Johnson: “Our hashtag #WeAreDoneDying is the pivot for us to stop talking about the problem and become the solution that we’re looking for”
On This Episode: Chuck Todd is joined by students from Princeton University, The University of Wisconsin – Madison and The University of Florida
On this week of Meet the Press: College Roundtable, Chuck Todd is joined by Anna Salvatore, an incoming freshman at Princeton University and founder of the blog High School SCOTUS; Tamia Fowlkes, a rising junior at the University of Wisconsin – Madison and reporter for the Madison Commons and the Wisconsin State Journal; and Camille Respess, a rising senior at the University of Florida developing a podcast series on education at the Brechner Center for Freedom of Information.
The group of student journalists interviewed NAACP President Derrick Johnson as protests continue across the country following the death of George Floyd.
During the discussion, Johnson tells the students that the country “will not survive” if President Trump is reelected in November. He continues, “in the last 85, 90 days we’ve seen some of the worst displays coming out of this administration that we’ve seen, perhaps since the Civil War.”
Johnson also answers the students’ questions about how the NAACP works alongside the Black Lives Matter movement and what the organization’s plan is after Election Day.
KEY DISCUSSION HIGHLIGHTS:
Rising freshman at Princeton Anna Salvatore asks NAACP President Derrick Johnson about the impact that the White House has on the NAACP’s efforts to combat systemic racism.
Anna Salvatore: “President Johnson, throughout the interview you’ve been talking about combating systemic racism, such as reforming the criminal justice system and having a federal policy for open public records. But for your reforms to take place a lot depends on who holds national offices and who holds the White House. So how will the NAACP regroup if President Trump is indeed reelected? How will we go forward?”
Derrick Johnson: “The real question is how can this nation regroup if President Trump is reelected? NAACP, we’re nonpartisan. We don’t support political candidates, or parties. However, the realization that in the last 85, 90 days we’ve seen some of the worst displays coming out of this administration that we’ve seen, perhaps since the Civil War. We are in the midst of a health pandemic that was completely affordable at this level. We have record-level unemployment. Our economic system is on the verge of collapse. We’ve seen the underlying issue of racism play out in Georgia, in Minneapolis, in Ohio, in Central Park. We’ve seen the lack of responsiveness, not only from the district attorney in Minneapolis, but the Department of Justice, and that has resulted in peaceful protests of spiraling down to violent protests now back to peaceful protest. This nation cannot survive with this level – and I hate to be offensive, but it’s true – incompetence is different. And in many ways malicious intent when you look at what happened on Monday evening when you tear gas peaceful protesters just so you can have a photo-op. This nation, not only the African American community, we will not survive if there is a continuation of this administration.”
Chuck Todd: “Strong words, President Johnson. Those are very strong words. We will not survive if there’s another term?”
Derrick Johnson: “There’s no way, if you think about the level of dismissiveness that’s taken place. The absolute disregard for human life.”
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University of Wisconsin – Madison junior Tamia Fowlkes asks NAACP President Derrick Johnson about the significance of the #WeAreDoneDying hashtag.
Tamia Fowlkes: “I was wondering that with your #WeAreDoneDying hashtag being set to mobilize and encourage people to demand change and action in policing and governing, I was wondering what the significance was for you in deciding to end it on November 3rd? And how will you continue that work after November 3rd?”
Derrick Johnson: “Our hashtag #WeAreDoneDying is the pivot for us to stop talking about the problem and become the solution that we’re looking for. November 3rd is only a juncture in the advocacy for public policy. Without November 3rd, we cannot put the people in the seats, who are decision makers, the policy makers necessary to implement the policy priorities that we have laid out, so that we can as a community, as a nation, stop dying. We are done dying.”
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NAACP President Derrick Johnson to Camille Respess, a rising senior at the University of Florida, on the NAACP’s role in the Black Lives Matter movement.
Camille Respess: “President Johnson, what do you see the NAACP’s role is in the Black Lives Matter movement especially as it relates to college students?”
Derrick Johnson: “You know, civil rights and social justice is not a competition. Our work has always been and should always be, we support all the multiple voices in the social justice movement, who are all speaking in terms of equal protection of the law, equality for all, and managing and maintaining a just system. It’s a beautiful thing to see young, energetic people add their voice to the social justice movement however they see their voice can be of value. And so for the NAACP, a legacy organization, it’s our responsibility to support, protect and help amplify whenever possible.”
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MEET THE PRESS: COLLEGE ROUNDTABLE
Meet the Press: College Roundtable brings together the next generation of journalists for a weekly virtual panel discussion diving into the issues impacting them, their communities and the future of their education. Each week, alongside Meet the Press moderator Chuck Todd, a group of college journalism students from across the country will share their insight and analysis and showcase their interview skills posing questions to key decision makers on the topics that matter the most to them.