am so proud of this foundation, the work that you have done, the entire staff is amazing.
 
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I am honored to sit on the board of the Brooklyn Community Foundation. And just to those who are watching want you all to know we had a really great board meeting Friday morning.
 
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Talking about how certainly tragic the current circumstances are, we're going to get into that with the Congressman,
 
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But in the midst of so much of the things that are unknown, and so much stress and strain on our community, I feel proud of the way the team, which is not that large, our staff really rallied.
 
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Raised a ton of money and has been deploying it out into the community to really meet the day-to-day needs of people.
 
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Thank you for all your work and we appreciate it and Brooklyn is certainly better off because of it.
 
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What comes out for me right now as we have this conversation, I know we're having it through a community lens,
 
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Is that, my 20-something years in politics, I've always reminded people that all politics are local -- everything is local, and about the local impact on real people.
 
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But if you were to watch the news there is so much of a disconnect there, between the national fervor around Donald Trump and his taxes and the election coming up, and all the other scandalous things that makes sometimes watching the news like reality television, rather than real people.
 
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Today's conversation I'm excited about.
 
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Because with Congressman Jeffries we're going to connect the dots and break down what's happening in our communities.
 
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How we're reacting, responding to what our needs are, and how that's directly tethered to this election cycle, and certainly the presidential -- and why we all need to pay attention and why it matters.
 
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Interesting fun fact, that I didn't know until I started getting involved with the Brooklyn Community Foundation, is that we talk so much about our commitment to racial justice and are really excited to do work in a way that is authentic, and reflects the communities that we serve.
 
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And it's not just because it's lip service.
 
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When Cecilia came on board years ago and said we need to think about this and who our community really is, it was because Brooklyn is home to the largest Black population in North America.
 
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We are very very much a Black community and a highly immigrant community, and a brown community.
 
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So when we think about BIPOC communities, we talk about diversity, it's not just lip service because it's the sexy thing to do, or because 'Black Lives Matter' sounds good.
 
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It's because Black lives absolutely matter in our communities and we're being extremely responsive to them.
 
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Congressman Jeffries will talk to us a little bit about his perspective on these things.
 
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But I wanted to say just in closing to my opening.
 
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That we are living in such critical times right now.
 
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We don't have a ton of time on this call, but we're going to talk deeply about COVID, and how COVID has devastated our borough.
 
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And what the response looked like, and what nationally should be being done to help us stem that tide.
 
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We're also going to talk about the census.
 
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And the census isn't the sexiest thing all the time for people. They're like 'why are we talking about this.'
 
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But as Cecilia just said, our money that is allocated through the federal government is directly tied to how many people are counted in our communities. All of that gets reflected in our political representation -- or not.
 
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And so, that's important. And it's important right now because we're in a climate where there is going to be a lot of missed opportunities of people participating.
 
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Some intentional -- It's a design strategy. Others, just because the climate right now, people are scared to even answer the door or come out of their homes.
 
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We're going to talk about that.
 
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And then the last thing is we are clearly right now in the morning of the first presidential debate, so we want to hear from our Congressman, who is also, by the way the number 3 ranking Democrat in the United States House of Representatives.
 
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We want to hear from him about what should be said. What to expect on the horizon, some of the policy ideas that he cares about and is working on and what to look for tonight.
 
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>>CECILIA: Aisha thank you so much. Such a great summation of what we're going to do.
 
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I would like to welcome Congressman Jeffries to the conversation and I'm going to let the two of you speak to talk about what's happening in Brooklyn.
 
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What's happening in the world. Congressman are you able to turn on your video and microphone?
 
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>> Hi there, he will be here very shortly.
 
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>>CECILIA: Not a problem.
 
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>>AISHA: He has a lot of things going on, I can only imagine.
 
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I just want to echo, Cecilia, for everybody that's tuned in -- I am going to, as I have the conversation with the Congressman, I am also going to try to moderate some questions you have, so put those in the Q and A, I am looking at them and we'll try to get through some of those as we get a little closer to the end.
 
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>>CECILIA: Okay.
 
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So I'm going to take my leave.
 
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Unless Aisha you have any questions for me about what we're doing or what's happening right now.
 
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>>AISHA: No but I do think it's always a great opportunity to give another plug for the Foundation, and certainly our Racial Justice Fund and work, and how we're allocating the resources.
 
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But while we may have a beautiful community in Brooklyn that rallied and responded in the wake of the COVID crisis.
 
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What I think is important is you remind us why we need to keep the momentum and not say 'well, we did good.'
 
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And go back to not really paying as much attention.
 
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>>CECILIA: I think that's a great question.
 
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And I just want to go backwards a little. Which, as Aisha touched on, we established our Racial Justice Equity Fund six years ago.
 
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And I'm saying that because as you mentioned, we are a community that needs to address that issue.
 
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So, we're still in it -- We're deeply in it -- We're not changing that.
 
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But I have had a lot of donors approach me, and I just want to finish with this, saying 'I want to work towards racial justice. I'm engaged' -- and we do have a Racial Equity Fund.
 
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We welcome donations to the Racial Equity Fund. This is the core of the work that we do.
 
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So I would just do a plug for that.
 
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We're here for the long-term and our engagement with the community is authentic.
 
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And so we welcome your generosity and your commitment.
 
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Congressman Jeffries, welcome.
 
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We know you're so busy, and we're so grateful for you taking the time.
 
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>>CONGRESSMAN JEFFRIES: Good Morning.
 
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Sorry for the delay, great to be on.
 
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>>CECILIA: I'm going to leave you two wizards to have a fantastic conversation.
 
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And so excited to hear you.
 
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And again thank you so much Congressman, we're just really honored to have you here.
 
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Thank you.
 
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>>CONGRESSMAN JEFFRIES: Thank you for having me.
 
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>>AISHA: That we are and, everybody I am so excited to be joined by my favorite Congressman, I'm biased, we all should be.
 
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Go Brooklyn.
 
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Welcome, thank you there is a lot or things we want to chat about, Congressman Jeffries.
 
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But I would like to start by giving you a moment.
 
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It has been completely chaotic the last six months.
 
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I would suggest since 2017, inauguration with Donald Trump, nonetheless, it has been chaotic in Brooklyn because of COVID over the last six months, and so many other things.
 
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I just want to know how are you doing?
 
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And how are you splitting your time in terms of trying to focus on all the issues.
 
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What are the three things you're working on right now?
 
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>>CONGRESSMAN JEFFRIES: Great to be with you.
 
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And great to be joined by so many extraordinary people throughout Brooklyn, and of course so thankful for the Brooklyn Community Foundation for all that you have done and continue to do on behalf of our great borough.
 
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These have certainly been challenging times as we've dealt with both the twin crisis of a public health situation emergency, as well as an economic crisis connected to the COVID-19 pandemic.
 
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And we know there has been a lot of pain and suffering and death connected to that pandemic.
 
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That we personally experienced in Brooklyn.
 
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And that people throughout the country and world have also experienced.
 
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So that you know has been a primary focus, both in terms of on the ground engagement, in making sure that we do all that we can to protect the health, safety, and well-being of the people that I'm privileged to represent.
 
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And many of those neighborhoods Aisha as you know were hit extremely hard.
 
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And at the same time, working in Washington, to try to ensure that we get the most meaningful possible congressional intervention that addresses the moment.
 
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And while we were able to act in a bipartisan way four times earlier this year.
 
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Since House Democrats passed the Heroes Act on May 15th, over 130 days ago we haven't been able to get much movement or interest from the president and the Republicans in doing anything further.
 
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And that's been a great disappointment.
 
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Though we are continuing to work and are hopeful this week that we may be able to arrive at an agreement to address the continuing dynamics associated with the pandemic.
 
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That's just on COVID-19 and of course there are a whole host of other challenges that we're experiencing, connected to racial justice, and you know continuing issues with respect to housing, displacement, that have been exacerbated by the pandemic.
 
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So, no shortage of business to do, but it's a privilege to be able to work on behalf of the people to do it.
 
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>>AISHA: Thank you for your work.
 
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One of the numbers that just haunts me is 6,000.
 
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We've lost 6,000 people in Brooklyn to COVID. And at one point we had the highest number of deaths of any County in the country early on during COVID.
 
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And I think now we're like 3rd only behind Queens and LA County.
 
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And, Brooklyn is clearly Black.
 
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So there is a disproportionate impact there on people of color who are really affected by, and we're losing,
 
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To this pandemic, and it's raging on.
 
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And to your point, it doesn't seem like some people in Washington are really connecting to the pain that we're feeling in our communities.
 
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And I just wonder if you could for the folks who are listening right now who perhaps don't know what some of the federal measures are, that could come into our community and help us stem this tide.
 
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If you could share a little bit about what's already been happening, and what is out there that we're waiting for with regards to the Heroes Act or that could help people economically or with regards to healthcare, etc.
 
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>>CONGRESSMAN JEFFRIES: What we said needs to be done in terms of addressing the crisis and we acted in May because at that point in time, we knew it was not over.
 
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In fact in many cases it was just getting started.
 
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Both as it relates to the public health side of the crisis and the economic side of the crisis.
 
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And so we extended the emergency unemployment insurance benefit of $600 per week into the early part of next year.
 
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Because we feel like that's the appropriate thing to do when you still have tens of millions of people across the country who are unemployed.
 
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We authorized another round of direct stimulus payment to everyday Americans.
 
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Most families of five are eligible to receive $6,000 per family, that will be $1,200 per person, both adults and up to 3 children.
 
00:27:21.000 --> 00:27:35.000
We authorized within the Heroes Act $185 billion in assistance for renters who are struggling to pay their rent.
 
00:27:35.000 --> 00:27:44.000
As well as for homeowners, out of recognition that we have to step in on behalf of the American people, shelter is one of the most important aspects of day-to-day life.
 
00:27:44.000 --> 00:27:53.000
And to have that jeopardized is destabilizing for families, communities, of course our city and indeed the nation.
 
00:27:53.000 --> 00:28:08.000
We also have set aside approximately a trillion dollars for state and local stabilization.
 
00:28:08.000 --> 00:28:16.000
Out of recognition that if we allow the New York City budget, for instance, to completely collapse or the New York State budget to collapse, that the people who will get hurt the most are already the most vulnerable.
 
00:28:16.000 --> 00:28:20.000
Because when these budget are slashed, the result is that you cut public education.
 
00:28:20.000 --> 00:28:24.000
Public health, public housing, public transportation,
 
00:28:24.000 --> 00:28:37.000
public safety, the basic provision of the public good.
 
00:28:37.000 --> 00:28:44.000
And those communities that are most vulnerable will be hit the hardest and so, those sort of are the core pillars, in addition to additional funding for testing, tracing, and treatment.
 
00:28:44.000 --> 00:28:54.000
As well as you know, assistance for food insecurity.
 
00:28:54.000 --> 00:29:04.000
I've been disheartened by the amount of people who are on food lines throughout the borough and the city and the country.
 
00:29:04.000 --> 00:29:19.000
And we, as a Congress should step in to make sure that in the wealthiest country in the history of the world people aren't going hungry.
 
00:29:19.000 --> 00:29:29.000
>>AISHA: Yeah, 69 percent of the people who have lost jobs in Brooklyn are also people of color, who are low-wage workers, most of them making less than $60,000 a year.
 
00:29:29.000 --> 00:29:37.000
Which makes me think so much about the economic impact impact, because we already have such a structurally skewed economic system in this country anyway.
 
00:29:37.000 --> 00:29:42.000
Of who those front-line workers are that are putting themselves at risk to maintain a lot of the systems we are talking about.
 
00:29:42.000 --> 00:29:51.000
We need to shore up financially, and I think about the personal and human toll that takes too.
 
00:29:51.000 --> 00:29:58.000
I wonder, Congressman, because throughout your career you have always been thoughtful about some of the structural barriers to inequality.
 
00:29:58.000 --> 00:30:05.000
And how our systems are -- really need to be reformed in order to address some of these issues.
 
00:30:05.000 --> 00:30:08.000
COVID, exacerbated a lot of the health disparities that we already knew were there.
 
00:30:08.000 --> 00:30:31.000
The poverty issues that we already knew were there.
 
00:30:31.000 --> 00:30:33.000
And I wonder from your perch as a significant leader in the caucus, in the Democratic Caucus, could you share with us a little insight on how you all might be thinking about this moment as an opportunity to perhaps push the envelope further to make some of the changes, and offer some of the supports that we know have been really underpinning the issues that we see today
 
00:30:33.000 --> 00:30:38.000
that COVID just exacerbated.
 
00:30:38.000 --> 00:31:00.000
>>CONGRESSMAN JEFFRIES: It's a very important observation.
 
00:31:00.000 --> 00:31:03.000
And prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, one of the economic realities that had shocked those of us who you know are studying these issues and reviewing surveys was that half the American people reported that they couldn't afford a sudden unexpected $400 expense.
 
00:31:03.000 --> 00:31:21.000
This was in the midst of a thriving economy.
 
00:31:21.000 --> 00:31:29.000
And now you've got the onset of a pandemic, a recession, and in some cases Depression-like conditions where people have lost employment, lost their livelihoods, and were already in a very vulnerable state.
 
00:31:29.000 --> 00:31:39.000
And that situation, of course, is exacerbated within the African American community.
 
00:31:39.000 --> 00:31:43.000
It's often said when you know when America catches a cold, the African American community gets the flu.
 
00:31:43.000 --> 00:31:44.000
Can you imagine what happens when America catches a pandemic?
 
00:31:44.000 --> 00:31:58.000
That's what we're seeing right now.
 
00:31:58.000 --> 00:31:59.000
And it's because of those underlying structural inequalities that have existed and so this has presented an opportunity to try to level the playing field for everyone.
 
00:31:59.000 --> 00:32:14.000
I think in three key areas.
 
00:32:14.000 --> 00:32:24.000
Access to job opportunities, the pathway being both you know the traditional formal education and career and technical education into job opportunities that provide a pathway into the middle class.
 
00:32:24.000 --> 00:32:27.000
Housing, has been historic discrimination, red-lining, the denial of the opportunity to own a home.
 
00:32:27.000 --> 00:32:32.000
The targeting of communities of color.
 
00:32:32.000 --> 00:32:39.000
In many different ways as that occurred in advance of the great recession of 2008.
 
00:32:39.000 --> 00:33:05.000
And then, access to entrepreneurial opportunities so that there is an ability for people who have an idea but want to transform that idea into a business that the lack of access to capital, the structural barriers that exist to that level of entrepreneurship are real.
 
00:33:05.000 --> 00:33:10.000
It's real out in Silicon Valley.
 
00:33:10.000 --> 00:33:13.000
It's real here in New York City.
 
00:33:13.000 --> 00:33:22.000
It's real throughout the country.
 
00:33:22.000 --> 00:33:27.000
And so, I think there is a great interest particularly if we have what I call a triangular alignment of values on January 20th.
 
00:33:27.000 --> 00:33:31.000
With the House, the Senate and the presidency to really tackle these issues in a meaningful way.
 
00:33:31.000 --> 00:33:32.000
>>AISHA: I love this triangular alignment.
 
00:33:32.000 --> 00:33:38.000
Let's align it, Congressman.
 
00:33:38.000 --> 00:33:46.000
I want to just grab one of the questions out of the Q and A because it touched on something you said.
 
00:33:46.000 --> 00:33:49.000
We're going to get into the climate we're in, and the election that's coming and what that might mean from us.
 
00:33:49.000 --> 00:33:54.000
One question that came from Carol Lambert was specifically the housing policy.
 
00:33:54.000 --> 00:34:01.000
You mentioned some kind of incentives to bridge the gap around homeownership.
 
00:34:01.000 --> 00:34:07.000
I know that president -- well, I said president -- presidential candidate Biden, has a plan around housing.
 
00:34:07.000 --> 00:34:16.000
Could you speak a little bit more to maybe your thoughts about the proposed housing plan,
 
00:34:16.000 --> 00:34:19.000
What your housing plan you're working on might be,  and how that's different from every single political cycle there is banter about housing and homeownership.
 
00:34:19.000 --> 00:34:45.000
And it doesn't really go very far.
 
00:34:45.000 --> 00:34:51.000
>>CONGRESSMAN JEFFRIES: The challenge of course as you know in Brooklyn I've talked a lot with Alan Fishman, and other great civic leaders about this, is that the density of New York City doesn't allow for the same type of homeownership opportunities that you might see in other parts of the country.
 
00:34:51.000 --> 00:34:54.000
Just because of the limitations that we confront as it relates to land.
 
00:34:54.000 --> 00:35:03.000
But that doesn't mean that we shouldn't be creative.
 
00:35:03.000 --> 00:35:08.000
Both on the rental side, in terms of creating and preserving as much affordable housing as possible.
 
00:35:08.000 --> 00:35:24.000
And still, looking into models that were very successful in the past.
 
00:35:24.000 --> 00:35:35.000
Such as the Mitchell-Lama homeownership models that were designed to provide ownership opportunities to working-class New Yorkers, moderate-income New Yorkers, and middle-class New Yorkers.
 
00:35:35.000 --> 00:35:47.000
Because that's still really is the key both for a sustainable middle class lifestyle, as well as being able to transfer generational wealth.
 
00:35:47.000 --> 00:35:57.000
And because African Americans certainly in Brooklyn and New York City, are disproportionately underrepresented as it relates to homeownership,
 
00:35:57.000 --> 00:36:14.000
within our communities, we don't have that same level of wealth transfer available to us from one generation to the next.
 
00:36:14.000 --> 00:36:20.000
And you don't have the ability to utilize a growing asset in terms of what you own to be able to do other things such as refinance, to be able to make investments in your child's education.
 
00:36:20.000 --> 00:36:23.000
For instance, to give them an opportunity to go pursue a higher degree or beyond
 
00:36:23.000 --> 00:36:25.000
In order to advance themselves.
 
00:36:25.000 --> 00:36:34.000
So there is real limitations.
 
00:36:34.000 --> 00:36:38.000
I think there is a great currency in Joe Biden putting a focus on homeownership within the affordable housing context.
 
00:36:38.000 --> 00:36:57.000
Because that really is central to the American dream.
 
00:36:57.000 --> 00:37:18.000
And while we've got challenges in New York, in terms of the traditional home with a picket fence, and a big yard, though there are many neighborhoods even some that I represent, in Canarsie or South Brooklyn where you have that type of homeownership opportunity.
 
00:37:18.000 --> 00:37:22.000
And it's a wonderful thing, but we also have to start thinking about how to create these opportunities in the context of the limitations that we have in terms of space, and looking back at models like the Mitchell-Lama ones that were previously successful for moderate income New Yorkers.
 
00:37:22.000 --> 00:37:31.000
>>AISHA: So I'm going to put you on the spot now.
 
00:37:31.000 --> 00:37:33.000
And you have said a lot of things that I agree with about who the guy who is perhaps our most notorious New Yorker, at this point.
 
00:37:33.000 --> 00:37:50.000
Donald Trump.
 
00:37:50.000 --> 00:38:00.000
And I'm thinking about wealth generation, and you know how we figure out how we can help people who are just honest working people who pay their taxes to get a hold of the American dream as it has been so defined.
 
00:38:00.000 --> 00:38:03.000
One of the structural barriers to that is there is a whole class level where the wealthiest folks are able to game the system through a lot of federal incentives that perpetuate that.
 
00:38:03.000 --> 00:38:05.000
That make it difficult to compete
 
00:38:05.000 --> 00:38:08.000
Make it difficult to access real estate.
 
00:38:08.000 --> 00:38:08.000
Make it difficult to pay and afford the taxes.
 
00:38:08.000 --> 00:38:17.000
etc.
 
00:38:17.000 --> 00:38:23.000
And so I wonder, as the political conversation is happening right now we have a debate going down tonight.
 
00:38:23.000 --> 00:38:27.000
People are thinking about what might really motivate them around voting, in general, in November.
 
00:38:27.000 --> 00:38:36.000
And always comes back to the pocket book we say.
 
00:38:36.000 --> 00:38:49.000
When we think about voter engagement, how people's finances are doing, if they're able to put food on the table, invest money, transfer wealth.
 
00:38:49.000 --> 00:38:58.000
All those things really affect people's, I believe, political interests, attitudes, and engagement, and knowing that our system is so skewed, I wonder how you kind of in your leadership position are trying to bridge that gap.
 
00:38:58.000 --> 00:39:08.000
And push back against the system that is working better for others than it is for the people that you -- most of the people that you represent, frankly.
 
00:39:08.000 --> 00:39:18.000
>>CONGRESSMAN JEFFRIES: We can have an economy that works for everyday Americans or an economy that works for the wealthy, the well-off and the well-connected.
 
00:39:18.000 --> 00:39:30.000
And unfortunately, what we've seen from the current occupant at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. is that he's primarily concerned with his own advancement, his own personal enrichment.
 
00:39:30.000 --> 00:39:39.000
As well as the enrichment of his friends and buddies, and those who spend time with him at Bedminster, or down in Mar-a-Lago.
 
00:39:39.000 --> 00:39:47.000
And I think exhibit A for that is that his primary achievement, his signature piece of legislation was the GOP tax scam.
 
00:39:47.000 --> 00:39:54.000
Which was passed in 2017, where 83 percent of the benefits went to the wealthiest 1 percent.
 
00:39:54.000 --> 00:39:58.000
At a time when there was no justification for using the tax code in that fashion.
 
00:39:58.000 --> 00:40:19.000
And saddling our children with approximately $2 trillion worth of debt.
 
00:40:19.000 --> 00:40:22.000
And now, when you've got everyday Americans dying, struggling, being infected by the coronavirus, uncertain as to how they are going to pay their rent or mortgage, now all of a sudden they want to lecture us again about fiscal responsibility.
 
00:40:22.000 --> 00:40:31.000
We have to reorient our approach.
 
00:40:31.000 --> 00:40:34.000
And my view has generally been, we should be focused on how do you create prosperity in every single ZIP code.
 
00:40:34.000 --> 00:40:56.000
We're not trying to take it away from anybody.
 
00:40:56.000 --> 00:41:12.000
We just want to give every single American the fairest shot possible to live a comfortable life consistent with that fundamental American contract which is if you work hard, and play by the rules, you should be able to provide a comfortable living for yourself and your family.
 
00:41:12.000 --> 00:41:15.000
And that fundamental contract has been broken, in part, because of the combinations of a wide variety of factors.  The globalization of the economy, the outsourcing of good-paying American jobs.
 
00:41:15.000 --> 00:41:30.000
Some poorly negotiated trade deals by both Democrats and Republicans.
 
00:41:24.000 --> 00:41:30.000
The dramatic decline in unionization that has taken place over the last several decades.
 
00:41:30.000 --> 00:41:38.000
And the rise of automation which has some positive benefits for consumers.
 
00:41:38.000 --> 00:41:52.000
But also has ripped away a lot of job opportunities that traditionally have been a pathway into middle class.
 
00:41:52.000 --> 00:41:55.000
So it's a combinations of structural factors that have conspired against working class Americans, the middle class, and those who aspire to be a part of it.
 
00:41:55.000 --> 00:41:58.000
That we have to address with the fierce urgency of now.
 
00:41:58.000 --> 00:42:04.000
And I'm hoping under a different leadership we'll see that take place.
 
00:42:04.000 --> 00:42:06.000
>>AISHA: So clearly we have an opportunity to have different leadership very soon.
 
00:42:06.000 --> 00:42:07.000
We're just over 30 days at this point.
 
00:42:07.000 --> 00:42:09.000
It's coming up on us.
 
00:42:09.000 --> 00:42:13.000
The November election.
 
00:42:13.000 --> 00:42:22.000
So, first I want to talk a little politics.
 
00:42:22.000 --> 00:42:25.000
And the first thing I would like for you to share with everyone, there has been so much about how we're going to be able to vote.
 
00:42:25.000 --> 00:42:27.000
In this election cycle.
 
00:42:27.000 --> 00:42:35.000
Every state is doing something different.
 
00:42:35.000 --> 00:42:42.000
Every jurisdiction is issuing different kinds of warnings, approaches, standards, to showing up at the polls versus mailing in a ballot versus this and that.
 
00:42:42.000 --> 00:42:45.000
New York surprisingly to me is actually a little more complicated to be able to mail in your ballot, than maybe other states.
 
00:42:45.000 --> 00:42:50.000
I would like you to set the record straight for all of us.
 
00:42:50.000 --> 00:42:54.000
How are we voting, early voting and otherwise, for this November election.
 
00:42:54.000 --> 00:42:59.000
Give us the 101 on that.
 
00:42:59.000 --> 00:43:05.000
What should we all prepare to do right now in order to make sure that our votes happen, and that they're counted?
 
00:43:05.000 --> 00:43:08.000
>>CONGRESSMAN JEFFRIES: Well, the most important thing I think, as Michelle Obama said, is have a plan.
 
00:43:08.000 --> 00:43:18.000
You have three options.
 
00:43:18.000 --> 00:43:26.000
You can either vote by mail, vote from home, you have to of course request an absentee ballot, that absentee ballot will then be sent to your home.
 
00:43:26.000 --> 00:43:33.000
You can then fill it out and send it back, and/or drop it off at the Board of Elections.
 
00:43:33.000 --> 00:43:33.000
I believe 345 Adams Street is the site for us in Brooklyn.
 
00:43:33.000 --> 00:43:36.000
In downtown Brooklyn.
 
00:43:36.000 --> 00:43:38.000
So that's one lane you can go down.
 
00:43:38.000 --> 00:43:44.000
Early voting is a different lane.
 
00:43:44.000 --> 00:43:59.000
And I think by mid-October this will be announced but, you'll be able to vote for at least ten consecutive days and at least two previous weekends prior to November 3rd.
 
00:43:59.000 --> 00:44:09.000
At an early voting location, and I think that's an important way to go.
 
00:44:09.000 --> 00:44:16.000
And you can go vote in person, but you can avoid some of the crowds if you choose not to go down the third lane, which is of course voting on November 3rd.
 
00:44:16.000 --> 00:44:23.000
With the polls open at 6:00 a.m., and closing at 9:00 p.m.
 
00:44:23.000 --> 00:44:31.000
I think the first thing is to just come to a decision as to what lane you want to travel down.
 
00:44:31.000 --> 00:44:48.000
And then have a plan for making sure that the good news is that even if you decide, as was the case in my household, that it doesn't seem feasible to be able to vote by mail, because I don't think I got a form to request a ballot until after the primary.
 
00:44:48.000 --> 00:44:54.000
This is the sitting member of Congress.
 
00:44:54.000 --> 00:45:02.000
And so, you know part of the challenge we've got is -- at the Board of Elections they make the New York Knicks look competent sometimes.
 
00:45:02.000 --> 00:45:07.000
So that's a bit of a challenge.
 
00:45:07.000 --> 00:45:18.000
But we are trying to provide them and entities throughout the country with the resources necessary to be able to carry out safe voting in a pandemic.
 
00:45:18.000 --> 00:45:29.000
We previously during the CARES Act allocated $400 million to states and municipalities in the context of election security grants.
 
00:45:29.000 --> 00:45:40.000
We are fighting for hundreds of millions of dollars more -- No surprise -- The Republicans are trying to stop it from happening.
 
00:45:40.000 --> 00:45:52.000
We continue to make the point that in a pandemic, no American should have to choose between their constitutional right to vote on the one hand and their health, safety, and well-being on the other.
 
00:45:52.000 --> 00:46:02.000
Which is why we want to make these three lanes available in as robust a fashion as possible: voting from home, or early voting.
 
00:46:02.000 --> 00:46:14.000
And/or sufficient polling sites on election day, so that you don't have lines that are out of control and wait times that are out of control.
 
00:46:14.000 --> 00:46:23.000
And thankfully it looks like the Barclays Center, as will be the case with other NBA arenas across the country, will be available to help accommodate that.
 
00:46:23.000 --> 00:46:35.000
>>AISHA: All right y'all heard the Congressman. You can go in-person to cast your vote during early voting or on election day, in addition to being able to request a mail-in ballot.
 
00:46:35.000 --> 00:46:46.000
That's a two-step process. If you want to do it from home and mail it in, you have to request it. View that form, and then they send it to you, then you have to fill out the ballot and send that back.
 
00:46:46.000 --> 00:46:56.000
Do it and help educate the people around you. A lot of folks are like 'I don't know what to do. I'm hearing things on the news that say I can't go to the polls, and it's a little bit confusing.'
 
00:46:56.000 --> 00:47:04.000
But in New York and Brooklyn we can absolutely go there and show up. Thank you for that Congressman.
 
00:47:04.000 --> 00:47:10.000
And I want to -- at the Brooklyn Community Foundation we are very focused on structural change.
 
00:47:10.000 --> 00:47:28.000
We know that we can't just put, throw a million dollars at something, put a bandaid on something and say look at us, we fixed the problem.
 
00:47:28.000 --> 00:47:37.000
So as partners with you, and from a community level of thinking about where we can be doing our work, what policies, what practices, what provisions, we should really be focused on investing in, trying to change, and just encouraging people to advocate around.
 
00:47:37.000 --> 00:47:42.000
Do you have your hit-list of the policy issues that make sense for us in Brooklyn to be focusing on that we can really get to some of the structural change?
 
00:47:42.000 --> 00:47:46.000
>>
 
00:47:46.000 --> 00:47:52.000
>>CONGRESSMAN JEFFRIES: Well you know housing continues to be an incredibly critical concern.
 
00:47:52.000 --> 00:47:53.000
We've seen explosive growth in New York City over the last decade or so.
 
00:47:53.000 --> 00:47:55.000
That's a good thing.
 
00:47:55.000 --> 00:48:08.000
People want to be here.
 
00:48:08.000 --> 00:48:23.000
But of course that's created a tremendous amount of pressure on the housing, where the supply of affordable housing is greatly exceeded by the demand.
 
00:48:23.000 --> 00:48:27.000
And since the demand is so much higher than the supply that's available, you know, that creates cost pressures that really price moderate income families or low-income families or working families out of the market.
 
00:48:27.000 --> 00:48:34.000
And part of our strength in Brooklyn is diversity.
 
00:48:34.000 --> 00:48:52.000
This is the borough that has given the world Shirley Chisholm, Jackie Robinson, Junior's Cheesecake,
 
00:48:52.000 --> 00:48:56.000
Coney Island, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and The Notorious B.I.G.? I mean -- That's just a snapshot of what we've represented, our intellectual, our athletic, our artistic, our racial, our religious diversity.
 
00:48:56.000 --> 00:49:01.000
Our cultural diversity, and that's what has made us great.
 
00:49:01.000 --> 00:49:24.000
As a borough that's what made us a place where people want to come from all across the world.
 
00:49:24.000 --> 00:49:29.000
And so I think we have to be intentional about preserving that in the face of the market forces that are wiping out the diversity and historically colorful neighborhoods in terms of people from all different parts of the world, all different races, all different regions.
 
00:49:29.000 --> 00:49:34.000
And we really are at risk of losing that.
 
00:49:34.000 --> 00:49:39.000
And so, I think housing, of course, will always be a critical issue.
 
00:49:39.000 --> 00:49:45.000
It's the number one thing that I hear from people when I'm on the streets in Brooklyn, and back at home.
 
00:49:45.000 --> 00:49:57.000
And the other thing I think may make some sense to focus on in the context of the pandemic is that a lot of our small businesses have been hit incredibly hard.
 
00:49:57.000 --> 00:50:07.000
And across the country more than 100,000 have permanently closed. Many of them in Brooklyn, adversely impacted.
 
00:50:07.000 --> 00:50:15.000
And these commercial corridors in neighborhoods whether it's Brighton Beach, Brighton Beach Avenue.
 
00:50:15.000 --> 00:50:24.000
Coney Island Avenue, Church Avenue, Nostrand Avenue, Pitkin Avenue. Fulton Street, of course.
 
00:50:24.000 --> 00:50:35.000
I think finding ways to make sure that we lift up these commercial corridors will also be incredibly important as we try to emerge from this pandemic.
 
00:50:35.000 --> 00:50:45.000
>>AISHA: All right we got our marching orders. Speak to the last question on the election cycle.
 
00:50:45.000 --> 00:50:50.000
We know that you are busy doing the lion's share of the work for us up in Washington.
 
00:50:50.000 --> 00:50:56.000
And thinking about the federal perspective, but you also started locally.
 
00:50:56.000 --> 00:51:01.000
You started in the state legislature, and you get that the down ballot races really matter too.
 
00:51:01.000 --> 00:51:10.000
We're focused on a presidential for November but we have a lot going on in Brooklyn generally.
 
00:51:10.000 --> 00:51:17.000
So can you just talk to people as we think about -- and next year it's going to be a big election year for us in 2021, etc.
 
00:51:17.000 --> 00:51:25.000
But can you just give people a little something to think about on why, as the presidential is important, we also should really think about support and stay connected to our local politics and down-ballot races.
 
00:51:25.000 --> 00:51:37.000
>>CONGRESSMAN JEFFRIES: I think it's incredibly important at every level of government to make sure that you are participating in our democracy and electing people who share your values.
 
00:51:37.000 --> 00:51:46.000
And what I've been saying in particular to a lot of young folks in a moment of great turmoil, I used to be one of those young folks, I'm going through a midlife crisis right now.
 
00:51:46.000 --> 00:51:52.000
I don't know what happened, how the time has gone by so quickly.
 
00:51:52.000 --> 00:52:03.000
But what I've been saying to a lot of young folks who've been out in the street protesting, is that the two pillars of our democracy are protesting
 
00:52:03.000 --> 00:52:15.000
And, anchored in freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of expression and the right to peacefully protest, and to petition your government for change.
 
00:52:15.000 --> 00:52:22.000
As well as voting. Those are the twin pillars.
 
00:52:22.000 --> 00:52:44.000
And that, if you just protest but aren't participating at every level of government, city, state, federal, then it's much less likely that the -- thing will actually be addressed if you're not putting people into office who share your values.
 
00:52:44.000 --> 00:53:01.000
Whereas conversely, if you're participating in our democracy at every level, and you're sending people to City Hall, or to Albany, or to Washington, or to the DA's office.
 
00:53:01.000 --> 00:53:12.000
For instance, who share your values, then it's much more likely that your cries for change are going to be heard.
 
00:53:12.000 --> 00:53:16.000
And that's on every issue.
 
00:53:16.000 --> 00:53:20.000
Not just dealing with, you know, the police-community relationship.
 
00:53:20.000 --> 00:53:27.000
Which is a big challenge, and something that we're working hard to address and overcome. But on every issue.
 
00:53:27.000 --> 00:53:43.000
And you can have a greater impact, many would argue, in a local election because the electerate is much smaller than in some of these national elections.
 
00:53:43.000 --> 00:53:51.000
>>AISHA: So that point on participation is exactly the note that we want to end on this conversation.
 
00:53:51.000 --> 00:54:00.000
Participation, participation, with regards to the census.
 
00:54:00.000 --> 00:54:04.000
It was said earlier, Cecilia kind of walked us through how ten years ago Brooklyn had one of the lowest response rates in the country.
 
00:54:04.000 --> 00:54:14.000
That is consequential for a lot of reasons.
 
00:54:14.000 --> 00:54:29.000
You are -- I know thinking about that too because what will happen if we don't have a good response rate, worst-case scenario, we could end up losing a representative.
 
00:54:29.000 --> 00:54:33.000
But certainly, the things that could happen is that we won't be allocated the appropriate amount of federal funding that we're due for all the people who are paying taxes, and should get that money coming back to support our communities.
 
00:54:33.000 --> 00:54:42.000
And so I would love for you to speak a little bit about that.
 
00:54:42.000 --> 00:54:55.000
We -- COVID has also made it really trying to go out and to have people actually encouraging folks to fill out their census forms.
 
00:54:55.000 --> 00:55:01.000
And then just you know -- was it last night, it turns out that the feds, the administration is still going to keep the same census deadline and cut that off at the beginning of October.
 
00:55:01.000 --> 00:55:06.000
So we're not even seeing an expanded window to try to make sure we're doing good with our count.
 
00:55:06.000 --> 00:55:12.000
Could you speak to us all about what all is happening with the census and your take on why this is so important for Brooklyn?
 
00:55:12.000 --> 00:55:22.000
>>CONGRESSMAN JEFFRIES: An incredibly important issue to end on.
 
00:55:22.000 --> 00:55:33.000
I'm thankful for the work that the city and Brooklyn Community Foundation, so many partners across the borough, have engaged in to try to make sure we get a full and accurate count.
 
00:55:33.000 --> 00:55:40.000
There is a reason why Donald Trump and his administration are doing everything possible to try to undermine a fair and accurate count.
 
00:55:40.000 --> 00:55:55.000
It's because they understand that the stakes are incredibly high and long-lasting.
 
00:55:55.000 --> 00:56:10.000
Both as it relates to legislative representation, or perhaps more significantly, the allocation of federal resources which in many cases is based on population.
 
00:56:10.000 --> 00:56:14.000
And so, if we have an undercount in Brooklyn, and throughout New York City, then we are going to be underrepresented in terms of our fair share of resources.
 
00:56:14.000 --> 00:56:16.000
That means for public education, that means for affordable housing.
 
00:56:16.000 --> 00:56:20.000
That means for infrastructure.
 
00:56:20.000 --> 00:56:24.000
Transportation, bridges, roads, and tunnels.
 
00:56:24.000 --> 00:56:29.000
That means for Homeland Security grants.
 
00:56:29.000 --> 00:56:33.000
That means for healthcare.
 
00:56:33.000 --> 00:56:39.000
It's across the board, it affects every single facet of your life.
 
00:56:39.000 --> 00:56:55.000
And that's why the Trump administration has been so diabolical in their scheming.
 
00:56:55.000 --> 00:57:02.000
I mean, you know they -- initially, of course tried to put a citizenship question into the survey, even though the constitution is very clear, count every single person, not every single citizen.
 
00:57:02.000 --> 00:57:07.000
And these were well-educated framers of the constitution, if they wanted to use the word 'citizen' they could have.
 
00:57:07.000 --> 00:57:10.000
They did it in other places, like you have got to be a citizen to run for president.
 
00:57:10.000 --> 00:57:12.000
Now,.
 
00:57:12.000 --> 00:57:22.000
you know so that was rejected.
 
00:57:22.000 --> 00:57:23.000
And then, you know -- he's going through the courts now to say well, 'we should only count documented people.'
 
00:57:23.000 --> 00:57:26.000
We shouldn't count undocumented people.'
 
00:57:26.000 --> 00:57:31.000
Courts have rejected that.
 
00:57:31.000 --> 00:57:47.000
You know -- they are trying to accelerate the date.
 
00:57:47.000 --> 00:57:59.000
And that's why we keep toggling back between September 30th, and October 31st, and ultimately it's going to have to get resolved by the courts and maybe the Supreme Court.
 
00:57:59.000 --> 00:58:06.000
It's all designed to create a climate where people are reticent to participate, particularly if you're a mixed-status family or -- and that's presented a lot of challenges in a diverse place like Brooklyn.
 
00:58:06.000 --> 00:58:11.000
Challenges in, you know -- in heavily Latino areas.
 
00:58:11.000 --> 00:58:15.000
Challenges in heavily Caribbean American areas.
 
00:58:15.000 --> 00:58:18.000
Even challenges in -- I represent in southern Brooklyn where the count is low.
 
00:58:18.000 --> 00:58:21.000
And it's a heavily immigrant community.
 
00:58:21.000 --> 00:58:27.000
So we're working as hard as we can to turn the situation around.
 
00:58:27.000 --> 00:58:32.000
The good news is, because of the all-hands on deck effort over the last few weeks,
 
00:58:32.000 --> 00:58:34.000
Our numbers are moving north of where they were in 2010.
 
00:58:34.000 --> 00:58:37.000
And that's a good thing.
 
00:58:37.000 --> 00:58:45.000
If we get another month we'll be even better.
 
00:58:45.000 --> 00:58:47.000
But let's assume that we've got until tomorrow and I know all of us are going to continue to do everything that we can.
 
00:58:47.000 --> 00:58:56.000
It takes only about ten minutes.
 
00:58:56.000 --> 00:59:02.000
There are only about ten questions, but at least ten years of our fair share of federal resources and representation, that's a pretty good deal.
 
00:59:02.000 --> 00:59:06.000
10, 10, and 10, that's a pretty good deal.
 
00:59:06.000 --> 00:59:12.000
>>AISHA: Indeed it is. Thank you Congressman for all of your work.
 
00:59:12.000 --> 00:59:22.000
We have some people in the chat, one of them also a Binghamton alum, who are asking,
 
00:59:22.000 --> 00:59:34.000
Quick lightning round from you, what can we all do today to support everything you've talked about and get involved and to make meaning come this election cycle?
 
00:59:34.000 --> 00:59:42.000
>>CONGRESSMAN JEFFRIES: I think the most important thing is to, obviously, make the commitment that you are going to vote, and find four other people to do the same.
 
00:59:42.000 --> 00:59:44.000
So that not only do you have a plan, but you have a plan for four other people to vote.
 
00:59:44.000 --> 00:59:46.000
And it doesn't have to be in Brooklyn.
 
00:59:46.000 --> 00:59:52.000
It doesn't have to be in New York City.
 
00:59:52.000 --> 00:59:56.000
Because you probably know people if you were to think about it, in a swing state like Pennsylvania,
 
00:59:56.000 --> 00:59:59.000
or Michigan,
 
00:59:59.000 --> 01:00:02.000
Or North Carolina, or Wisconsin.
 
01:00:02.000 --> 01:00:09.000
Certainly Florida, with all the ex-New Yorkers that are down in Florida.
 
01:00:09.000 --> 01:00:12.000
Make the commitment that you're going to participate and you're going to ensure that four or five other people do the same.
 
01:00:12.000 --> 01:00:18.000
It's like the voting bucket challenge.
 
01:00:18.000 --> 01:00:30.000
If we can do it for other things, good causes, we can do it in term of voting.
 
01:00:30.000 --> 01:00:33.000
And if we all do our part, that's going to exponentially lead to a high level of civic participation and the best possible outcome for our community, our city, and our country.
 
01:00:33.000 --> 01:00:38.000
>>AISHA: We're on it.
 
01:00:38.000 --> 01:00:40.000
Thank you so much for your time, Representative Jeffries, we know you're busy.
 
01:00:40.000 --> 01:00:43.000
Thank you so much for spending time for us.
 
01:00:43.000 --> 01:00:45.000
We'll keep doing our good work to support all of your good work.
 
01:00:45.000 --> 01:00:49.000
We appreciate having you.
 
01:00:49.000 --> 01:00:54.000
I'm going to turn it back to Cecilia to close us out.
 
01:00:54.000 --> 01:00:56.000
>>CECILIA: Thank you Aisha, thank you Congressman Jeffries, really appreciate your wisdom, and your perspective.
 
01:00:56.000 --> 01:01:14.000
Which we don't get every day.
 
01:01:14.000 --> 01:01:19.000
I do want to say just as a plug for the Foundation, that that immigrant -- question the immigrant question on the census, we were an early and pretty consistent funder of groups on the ground who were fighting that question, and were plaintiffs on that case.
 
01:01:19.000 --> 01:01:24.000
Which I think is just a great argument too for the structural change that we talked about.
 
01:01:24.000 --> 01:01:30.000
Investing in organizers and advocates on the ground who are really winning this fight.
 
01:01:30.000 --> 01:01:35.000
And I think that that goes to how Aisha started us off.
 
01:01:35.000 --> 01:01:40.000
That politics is local, ultimately, and investing locally is as important, do both.
 
01:01:40.000 --> 01:01:46.000
Invest locally, and tell four people you know in Pennsylvania to go and vote.
 
01:01:46.000 --> 01:01:53.000
So I think it has to be a combination.
 
01:01:53.000 --> 01:01:56.000
And Aisha to answer your question, you asked Hakeem, and I'm going to answer it too, which is,
 
01:01:56.000 --> 01:02:00.000
There is extraordinary work happening in Brooklyn.
 
01:02:00.000 --> 01:02:07.000
And Hakeem, I know you know there is.
 
01:02:07.000 --> 01:02:14.000
There are groups in your district that are really fighting the good fight.  And they are at those food pantries you are talking about.
 
01:02:14.000 --> 01:02:18.000
But they are also organizing and advocating and we are just incredibly honored and proud to fund that work.
 
01:02:18.000 --> 01:02:24.000
But we can't fund it unless we get funded.
 
01:02:24.000 --> 01:02:35.000
So, I'm going to say that another thing you can do besides the four friends from Pennsylvania is, please consider donating to Brooklyn Community Foundation.
 
01:02:35.000 --> 01:02:42.000
We are really trying to do the best we can to spark justice in this borough.
 
01:02:42.000 --> 01:02:49.000
And I will end with that, and of course with immense gratitude to our audience for showing up.
 
01:02:49.000 --> 01:02:53.000
Aisha, thank you, you're phenomenal, and Congressman Jeffries thank you for carving out the time to do this, we are just honored and grateful. Thank
 
01:02:53.000 --> 01:02:59.000
>>CONGRESSMAN JEFFRIES: Thank you for all the phenomenal work that you and the Foundation do.
 
01:02:59.000 --> 01:03:04.000
>>CECILIA: Thank you and take care, and everybody take care of themselves and hopefully we'll see you at the next webinar.
 
01:03:04.000 --> 01:03:10.000
Please go to our website for the list of webinars coming up, it's very exciting. Thank you.