METROFOCUS: NOVEMBER 12, 2019

Over 5 million Americans suffer from Alzheimer’s disease. Now, Maria Shriver, one of the nation’s most vocal advocates against the disease, will shares the story of her fight against the illness that afflicted her late father, Robert Sargent Shriver. A little over one year after Matthew Shepard was finally laid to rest, the Washington National Cathedral and the Matthew Shepard Foundation are dedicating a plaque in his honor. His parents Judy and Dennis will join us to remember their son.

Aired on November 12, 2019.

TRANSCRIPT

> TONIGHT ON 'METROFOCUS,' ENDING ALZHEIMER'S.

JUST UNDER 500 MILLION AMERICANS SUFFER FROM ALZHEIMER'S.

NOW MARIA SHRIVER SHARES THE STORY OF THE ILLNESS THAT AFLEKTED HER FATHER.

IT'S BEEN MORE THAN 20 YEARS SINCE MATTHEW SHEPHERD WAS MURDERED FOR BEING GAY.

HIS PARENTS WARN THAT THERE IS STILL MUCH MORE TO BE DONE.

JUDY AND DENNIS SHEPHERD JOIN US TO TALK ABOUT THEIR SON AND TALK ABOUT ENDING HATE IN AMERICA.

THOSE STORIES AND MORE AS 'METROFOCUS' STARTS RIGHT NOW.

> THIS IS 'METROFOCUS' WITH RAFAEL PI ROMAN, JACK FORD AND JENNA FLANAGAN.

'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY JAMES AND MERRYL TISCH, SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III, THE SYLVIA A. AND SIMON B. POYTA PROGRAMMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT ANTI-SEMITISM, BERNARD AND IRENE SCHWARTZ, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG, AND BY --

> GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS.'

WHEN PRESIDENTEN RONALD REAGAN DESIGNATED NOVEMBER AS ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE, THERE WERE 2 MILLION PEOPLE WITH ALZHEIMER'S.

TODAY THE NUMBER HAS SOURED TO 5 MILLION.

THE REASON BEHIND THE TREND HAS YET TO BE UNEARTHED.

AN ESTIMATED $277 BILLION COST EVERY YEAR, THE ECONOMIC TOLL OF THE DISEASE IS IMMENSE.

BUT THE EMOTIONAL TOLL ON THE ONE IN EVERY TWO AMERICAN FAMILIES IMPACTED BY ALZHEIMER'S IS FAR GREATER.

FOR JOURNALISTS AND AUTHOR AND FRIEND OF MY YEARS, MARIA SHRIVER, THE AFFECTS OF ALZHEIMER'S ARE IMPOSSIBLE.

MARIA'S EXPERIENCE LED HER TO FOUND THE NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATION THE WOMEN'SAL ALZHEIMER'S MOVEMENT AND I'M PLEASED TO WELCOME HER TO THE PROGRAM.

NICE TO SEE YOU, JACK.

AND THANK YOU FOR TAKING TIME TO SPOTLIGHT THIS ISSUE.

WE'RE HAPPY TO.

LET ME GO BACK TO WHEN YOUR DAD WAS DIAGNOSED.

AT THAT TIME, DID YOU HAVE ANY IDEA WHAT THAT DISEASE MEANT FOR BOTH HIM AND YOU AND OTHER FAMILIES MEMBERS?

NOT -- I DIDN'T REALIZE THAT ALL OF US WOULD PROCESS IT DIFFERENTLY.

IT WAS OBVIOUSLY DIFFERENT FOR MY MOTHER THAN IT WAS FOR THE FATHER THAT I KNEW.

IT WAS DIFFERENT FOR THE GRANDCHILDREN.

IT WAS DIFFERENT FOR PEOPLE WHO WORKED ALONG SIDE HIM FOR YEARS.

SO, I THINK EVERY CASE OF ALZHEIMER'S, AS EVERY DOCTOR HAS SAID TO ME, IS ITS OWN UNIQUE CASE.

AND I THINK FAMILIES IMPACTED INDIVIDUALLY, COLLECTIVELY, AND DIFFERENTLY.

I MENTIONED IN THE INTRODUCTION ABOUT YOU AS A CONSEQUENCE OF THIS FOUNDING THE WOMENS ALZHEIMER'S MOVEMENT.

WHY?

BECAUSE NOBODY WAS IMPACTING WOMEN DIFFERENTLY.

AND I THINK SOMEBODY SHOULD FOCUS ON THAT.

AND THEY AND OTHER RESEARCHERS SAID IT'S BECAUSE WOMEN LIVE LONGER.

THEN THEY PARTNERED WITH ME AND WE PRODUCED THE SHRIVER REPORT.

WE REPORTED THE FIRST TIME THIS WAS A WOMAN'S DISEASE.

SO, WOMEN ARE 2/3 AS YOU MENTIONED OF THE CASES.

THEY'RE ALSO 2/3 OF THE CARE GIVES IN OUR COUNTRY.

AND AS ANYBODY WHO IS INVOLVED IN CARE GIVING AND CARE TAKING OF SOMEONE WITH ALZHEIMER'S OR ANOTHER DEMENTIA, IT'S AN OVERWHELMING UNDERTAKING.

SO, I HAVE BEEN PUSHING TO FUND RESEARCH ON WOMEN, AND I ALWAYS SAY THAT'S NOT SEXIST.

IT'S JUST SMART.

SO WE CAN UNDERSTAND HOW WOMENS' BODIES AND WOMENS' BRAINS OPERATE DIFFERENTLY WHICH WILL, I THINK, HELP US CHANGE THE FUTURE FOR ALL MINDS.

AND THE WOMENS' ALZHEIMER'S MOVEMENT IS DEDICATED TO GETTING THE STORY OUT THERE, TO FUNDING THE RESEARCH, EDUCATING WOMEN, AND GETTING THEM INVOLVED IN PUSHING THE NEEDLE.

IS IT ACCURATE TO IDENTIFY THIS AS A NATIONAL SECURITY RIGHT NOW?

TOTALLY.

TALK TO THE PEOPLE WHO HAVE IT AND THE MILLIONS WHO ARE IMPACTED, THEIR FAMILIES, CARE GIVING, STOPPING JOBS, RUNNING THROUGH THEIR SAVINGS.

YOU PUT OUT THE FIGURE OF WHAT IT'S COSTING OUR COUNTRY.

AND THAT DOESN'T EVEN MENTION, AS I SAID, ALL THE UNPAID CAREGIVERS.

SO, WE HAVE A CARE GIVING CRISIS, ALZHEIMER'S AND DEMENTIA CRISIS.

WE PUT OUT ON OP SAID ON WORLD ALZHEIMER'S DAY CHALLENGING ELECTED OFFICIALS TO PUT TOGETHER SMART ALZHEIMER'S PLANS IN THEIR STATE, THEIR CITIES.

BUSINESSES NEED TO TALK AND DEVELOP CARE GIVING PLANS BECAUSE SO MANY PEOPLE ARE WORKING AND TRYING TO PARENT AND ALSO TAKE LOVED ONES TO DOCTOR'S OFFICES.

WE SHOULD BE SPEAKING TO DOCTORS ABOUT DIAGNOSING ALZHEIMER'S AND DEMENTIA EARLY SO PEOPLE CAN GET IN CLINICAL TRIALS.

WE'RE TRYING TO REACH INDIVIDUALS TO TELL THEM TO BE AWARE OF THEIR OWN COGNITIVE HEALTH, TO EXERCISE, TO PRIORITIZE SLEEP, TO DECREASE SUGAR, TRYING TO GET INTO MINORITY COMMUNITIES BECAUSE THIS DISEASE IS VERY FOCUSED IN THE LATINO AND AFRICAN-AMERICAN COMMUNITY.

SO, THERE'S A LOT OF EDUCATION THAT HAS TO GO ON, A LOT OF AWARENESS THAT HAS TO GO ON.

BUT FOR THE FAMILIES THAT ARE KNEE DEEP IN THIS AND FOR THE GOVERNMENT, THIS IS ALREADY A CRISIS.

THIS IS A TSUNAMI.

THIS IS A CATEGORY FIVE.

I'M TALKING TO YOU ABOUT SOME OF THE ELEMENTS YOU JUST MENTIONED IN A SECOND.

BUT I'M CURIOUS ABOUT YOUR THOUGHTS.

WE GO BACK TO PRESIDENT KENNEDY AND HIS DECLARATION THAT U.S.

WANTED TO PUT A MAN ON THE MOON.

AND LITERALLY WITHIN A DECADE -- WITHIN A DECADE -- WE DID THAT.

AND OCFTEN TIMES YOU HEAR PEOPL SAY WHEN THEY'RE TALK ABOUT TREATMENT FOR DISEASES, HEAR PEOPLE LAMENTING THE FACT.

IF WE CAN PUT A MAN ON THE MOON IN LESS THAN A DECADE, WHY CAN'T WE FIND A CAUSE FOR ALZHEIMER'S, A CURE FOR ALZHEIMER'S, AT LEAST SOMETHING MORE THAN WHAT WE HAVE.

WHAT DO YOU THINK THE ANSWER TO THAT IS?

WELL, I THINK IT'S A DECLARATION BY A PRESIDENT.

I THINK THAT CHANGES THE TRAJECTORY OF WHATEVER THE PRESIDENT DECLARES IS AN EMERGENCY, IS A FOCUS, IS A MISSION.

SO, IF WE HAD A PRESIDENT WHO STOOD UP AND SAID I'M GOING TO INCREASE NIH FUNDING FOR ALZHEIMER'S, FOR CANCER, AND I'M GOING TO BE A SCIENCE PRESIDENT, I'M GOING TO BE A MEDICINE PRESIDENT, I'M GOING TO MAKE IT A PRIORITY TO FOCUS ON PREVENTION, TO FOCUS ON WELLNESS, WE WOULD HAVE A DIFFERENT TRAJECTORY FOR THIS DISEASE.

WE NEED INCREASED FUNDING FOR ALZHEIMER'S, AND WE NEED SOMEONE TO DECLARE IT A MOON SHOT.

I TESTIFIED ABOUT THAT EXACT THING.

I USED THOSE EXACT WORDS MANY YEARS AGO SAYING, YOU KNOW, IF WE PUT A MAN ON THE MOON, WE CAN DEFINITELY PUT OUR MINDS TOGETHER AND SOLVE THIS CRISIS.

WE MAY NOT CURE IT BUT WE MAY GET A PILL OR MULTIPLE APPROACHES.

WE CAN SLOW IT DOWN, PREVENT IT.

SO, ANYBODY WHO HAS COGNITIVE IMPAIRMENT, EVEN IF WE SLOW IT DOWN, THAT SAVES THE FAMILY A LOT OF MONEY AND A LOT OF HEART ACHE AND IT WILL SAVE THE COUNTRY MILLIONS IF NOT BILLIONS.

AS YOU KNOW, IF YOU LOOK AROUND NOW WE HAVE BECOME TERRIBLY PARTISAN IN OUR POLITICS.

WE HEAR THE WORD 'TRIBAL' EVEN IN OUR POLITICS.

IF YOU LOOK AT THIS ISSUE THIS IS NOT A PARTISAN ISSUE.

IT'S ONE OF THE FEW YOU CAN POINT TO AND SAY THERE IS NO PARTISAN ELEMENT TO THIS WHATSOEVER.

AND YET WE DON'T SEEM TO GET THE INVESTMENT.

LITERALLY, FIGURATIVELY, AND EMOTIONALLY INTO THIS ISSUE THAT YOU WOULD EXPECT, ESPECIALLY FROM THE GOVERNMENTS.

WHY DO YOU THINK THERE IS THAT -- I DON'T WANT TO CALL IT RELUCTANCE OR RESISTANCE BUT WHY DO YOU THINK WE'RE NOT SEEING THAT ALL HANDS ON DECK INVESTMENT IN THIS?

WELL, I THINK WE HAVE SEEN AN INCREASED INVESTMENT AND THAT HAS COME THROUGH BIPARTISAN COOPERATION AND THAT HAS COME FROM PEOPLE TESTIFYING AND SO MANY ACTIVISTS AND ADVOCATES STORMING THE HILL AND ASKING FOR IT.

THAT HAS HAPPENED.

IT HASN'T HAPPENED AT THE LEVEL THAT THOSE OF US IN THIS SPACE WANTED TO.

BUT IT IS INCREASING.

SO, THAT'S A GOOD SIGN AND THAT TELLS ME THAT IT'S JUST GOING TO GET MORE.

I THINK IF MORE PEOPLE STARTED TO RUN ON THIS, IF MORE PEOPLE STARTED TO FOCUS ON INCREASED NIH FUNDING, IF, YOU KNOW, WE FOCUSED ON LOOKING AT WOMEN, THAT WOULD BE A PRIORITY.

BUT I THINK, YOU KNOW, WE AS A COUNTRY RALLY AROUND WHAT ELECTED OFFICIALS, WHAT PRESIDENTS SAY IS OUR PRIORITY WHETHER IT WAS WAY BACK, WHETHER IT WAS THE MAN, WHETHER IT WAS BUILDING INFRASTRUCTURE, WHETHER IT'S CLIMATE.

AND SO WE HAVEN'T HAD A PRESIDENT WHO SAID ALZHEIMER'S IS THE ISSUE, ALL HANDS ON DECK.

LET'S SOLVE THIS CRISIS.

LET'S GET AHOLD OF THIS.

SO, I'M HOPEFUL THAT WE WILL FIND PEOPLE IN THIS MIDTERM ELECTION WHO ARE RUNNING WHO WILL SAY LOOK, I'M GOING TO MAKE THIS A PRIORITY.

I'M HOPEFUL THAT WE'RE GOING TO HAVE MAYORS AND GOVERNORS WHO SAY I'M GOING TO APPOINT AN ALZHEIMER'S AND DEMENTIA CZAR IN MY STATE.

I'M GOING TO MAKE SURE THAT I HOLD A SUMMIT IN MY STATE AND SET GOALS FOR MY STATE.

I'M GOING TO MAKE SURE I TAP INTO THE MOST INNOVATIVE AND MOST FAR-REACHED THINKERS IN MY STATE.

I'M GOING TO CHARGE YOUNG PEOPLE WHO GO TO COLLEGES IN MY STATE TO BECOME CARE GIVERS IN MY STATE.

I'M GOING TO MAKE THIS PART OF MY STATE OF THE STATE, MY STATE OF THE CITY, AND FOR THOSE WHO ARE RUNNING FOR NATIONAL OFFICE, IF THEY'RE GOING TO SAY THIS IS A PRIORITY FOR ME.

LET'S TALK ABOUT WHAT HAS BEEN HAPPENING, SOME DEGREE OF PROGRESS HERE.

COMPARED TO WHEN YOU FIRST GOT INVOLVED IN THIS, WHAT SORT OF PROGRESS DO YOU THINK WE'VE MADE?

LET'S TALK MEDICALLY NOW.

WHAT SORT OF PROGRESS HAVE WE MADE IN TERMS OF -- LET'S START WITH THE BIG PICTURE WHICH IS FINDING SOME SORT OF CURE FOR ALZHEIMER'S.

WE DON'T HAVE THAT.

BUT WE HAVE A LOT OF PEOPLE SAYING OKAY, WE'RE GOING TO LOOK NOW AT PEOPLE WHO ARE YOUNGER.

WE'RE GOING TO LOOK AT WOMEN.

WHEN I STARTED IN THIS, NOBODY DID THAT.

OR VERY FEW I WOULD SAY.

BUT WE'RE GOING TO SAY LIKE OKAY, WOW, WE NOW UNDERSTAND THIS 20 MAYBE 30 YEARS IN THE BRAIN.

WE'VE GOT TO START LOOKING AT YOUNGER PEOPLE.

WE'VE GOT TO HAVE YOUNGER PEOPLE PARTICIPATE IN CLINICAL TRIAL.

WE NOW UNDERSTAND THAT IT MIGHT NOT BE A ONE-STOP APPROACH.

THERE'S SOME INNOVATIVE THINGS GOING ON IN THAT SPACE.

WE DO RECOGNIZE THAT THE AMERICAN LIFESTYLE MAY BE A CONTRIBUTING FACTOR.

LET'S LOOK AT THAT.

LET'S TALK ABOUT WHAT WE KNOW HELPS.

WE KNOW EXERCISE HELPS.

WE KNOW SLEEP IS A TIME FOR THE BRAIN TO REGENERATE.

WE KNOW THAT HELPS.

WE KNOW THAT WE NEED TO MOVE.

WE KNOW THAT WE NEED A MEDITERRANEAN DIET IS HELPFUL.

WE KNOW MEDITATION IS HELPFUL.

SO, WHEN I FIRST STARTED IN THE SPACE, NOBODY WAS TALKING ABOUT ANY OF THAT.

SO, THERE ARE THINGS -- THERE'S AN EXPLOSION, I THINK, OF PEOPLE WHO ARE INTERESTED IN THIS SPACE NOW.

PEOPLE ARE INTERESTED IN LONGEVITY.

THEY'RE INTERESTED IN, WOW, MEDICINE CAN KEEP A BODY ALIVE FOR A LOT LONGER.

BUT WHAT QUALITY OF LIFE IS THAT?

HOW DO WE KEEP THE MIND ACTIVE?

HOW DO WE CONTINUE TO LEARN?

WHAT DOES LONGEVITY REALLY LOOK LIKE?

SO, I'M ENCOURAGED, I'M HOPEFUL, I'M NOT HOPELESS.

AND I KIND OF REACH OUT TO PEOPLE AND SAY THIS IS A PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY.

THIS IS A PROFESSIONAL CHALLENGE.

IT'S A PUBLIC SPACE CHALLENGE.

AND IF WE ALL WORK TOGETHER, POLITICAL PARTIES WORK TOGETHER, BUSINESSES AND INDIVIDUALS WORK TOGETHER, AND ALSO POLICY WORKS WITH THAT, WE CAN HARNESS THIS DISEASE.

WE CAN WIPE IT OUT.

I FIRMLY BELIEVE WE CAN DO THAT IN MY LIFETIME.

DO YOU THINK THERE ARE MISCONCEPTIONS OUT THERE SURROUNDING THIS DISEASE THAT IN SOME WAYS IMPEDE --

YES, CERTAINLY.

-- OUR AWARENESS, OUR UNDERSTANDING, AND IMPEDE HOW WE SHOULD BE DEALING WITH THIS DISEASE?

ABSOLUTELY.

THE WOMENS ALZHEIMER'S AND BIPARTISAN INSTITUTE LAST YEAR DID A POLL AND IT WAS AMAZING TO ME WITH ALL THE INFORMATION THAT'S OUT THERE HOW ILL-INFORMED PEOPLE ARE.

PEOPLE THINK WELL, IF IT DIDN'T RUN IN MY FAMILY, I CAN'T GET IT.

THAT'S WRONG.

SO, EVERY SINGLE PERSON SHOULD BE AWARE THAT ALZHEIMER'S CAN IMPACT THEM.

SO, EVERY SINGLE PERSON THINKS LIKE OH, IF, YOU KNOW, I HAVE A GENE, I'M DEFINITELY GOING TO GET IT.

THAT'S NOT TRUE EITHER, RIGHT?

EVERYBODY THINKS THIS IS SOMETHING THAT JUST IS A NATURAL PART OF AGING.

WRONG AGAIN.

PEOPLE THINK I'LL WORRY ABOUT THAT WHEN I'M 80, BIG MISTAKE.

YOU SHOULD BE THINKING ABOUT IT WHEN YOU'RE 30.

THAT IS REALLY IMPORTANT.

YOUR BRAIN BEGINS TO CHANGE VERY EARLY ON.

HOW YOU TREAT YOUR BRAIN WHEN YOU'RE 30, 40, 50 WILL HAVE IMPACT WHEN YOU'RE 60, 70, AND 80.

I WISH I HAD KNOWN THAT WHEN I WAS 30.

ALSO WOMEN WHO ARE PERIMENOPAUSAL AND MENOPAUSAL, THEY NEED TO BE TALKING TO THEIR DOCTORS BECAUSE ESTROGEN, HORMONE REPLACEMENT, THOSE ARE CONVERSATIONS THAT WOMEN SHOULD BE IMPACTS THEIR BRAIN.

SO, THOSE THINGS THAT I JUST MENTIONED TO YOU, JACK, NOBODY WAS TALKING ABOUT WHEN MY DAD WAS FIRST DIAGNOSED.

AND I THINK PEOPLE ARE ALSO COMPLETELY ILL-INFORMED ABOUT THE COST OF CARE GIVING, WHO IS GOING TO DO THE CARE GIVING, WHERE DO THEY GO FOR CARE GIVING.

I WAS REALLY INTERESTED IN THAT POLL WE DID THAT SAID PEOPLE THOUGHT MY CHILDREN ARE GOING TO CARE FOR ME BUT NO ONE HAD TALKED TO THEIR CHILDREN.

NO ONE HAD SET ASIDE MONEY FOR THEIR CHILDREN TO CARE FOR THEM.

SO, WE ARE ILL-EQUIPPED.

WE NEED TO HAVE A NATIONAL CONVERSATION.

I KNOW PEOPLE SAY THAT ALL THE TIME.

BUT THESE ARE CONVERSATIONS I THINK THAT SHOULD START AT KITCHEN TABLES IN EVERY CONDO, APARTMENT, COMMUNITY CENTER, AND HOME IN OUR COUNTRY.

COUPLE OF THINGS, BUT I WANT TO ASK YOU SPECIFICALLY.

I IMAGINE THAT FREQUENTLY PEOPLE COME UP TO YOU AFTER SOME OF THESE CONVERSATIONS THAT YOU'RE HAVING OR THE EVENTS THAT YOU'RE AT AND THEY SAY TO YOU, 'WHAT SHOULD I DO?'

WHAT SHOULD I DO FOR MYSELF, AND WHAT CAN I DO IN TERMS OF OUR CAMPAIGN TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT THIS INSIDIOUS DISEASE?

WHAT DO YOU TELL THEM ABOUT THEMSELVES AND THEN HOW THEY CAN HELP IN THE BIGGER PICTURE?

GOOD QUESTION.

SO, FIRST AND FOREMOST, I TELL THEM TO MOVE.

YOU'VE GOT TO EXERCISE.

EVERY SINGLE DOCTOR/RESEARCHER SAID IF YOU COULD GET ONE THING ACROSS TO PEOPLE THAT THE KIND OF SEDENTARY AMERICAN LIFESTYLE IS KILLING THEM.

SO, PEOPLE SHOULD MOVE.

THEY SHOULD PRIORITIZE THEIR SLEEP.

THAT IS, AS I SAID, WHEN THE BRAIN REGENERATES ITSELF.

I TELL THEM TRY MEDITATION.

I STARTED IT WAY LATE IN LIFE.

I WISH I HAD STARTED IT EARLIER.

IT'S A TIME FOR YOUR BRAIN TO CALM DOWN AND ONCE AGAIN CLEAR ITSELF.

FOOD.

WHILE I WISH I HAD KNOWN THIS A LOT EARLIER.

GET OFF OF PROCESSED FOOD.

ADOPT IF YOU CAN A MEDITERRANEAN-STYLE DIET.

WE'RE SEEING A LOT OF SUCCESS WITH PEOPLE WITH CHANGING THEIR DIET.

IF YOU HAVE A LOVED ONE WHO'S IN A MEMORY CARE FACILITY OR SOMETHING, GO IN AND ARGUE TO HAVE THE FOOD IN THAT FACILITY CHANGED TO BENEFIT THE BRAIN.

I TELL THEM TO DONATE IF THEY CAN TO GENDER-BASED RESEARCH OR JUST TO RESEARCH ON ALZHEIMER'S.

THE WOMENS ALZHEIMER'S MOVEMENT WOULD LOVE YOUR SUPPORT.

AND BY THAT I MEAN YOUR FINANCIAL SUPPORT, YOUR INTELLECTUAL SUPPORT.

I WOULD LIKE YOU TO GO OUT AND MAKE SURE THAT YOU TELL WHAT I'M SAYING TO PEOPLE YOU LOVE.

IF YOU HAVE A PARENT WHO'S IN THEIR 60s OR 70s, LOOK AT WHAT THEY'RE EATING.

TALK TO THEM ABOUT THEIR COGTY NEGATIVE HEALTH.

I TELL PEOPLE TO ASK THEIR PRIMARY DOCTORS.

TALK ABOUT THEIR COGNITIVE HEALTH.

DO YOU HAVE A COGNITIVE BASELINE?

IF YOU'RE 50, TAKE ONE.

IT'S SCARY.

I DID IT.

IT'S SCARY.

DO EVERYTHING YOU CAN TO KEEP LEARNING, KEEP GROWING, KEEP BEING CURIOUS, AND KEEP WORKING.

LAST QUESTION FOR YOU.

WHEN WE LOOK AT THOSE NUMBERS THAT WE TALKED ABOUT AT THE BEGINNING AND THROUGHOUT OUR CONVERSATION, THEY SOUND SO TERRIBLY BLEAK AND FOREBODING, IS THERE CAUSE, DO YOU THINK, FOR OPTIMISM?

YES, AS I SAID I'M REALLY OPTIMISTIC.

I THINK, YOU KNOW, THE WORSE THING IS TO GO OH, IT'S HOPELESS, LET ME CLOSE AND GO EAT 20 SWEDISH FISH OR SOMETHING WHICH IS WHAT I MIGHT HAVE DONE IN THE PAST.

BUT I THINK THIS IS A CHALLENGE.

BUT IT'S ALL OF OUR CHALLENGE.

I HAVEN'T MET A PERSON WHO TO REMEMBER THEIR VE LONG ENOUG- GRANDCHILDREN'S NAME.

I HAVEN'T MET A PERSON WHO DOESN'T WANT TO GROW OLDER WITH THEIR COGNITIVE SKILLS INTACT, RIGHT?

THIS IS SOMETHING WE CAN ALL AGREE ON, WE ALL WANT, WE ALL DESIRE.

NOBODY WANTS TO BE A MURDER TO THEIR CHILDREN.

SO, THIS IS SOMETHING THAT AFFECTS US ALL.

WE HAVE A BRAIN.

WE SHOULD BE FOCUSED ON THIS.

I THINK PEOPLE ARE SCARED OF GROWING OLD IN THIS COUNTRY.

ALZHEIMER'S, THEY PERCEIVE IT TO BE AN OLD PERSON'S DISEASE.

WE NEED TO REMARKET IT.

I'M HOPEFUL ABOUT THAT.

THE WOMENS ALZHEIMER'S MOVEMENT IS VERY AGGRESSIVE IN THAT SPACE, CREATIVE, TALKING TO YOUNG PEOPLE, BRIDGING GENERATIONS.

WE HAVE TO ALSO HONOR THOSE OF US IN COMMUNITIES WHO ARE AGING, RIGHT?

HOW DO WE WANT TO TAKE CARE OF PEOPLE WHO ARE AGING IN OUR COUNTRY.

WHO ARE WE AS A COUNTRY?

DO WE VALUE PEOPLE WHO ARE OLDER, RIGHT?

WHAT IS OUR CONCEPT OF CARE?

I'M ENTHUSIASTIC ABOUT THAT CONVERSATION.

I SEE TREMENDOUS POSSIBILITIES IN THAT SPACE.

I SEE A LOT OF YOUNG PEOPLE WHO WANT TO BECOME CAREGIVERS, WHO WANT TO GET INVOLVED IN THIS SPACE, WHO WANT TO RESHAPE IT.

SO, THERE'S A LOT TO BE HOPEFUL ABOUT.

BUT THERE'S ALSO A LOT OF WORK TO DO.

WELL, MARIE, I'VE GOT TO TELL YOU THAT THIS CONVERSATION, THE CONVERSATIONS YOU'RE HAVING OUT THERE, SO HELPFUL NOT JUST TO THOSE OF US WHO LIVED THROUGH THE TRAGEDY OF THIS DISEASE BUT EVERYBODY ELSE OUT THERE WHO NEEDS TO KNOW AND ACT AND TO MOVE.

IT'S A PLEASURE TO TALK TO YOU AND CATCH UP WITH YOU.

THANK YOU SO MUCH.

SO NICE TO SEE YOU.

I KNOW.

I WISH WE WERE SITTING IN THE SAME ROOM.

WE'LL DO THAT SOMETIME SOON.

OUR THANKS TO YOU FOR THE CONVERSATION FOR ALL YOU'RE DOING.

YOU BE WELL, AND WE'LL TALK SOON.

THANK YOU.

> YOU KNOW WHO MATTHEW SHEPHERD WAS.

IF NOT, YOU SHOULD.

LET ME REMIND YOU.

HE WAS A 21-YEAR-OLD COLLEGE STUDENT WHO IN 1998 WAS TORTURED AND BRUTALLY BEATEN JUST FOR BEING GAY.

TIED TO A FENCE AND LEFT TO DIE, HE WAS DISCOVERED 18 HOURS LATERS IN BELOW FREEZING TEMPERATURES.

MATTHEW SUCCUMBED TO HIS INJURIES ONE WEEK LATER.

THIS HORRIFIC MURDER WOULD BECOME A CATALYST FOR REWRITING THE NATION'S HATE CRIME LAWS AMONG OTHER THINGS.

HIS PARENTS CONTINUE THEIR FIGHT TO, QUOTE, ERASE HATE.

I'M DELIGHTED THEY'RE JOINING US NOW.

THANK YOU.

THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

LET'S START AT THE GIPING, 20 YEARS AGO.

THIS IS HARD.

I REMEMBER COVERING THE STORY.

FOR YOU, JUST THE NOTION OF 20 YEARS HAVING PASSED MUST BE SO DIFFICULT.

BUT LET'S TALK ABOUT WHAT YOU'VE DONE IN THOSE 20 YEARS.

I MENTIONED THE FOUNDATION.

AND LET ME START WITH YOU, WHAT WAS THE IDEA BEHIND THE FOUNDATION WHEN YOU STARTED IT?

WE RECEIVED A LOT OF CORRESPONDENCE WHILE MATT WAS STILL IN THE HOSPITAL AND SOON AFTER HE PASSED FROM PARENTS OF GAY CHILDREN ASKING US TO USE OUR VOICE AS ACCEPTING PARENTS TO SHOW OTHER PARENTS YOUR KIDS ARE YOUR KIDS NO MATTER WHAT AND WE HAD LOST OUR SON TO A HORRIFIC ACT OF VIOLENCE.

BUT OTHER FAMILIES HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO BRING THEIR CHILDREN AND WELCOME THEIR CHILDREN BACK INTO THEIR FAMILIES.

THAT WAS WHAT GOT US STARTED.

WE FELT LIKE WE OWED IT TO MATT TO DO THAT.

IT MORPHED INTO MANY THINGS SINCE THEN BUT THAT'S WHAT STARTED IT.

ONE OF THE THINGS -- WE TALKED ABOUT IT HERE ON THE PROGRAM IN THE PAST -- THAT'S THE LARAMY PROJECT.

THAT WAS A PLAY IN THE TECTONIC THEATER.

THEY WENT OUT TO LARAMIE AND INTERVIEWED PEOPLE JUST TO GET THEIR REACTIONS.

FROM THAT, THEY DEVELOPED THE LARAMIE PROJECT WHICH IS THE SECOND-MOST PRODUCED PLAY IN THE UNITED STATES BOTH FROM HIGH SCHOOLS, COLLEGES, ADULT THEATER GROUPS, ET CETERA.

AND THEN THEY ACTUALLY WENT BACK TEN YEARS LATER AND DID THE SECOND PLAY CALLED 'LARAMIE PROJECT: TEN YEARS LATER' AND WENT BACK AND FOUND OUT IF ATTITUDES HAD CHANGED AND IF IDEAS AND ACCEPTANCE HAD GOTTEN BETTER.

I HEARD YOU TALK ABOUT THE FACT THAT YOU'RE CONCERNED ABOUT THE CURRENT POLITICAL ENVIRONMENT AND THE IMPACT IT COULD HAVE ON WHAT YOU'VE BEEN DOING IN MATTHEW'S MEMORY.

WHY ARE YOU CONCERNED?

WELL, WE WERE MAKING SUCH PROGRESS UNDER THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION NOT ONLY IN LEGISLATIVE AND LEGAL SENSE BUT IN A MORAL SENSE, I THINK OF IT.

PEOPLE BEGAN TO UNDERSTAND AND ACCEPT THE GAY COMMUNITIES AND ALL MINORITIES AS UNDERSTANDING.

WE'RE ALL JUST TRYING TO LIVE OUR LIVES JUST THE SAME AS I SAID, WE'RE JUST THE SAME.

TO FEEL SAFE AND SECURE, LOVED, AND BE LOVED IN RETURN.

REALLY NO DIFFERENCE.

OBAMA PUT IN MANY THINGS WITH EXECUTIVE ORDER OR SOME KIND OF REGULATION TO PROTECT LGBT STUDENTS AND WORKERS THAT NOW HAVE BEEN TURNED BACK.

AND I'M WORRIED THAT NOT ONLY ARE THEY DOING IT IN A REGULATORY SENSE BUT THEY'RE DOING IT IN THE WAY THEY TALK ABOUT THE GAY COMMUNITY AND NOT JUST THE GAY COMMUNITY BUT IMMIGRANTS, WOMEN, PEOPLE OF COLOR.

IT JUST FEELS LIKE EVERYTHING IS TOPSY-TURVY NOW LIKE WE'VE LITERALLY GONE BACK TO THE 50s WHERE THERE WAS NO ACCEPTANCE OF ANYBODY BUT WHITE CHRISTIAN MEN.

WHAT DO YOU THINK WE NEED TO DO ABOUT THAT?

I SHOULD INTERJECT BECAUSE I SAW A COMMENT FROM SOMEBODY FROM THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION SAYING IF YOU LOOK TO CANDIDATE TRUMP'S COMMENTS, HE AT ONE POINT IN TIME SAID LGBTQ FOLKS WILL DO WELL UNDER MY ADMINISTRATION.

YEAH.

AND THEY'VE SAID GIVE THE ADMINISTRATION A CHANCE.

SO, THAT'S THE RESPONSE YOU'VE HEARD FROM THEM.

WHAT DO YOU THINK WE NEED TO DO?

THAT WAS TRUMP'S PROMISE BUT IT WASN'T VICE PRESIDENT PENCE'S PROMISE OR ATTORNEY GENERAL SESSIONS' PROMISE OR REX TILLERSON'S PROMISE OR ANYBODY IN THE CABINET'S PROMISE.

THEY HAVE THE DISTINCT RECORD OF BEING ANTI-GAY, THE VICE PRESIDENT IN PARTICULAR.

TRUMP MAY HAVE JUST TALKED A LOT.

BUT HIS FOLKS AROUND HIM HAD OPINIONS AND THEY'VE BEEN GIVING THOSE OPINIONS AND THOSE APPOINTMENT RECOMMENDATIONS TO HIM.

SO --

THIS IS A DIFFICULT QUESTION.

BUT SOMETIMES I THINK IT CAN BE HELPFUL.

IF YOU HAD SOME TIME TO SIT DOWN WITH MEMBERS OF THE ADMINISTRATION WHO YOU FEEL HAVE NOT BEEN DOING WHAT THEY SHOULD BE DOING, WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO THEM?

I WOULDN'T TALK TO THEM BECAUSE THEY ARE -- THEIR MIND'S ALREADY MADE UP.

THEY'RE NOT GOING TO CHANGE.

THAT'S WHY THEY'RE IN THERE.

WE HAD EXPERIENCE WITH TALKING TO THEM, SESSIONS AND PENCE WHEN THEY WERE IN CONGRESS AND TRYING TO DO THE HATE CRIME LEGISLATION.

THEY'RE SO ATTACHED TO THIS IDEA THAT THE GAY COMMUNITY IS LESS THAN AND NOT DESERVING OF THAT IT WAS JUST -- IT WAS POINTLESS.

NOW, IN A LARGER SENSE, YES, THEY SAY PEOPLE ARE EQUAL AND DESERVE, YOU KNOW, SAFETY AND ALL THAT.

BUT WHEN THEY TRY TO SAY YOU CAN STILL FIRE THEM FROM THEIR JOBS OR THAT GAY MARRIAGE SHOULDN'T BE ALLOWED, THAT'S NOT SENDING A MESSAGE OF INCLUSIVENESS THAT THIS COUNTRY SHOULD BE.

I'M NOT SURE THAT WE COULD IN ANY WAY CHANGE THEIR MIND.

THERE IS A SEGMENT OF SOCIETY THAT JUST IS NOT ON BOARD WITH THAT.

HOPEFULLY THE CONVERSATION THAT YOU'RE DRIVING WITH CONTINUE.

AND WE'LL GET WHERE WE NEED TO BE.

WE HOPE SO.

I WANT TO THANK YOU BOTH FOR SPENDING TIME.

WE APPRECIATE WHAT YOU'VE BEEN DOING.

YOU BOTH BE WELL.

THANKS.

> BEFORE WE LET YOU GO TONIGHT, LET ME TELL YOU ABOUT A WONDERFUL EXTENSION TO 'METROFOCUS,' OUR NEW TWICE-WEEKLY PODCAST WITH ME AS YOUR HOST.

ON IT, WE'LL GET TO EXPLORE IN-DEPTH CONVERSATIONS THAT ARE A LITTLE LESS FILTERED THAN THEY ARE ON TELEVISION AND A LOT MORE INTIMATE.

ON THE PODCAST, I'LL TALK TO AN ENTIRELY DIFFERENT SET OF GUESTS WITH AN ENTIRELY DIFFERENT ATTITUDE.

THE PRICE OF JOINING THIS PODCAST, COMPLETE WITH NEW YORKERS FROM THE STREETS TO CITY HALL AND FROM WALL STREET TO BROADWAY, ABSOLUTELY FREE.

SO, HEAD ON OVER TO ITUNES OR SOUND CLOUD TO JOIN ME IN THIS ECLECTIC MIX OF PERSONALITIES AS WE EXPLORE OUR CITY WITH UNIQUE 'METROFOCUS.'

FRESH NEW CONTENT EVERY TUESDAY AND THURSDAY.

I'LL SEE YOU THERE.

> 'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY JAMES AND MERRYL TISCH, SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III, THE SYLVIA A. AND SIMON B.

POYTA PROGRAMMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT ANTI-SEMITISM, BERNARD AND IRENE SCHWARTZ, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG, AND BY --

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Denise Schwartz, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Janet Prindle Seidler, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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