MetroFocus: June 29, 2020

In today’s polarized America, women of color are claiming power by running for political office and PBS is uplifting their voices in an important and timely two-part documentary series. ‘And She Could Be Next’ chronicles the story of a defiant movement of women of color who are transforming American politics from the ground up. The film, shot by a creative team comprised entirely of women filmmakers of color, focuses not just on politicians but also on the organizers behind the scenes, whose role in affecting change is often overlooked. Tonight, ‘And She Could Be Next’ director- Iranian documentary filmmaker Marjan Safinia and Nse Ufot, Executive Director of The New Georgia Project, who is featured in the film join us for an inspiring discussion on whether democracy itself can be preserved —and made stronger— by those most marginalized. ‘And She Could Be Next’ makes its world premiere on PBS and at pov.org Monday, June 29th and Tuesday, June 30th at 9 pm (check local listings) and is part of PBS’ summer “Trailblazers” initiative celebrating the centennial of the women’s vote and illuminating the stories of modern women who continue to make their voices heard to bring about change.

TRANSCRIPT

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> THIS IS 'METROFOCUS' WITH RAFAEL PI ROMAN, JACK FORD AND JENA FLANNIGAN.

'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY JAMES AND PER RYLL TISCH, SUE AND EDWARD WACHENHEIM III AND THE PROGRAMMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT ANTISEMITISM, BERNARD AND IRENE SCHWARTZ, ROSALIND P.

WALTER, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG AND BY --

> GOOD EVENING, AND WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS.'

I'M JENA FLANNIGAN.

WOMEN OF COLOR HAVE LONG PLAYED AN OUTSIDE ROLE IN THE WORLD OF AMERICAN POLITICS AND COMMUNITY ACTIVISM, BUT IT WASN'T UNTIL RECENTLY THAT THEY'VE GONE FROM BEING THE ONES MAKING IT HAPPEN BEHIND THE SCENES TO THE ONES WHO ARE RUNNING FOR OFFICE AND WINNING.

ALL THAT CHANGED IN 2018 WHEN AN UNPRECEDENTED NUMBER OF BLACK, BROWN AND MUSLIM WOMEN FROM ACROSS THE COUNTRY MADE THE LEAP INTO ELECTORAL POLITICS TRANSFORMING COUNTY BOARD, STATE CAPITALS AND THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES.

THE ENERGY OF THAT MOMENT AND THE OBSTACLES IN THE WAY OF IT BEING REPEATED IS THE SUBJECT OF A NEW TWO-PART POV DOCUMENTARY SERIES, 'AND SHE COULD BE NEXT' FOLLOWS GRASSROOTS ORGANIZERS AND CANDIDATES SUCH AS STACY ABRAMS, AND RASHIDA TALIB AS THEY MAKE A RUN FOR HISTORY.

HERE IS A PREVIEW.

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IN THE HISTORY OF THIS COUNTRY, ANY GUESSES OUT OF 11,000 WHO SERVED IN THE UNITED STATES OF CONGRESS.

HOW MANY OF WOMEN OF COLOR HAVE SERVED?

THERE'S THIS ASSUMPTION THAT BLACK PEOPLE DON'T VOTE, THAT LATINOS AREN'T AMERICANS AND THAT YOUNG PEOPLE ARE WHOLLY UNRELIABLE.

I WANT YOU TO UNDERSTAND THAT WHO I AM IS THE PRODUCT OF A MOVEMENT.

THERE IS NO ONE ON THE INSIDE THAT LOOKS LIKE ME.

PEOPLE ASPIRING TO BE LEADERS IN THIS COUNTRY, THEY NEED TO GO THROUGH WOMEN OF COLOR BECAUSE WE'RE MAKING OUR VOICES KNOWN.

[ SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE ]

WHEN I SAY I'M A SOCIAL JUSTICE SPEAKER, I'M A MAMA FOR JUSTICE AND ALL THESE THINGS AND THAT'S WHERE I'M SAYING I'M AMERICAN.

I DON'T MEAN TO SAY IT.

I ACT LIKE AN AMERICAN.

? CANDIDATES DO NOT NORMALLY TALK TO PEOPLE IN THE ASIAN-AMERICAN COMMUNITY BECAUSE HISTORICALLY SPEAKING WE ARE THE COMMUNITY THAT TURNS OUT TO VOTE AT THE LOWEST RATE.

SO WE WANT TO CHANGE THAT HERE TODAY.

. [ SPEAKING FOR[ SPEAKING FOREIG]

WE'RE NOT ASKING FOR PERMISSION TO DO WHAT WE NEED TO DO, WE'RE JUST GOING TO DO IT.

THE TRADITIONAL NOTION OF WHAT'S POSSIBLE IN AMERICAN POLITICS ARE BEING CHALLENGED EVERY DAY.

ELECTIONS ARE IMPORTANT.

OUR LIVES ARE ON THE LINE.

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SISTERS AND BROTHER, IT'S ABOUT BUILDING POWER IN OUR COMMUNITY TO WIN WHAT IS RIGHT.

EXCEPT THE COMMUNITIES THAT NEED TO BE BROUGHT IN REFLECT THE NEW AMERICAN MAJORITY, THEY'RE YOUNG, THEY'RE BROWN.

THEY MIGHT SPEAK ANOTHER LANGUAGE AND THERE'S A LOT OF US.

I'M EXCITED ABOUT THE FACT THAT WOMEN OF COLOR ARE NOW COMING INTO OUR OWN THAT ARE STANDING UP AND TAKING OUR RIGHTFUL PLACE IN THE PANTHEON OF LEADERSHIP AND WE'RE CHANGING WHAT THE FACE OF LEADERSHIP LOOKS LIKE.

IT IS A NEW DAY, THERE'S A NEW COALITION AND ULTIMATELY WE'LL PUSH THIS COUNTRY FORWARD BECAUSE THERE ARE MORE OF US THAN THOSE THAT SEEK TO DO US HARM.

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AND JOINING ME NOW IS THE CO-DIRECTOR AND CO-PRODUCER OF 'AND SHE COULD BE NEXT,' MARJAN SAFINIA AND UNISE UFA, THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE NEW GEORGIA PROJECT AND ONE OF THE WOMEN FEATURED IN THE DOCUMENTARY SERIES.

LADY, WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS'.

THANK YOU, JENA.

THANK YOU.

ABSOLUTELY.

SO MARJAN, I WANT TO START WITH YOU AND ASK WHAT WAS THE GENESIS OF THIS DOCUMENTARY BECAUSE WHILE SOME OF THESE WOMEN THAT WE SEE ARE NOW HOUSEHOLD NAMES IN POLITICS, AT THE TIME THAT WE MEET THEM IN THIS FILM THAT ARE BORDER LINE UNKNOWNS AT LEAST ON THE NATIONAL STAGE?

YEAH.

I MEAN, IT WAS BORN OUT OF WANTING TO MAKE AN EXPLORATION OF THIS KIND OF INCREDIBLY POLITICAL TIME IN WHICH WE FIND OURSELVES IN THIS COUNTRY, WHERE WE SEE THIS VERY RAPID DEMOGRAPHIC SHIFT HAPPENING, AND TRYING TO RECONCILE AN AMERICA THAT LOOKS SO DIFFERENT WITH A LEADERSHIP THAT LOOKS SO THE SAME AS IT HAS BEEN FOREVER.

SO THAT WAS SORT OF THE GENESIS OF WANTING TO UNDERSTAND AND EXPLORE, YOU KNOW, THE POWER PARADIGM AND HOW THAT -- A CALL TO CHANGE THAT COMING FROM THE GRASSROOTS IN A TIME WHEN AMERICA'S NOT THE AMERICA OF THE 1950s, RIGHT?

SO THAT'S WHERE WE STARTED AND THEN, YOU KNOW, WE -- WE'RE JUST GOING TO PAT OURSELVES ON THE BACK.

WE HAVE VERY GOOD PICKERS AND WE HAVE EXTRAORDINARY WOMEN AND NONE OF US KNEW THAT THEY WOULD ALL DO SO WELL, BUT THEY DID AND I THINK IT'S BECAUSE OF THE WAY THAT THEY RAN THEIR CAMPAIGN AND UNDERSTOOD THE POLITICAL MOMENT AND LEANED INTO SPEAKING DIRECTLY TO THE EXPERIENCE OF SO MANY AMERICANS THAT ARE COMPLETELY UNSEEN.

SORT OF BUILDING OFF OF THAT NOTION OF PICKING REALLY GOOD CANDIDATES, IT SEEMS AS IF WATCHING THE FILM JUST SEEING THE PASSION AND THE BREADTH AND DEPTH OF KNOWLEDGE OF NOT ONLY THE ISSUE, BUT THE COMMUNITIES THEY'RE SERVING, AND I'M WONDERING WHAT YOUR PERSPECTIVE, WHAT MAKES WOMEN OF COLOR PARTICULARLY GOOD CANDIDATES?

WHAT MAKES WOMEN OF COLOR PARTICULARLY GOOD CANDIDATES?

ONE, I THINK THAT WHEN WE LOOK BACK AT HOW OUR COMMUNITY IS STRUCTURED AND HOW WE TAKE CARE OF ONE ANOTHER, HOW OUR YOUNG PEOPLE ARE EDUCATED AND HOW RESOURCES GET DISTRIBUTED AND HOW OUR FAITH COMMUNITIES ARE STRUCTURED AND POWERED.

IT IS OFTEN WOMEN AND WOMEN OF COLOR WHO ARE AT THE CENTER OF THAT AND THE TRUTH IS THAT WOMEN OF COLOR HAVE BEEN LEADING AND MOST OF OUR MOST IMPORTANT INSTITUTIONS FOR QUITE SOME TIME.

IT'S JUST THAT THEIR LEADERSHIP IS NOT RECOGNIZED, THAT WE OFTEN LEVERAGE THEIR LABOR IN ORDER TO GET WIND, BUT RARELY DID THEY GET THE SORT OF RECOGNITION ABOUT HOW CRITICAL THEIR WORK IS AND THEIR LEADERSHIP IS TO ALL OF OUR INSTITUTIONS AND SO IF YOU'VE BEEN DOING THE WORK ANYWAY, AND AGAIN, OFTENTIMES IN THE SHADOWS OR AS AN UNCREDITED SUPPORTER OR UNCREDITED CONTRIBUTOR.

YOU IN WE ARE JUST RUNNING AND WINNING ELECTIONS AND TAKING OUR SEAT AT DIFFERENT TABLES.

WELL, IT'S INTERESTING THAT YOU SAY THAT WOMEN OF COLOR HAVE BEEN PART OF INSTITUTIONS AND THAT PEOPLE HAVE BEEN SORT OF BUILDING OFF OF THEIR LABOR, I BELIEVE IS HOW YOU PHRASED IT.

I'M WONDERING WHY IT'S IMPORTANT TO HAVE WOMEN OF COLOR IN AT LEAST VISIBLE LEADERSHIP POSITIONS.

LIKE BEING A CANDIDATE AND ACTUALLY HOLDING POLITICAL OFFICE.

I THINK IT'S IMPORTANT TO -- FOR YOUNG PEOPLE, ACTUALLY, TO BE ABLE TO SEE OURSELVES IN LEADERSHIP AND IN VARYIOUS ROLES.

THE IDEA THAT WOMEN CAN'T DO ANYTHING OR WOMEN OF COLOR CAN'T DO ANYTHING, I THINK, IS OFTEN SORT OF SUPPORTED BY THE IDEA THAT YOU -- WE DON'T SEE THEM DOING THOSE ROLES AND SO THERE IS THIS BELIEF THAT IT'S NOT POSSIBLE AND SO, YOU KNOW, WHILE REPRESENTATION ISN'T EVERYTHING, IT ABSOLUTELY MATTERS.

SPEAKING OF REPRESENTATION, MARJAN, I WANT TO TURN SORT OF TO THE CREATION OF THIS FILM BECAUSE NOT ONLY DOES IT CENTER ON CANDIDATES, THESE WOMEN OF COLOR, BUT YOU ALSO SEE, OF COURSE, A LOT OF THE TEAMS AND A LOT OF VERY KNOWLEDGEABLE AND PASSIONATE WOMEN OF COLOR, AS WELL AND WHAT I THOUGHT WAS INTERESTING IS THAT THIS FILM HAS AN ENTIRELY ACCREDITING MADE UP ENTIRELY OF WOMEN OF COLOR.

WHY WAS THAT IMPORTANT TO DO?

WELL, IN OUR BUSINESS, AS WELL, I THINK THAT IN STORYTELLING AND DOCUMENTARY AND JOURNALISM, WE DEFINE AND WE SORT OF INFORM AND DEFINE THINGS FOR THE MASS PUBLIC AND UNFORTUNATELY CERTAINLY IN THE DOCUMENTARY FIELD FOR A LONG, LONG TIME, FOREVER, WHEN FILMS ARE SORT OF FOCUSED ON COMMUNITIES OF COLOR THEY ARE OFTEN CALLED FROM A WHITE MALE PHASE, AND THEY ARE ALSO TOLD FROM A VICTIM OR A SET OR COMMUNIST PEOPLE THAT NEED SAVING.

THAT'S NOT OUR EXPERIENCE, AND THEY'RE WOMEN OF COLOR OF MANY DIFFERENT KINDS AND THE PEOPLE WHO ARE DEFINED AS OTHERS IN MANY OTHER WAYS AND WE ARE THE NEW AMERICAN MAJORITY.

WE ARE TELLING OUR OWN STORY, RIGHT?

THIS IS OUR MOMENT, TOO AND IT IS INTERNAL POLITICAL ACTS OF DEFIANCE OF OUR OWN TO PUSH BACK AGAINST THE INDUSTRY THAT IS FUNDED BY WHITE MEN TO SAY, YOU KNOW, WE NEED TO BE DOING BETTER.

SO THAT'S ONE REASON, THE OTHER REASON IS BECAUSE OF WHO WE ARE AND BECAUSE WE HAVE SHARED THIS EXPERIENCE WITH THE PARTICULAR STORIES THEY'RE TELLING WE'RE ABLE TO GET MORE QUICKLY TO THE KIND OF INTIMACY AND AUTHENTICITY THAT YOU NEED THAT A GOOD DOCUMENTARY RELIES ON.

SO WE MADE REALLY SURE THAT WE WORKED WITH AN INCREDIBLE TEAM OF FIELD DIRECTORS BECAUSE THERE WAS NO WAY TO COVER THE STORY IN ALL OF THE PLACES AT ONE TIME AND ALL OF THE FIELD DIRECTORS WERE ALSO FROM THE STORY IT WILLERS AND WE WERE CLOSELY MATCHED WITH THE STORIES THAT THEY WERE GOING IN TO TELL, AND I THINK YOU SEE IT IN THE RESULTS.

YOU KNOW, FROM THE FIRST FRAME LITERALLY TO THE LAST YOU SEE WOMEN OF COLOR IN POWER AND BRILLIANT, STRATEGIC AND YOU SEE THEIR JOY.

YOU SEE THEIR LABOR AND YOU LEARN THEIR NAMES.

I JUST WANT TO SAY, WE HAVE HER HERE, AND FOR US IT WAS IMPORTANT TO HAVE THE CANDIDATE ASKS THAT'S HOW POLITICS ACTUALLY WORKS, RIGHT?

WITHOUT THE ARMIES OF ENSES OF THE WORLD IT SIMPLY COULDN'T HAPPEN.

FOR US, WHO ARE ALL THESE ORGANIZERS AND WHO WHERE DO WE ALL FIT IN TO A MOVEMENT OF CLAIMING POWER?

AND I HAVE A BIT OF A -- MAYBE A SUPER COMPLICATED, TYPICAL QUESTION, BUT DO I HAVE TO ASK.

THIS FILM, OF COURSE, WOULD HAVE BEEN FILMED LEADING UP TO THAT INFO INFAMOUS, 2018 ELECTION AND IT'S PREMIERING IN THE SUMMER OF 2020 AND I'M WONDERING IF SEEING THIS FILL AM THROUGH THE LENS OF WHAT WE'VE BEEN THROUGH OVER THE THE PAST FIVE, SIX MONTHS OF THIS YEAR, WHAT DO YOU THINK MAKES THIS FILM RESONATE NOW IN A WAY THAT MIGHT BE MORE IMPACTFUL THAN IT WOULD HAVE HAD THIS JUST BEEN A REGULAR ELECTION CYCLE?

I THINK THAT ONE OF THE IMPORTANT STORIES THAT MARJAN CREATES AND IS TELLING IS HOW WE WIN, RIGHT?

AND NOT DEALING WITH LOSSES AND TRYING TO REFRAME THEM AS VICTORIES, BUT WHAT IT TAKES TO ACTUALLY WIN.

THAT IN THE SPACE OF WHAT SEEM RIGHT, IMPOSSIBLE ODDS AND DIRECT ATTACKS LIKE PERSONALLY AND PROFESSIONALLY, WITNESSING ENEMIES OF DEMOCRACY TRIED TO DISMANTLE OUR ELECTION'S INFRASTRUCTURE, POLICE VIOLENCE AND OTHER FORMS OF STATE VIOLENCE THAT THERE ARE PEOPLE, THERE ARE WOMEN IN COMMUNITIES ALL ACROSS THIS COUNTRY WHO ARE WORKING TO BUILD THE ORGANIZATION AND BUILD THE INSTITUTIONS THAT ARE NECESSARY FOR US TO WIN, ONE.

TWO, I THINK THAT DEBUNKING THE MYTH THAT WE NEED SOME MESONIC POLITICAL CANDIDATE IN ORDER TO SAVE US, THAT THERE WILL BE NO MESSIAH AND THAT WE ARE LITERALLY THE ONES THAT ARE SAVING OURSELVES.

THAT WE ARE TAKING CARE OF OURSELVES AND WE'RE BUILDING POWER IN OUR COMMUNITIES, AND I THINK THAT THAT'S SUCH AN IMPORTANT LESSON FOR NOW, RIGHT?

THERE'S A DEMAND FOR WHO IS THE LEADER AND WHO IS THE SPOKESPERSON FOR YOUR MOVEMENT AND THE RECOGNITION THAT WE ARE LEADER FULL AND THAT THERE ARE TONS OF LEADERS IN OUR COMMUNITIES AND IT'S SUPPORTING ONE ANOTHER.

IT'S ENCOURAGING PEOPLE TO TAP INTO THEIR OWN LEADERSHIPS AND IT'S HOW WE'RE GOING TO WIN AND GET ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THIS.

I'M SPEAKING WITH INSE UFA, THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE NEW GEORGIA PROJECT AND ONE OF THE WOMEN FEATURED IN THE POV DOCUMENTARY SERIES 'AND SHE COULD BE NEXT Q.'

I AM ALSO JOINED BY THE CO-DIRECTOR AND CO-PRODUCER OF 'AND SHE COULD BE NEXT' MARJAN SAFINIA.

I WANT TO STAY WITH WHAT YOU WERE TALKING ABOUT FOR A MOMENT AND JUST ASK WITH ALL OF THE ISSUES THAT WE HAVE RIGHT NOW AND HOW THIS FILM SORT OF FITS INTO THIS POLITICAL AND CULTURAL MOMENT THAT WE'RE LIVING THROUGH, WE DO GET A CHANCE TO SEE NOT ONLY THE LEAD-UP TO THE ELECTIONS, BUT WHAT HAPPENS AFTER WARD FOR SOME OF THE CANDIDATES AND ONE OF THOSE ISSUE, OF COURSE, IS VOTER SUPPRESSION WHICH SEEMS, AT LEAST IN THE FILM TO BE VERY PREVALENT IN COMMUNITIES OF COLOR AND I'M WONDERING WHAT ARE YOUR CONCERNS AROUND THAT SUBJECT GOING IN TO THIS VERY CONTENTIOUS, NATIONAL ELECTION.

I THINK ONE OF MY CONCERNS IS THAT WE HAVE NOT LEARNED THE RIGHT LESSONS FROM THE PAST AND LAST ELECTION.

ONE, YOU CANNOT FIX WHAT YOU HAVE NOT FACED AND I THINK THAT THERE ARE PEOPLE WATCHING WHAT HAPPENED IN THE GEORGIA JUNE PRIMARIES, WHO ARE WATCHING WHAT HAPPENED IN THE KENTUCKY PRIMARIES AND HAVE BEEN STUNNED, STUNNED INTO INACTION AND WHAT I THINK IS REALLY IMPORTANT IS THAT WE NEED TO SHAKE OUT OF IT AND ACKNOWLEDGE THIS IS HAPPENING, THAT THE DEMOGRAPHIC SHIFT THAT IS HAPPENING IN OUR COUNTRY AND THAT ARE IN THE MIDDLE OF A PANDEMIC AND HAVING LOST 100,000 AMERICANS IN THE PAST HUNDRED DAYS THAT IT FEELS LIKE A LOT, RIGHT?

AND I THINK THAT ONE OF THE THINGS THAT WILL BECOME CLEAR AFTER HAVING WATCHED THE DOCUMENTARY IS THAT EVERYONE NEEDS A POLITICAL HOME, THAT ONCE YOU HAVE IDENTIFIED WHAT THE ISSUES ARE THAT MATTER TO YOU, THAT YOU NEED TO LINK UP WITH YOUR PEOPLE SO THAT IN THE SOUTH AND IN THE BLACK CHURCH THEY SAY THAT YOU CAN CONTRIBUTE YOUR TIME, YOUR TALENT, OR YOUR TREASURE IN SERVICE OF THE MISSION, IN SERVICE OF LIBERATION, AND SO ONE OF THE BIGGEST THINGS THAT WE ARE GOING TO HAVE TO FACE AND THAT WE ARE GOING TO HAVE TO OVERCOME IS VOTER SUPPRESSION AND THAT FOR, IF YOU ARE, YOU KNOW, AN IMMIGRATION VOTER.

ARE, IF YOU ARE AN EDUCATION VOTER AND IF YOU ARE A HEALTHCARE VOTER, AND IF YOU ARE A PUBLIC SAFETY VOTER AND THESE ARE THE ISSUES THAT ARE SUPER IMPORTANT TO YOU, THESE ARE THE THINGS THAT KEEP YOU UP AT NIGHT OR THEY FORM THE SORT OF HOPE THAT YOU HAVE FOR YOURSELF AND YOUR FAMILY THAT WE CAN'T MAKE PROGRESS ON ANY OF THOSE ISSUES UNLESS WE ADDRESS VOTER SUPPRESSION AND NOT ONLY DO WE KNOW THAT, BUT THE ENEMIES OF PROGRESS KNOW THAT, AS WELL, WHICH IS WHY THEY'RE WORKING VERY HARD TO DISMANTLE AND DESTROY THE VERY INFRASTRUCTURE THAT HOLDS UP OUR DEMOCRACY.

MARJAN, SHE MAKES AN EXCELLENT POINT OF YOU'VE GOT TO FIND YOUR PEOPLE, AND I'M WONDERING IF YOU AS A PRODUCER FOR THIS FILM CONSIDER IT TO BE SOMETHING THAT MIGHT ENERGIZE MORE PEOPLE TO FIND THEIR PEOPLE IN THE FORM OF MORE GRASSROOTS ORGANIZING.

YEAH.

LIKE THAT'S LITERALLY THE REASON FOR THE LAST THREE YEARS.

IT'S INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT AND I'LL JUST TELL YOU A SMALL PERSONAL STORY.

I'M FROM IRAN.

I'VE BE I'VE BEEN AN IMMIGRANT MY WHOLE LIFE, FIRST IN THE UNITED KINGDOM AND NOW HERE AND THE ONLY THING I COULDN'T DO WAS VOTE AND DO JURY SERVICE.

IN 2016 THAT WASN'T AN OPTION FOR ME ANYMORE IN ANY WAY AND I BECAME A CITIZEN.

THE MORNING AFTER CANDIDATE TRUMP HAD THE BAN ON ENTERING THE COUNTRY BECAUSE IT BROUGHT -- THE POLICY BECAME PERSONAL FOR ME.

EVERYONE HAS SOMETHING THAT REALLY MATTERS TO THEM, RIGHT?

SINCE HAVING BECOME A CITIZEN, I'VE RUN A MILE A MOMENT INTO FULL-BLOWN POLITICAL BEHAVIOR BECAUSE I LEARNED TO UNDERSTAND THE TOOLS OF HOW DEMOCRACY WORKS.

VOTING IS SUPER IMPORTANT.

WE UNDERSTAND IT IS SUPER IMPORTANT AND IT'S THE BASELINE AND THE VALUE OF FINDING A POLITICAL HOME LIKE NEW GEORGIA POLITICS AND IT IS CONSIDERED LITERALLY IN EVERY STATE THAT TOGETHER YOU CAN DECIPHER THE WHAT IS OFTEN A COMPLICATED PATH WAY OF ENGAGEMENT AND YOU CAN LITERALLY FIGURE OUT WHAT'S ON THE AGENDA AND THEY'RE QUITE DULL, THESE IDEAS AND THAT'S WHERE THE DECISIONS HAPPEN.

THEY HAPPEN IN THOSE DULL ROOMS, RIGHT?

AND WHEN WE DON'T PARTICIPATE IN THAT THEN WE JUST TAKE THE SIDELINE SEAT AND THEN WE HAVE TO PAY FOR THE CONSEQUENCE OF DECISIONS THAT ARE MADE WITHOUT OUR VOICE, AND SO, YOU KNOW, WHAT WE REALLY HOPE PEOPLE WILL DO BECAUSE OF THE SERIES AIRS NEXT WEEK.

WE HAVE FOUR OR FIVE MONTHS LEFT IN THE ELECTION GIVEN IF THE ELECTION STAYS ON TRACK AND IT'S AN INCREDIBLE OPPORTUNITY FOR PEOPLE TO PLUG INTO THE POLITICAL HOMES AND TO UNDERSTAND THE GRAVITY OF THIS MOMENT THAT WE'RE FACING.

EVERYTHING THAT'S HAPPENED SO FAR IN 2020 HAS CRANKED IT UP TO A 12.

IT WAS IMPORTANT BEFORE, AND IT COULD NOT BE IMPORTANT IN THIS MOMENT, SO WE HOPE THAT EVERYBODY SEES THE ROLE -- THERE'S AN ORGANIZER IN ALL OF US AND IT HAS A NETWORK AND SOME INFLUENCE AND HAS A GROUP OF PEOPLE THAT WE ARE ALREADY IN COMMUNITY WITH AND COLLECTIVELY WE HAVE TO HELP EACH OTHER TO FIGHT THIS MOMENT BECAUSE I CAN'T BE FREE AND I'M NOT LIBERATED UNTIL EVERYONE IS LIBERATED, AND I THINK THAT'S THE VISION FOR THE AMERICA THAT WE ALL WANT TO LIVE IN, AND WE HAVE TO TAKE IT BACK.

BEE HAVE TO CLAIM THAT POWER BACK.

WELL, BUILDING ON THE IDEA OF TAKING POWER BACK, SORT OF A TWOFOLD QUESTION, ONE IS THAT, IT'S NOT REALLY A SECRET AND THE CANDIDATES THAT YOU FOLLOW TEND TO BE NOT ONLY DEMOCRAT, BUT PROGRESSIVE, AND YOU COULD ASK THE QUESTION THAT IS THIS FILM ALSO PROPAGANDA, IF YOU WILL FOR A PARTICULAR POLITICAL PARTY, BUT ALSO ANOTHER QUESTION IS WE ALSO SEE FOR EXAMPLE, THAT SHE WAS -- BECAUSE SHE WAS ABLE TO COMMUNICATE TO THE MUSLIM COMMUNITY IN A WAY THAT OTHER PEOPLE HADN'T AND OF COURSE, THAT MADE HER STAND OUT, BUT SOME PEOPLE MIGHT ARGUE AND SAY OH, BUT, OF COURSE, THE MUSLIM COMMUNITY WAS GOING TO SUPPORT HER, SHE'S ONE OF THEIR OWN, BUT HOW DO YOU BALANCE A CANDIDATE WHO IS A WOMAN OF COLOR, ET CETERA, FROM NOT JUST GETTING INTO WHAT IS CONSIDERED TO BE IDENTITY POLITICS AND SECOND OF ALL, HOW DO YOU BALANCE A FILM IN SHOWING HOW TO GET INVOLVED IN POLITICS BECAUSE THERE ARE PEOPLE OF COLOR WHO ARE GRASSROOTS ORGANIZING AND RUNNING FOR OFFICE AS REPUBLICANS.

THAT'S ABSOLUTELY TRUE AND THERE ARE FAR FEWER OF THEM.

AT THE HEAD WHAT WE WANTED TO EXPLORE WAS THIS MOMENT OF CHANGE WHEN DEMOGRAPHICS ARE MEETING KIND OF A CALL FOR A MORE REFLECTIVE AND INCLUSIVE AND JUST LEADERSHIP.

WE DIDN'T KNOW THIS WHEN WE STARTED, BUT WHEN WE LOOK AT THE RESULTS OF THE 2018 ELECTION AND DEMOCRATS SHRUNK THE PERCENTAGE OF WHITE MEN IN LEADERSHIP AND CONGRESS AND REPUBLICANS ACTUALLY GREW THE NUMBER OF WHITE MEN IN CONGRESS IN 2018, RIGHT?

THE STORY WE WANTED TO EXPLORE, WE SET OUT TO EXPLORE WAS HAPPENING MORE ON ONE SIDE THAN THE OTHER.

I REJECT ANYONE WHO SAYS IT'S A PIECE OF PROPAGANDA BECAUSE I GUARANTEE YOU THAT THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY DIDN'T WRITE ME A CHECK AND I WORKED VERY HARD FOR EVERY PENNY OF THIS FILM.

RASHIDA IS A MUSLIM AND SHE IS ONE OF THE FIRST FEW MUSLIM WOMEN ELECTED TO OUR CONGRESS AND THE DISTRICT THAT SHE'S ELECTED TO REPRESENT IS MAJORITY AFRICAN-AMERICAN AND SHE HAS A VERY SMALL SLIVER OF MUSLIMS WHO LIVE IN HER COMMUNITY.

SO WE DON'T JUST ASK FOR OURSELVES, RIGHT?

THE THERE'S A LINE IN THE BEGINNING OF THE FILM, WHEN YOU FATEIGHT BLACK WOMEN YOU FIGHT FOR EVERYBODY'S ISSUES AND THE INTERSECTION OF RACE AND GENDER EQUATES REALLY POOR OUTCOMES WHEN YOU LOOK AT EDUCATION AND WHEN YOU LOOK AT HEALTH CARE.

SO WE DON'T BELIEVE THAT YOU CAN HAVE AN INTELLIGENT CONVERSATION ABOUT THIS POLITICAL MOMENT WITHOUT THAT INTERSECTION OF RACE AND GENDER AND RASHID A IN FACT, IS A POSTER PERSON FOR IDENTITY POLITICS AND THERE'S NO WAY SHE COULD HAVE WANTED ARAB-AMERICANS TO VOTE FOR HER.

THOUSANDS OF BLACK FOLKS IN HER DISTRICT WHICH IS THE THIRD CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT IN THE COUNTRY VOTED FOR HER BECAUSE SHE'S BEEN FIGHTING FOR THEM AND SHE'S BEEN FIGHTING FOR THEM SINCE BEFORE SHE WAS IN PUBLIC LIFE AND ENTERED CONGRESS.

SHE HAS IDENTITY POLITICS AND THIS IS A TALKING POINT FROM THE RIGHT THAT WE'VE ALL INGESTED AND NOW WE CONSTANTLY REGURGITATE THAT AND I REJECT IT OUTRIGHT.

MY IDENTITY IS WHO I AM AND I AM POLITICAL.

SO IF THOSE TWO THINGS GET MUDDLED TOGETHER, FAIR ENOUGH, BUT IT'S NOT IDENTITY POLITICS.

IT'S ABOUT LIVING AS OUR AUTHENTIC SELF.

WOULD YOU ADD ON TO THAT?

I WAS GOING TO SAY WE CONSTANTLY ENGAGE IN IDENTITY POLITICS, AND SO I AM ALWAYS ENCOURAGING PEOPLE TO INTERROGATE THAT STATEMENT.

A, WE KNOW THAT IT'S A RIGHT-WING TALKING POINT, BUT ALSO, B, WHITE AND MALE ARE ALSO IDENTITIES AND THEY REPRESENT, THEY HAVE AN OUTSIDE INFLUENCE ON OUR POLITICS AND THE DEVELOPMENT OF OUR POLICY.

SO WHEN YOU THINK OF THE PALE MALE STALE MINORITY AND HOW THEIR VOICE AND THEIR VOTE HAVE BEEN COUNTED AND AGAIN, THEY'RE GIVEN MORE WEIGHT THAN THEIR ACTUAL APPROPRIATE REPRESENTATION IN OUR SOCIETY, TO QUOTE, I'M GOING TO LEAN TO AN AFRICAN PROVERB AND PEOPLE WILL LEAN ON ME, BUT IT'S WHAT I DO, UNTIL THE LION LEARNS TO WRITE, THE HUNTER WILL BE THE VICTOR IN EVERY STORY, RIGHT?

AND SO MAKING SURE THAT THOSE WHO ARE DEEPLY IMPACTED BY OUR CURRENT SET OF LAWS AND OUR CURRENT SET OF POLICIES ARE REPRESENTED AT EVERY LEVEL OF GOVERNMENT SO THAT WE CAN HAVE A DEMOCRACY, WE CAN HAVE A COUNTRY AND A STATE THAT WORK FOR ALL OF US SO THAT FAMILIES CAN MOVE FROM JUST BARELY SURVIVING TO THRIVING IS KEY.

IT'S CRITICAL, AND IT IS AT THE CENTER OF THIS BEAUTIFUL STORY THAT MARJAN AND GRACE ARE TELLING.

LADIES, UNFORTUNATELY, WE'LL HAVE TO LEAVE IT THERE, BUT I WANT TO THANK YOU BOTH SO MUCH FOR JOINING ME ON THE SHOW.

WE REALLY APPRECIATE IT AND OF COURSE, 'AND SHE COULD BE NEXT,' A POV TWO-PART DOCUMENTARY SERIES.

PLEASE CHECK IT OUT.

THANK YOU, JENA.

THANK YOU.

THANK YOU.

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'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY JAMES AND PERMERRILL TISCH, FIGHT ANTISEMITISM, BERNARD AND IRENE SCHWARTZ, ROSALIND P.

WALTER, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG AND BY -- ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪

Funders

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, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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