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tv   ACLU Membership Conference - Sen. Elizabeth Warren  CSPAN  June 18, 2018 8:33am-9:02am EDT

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on c-span2. >> massachusetts senator elizabeth warren gave the keynote address a recent american civil liberties union conference. she was introduced by aclu president susan herman. this is 30 minutes. ♪ ♪ >> good afternoon, everybody. thank you. it is my great on earth to be introducing our next speaker today, the persistent senator elizabeth warren. [cheers and applause] >> as most of you know mitch mcconnell and his republican colleagues did stop from reading her warnings about attorney general nominee jeff sessions on the floor of the senate, and
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what senator mcconnell said at the time was she was warned, she was given an explanation. nevertheless, i think you all want to say theexthree words with me -- nevertheless, she persisted. senator warren did persist and to read coretta scott king said letter to millions of people on facebook live, and mitch mcconnell smug victory lap, turned into a mean as you all know. how many of you seen that meme? habit if you've seen on the t-shirts? w many of you have the t-shirt? there you go. how many of you seen the tattoo? [laughing] i think that's a whole idea persistence is an apt description only of that moment that of elizabeth warns career and life. nevertheless, she managed -- go
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ahead, nevertheless, she persisted. she launched the spectacularly academic crinkling 20 years of teaching at harvard law school and become a nationally renowned scholar. when she fought to establish the protection for the right vested interest of wall street and in financial institutions that pushed back. nevertheless, she persisted, and she one picture got the bureau founded. in 2012 senator warren ran for senate against a popular incumbent in a state that it never elected a woman as senator, , nevertheless, she persisted. and she one. and today she is persisting being a bright spot in the congress has become a black hole for civil liberties. among the very many bills that senator warren is sponsoring our bill to reform outdated marijuana policies. [applause] a bill to end discrimination based on sexual orientation in public schools.
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[applause] a bill to improve procedures for handling complaints of sexual harassment and discoloration against congressional employees. [applause] reforming the use of solitary confinement by the bureau of prisons. [applause] and know you like abouthi one, built to protect children affected by immigration enforcement. [cheers and applause] we all know none of these bills were an easy list but nonetheless we want senator warren to persist in pursuing? [applause] i want to tell you i happen to be adding a democratic senators on the morning the figure eht, 2017, and a totally nonpartisan fashion of course. the presiding senator commented it was very lucky to have the president at the aclu in the room, the morning after the been an incident of repression a speech on the floor of the senate. what i told senator warren that they would like to ask you all to ratify.
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i told her the aclu always stand to protect her freedom of speech. what do you think? [applause] what i would like to do now is to invite senator warren to the stage to exercise of freedom of speech right here and now. senator elizabeth warren. [cheers and applause] ♪ ♪ >> hello, aclu. [applause] >> all right. i am so pleased to be here with you this afternoon, at a want to say a very special thank you to your extraordinary leader susan herman. thank you, susan, for all you do. [applause] >> i also want to get a shot of to a person who has shown deep appreciation and commitment for
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the fight for justice, anthony romero. anthony, wherever you are. [applause] i also know that out there we have some folks from aclu and achuse out there. massachusetts aclu? good, okay. all right. let's be blunt. our democracy is under attack. voting and impartial judiciary, free press, the rule of law, the foundations of our democracy are under attack every single day. under attack but not lost. i look out here and i see thousands of deeply committed women and men, people of every race, gender, religion and color. color. people committed to building a
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better future. i look out here and i see donald trump's worse nightmare. [applause] so today i want to talk about the fight to save our democracy. why we fight and who we are fighting for. like a lot of people i started thinking a lot more seriously about democracy after the 2016th election. i went to donald trump's inauguration. i know a lot of people didn't but i wanted to sit with my own eyes. i thought it was important. and i was right. it is numbered into the backs of my eyeballs. every time i get tired, every time i get disaged i close my eyes. donald trump is being sworn in as president, i'm back ready to fight. ready to fight. i'm in the game. [applause] it's true. now, when the history books are
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written donald trump's inauguration, they will talk about his deeply dark speech. talk about how the first fights he picked as president was over the size of his crowd. but they also talk about the next day, about the women's march. [cheers and applause] >> they will talk about the largest march in the history of the world. [applause] >> historians will talk about a renewal of democracy, a strong, resilient democracy. democracy that springs directly from the people. this democracy is led by women in pink hats that organize a largest march in history of the
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world. [applause] it's the marxist led by the pele who rushed to every airport terminal across this country and said no, donald trump, you cannot ban muslims. [cheers and applause] this democracy is led by the scientists marching in the lab coats urging our government to protect us from climate change and environmental destruction. [applause] its lead by people with disabilities who stormed the halls of congress during the health care debate to put a human face on medicaid. [applause] it is led by the aclu sues trump administration to stop one
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discriminatory policy after another. [cheers and applause] it is led by dreamers. [applause] it is led a high school students. [cheers and applause] and it is led by all of you, that's why we are here. [applause] you bet. we are rewiring democracy, but let's not kid ourselves. the other side doesn't look over and say, oh, they got a lot of people, grassroots, who are trying to build democracy, and will give up. no. the other side has not given up. every day we wake up to attacks on on her values, attacks and will of law, and attacks on just plain old common sense. now, you know this better than most, because the aclu is on the
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front lines fighting to protect the promise that makes america an extraordinary country. the promise that we are sti struggling to fulfill. the promise that no matter who you are or where you come from, in america everyone will have a real opportunity to build a future. [applause] the promise that every kid, black, white, brown, born middle class, born working-class, born poor, born in the city, a suburb, small-town or on a reservation, born gay, straight, tran, the promise that this will be an america where every kid will have a fighting chance to realize their dream. [applause] that's the america i believe in.
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that's the america i love, and that's the america i fighting alongside you every day to make a reality. and that's the america that gives me a a chance to be here today. when i was a kid growing up on the ragged edge of the middle class, my dreams were close to home. graduate high school, go to college, teach school, , have babies, maybe someday buy a home. in my life there were a lot of bumps and a lot of wrong turns along the way. when i was 12 my daddy had a heart attack. my family nearly lost everything. when i was 19 i dropped out of school to get married. didn't work out. but i lived in a country where i could get a first-rate public college education for $50 a semester. think about that.
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a country that was investing in highways and bridges and power, and all the things that build a vibrant economy, and good paying jobs rht here in america. i didn't grow up in a perfect country, not by any stretch. black and latino americans were locked out of many opportunities and often confined to the worst jobs. women had limited chances, and lgbtq people were locked firmly in the closet. but we were in america that believed, that believed in opportunity. and slowly but increasingly we opened those opportunities to more people. i want to tell you just one example. the black-white wealth gap, it's been huge since we first started measuring it in the 1940s. the civil rights movement of the
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1960s stirred a determination to expand opportunity in this country. new laws that increase access to voting, the housing, to public accommodations had a real impact. from the mid-1960s through the e 1970s, just about a 15 year timeframe, that black-white wealth gap shrank by 30%. there's your evidence that rights matter. and there is a reason we fight for rights. they matter to people in this country. [applause] we were far from perfect but we were a country that was expanding opportunities for more an more of our kids. i took advantage of those opportunities, and i stand here today, the daughter of a janitor who became a public school
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teacher, a college professor, and now a united states senator, because america invested in kids like me. [applause] i am grateful to that america, grateful down to my toes. and i believe in that america. what for decades now powerful interests have rigged the game against working people all across this country. bit by bit the opportunity to build a future has been moving further and further out of reach. our government has been taken over by the rich and the powerful. a generation of trickle-down economics, deregulation and tax cuts for billionaires has destroyed unions, undermine public schools, and left us with a crumbling infrastructure.
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for a full generation gdp has climbed in this country. ceo salaries have grown almost 1000% while wages for working people have barely budged. flat wages coupled with rising costs for housing, for health care, for childcare, for college have squeezed families all across this country. black, , white, brown, suburban, urban and rural. i do want to pick up on my earlier example. remember how that black-white wealth gap was chopped i one-third in just 15 years? chopped by a third when the right to vote, the right to get a job, the right to buy home, the kind of rights the aclu fights for everyday, when those rights were protected. once the republicans pushed their trickle-down economy and began a direct assault on voting another rights, black-white
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wealth gap traveled, and porches, lack, white, latino, urban, rural, poor kids got stuck. in the 1960s, the chance that any child in america would be better than her parents was 90-ten. think about that. by the 2000s, that chance to climb the ladder was just a smidge under 50-50. and here's the reason i fight. i ran for the united states senate and headed to washington to change a system that was leaving so many behind. i knew it wouldn't be easy, trying to turn a government that worked for the rich and the powerful into a government that works for the rest of us. but i didn't go to washington to duck the tough fight. i went to washington to win them, and so did you.
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[applause] since the making the 1920s thes filed to preserve the promise of america, and here's what i love most about the aclu. you don't just fight. you win. [applause] you fight, you fight for the underestimated, those who are left behind and locked out of opportunity, women, immigrants, native americans, african americans and other people of color. lesbians, amen, i sectionals and transgender people, , mentally l individuals, prisoners, people with disabilities and the poor. you began fighting against the harassment and deportation of immigrants in 1920. you fought for workers' rights. you fought against the ugly interment of more than 120,000
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japanese americans. you stood with civil rights leaders, activists and protesters through sit in marches and freedom rides and fighting for racial equality in america. you took on sex discrimination, fighting for equal rights for women in the workplace and in the marketplace. and since the supreme court upheld a women's right to choose in roe v. wade, you can fighting on the front lines for reproductive rights. [applause] you created the lesbian and gay rights project in the mid-1980s to advance gay rights, and you fought tooth and nail to make marriage equality of all the land. [applause] -- the law of the land. and now you are on the front
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lines of the resistance against this administration. you have been america's true freedom fighters. [applause] now, i know reading that list is a little like preaching to the choir, but we come together for a reason. we come together to remind ourselves that we have fought hard fights before. we have fought hard fights, and we have one hard fights. [applause] and i came in today to make you a promise. we will do it again. [applause] we will fight for this democracy. this presidency is not a dictatorship. [applause] we will defend our country. we will fight for our freedom,
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and we will make this america i country we can believe in. [applause] so let's be clear about it. when an extremistup lik the nra stands in the weight of our safety of our kids, we're going to fight back. [applause] when betsy devos turned her back on public education and let student loan companies rip off college students, we're going to fight back. [applause] when donald trump makes a promise to dreamers and then breaks that promise, we're going to fight back. [applause] and i'm just getting warmed up. when racist voter id laws and voter suppression tactics sprout
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like weeds all over this country, when communities like flint are living with poisoned water and polluted air, when there still no justice for eric garner and sandra bland and freddie gray and philando castile and so many more, , wre going to keep fighting back. [cheers and applause] when you can still be fired from your job because of her you love, when republicans try to rig the senses to pretend that people of color don't exist -- census -- when you you're afrad report of rape because ice could split up your family, when you're treated like a suspect in your daily life because of the color of your skin, we're going to keep fighting back. [applause]
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and if you think we get under their skin now, just you wait. i'm in this fight all the way, and so are you. when you fight back, you make change. and this november 6, donald trump is going to hear all of us loud and clear. because we're going to vote like our rights depend on it. [applause] but november 6 is not the end of our job. nope, not even close. we have to show people that when we get a chance to lead, things will start getting better, that we will build opportunity for
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all. so let's talk for just a minute about who and what we are fighting for. we are fighting for an economy where anyone who works can build a better life for their kids. and that means rolling back trillion dollar tax giveaways to big corporations, and investing that money in healthcare, and education and infrastructure. [applause] we are fighting for a criminal justice system that promotes equal under law, and that means instead of jailing sent cutie gets caught with a few ounces of pot, let's put the banker who financed the drug deals in jail. [applause] we are fighting for america where equal means equal, and
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that means passing the equality act as a do no harm act so that no one can be fired or denied housing or told they can't get a wedding cake just because of who they are or who they love. [applause] and we are fighting for dreamers who are as american as you and me and just want a chance to build a future. [applause] that means passing the dream act so dreamers have a chance to live without the fear of being ripped away from the only home that most of them have ever known. we are fighting for women, and that means we will keep planned parenthood open and make sure women have access to safe, legal abortion. [applause]
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by the way, that also means putting more women in positions of power from committee rooms the board rooms to that really nice oval-shaped room at 1600 and sylvania avenue. [cheers and applause] -- pennsylvania avenue. we are fighting for the right to vote, that means a census accounts every person, automatic voter registrn,oore gerrymandering. [cheers and applause] and how about we fight for a constitutional amendment establishing an unquestioned, unassailable nationally recognized right to vote? how about it? voting is not a privilege. it is our right.
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[applause] and most of all we are fighting for an american that is truly democratic. that means ending corruption in washington, getting rid of the cesspool of money out of politics, overturning citizens united, and returning this government to the people. [applause] now, make no mistake. none of this will be easy, but i sure hope you're ready to fight uphill for as long as it takes. because i'm going up that he'll and i need you with me all the way. [applause] so for the next five months and beyond i ask you to raise your voice. let's fight to make the playing
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field level for working people once again. let's fight to restore our democracy so we can pass the promise of america on to our children and grandchildren. the darkness of this political moment may seem all-consuming, but i've got -- together, we can light the path forward. together, we can save this democracy. and i promise you, i promise you, that if we all stay in this fight and we all stand together, we will win. thank you. [cheers and applause] ..
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ill look forward to seeing you all at the awards dinner tonight. have fun. [inaudible conversations]
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>> today, a forum on leadership around the world and diplomacy on national security. speakers include former secretary of state madeleine albright. former senate majority leader tom daschle and for california representative barbarae, hosted by the u.s. global leadership coalition, it's live beginning at 10:30 a.m. eastern, here on c-span2. now senate energy and natural resources hearing on new technology to fight wildfires. forest management strategies and interior department training on workplace, this is an hour and a half. [inaudible conversations] >> good morning, everyone, the committee will come to order. nice to be able to welcome back to the committee

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