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THE VAN JONES SHOW
Judge Kavanaugh And Professor Christine Blasey Testify Before the Senate; President Donald Trump is a Tyrant, Says Ilhan Omar, and Should be Impeached; Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Says Donald Trump Should be Impeached; Pearl Kim Believes FBI Should Investigate Judge Kavanaugh in Terms of the Background Check; America Ferrera, A Survivor Of Sexual Assault, Didn't Talk About Her Experience For Over 20 Years. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired September 29, 2018 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[19:00:18] VAN JONES, HOST, THE VAN JONES SHOW: Good evening everybody. I'm Van Jones. Welcome to The Van Jones Show. We've got an inspiring installment for you tonight and frankly, after this week, we really need some inspiration.
So tonight, we are jam packed with powerhouse women on both sides of the aisle. We've got an award-winning actress with us. She is a leader in the Time's Up movement, the Me Too movement, she's a brand-new author, the brilliant America Ferrera is in the building.
Oh my gosh. Oh, I can't wait.
We also - we have got three women who are all running for Congress and all three have a shot at making history this November. One is poised to become the youngest woman ever elected to the Congress of the United States. You may have heard of somebody named Alexandria Ocasio- Cortez. Ever heard of her?
Does it mean a little bit? She's here.
Also, this young woman, she once was a refugee, refugee kid. She is now expected to become the first Somali-American, the first Muslim woman, and the first woman to wear a head scarf ever elected to the United States Congress, Ilhan Omar is also in the building.
Trying to make some history.
It's going to be awesome to hear from all of these women, because if there's anything that we have learned this week, it's the power of women's voices. We heard an incredible testament in front of Congress from a powerful woman. We're going to talk about her.
And even though it was Senator Jeff Flake who broke with this party and demanded that we have a real delay and an FBI investigation, I believe the real courage came from two women, two heroes, who are just regular citizens. They were victims of sexual assault and they stopped Senator Flake in an elevator when he was going to the committee. Take a listen to what they told him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANA MARIA ARCHILA, SEXUAL ASSAULT SURVIVOR: What you are doing is allowing someone who actually violated a woman to sit in the Supreme Court. This is not tolerable. You have children in your family. Think about them.
MARIA GALLAGHER, SEXUAL ASSAULT SURVIVOR: You're telling all women that they don't matter, that they should just stay quiet, because if they tell you what happened to them, you're going to ignore them. That's what happened to me, and that's what you're telling all women in America, that they don't matter and they should just keep it to themselves. Because if they have told the truth, you're just going to help that man to power anyway.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JONES: Those women, Ana Maria Archila and Maria Gallagher, regular people who stood up. Give them a round of applause for fighting for what they believed in until very bitter end.
Give them a round of applause; regular folks, good people. They put a personal face on the pain that so many people have been feeling watching this stuff and that might have been the key to slowing this whole train down.
And I'm so glad because I really believe we need a pause. Emotions are running high on all sides and the stakes are just too high, not just for the future of the Supreme Court, but for the future of the whole country.
This week, Judge Kavanaugh and Professor Christine Blasey Ford both took oaths before the nation and then swore to an opposite set of facts. And the messy truth is, people are going to choose who to believe based on what they believe politically, and that's dangerous in a democracy.
No, after all, Democrats are now saying #BelieveWomen, but few Democrats embraced or supported Bill Clinton's accusers and they were women. So that gives a lot of Republicans an excuse to just roll their eyes, duck the issue, and say it's just a partisan plot.
Now that said, when it comes to the Republicans, I want to strangle my television listening to Republican Senator saying this is some kind of a scheme to undermine and derail a nominee, it's terrible.
I'm sorry, you're the same Republicans who invented and unleashed the mother of all Supreme Court disruptions when you derailed Barack Obama's nominee Merrick Garland and wouldn't even give him a hearing, OK. That didn't just blow up an individual, it blew up the whole Constitution, tarnished for a generation the idea that the nation's highest court is fairly constituted. So on both sides, everybody's got to do better and hopefully the FBI can help.
Now, speaking of the power of women's voices to get us out of trouble, to get us out of danger, to get us out of jams, please welcome to The Van Jones Show two women who are almost certainly headed to the House of Representatives to make history, Ilhan Omar and Alexandria Ocasio- Cortez, on The Van Jones Show.
Help is on the way. Oh my goodness.
The first thing I want to just ask you as leaders of the people who are about to join hopefully America's government, what did you feel watching these hearings?
ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ, AMERICAN POLITICIAN, EDUCATOR, AND POLITICAL ACTIVIST: I just thought about the generations of women and women of color that have just tried so hard to have a voice in this process.
Seeing Dr. Ford, just these photos of the lights on her and 11 men that were determining whether or not they were going to choose to believe her, and echoing that as a generation later from the testimony of Anita Hill, where women had even less stature into belief on the seriousness of sexual assault allegations.
And it also just made me feel like just the sheer destructiveness of this process alone in this -- around this nomination alone, why is that not good enough to withdraw and nominate a different GOP justice?
JONES: I mean how did you feel watching her testimony?
ILHAN OMAR, MINNESOTA STATE REPRESENTATIVE: All kind of emotions. To see Judge Kavanaugh come and testify with so much rage and anger, and for us to actually understand the deeper issues of why women really don't come forward, because they have seen that rage, they have faced that anger, and they know what that looks like.
JONES: Do you feel like there's a double standard? I was watching Kavanaugh, I mean he was fully in his feelings. I mean he was going forward, he was talking back, he was - OK, let's just play a little bit to this. I mean he was -- his neck was rolling.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRETT KAVANAUGH, UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT NOMINEE: This confirmation process has become a national disgrace.
You're asking about, yes, blackout. I don't know, have you?
SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D), MINNESOTA: Could you answer the question, judge? I just to -- that's not happened, is that your answer?
KAVANAUGH: Yes, and I'm curious if you have?
This whole two-week effort has been a calculated and orchestrated political hit, revenge on behalf of the Clintons.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OMAR: I mean, that's my Senator, Senator Amy Klobuchar, who briefly held on in that exchange, extremely inappropriate exchange, at least in my view. I think if Dr. Ford did even something close to that, we would have talked about how she's not credible, she's too overly emotional.
And for him, we say it's good that he's showing his emotions, it's his life that's hanging on the balance.
OCASIO-CORTEZ: If you could just imagine those same words and that same expression that you just saw Judge Kavanaugh express, if you could just imagine if Sonia Sotomayor did the same exact thing a few years ago, and mind you, the frenzy around her nomination was racialized.
It was heavily insinuated that she only got into Princeton because of her race, because she was a poor South girl -- a poor girl from the South Bronx. And there was so much vitriol around her nomination and she walked into that chamber cool as a cucumber and stuck to her values and had to -- she had to prove why she was worthy of that seat.
And it seems as though he has to prove why he shouldn't have that seat, and it's that difference in entitlement that explains the differences in the diversity of our boardrooms, of our editorial boards, of leadership, and it really lays bare the classism and the social tensions and the stratification that ripples all over the country. It's just completely laid bare for the world to see.
JONES: This division is getting worse and not better. I thought that when Trump got elected, it was at a maximum. That now was the good old days. The Senate can't function. The Supreme Court's being politicized possibly poisoned.
What can young elected officials like yourselves do that could acknowledge all this division but also start to bring it back around, is there anything that could be done?
OMAR: The kind of polarization we're seeing in our politics is very scary and it's doing I think the opposite of what's intended to do. A lot of young people are seeing themselves as a solution to this problem, because we oftentimes care really about fixing a solution rather than worrying about what letters are after our names.
[19:10:18] And I think the solution really lies in making sure that we have young people infused into the process that we are having conversations about what's really at stake.
For Alexandria and I when we are talking to people on the campaign trail, we're talking to them about things like Medicare for all, about tuition free right and that free college. We're talking to people about reforming criminal justice, our criminal justice system. We're talking to people about what it means to have humane immigration systems. We're talking about what unites us and the kind of struggles we see within our communities.
JONES: Part of what I see is there's almost like tone deaf on both sides. In some ways, what you saw in that hearing, for some people, it was really a collision of two nightmares. One, the nightmare of being attacked and not believed. The other, the nightmare of being accused, but being accused falsely.
And people were literally watching two different movies. Do you think that sometimes liberals and progressives in our righteous indignation maybe miss opportunities to show some understanding for folks for whom these changes are scary?
OCASIO-CORTEZ: Yes, I do think that there's -- I do think that there's always room in that conversation there. For example, there's are some people who believe that, if you cast your vote for Donald Trump in 2016 that you are completely written off, that they never want to talk to you again, and that was your decision and it's over.
And I do think that sometimes in our anger and in our hurt, it's easier to just push away the people who hurt us. It makes it -- it's easier, emotionally easier. But in order for our nation to heal, we have to at the very least see the lens through which someone else is seeing.
When we appeal I think to common values and find the things that unite both sides, and there are. Ilhan and I both got elected without accepting any corporate lobbyist funds.
And I think the way that we approach these conversations is we sometimes come to the table so steeled and hardened for a debate as to why I'm going to prove you wrong, as opposed to coming to the table in the form of a mutual education, what can I learn from you that I am not understanding, and to work it through as a communication issue that we want to get, so we actually want a solution too, I think is very important.
JONES: And it's one of the things I just admire about both of you. It seems like the old model was to be the most powerful speaker, but you also are powerful listeners. How important has that been in terms of this kind of unlikely road that you've been on, to be able to listen to people who obviously did not grow up in a refugee camp or any of those things?
OMAR: For me, as an immigrant, as someone who came to this country not speaking any English at the age of 12, it was really important that I listened and worked to be able to communicate with people, because it helped all of my otherness kind of disappear as soon as you're able to have a conversation.
As they say, it's hard to hate up close. And so, once you are in conversation with people, once you have the ability to eat and talk with someone, there it's really hard for them to hate that -- to hate you.
JONES: Well that's why you guys just give me so much hope that, as your you rise, more people will get a chance to see you and I see you really as the antidote to some of the poison. We got a lot more to talk about when we get back, including the impact that this whole debate about the Supreme Court is going to have on our midterms.
But as we go to break, I want you to hear from other folks about these hearings, where we are, and what's going to happen. Here's what some of you had to say.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you believed Kavanaugh before today, you believe him today. If you believed his accuser before today, Dr. Ford, you believe her today.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The detail of whether he gets confirmed or not isn't going to be the main point. It's going to be this impact it has had on how men and women sort out this millennia-old imbalance of power.
JONES: Welcome back to The Van Jones Show. I'm here with two rising stars of the Democratic Party, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who is running for Congress in New York's 14th District and Ilhan Omar who is running in Minnesota's Fifth District.
Midterms are coming up. Is the Blue Wave real, can we lay back, take it for granted, what's going to happen in November?
OCASIO-CORTEZ: Well I think ultimately this is about a fight for our values, this is about in my opinion and I think one of the things that we're both fighting for is true economic social and racial justice for working-class Americans.
And I think that that's what the core of the Democratic Party and the Democratic message should be about, and I think that that's the best message to get this nation through this dark moment.
JONES: But people - when you talk about the working class, working class people of color identify with Democratic Party, but increasingly working-class white folks, especially working-class white men say, "Hey look, you guys are more concerned about immigration and all these other issues. You don't care about me."
Do you have to choose, as a Democrat now, between sticking up for some of these racial and gender issues and working-class issues for people of color and appealing to white guys?
OCASIO-CORTEZ: No, and I think that is the ultimate trap that is set up, that we have to choose between race or class and we have to choose a side and what to advocate for when really all of these things are so interwoven.
OMAR: And I want to add I think ultimately we have to think about what is our common struggle. And in this country right now, right, everybody is a part of that common struggle.
[19:20:18] We all want economic security for working people, we all want to make sure that there is vibrancy within our economy by making sure that young people are freed from the shackles of student debt.
JONES: All that sounds great. Do you feel that Democrats come across that way now? Because sometimes I think other people will tell me, when I'm in the red states, it feels like everybody's really not welcome anymore. And if you don't say it exactly the right way, with the right word, and intersectionality and blah blah blah blah, then you're going to get smacked down.
JONES: Now that doesn't seem very inviting to a lot of people.
OCASIO-CORTEZ: Yes, I think.
JONES: Can you fix that, how are you going to fix that?
OCASIO-CORTEZ: I think ultimately it's how each of us as individuals choose to interact with those who are not like us. I may have very strong convictions and principles about what justice in America looks like. But really it's going to be listening that heals this nation. And when people feel heard in all of their pain wherever that pain comes from.
OMAR: I mean, and I think ultimately too it is avoiding the trap, right, it's avoiding that -- saying that one particular issue is more important than another one. Because when we're talking about the kind of America we believe in, the kind of America we deserve, we are talking about an America that includes everyone, that uplifts everyone, that secures prosperity for everyone.
JONES: Let me just ask a couple of just tough questions. You've got these hearings. We've been outraged by those hearings, but you could actually have a backlash coming, are you concerned about the other side getting just as motivated and as agitated to then stop this Blue Wave? Could this create a Red Wave?
OCASIO-CORTEZ: I don't think that, first of all, I just categorically do not believe in acting out of a place of fear. I don't think that we choose to do something or not do something because we are scared of what might happen to us. What I act out of is a commitment to principle and a commitment to value.
JONES: Do you think that Trump should be impeached? You guys are going to be in a situation where you would have to possibly take a vote on the impeachment of Donald Trump. Would you vote yes or no?
OMAR: I would vote yes.
OMAR: I think when we are looking at the kind of nation I feel I believed in, the kind of nation that I heard about 23 years ago in that refugee camp, and the kind of Presidency that really should exist, I feel like we are just even seeing the tip of the iceberg of how destructive this President is.
I recognize him as a tyrant, I recognize him as someone who has developed tendencies of dictatorship. And so I--
JONES: So, when some Republicans say the Democrats just want to run, so they can redo the 2016 election, are they right?
OMAR: No. What the Democrats are running for is to save our nation from destruction. We are interested in making sure that the American people have hope restored in them. We are interested in making sure that the American people get a government that is functioning for them. We want to make sure that we have transparency and accountability.
JONES: How do you answer the question?
OCASIO-CORTEZ: I would vote to impeach.
JONES: On what basis?
OCASIO-CORTEZ: Because I believe he's committed a crime and people who commit crimes need to be impeached.
JONES: What crime do you think that Donald Trump has committed?
OCASIO-CORTEZ: Well, I think there's a couple, the first that we have is a violation of the emoluments clause. He has refused to divest himself of businesses through which there are foreign actors investing and currently conducting businesses.
I think that we currently have a full FBI investigation, through which women may have been provided financial settlements in an illegal manner or a manner that violates campaign finance laws.
I think that that there are many different ways that people can reach that conclusion.
JONES: Wait, what you're saying right now is something that most people would say is not smart politics to say that. Most would say I should -- I shouldn't say whether I'm going to vote for impeachment or not because that would mean that (ph) politics.
But you're saying, whether people like or not, what you actually believe. So first of all, a round of applause for that.
And I want to wish both of you the very, very best of luck in November.
Now coming up, we're going to hear from another candidate from another side of the aisle. She's also a woman, she's running for Congress as a Republican in Pennsylvania. She is a survivor, both of sexual assault, but she's also been a special victims prosecutor, and she's going to help us understand all of this when we get back.
JONES: As you can see, people are clearly excited. Democrats do not have a lock on history-making candidates this November. There's some barrier breaking Republicans out there too including my next guest.
She's running for Congress in Pennsylvania's Fifth District. If she wins, she's going to be the first woman of color ever to represent Pennsylvania. Right now, that state doesn't even have any female representatives at all in Congress. So please welcome to The Van Jones Show, Pearl Kim.
I'm so glad to have you here. Because of your background as a survivor of sexual assault, as a woman, as a Republican, as a former prosecutor, you might be the only person in America to explain to us what is going on. So I appreciate you being here.
First, do you I think it's a good thing that there's going to be the sort of week long pause for the FBI to get involved, do you think that's not necessary or think it would be helpful?
PEARL KIM, CANDIDATE, U.S. HOUSE PENNSYLVANIA DISTRICT 5: I think at this point it would be a good thing. Now I don't know the specifics in terms of protocol, but at this point, having some time for the FBI to investigate in terms of the background check would be appropriate.
[19:30:18] JONES: One of the things that I think people are wanting is for there to be a change in the way that women are treated.
JONES: That women's voices are heard across the board. Given your experience again on both sides as a prosecutor and as a victim, I mean how important is that to you and what role did your experience play in having you run for office in the first place?
KIM: Yes, so if you know the Me Too movement has been an incredible social movement. When I was first teaching and talking about it, this was prior to even considering or thinking that I was going to run for office, someone asked me a question and they said, "Where do you think the Me Too movement is going to go?"
And at that point, I saw it as a powerful social movement, I recognized that it was incredible that women, men, victims felt safe to come forward. But I actually did not think it was going to go beyond that. And I remember telling the individual, I said, "It's incredible that we have this space that people can come forward, but I've yet to see any accountability."
And then within weeks of me saying that was when you saw top executives resigning, you saw individuals like the arrests of Bill Cosby, Harvey Weinstein and so forth. And so, with my own personal journey and my personal story, it's a really unique time. But now it's time to actually change institutions.
And in order to do that, you have to elect new leadership, promote -- new leadership that actually cares about this issue and that it's something that would factor into their vote.
Now, help me understand, you are running as a Republican, to be a Republican woman in the Trump Republican Party, and that's got to be a little bit weird at different times. I mean how do you think about these issues, I mean somebody who's a strong pro woman voice in a party that seems to not always be with you?
KIM: Well I mean I think my concern is that we should never politicize this issue, right. Combating sexual violence, combating domestic violence should transcend politics, period.
You have some of your Republican colleagues, who are now in the Senate, Murkowski, Susan Collins, Jeff Flake. Do you have any words of advice or any requests or anything that you want to say to the swing vote Republicans who are sitting in the U.S. Senate right now?
KIM: Yes, absolutely. Like I said before, I do not want to see combating sexual violence, combating domestic violence, combating human trafficking be politicized. It should transcend politics.
And in terms of determining credibility, for example, the lack of a prompt complaint is not -- shouldn't be a factor in terms of determining credibility because that happens very, very often in these types of cases.
And I think what's also important to note, and I know the hearings are different in terms of the evidence that has been unfolding, but as a prosecutor, what I know is that typically the cases that we went forward on, sometimes you didn't have corroborating evidence, right.
And when you didn't have corroborating evidence, there's a specific jury instruction in Pennsylvania when you're trying to prove your case, and it says the following. If the testimony of a sexual assault victim is believed, that testimony is sufficient to convict, and that's in a criminal case.
And so I think what the Senators need to do is they need to recognize how to properly address credibility, and then I hope they factor that into their vote.
JONES: I observed you retweeting during the McCain, John McCain's funeral, where I think the whole country came together. And you retweeted Megan McCain, you retweeted Joe Biden, and here you are a Republican doing that.
What was in your heart to retweet those folks? Some people would say those people who are kind of trying to diss Trump in the middle of the funeral and you're retweeting, how do you make sense of that?
KIM: Well I mean this is why I'm running. I'm so frustrated with Washington, I'm frustrated with the rhetoric coming out of Washington, the inaction and that politicians can't work across the aisle for the common good.
I've had a history of working with both Republicans and Democrats for the common good and I'm so completely frustrated with our political climate right now. And so, this is all the reason why I'm running.
JONES: I mean how can you reach across now? It seems like to me the few people who do try to reach across, I mean before they can even get their hand out of their pocket, their base is just eating them alive and tearing them apart. I mean are you -- got some special superpowers that you can do stuff that other people can do?
KIM: No, but let's make it very clear, it's not like the National Republican Party is helping me or supporting me, right. I put in, in essence, my life savings. I left my job with no, wink wink, you can get a job when you come back.
I am all in this race. I am here to break into the establishment, to shatter some glass ceilings, and I am unboxed and unbought.
JONES: You sound a little bit like a maverick, in the most proper sense of the word. You are unbought, you are unboxed.
JONES: Is there room in today's American politics for a young woman of color to be the next John McCain, is that possible?
KIM: Yes, absolutely, and then--
KIM: Well, why not? I mean and I say this because also in -- I was able to implement criminal justice reform in Pennsylvania, so I was able to secure the first human trafficking conviction in the state of Pennsylvania.
I then went on to work with legislators, both Republicans and Democrats, to expand protections for victims and then I was able to secure the first human trafficking conviction under the new legislation. But what's important to that, not just the lawyering aspect, that had a lot to do with mobilizing local law enforcement, federal law enforcement, the community building consensus, to make sure resources were placed in fighting this and combating human trafficking.
And then I was actually able to execute and get something done, and that's what I want to do in Washington.
JONES: Listen, I am like so many people across the country so excited about having someone coming in so independent, so passionate, and also so fair and balanced. So, listen, I wish you the best of luck in November.
Coming up, we've got an Emmy and Golden Globe award-winning actress, America Ferrera. She's a leader in the Times Up movement, the Me Too movement we've been talking about. She's got a lot to say tonight and you're going to want to hear from her when we get back.
[19:40:18] JONES: All right, now my next guest is an award-winning actress, a director, a producer, a leading activist in some of the biggest political and cultural movements happening in our country right now.
She's been a leading voice in the fight for immigrant rights, in the Times Up movement, the Me Too movement, and now she's embarking on a new chapter in her life and her career. She's given birth to a new baby and a new book, American Like Me: Reflections on Life Between Cultures.
Please welcome to The Van Jones Show, America Ferrera.
Oh yes. Oh I feel like a superstar, oh I'm happy, happy, happy.
AMERICA FERRERA, AMERICAN ACTRESS: You are a superstar.
JONES: Well, with you on my show, I feel like that. First of all, congratulations on the new book, on a new baby, and also your role in these movements.
FERRERA: Thank you.
JONES: And I just want to say it is so unusual -- it's so hard to be a good actor, it's so hard to be a good activist, and you are somebody who is excellent at both, and we just love you and we appreciate you for everything that you're doing. You guys give her welcome.
Have you been watching these hearings?
JONES: What was your take on what you saw happen this week in America, when it comes to this issue?
FERRERA: Well many, many things. The first off the top of my head is how incredibly grateful I am to Dr. Ford.
She said it, I don't want to be here, I'm terrified. And so many of us know exactly what she meant. She didn't have anything to gain in this process, as most survivors do not. And I myself am a survivor of sexual assault and did not talk about my experience for over 20 years, not to my family, not to my friends.
But it was the courage of other women who were ready to come forward with their stories that gave me the feeling that I could too speak up, and that I was ready to, because I knew that I was going to be met with a sisterhood of women standing by me.
And so, I think Dr. Ford she's amazing and a true patriot and such an example of what it actually means to love your country and sacrifice for your country, which a lot of people in that hearing could learn a lot from.
What something else I saw that was disturbing was this like angry white man tantrum, and not just from Kavanaugh, but from so many of the Republican Senators who were so infuriated and I'm like you're mad, you're mad, like I'm mad, and I've been mad for a long time.
And God, I wish that there were some women who were allowed to rant and rave the way they were. Because God knows how they would have been treated had they dared talk and rant and rave and be as angry as they had the right to be.
So that was so upsetting to see that we're at this stage, it's like it's our prequel to The Handmaid's Tale stage, right. I remember watching that video, watching that series and thinking like oh how they are going to explain how we got here, how they got to this kind of world, and this is it.
JONES: This kind of stuff.
FERRERA: It's not deals being made in dark basements and back alleys, it's in broad daylight. It's for all of us to see this is how it happens, this is how it begins, this is how our rights get taken away in all legal terms, because the people making the laws and making the decisions are all representing a very narrow group of people.
And so many of us are literally invisible from this process. And if we stand a chance of changing that reality, of who's in those positions of power, who's in that committee, who women have to face to tell their stories and be heard, if we want to change that reality, we have to show up in the midterm elections this year.
(APPLAUSE) JONES: You're not just somebody who's found your voice. I think people really misunderstand you, she's so outspoken, she's outspoken. That's the least of it. You are actually organizing real people. You're somebody with the Time's Up, a legal fund, who's actually got real people together to get some real victories.
Can you let people know when you're not on shows like this and writing books and changing diapers, some of the organizing work you're doing, say, with the legal funds?
FERRERA: Yes, well I was very excited to be a part of the beginning of the Times Up movement, along with hundreds of other women. It was so invigorating, and I'll tell you what was at the heart of what was happening with Time's Up, was that women were giving themselves the permission to be in rooms with each other unapologetically.
And it was actresses who have never been in a room together because you're only ever the one actress in the whole cast that doesn't have much of a voice and no one to support you, because you feel like you're the only one.
It was publicists and studio execs who were often the only one in the room, agents and lawyers and we shed these lines that we've been abiding by, these labels, these boxes that we've been put in, that keep us isolated from one another and it takes our power away.
I'll tell you something, those men in that hearing, they gain power from each other. They knew I'll go in this and lie through my teeth, because all of my colleagues are going to sit here and do it with me. And so, they know a thing or two about showing up for each other, right, and that is to me what is really fueling this Me Too movement, is women coming into spaces with one another in new ways, being with each other in different ways and saying never mind to all of these divisions and lines that we've abided by.
And not just within the entertainment industry, but across industries. We have stood with our sisters who are farm workers, who are domestic workers, who are in the tech industry, who are in the sports industry, in the ad industry, in the financing industry, and we're saying we're going to unapologetically say that we're in these places as women and we are going to support women.
JONES: Wow, that's so inspiring. Because I know -- my hope is that more people in all the areas of life will start realizing the power that we have and I think you're such a great example. We've got more to talk about with America Ferrera when we come back.
[19:50:18] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
JONES: Welcome back to The Van Jones Show, I'm here with America Ferrera, she's authored this brand new book that's called American Like Me: Reflections on Life Between Cultures. First of all, how did you get all these people to write stuff in your book?
I mean you got Issa Rae, you got Lin-Manuel Miranda, you got like everybody who's dope in America with the immigrant background in your book.
How did you do it?
FERRERA: Well, I asked and asked and asked and asked. And yes, I don't think it's so much about me. I think it's about this moment and how eager and excited so many of these incredible creative powerful people were to tell this part of their story.
I mean I've been living this my whole life. I grew up, I was born and raised in Los Angeles. I grew up feeling like 100% American and I mean I believed what they taught me. This is America, there is nothing that this short poor brown chubby girl can't do, and I'm going to go do it, and I believed it to my bones.
And it wasn't until I realized how other people saw me that I realized, "Oh I'm not American to them the way I am American to myself. And I never saw my experience of being both 100% American and feeling an American and being leaked to my family and their history and their culture and their country.
And so I felt alone and isolated and felt like I didn't belong anywhere. And then I grew up and realized not only is this so many millions of American peoples' story, this is the American experience, being of somewhere else.
And unless you are indigenous to this country and to this continent, this at some point in your history is your story. And when we feel alone and isolated in any of our experiences, it takes away our power. We feel like our voices don't matter. So, if young people can skip the part that I had to go through, feeling alone and isolated and just get to the point where they can look at their culture and say, yes I'm reflected in my culture, my experiences, my voice matters, this is why I wanted this book to be in the world.
JONES: Congratulations. Beautiful.
JONES: I promise you can open any page in this book and start reading, you're going to learn stuff, you are going to see stuff from a completely different perspective. And I think part of I see what you're doing is an answer back to build a wall and all that kind of stuff.
As a mom, how did it hit you to see Donald Trump authorizing authorities to snatch babies away from moms, seeing those babies come back, not even knowing their moms, being so traumatized? I mean this is a beautiful response to some stuff I think that's pretty ugly. How did that ugly stuff strike you? FERRERA: Well, thank you for bringing that up. I mean I think we need frequent reminders that there are still over 500 of those children who have been ripped from their parents, who are still in detention centers. And never mind the reports that have come out about the thousands of children who we have in detention centers and are incarcerating through these for-profit policies.
I took some time off when I was having my baby at the end of my pregnancy and for the first couple weeks and I was afraid to some degree that I would have my child and really never want to go back to the pace of responding to everything happening in the world.
But when I had my son, it was within a week of the images of children being ripped from their parents. And to be literally becoming a mother at the moment where these images were being exposed, hearing the voices of children screaming for their parents, I mean this is evil, it's evil stuff, if we call it what it is.
He was four weeks old when I had to left him with his father and took a train to DC and marched with tens of thousands of other Americans to say that we're not going to take this without a fight.
And so, all of that to say becoming a parent makes it all matter that much more and I don't have some fantasy that we're going to fix it all for our children. I think we will be fighting the fight for social justice for as long as we are humans on this planet.
But I want to set an example for my son of the kind of citizen of this world I want him to be. I want him to show up because it matters and because he has the capacity to.
JONES: Well I tell you what, I can't think of anything else to say except for Sebastian lucked out with you as his mama, that's all I got to say about that.
America Ferrera, thank you for being here. Everybody should buy this book, American Like Me. I'm Van Jones, with The Van Jones Show. Thank you for watching. Peace and love for one another.