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Reality Police Shows Canceled in Wake of Black Lives Matter Protests; Companies Pledge to Help Promote Racial Justice; Black Business Owners Face Obstacles; Latin America Surpasses 70,000 COVID- 19 Deaths; Experts: COVID-19 Surge Won't Happen in Parts of Africa; Japan's Richest Man: The Image of America is Breaking; Calls for Policing Reform Show Signs of Progress; British Rapper Speaks Out after Police Tase His Dad; U.S. Could See 100K More Deaths by September; Mexico Reports Surge in COVID-19 Cases. Aired 12-1a ET
Aired June 11, 2020 - 00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ROBYN CURNOW, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Hi, welcome to our viewers joining us from around the world. This is CNN NEWSROOM, I'm Robyn Curnow. Just ahead, a plea for a change in policing in the U.S.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PHILONISE FLOYD, GEORGE'S BROTHER: Teach them that deadly force should be used rarely and only when life is at risk. George wasn't hurting anyone that day. He didn't deserve to die over $20.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CURNOW (voice-over): George Floyd's brother lends his voice to the police reform movement.
A Harvard researcher joins me to talk about his grim prediction and projections for coronavirus deaths in the U.S. as the country's case total tops 2 million.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Live from CNN Center, this is CNN NEWSROOM with Robyn Curnow.
CURNOW: The calls for social justice and changes in the way police do their job is starting to resonate here in the U.S. from the halls of Congress to the streets of Minneapolis, where George Floyd died in police custody late last month.
Protesters in Boston have marched to city hall on Monday demanding they re-direct police funding. They want more spent on violence prevention, youth job programs and mental health counseling.
We are seeing these live pictures as you can see here, large crowds on the West Coast. These pictures coming to us from Portland, Oregon. Now there is even a sliver of bipartisanship in U.S. Congress on
policing reform. Among those proposals, requiring police to report instances where they used a force resulting in death. More money for body cameras and incentives for, police departments to recruit officers who reflect the community makeup.
The brother of George Floyd testified before a House panel. He made an impassioned plea for police accountability. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FLOYD: The man who took his life, who suffocated him for eight minutes and 46 seconds, he still called him "sir," as he begged for his life.
I can't tell you the kind of pain you feel when you watch something like that. When you watch your big brother, who you looked up to your whole entire life, die? Die, begging for his mom? I'm tired. I'm tired of pain.
George called for help, and he was ignored. Please listen to the call I'm making to you now, to the calls of our family and the calls, ringing out the streets across the world. Honor them. Honor George, and make the necessary changes that make law
enforcement the solution, and not the problem.
Hold them accountable when they do something wrong, teach them what it means to treat people with empathy and respect. Teach them what necessary force is, teach them that deadly force should be used rarely and only when life is at risk.
George wasn't hurting anyone that day. He didn't deserve to die over $20. I'm asking you, is that what a black man is worth?
This is 2020. Enough is enough.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CURNOW: One city that is already taking action is Minneapolis, Minnesota, where George Floyd was killed. Sara Sidner spoke with the police chief. Here's the report.
CHIEF MEDARIA ARRADONDO, MINNEAPOLIS POLICE DEPARTMENT: History is being written now. And I'm determined to make sure that we are on the right side of history.
SARA SIDNER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Minneapolis police chief Medaria Arradondo laying out a plan for his tarnished police department to move forward following the death of George Floyd at the hands of now four former Minneapolis officers.
ARRADONDO: People are tired. They want action. SIDNER: Without ever mentioning the four officers involved by name, the chief revealing two key measures of his plan to change the department.
One, the immediate withdrawal of contract negotiations with the Minneapolis police union until a thorough review of how the contract can be restructured to provide more community transparency and flexibility for reform.
And the other, to implement the use of an early warning system to identify misconduct.
ARRADONDO: If police unions and certainly mine here in Minneapolis, if they do not evolve, if they are not listening to the voices that are screaming out, if they are not listening, they are ultimately contributing to the harm.
SIDNER (voice-over): But the chief acknowledged, none of this will happen overnight. Arradondo's plan has the backing of the city's mayor.
MAYOR JACOB FREY (D-MN), MINNEAPOLIS: We don't just need a new contract with the police. We need a new compact with the police, one that centers around compassion and accountability.
SIDNER (voice-over): Last month, I asked the chief what he thought of the three other officers, who didn't stop Derek Chauvin from pressing his knee down on Floyd's neck.
ARRADONDO: Being silent or not intervening, to me, you're complicit. So I don't see a level of distinction any different.
SIDNER (voice-over): Today, he was asked if he stood by that belief.
ARRADONDO: I don't put policies out to say that you should only react or respond if you're a two-year member or a five-year member or a 10- year member. And if policies or subculture get in the way, then I expect and I demand one's humanity to rise above that.
SIDNER (voice-over): Tonight we're learning Chauvin was in talks to plead guilty before his arrest, which the state attorney general denied last week.
KEITH ELLISON, MINNESOTA ATTORNEY GENERAL: I really don't have any idea of what the negotiations or anything like that. It's simply way too early to begin that conversation. At this point, we are preparing to try this case.
SIDNER (voice-over): Chief Arradondo recently met with the Floyd family. He shared what that moment was like.
SIDNER: Did they respond to you?
How did they receive your apology? ARRADONDO: With grace and the love that they showed, they hugged me. And we hugged and so that will also lead my reform work, my transformational cultural change work. The Floyd family will lead me forward in the days and weeks ahead for this important work.
SIDNER (voice-over): Back in Minneapolis, the chief is calling on the public to help police the police.
ARRADONDO: Record. Call. Call a friend. Yell out. Call 9-1-1, we need a supervisor to the scene, absolutely. I need to know that. We need to know that. So the community plays a vital role and did two weeks ago, absolutely.
SIDNER: Chief Arradondo said he would immediately step away from negotiations with the police union until they can look further into how to make the contract better for the community at large.
The police union is now pushing back, saying that state law mandates that a public employer negotiate in good faith. He said that both the mayor, who has agreed with the chief and his pulling back from those negotiations, and the chief himself are sending conflicting messages to the union -- Sara Sidner, CNN, Minneapolis.
CURNOW: DeRay Mckesson is a civil rights activist with Campaign Zero and the author of "On the Other Side of Freedom" and joins me now from New York.
Good to see you, sir. You heard the police chief there, as Sara Sidner was talking to him, talking about history is being rewritten, written now.
What needs to be written or rewritten in your opinion?
DERAY MCKESSON, CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST: Remember when we zoom out, we think about what it means, that the police have killed more people since the last protest. About 1,100 people a year, What does it mean that in 2019 black people are more afraid of being killed by police officers than being killed by community violence.
And thinking about in March and April 2020 that police killed as many people as they did in March and April 2019. COVID, quarantine lockdown changed nothing about the rate or number of people killed by the police.
Now I start there because when we think about what needs to change, I worry that people are doing a lot of symbolic changes. Elected leaders think that merely changing the flag or taking down some statues will be a substitute for changing the structures.
The structures have to change. The rules about the police, as long as there are police, they should have much less power. But the reality is that we need to move money away from policing and put it into community based solutions that we know will prevent so much of the things that people consider to be crimes already.
And the third thing, we need a conception of safety that is just not rooted in policing. So I hope that Minneapolis has the courage just to go through the process that they have said they are going to go through and that cities across the country start to transition because you, know we look at the data, only 5 percent of the arrests that happened in the country are over violent crime. But we staff police departments as if it's 60 percent.
CURNOW: You talk about police departments because that's also, you know, when you speak to a global audience here, that's what many people around the world look at America and know that police departments are not the same. There is no uniform behavior that is expected from police.
And that in many ways will also implicate the way different police departments change. You know, some will move faster or not move at all than others.
MCKESSON: There are 18,000 police departments in the country and they all operate differently. When we look at the data, we realized that the police have actually killed fewer people in cities over the past 6 years but it's increasing in rural communities and suburban communities at a rate that is eclipsing and diminishing the return that is happening in cities.
So suburban communities, rural communities really are where a lot of the (INAUDIBLE) one of the things I read about the media, frankly, is that the media right now about all that's going on is heavily L.A., heavily New York City.
But the reality is there is so much of the worst problems are not on the coasts; in St. Louis, with the single biggest police violence right in the country. It's Albuquerque, a host of other cities.
CURNOW: When you look at the suggestions being put forward in Congress, there is some suggestion of bipartisan support.
What sticks out for you?
More money for body cameras?
Incentives for police departments to recruit officers who look like the community that they are policing?
These all seem very basic but this is what's being discussed in Congress.
Does make you hopeful, at least or concerned?
MCKESSON: What worries me is that the bill includes some things the research shows doesn't work. Body cameras have not been proven to change anything about the force of officers used. So we don't need to dump any more money into that program.
And police departments are the most well funded agencies in most cities across America. So they don't need any more money from the federal government. A ban on chokeholds is good. We launched a thing called 8 can't wait, it is about these 8 year support policies and many chokeholds and string holds. It is simple but not small.
It has a clause about data in that and it is good they are going to collect more data but I want to see more restrictions on what police departments can do, the DOJ using its funding power to withhold money from departments that don't do a set of things. I think this bill is an interesting start but shouldn't be where we finish.
CURNOW: We've seen one man die and a global reaction being triggered.
Why do you think that has happened?
In many ways, whether you're in Belgium or Bristol, whether you marginalize or disempower, there's something about the death of George Floyd that has triggered a universal stark moment of commonality.
Where do you think this is going?
You mentioned the statues and Confederate flags. That's being felt around the world as well.
MCKESSON: I think that is a good start. You know, the symbolism of hate is important to remove. But the structures have to change so the outcomes can change.
That means the laws, policies, practices. If they don't change and there is no reason to believe that the rate of people killed by the police will decrease, there's no reason to believe that we will actually transition from a system of public safety that's policing.
The reason I think Mr. Floyd's death resonated with so many people is honestly because they have proximity to a problem like this, too. The government killed him. What does it mean when agents of the government can just kill somebody while the public watches?
The public tries to tell that government agent not to?
And he kills him anyway?
I think that everybody has a basic understanding, that shouldn't be the role of government. And when governments allow those things, so governments enable those things, that is a failure and we have a responsibility and a duty to stand up.
CURNOW: DeRay Mckesson, a pleasure talking to you. Thank you so much for joining us.
CURNOW: So racism and abuse of power are not uniquely American problems as we heard as well this week. A British rapper spoke out about police using force on his 62 year old father. Nic Robertson has more on that and why British law enforcement officials say their tactics aren't the same as their American counterparts.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR (voice-over): As police rush into a house looking for a suspect, they Taser a 62-year- old father on the stairs.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, my God.
ROBERTSON (voice-over): All this during lockdown.
ROBERTSON (voice-over): The police bodycam video brought anger over policing and racism rises in the wake of George Floyd's killing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At this moment in time, we are being singled out and targeted.
ROBERTSON (voice-over): Son of the victim, not involved in the police incident, is rapper Wretch 32.
WRETCH 32, RAPPER: I've grown up in my household with my dad and my uncle and I've watched them fight against police brutality my whole life and I now have to have the same conversations that my dad and my uncle and grandparents and my parents had with me when I was a child. That means there's no progression.
ROBERTSON (voice-over): Police dispute the version of events, saying an internal review has revealed no misconduct. A statement released by London's most senior minority officer says that progress in dealing with racism in the police has been made over recent decades.
And in what appears to be an effort to dealing with anger at George Floyd's death from anger at British police, says, no comparison can be made between British and U.S. police forces, because here, he says, they police by consensus mostly, not force.
His point: the heavily armed tear gas-wielding cops who bore down on peaceful protesters near the White House last week so President Trump could pose, Bible in hand, for a photo up outside a looted church wouldn't be the tactic of choice in the U.K.
The subtext for protesters here, don't react to British cops, as if they would. By contrast with many of their U.S. counterparts, British police mingle with peaceful protesters. Officers armed with little more than handcuffs, gauging the crowd's mood. Out of sight, down side streets, a heftier force is on standby.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The result has been completely different. There's more consensus, there is more peaceful demonstrations. So I think -- I think that there is too quick, perhaps, a reaction to go to war, paramilitary methods, to deal with people in demonstration situations. ROBERTSON (voice-over): But getting to this point hasn't been easy. Just a decade ago, a police killing sparked riots heard around the world. Where the toughest policing lessons were learned was Northern Ireland. Confrontation and perceptions of police bias exacerbated and prolong the three decade conflict there.
Today, police are still firebombed and shot at but are more likely to draw a line, sit in their armored wagons than respond in kind. Even so, today's protests in London still offer a very real glimpse of how quickly tensions can escalate. At the heart of it, still, anger protesters are being ignored.
A police problem, yes.
But at its root?
A political one too -- Nic Robertson, CNN, London.
CURNOW: So now, to some breaking news on the coronavirus pandemic, another staggering milestone here in the U.S. which is now the first country to report 2 million cases of the virus. That's more than a quarter of all known infections worldwide.
And as you can see from this map, the outbreak is getting worse in some parts of the country. Over the past week, 19 states have reported an uptick in new infections and in the 2 weeks since Memorial Day weekend, at least a dozen have seen a rise in hospitalizations.
Now as states continue to loosen restrictions, a top health expert warned the country could see another 100,000 deaths by September.
The doctor who made the prediction is Dr. Ashish Jha. He's the director of the Harvard Global Health Institute and joins me from Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Doctor, great to see you. You don't just suck that number out of your thumb. You did some basic maths based on the numbers we are seeing today.
DR. ASHISH JHA, HARVARD GLOBAL HEALTH INSTITUTE: That's right. This was not a number we just pulled out of thin air. Right now, in the United States, we are seeing between 800 and 1,000 people die every single day.
And all of the best projections are those numbers are likely to go up but even if we assume that they stay flat and if we take the low end of that range, it's 25,000 deaths a month.
And so sometime in September, we are going to surpass 200,000 deaths in the United States. So really pretty astronomical cost of the mismanagement of the coronavirus in the United States.
CURNOW: Yes it certainly, is and the numbers are certainly startling but that's just September, which is essentially just around the corner.
What happens when the flu season hits?
CURNOW: When the autumn -- fall and winter hit?
JHA: The 200,000 we're not going to be anywhere near done and, if the numbers tick up in the fall with more cases, as we expect, we could easily hit 300,000 before the end of the calendar year and another 100,000-200,000 people dying before the next summer arrives, when we hope a vaccine will be widely available.
So a devastating toll on the American people, largely because our federal government hasn't taken this virus seriously.
CURNOW: So by your tally there, that's half a million Americans in the next year. That's an astounding number of people and you're laying that blame squarely at the foot of the Trump administration.
JHA: A lot of things have to change. So I am laying it mainly at the foot of the federal administration, who hasn't taken this seriously, still isn't taking it seriously. But we could develop new therapies, get much better testing, we could have a different president in January who could decide to take it seriously.
So there's a lot of factors that could affect those numbers. It just depends on how things play out over the next 6 or 12 months.
CURNOW: So we're at this point now where, in Georgia, Georgia opened very, early. Around the world people are exhausted, people are sick and tired of being inside, they want to go, out they say be damned with COVID-19, I just need to go and visit my granny, go for a, run. The numbers aren't registering. There is a sort of a fear fatigue.
How do you warn people that this is potentially you?
JHA: So 2 things I think contribute to that. One is that the deaths have been very concentrated in a few places. In Italy it's been in Lombardy, in the U.S. It's been around New York. The problem is that, in the second phase, as the virus continues to spread, it's going from the localized hotspots much more across the country.
So if it hasn't hit a county or state hard, it's coming. The virus doesn't respect borders. That's the first part of it.
The second is that I don't want to be locked down anymore. That's not our only two choices. The third choice is a robust tracing and testing infrastructure, which allows people to get on with their lives and doesn't lead us into hundreds of thousands of deaths.
CURNOW: What do you make of where we are globally?
We talk about the fall in the U.S. But it's winter in the Southern Hemisphere, now.
What do you make of where we are now in terms of the numbers in key countries around the world?
JHA: We are really seeing an acceleration in the number of cases every day, more than 100,000 new infections, I'm confident that it's a dramatic underestimate. But we're seeing an exponential rise in some countries.
Brazil is obviously doing very poorly with a lot of cases and deaths. India is starting to tick up substantially. Russia is in bad shape. Here are 3 relatively big countries that I think are in some trouble.
Of course if you look across the global landscape, the African continent so far has done very well. Australia, South Africa are moving into the winter months. It will be interesting to even see Chile and other South American countries, it will be interesting to see how they do during the colder months as a way to teach us what the Northern Hemisphere will experience as we go into the fall and winter this year.
CURNOW: Doctor, thank you so much for joining us, fascinating perspective.
JHA: Thank you.
CURNOW: You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. Still to come, paramedics are putting their lives on the line to combat COVID-19. Some Mexico say they're still not getting the personal protective equipment. That's next.
CURNOW: Welcome back, I'm Robyn Curnow.
Mexico is seeing another surge in coronavirus cases, they reported nearly 5,000 infections on Wednesday. As paramedics are responding to a mounting number of calls, Matt Rivers shows us how many are struggling to protect themselves.
MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They chant his name and the sirens wail.
This is a tribute to Dr. Miguel Angel Perez Alvarado, a doctor who worked in Mexico City. He died last month of COVID-19. For weeks the father of three girls treated patients with the virus.
"He was worried, his wife, Nancy, tells us, "because he knew his working conditions weren't safe." Dr. Perez told her he wasn't given the right protective equipment on
the, job and he's not. Alone 7 paramedics and a doctor that work in public ambulances told us the same. Thing here one demonstrates how water can be sprayed through the coveralls they've been given. Duct tape is now important, they use it to patch holes in their suits and to tape garbage bags to isolate COVID cases inside their ambulances.
Speaking anonymously for fear of losing his job, this paramedic says he and his colleagues had to buy their own equipment.
He says, "They are sending us into a war with nothing. You don't send a firefighter to a fire without protection."
RIVERS: This is the mask that the paramedic said the government issued him and you don't need to be a medical expert to know that this doesn't give him the protection he needs.
RIVERS (voice-over): The paramedics we spoke to work for two sections of Mexico's health ministry. They said that all their paramedics have the required supplies, statements that seem demonstrably untrue, especially when you see how it is supposed to be done.
We spent time with a Red Cross crew, private volunteers who have all the right equipment and even designated COVID-19 units. That's a necessity because the worst of Mexico's epidemic is happening. Now on a 12 hour shift there were 12 COVID calls. Sometimes we were too late.
RIVERS: We got this call a little over 20 minutes now and we just arrived on scene and in that time the 43-year-old female victim had already died of symptoms consistent of COVID-19.
RIVERS (voice-over): And arriving with patients still alive didn't always matter; 72 year-old Maria Isobel Cruz Hernandez (ph) was taken from her apartment and brought to the hospital and her son tells us she has since passed.
After each exhausting call, trucks and paramedics are sprayed from head to toe with a special disinfectant. Paramedics in government run units say they try to disinfect, once again with supplies they bought themselves.
"Are you scared?" we ask.
"Always," he said. "You don't, sleep scared for myself, scared of infecting my family and scared of ending up like Dr. Perez."
Two days after he went to the hospital, he texted a final message to his wife.
"He said, 'Be careful, I love you. All" That was the last time we spoke.
Eight days later Dr. Perez passed Away -- Matt Rivers CNN, Mexico city. (END VIDEOTAPE)
CURNOW: You're watching CNN, still to come, a cultural shift: why anti racist protests around the world might affect your entertainment options.
ROBYN CURNOW, CNN ANCHOR: So the death of George Floyd is causing contentious symbols that have long offended many people of color to be removed, in some cases by protesters, in others by city leaders.
In the U.S., the targeted displays often symbols of the confederacy. Those are the Southern slave-holding states that seceded from the U.S. in the 1860s. The statues you see coming down here in Alabama, Kentucky, and Virginia.
But there are also 11 Confederates statues in the U.S. capital, and the most powerful Democrat in Washington wants them gone. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says, quote, "There is no room for celebrating the violent bigotry of those Confederate leaders in places of honor."
There's also a push to rename U.S. military bases bearing the names of Confederate commanders, but the U.S. president calls them part of a great American heritage, tweeting, "My Administration will not even consider the renaming of these Magnificent and Fabled Military Installations."
So despite Mr. Trump's staunch stance, a culture shift does appear to be starting. Not just in politics, not just in policing, but also in entertainment, as Brian Todd now explains.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Keep your hand where I can see it.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For more than three decades, the show "COPS" was lauded as a real-life, unfiltered, intimate look at the daily lives of law enforcement officers.
But now, "COPS" has been unceremoniously dumped from the cable TV universe, canceled by the Paramount network, which says it has no plans for the show to return.
Worldwide protests after the police killing of George Floyd have drawn new scrutiny on shows like "Cops" and the similar popular A&E show "Live P.D." A "Live P.D." crew was filming when Javier Ambler, an African-American man, died in police custody last year in Austin, Texas.
In newly-released police body cam video, he can be seen yelling, "I can't breathe," a plea also made by George Floyd. A critic who's investigated the show "COPS" says the program often led
off with crimes committed by African-Americans at a disproportionate rate and that these shows generally offer a distorted picture of police as the good guys.
DAN TABERSKI, HOST & PRODUCER, "RUNNING FROM COPS" PODCAST: Those shows are built to scare people and to make people believe that the only thing between them and the violence they're seeing on that show is the thin line.
TODD: Police reality shows are not the only showbiz icons under the microscope after George Floyd's killing.
HATTIE MCDANIEL, ACTRESS: You've been brave so long, Ms. Scarlet. You've just got to go on being brave.
TODD: HBO Max, owned by the same company as CNN, has removed the classic film "Gone with the Wind" from its catalog. The 1939 movie, which romanticizes the South during the Civil War, will be brought back, HBO says, but will include a discussion of its historical context and a denunciation of racism.
NISCHELLE TURNER, HOST, "ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT": Yes, indeed, it does glorify the antebellum south. And yes, then it does whitewash slavery. So I think the movie does have its place in history, but it definitely is a problematic movie in a lot of ways. And I think having a conversation about that is appropriate.
TODD: Audiences are also seeking out films and shows about the black experience and racial justice, movies like "Just Mercy" and "The Hate You Give." Documentaries like "13th." TV shows like "black-ish." And of the top five bestselling books on Amazon, four of them are about race, including titles like "White Fragility" and "How to be an Antiracist."
STEVE THRASHER, PROFESSOR, NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY: This is a real big cultural shift. All of these very powerful players throughout the society, from Hollywood to city hall, are now responding to the protesters after just a couple weeks of action. And they're able to do what electoral politics has largely failed to do.
TODD: The cultural shift has also made its way to the racetrack. Following pleas by African-American NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace, NASCAR has just announced it's banning fans from bringing Confederate flags to races.
(on camera): As for those cop reality shows, some critics have called for them to be completely purged from TV, but analysts say that's unlikely. They say several cable networks have committed their lineups to true crime shows. And reruns of the show "COPS" can still be seen on some cable stations.
Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.
CURNOW: Thanks, Brian, for that.
Well, some companies are going beyond words and taking action to support Black Lives Matter. Adidas says a minimum of 30 percent of new U.S. hires will be black or Latin American. Sephora plans to dedicate 15 percent of shelf space in its beauty stores to products from black- owned companies.
And Twitter will mark June 19th, or Juneteenth, as an official company holiday. Juneteenth celebrates the end of slavery in America.
Well, Sharon Chuter is the founder and CEO of Uoma Beauty, and she launched Pull Up or Shut Up, a campaign that asks brands to release the total number of black employees at their companies.
Sharon, it's wonderful to have you on the show. Thanks for joining us.
SHARON CHUTER, FOUNDER/CEO, UOMA BEAUTY: Thank you so much, Robyn.
CURNOW: Lovely to see you. We've seen these big brands take to social media and call for change, showing support for the protests. Essentially, are you saying this is not enough?
CHUTER: It's not enough. You know, pull up. You know, like put your money where your mouth is. Talk is cheap. And I feel like many brands actually miss the point. What we're asking for -- and it's not about donations. It's not about putting up a black tile. This is a moment for everybody to reflect on the rule that they have played in upholding the system of oppression.
And I feel like brands are the custodians of economic participation, and they failed us. Because when you look at the numbers, it is abysmal. We know that corporate participation for black people in America is at 8 percent. When you get to management level, it's 3.2 percent.
Something is broken. You can either say that's a result of black people not being good enough. We know that's not correct. Or there must be something broken.
And I thought this is a great opportunity for us all to reflect, look at what needs to change, and finally make a change. And we've been talking about this for way too long. It's time for action.
CURNOW: But what you're saying is not just reflect. You're looking at a campaign that aims to put into the public numbers and data, essentially --
CURNOW: -- perhaps naming and shaming.
CHUTER: Well, for me, it's a transparency and accountability exercise. You know, this is a thing -- industry, we've been talking about this a long time. We've known that the board of Adidas and the management team of Adidas, for a long time, have all been white, right? We know that. So that's not information that's new to the industry. It's information that's new to the consumer.
Only the consumer has power to change things. And I think this campaign has shown that. We're almost 100,000 strong in seven days. Only consumers can change things. When they ask for cruelty-free products, guess what? The shelf is full of cruelty-free products.
So it's time that we start asking for equality for black people. And that's why we have this exercise. It was we have to send this information to the public. We have to make it completely transparent so that consumers can vote with their wallets on what companies to support. You know, we have to make sure -- especially black consumers. Because the system right now is a system where black consumers are spending but not getting jobs. And that's not fair. And we have to change all of that.
CURNOW: So what exactly have you been doing in the last week. And how are you doing it? I know you're kind of doing a little bit of a push and pull social media drive. Just explain to us exactly what you're looking to get out of this and how you're doing it.
CHUTER: Yes. I mean, the objective is mass job creation. You know, like I said, every single company who's pulled up, most of them, especially the massive employers are way under index.
And now it's time for new real solutions, right? the start is mobilizing people. We're protesting with our fingers. What we do is we take over brand pages, and we just tell them, pull up or shut up.
You know, and really, put that pressure on them to come back and respond with those numbers, because in the process of looking at those numbers, companies are reflecting. I've had calls from the chief executives of companies, brand founders, saying, "Sharon, what do we do and where do we start?"
And that's the conversation that we're wanting to have, to start talking about solutions. And this has been the only thing that is doing any change. We're talking about this now for decades. And it's the first time we're getting real action in terms of companies stepping up and starting to create diversity themes (ph).
And really seeing that this matter gets the attention that it deserves. Because we need to create job (AUDIO GAP) if we're going to reduce the number of people in prison. We need to start removing our focus from law enforcement and, instead, put in our -- our focus on economic participation, you know, education, communities.
CURNOW: Sharon Chuter, grew to have you. Thanks so much for sharing your drive and your campaign. Appreciate it.
CHUTER: Thanks for having me, Robyn.
CURNOW: So black entrepreneurs in the U.S. say systematic discrimination, racial bias and a lack of access to funding are holding them back. You heard Sharon there.
Well, Clare Sebastian spoke to several black business owners about the obstacles they've had to face and overcome and whether they think things will actually change now.
CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In 2016, an e-commerce start-up set out to fill a gap in the market, delivering hard-to-find African and Caribbean groceries to immigrant communities, a need close to the hearts of the two Nigerian-American founders.
BOYEDE SOBITAN, CO-FOUNDER/CEO, OJAEXPRESS: I think the most piercing cruelty (ph) that we got was an investor we spoke with that took a meeting with us asked us if immigrants even have money. And that was like, well, that happened. For us -- from our person (ph), the meeting was over. They didn't believe in the market.
SEBASTIAN: It would be another four years and around $200,000 of their own money before Boyede Sobitan and Fola Dada were accepted into several accelerated problems and gained some seed funding.
They're now planning to expand beyond their hometown of Chicago.
Between 2013 and 2017, only 1 percent of venture-backed founders in the U.S. were black, according to a study by RateMyInvestor.com.
It's a struggle Diana Vertus knows all too well. She started her boutique events business in 2010 with just $2,500.
DIANA VERTUS, FOUNDER, CURATION AGENCY: I was extremely discouraged by one investor. I was told that I should have a Caucasian person be the face of the company, and I should be the background. And that was, like, a way for me to get more funding. From that point on I did not move forward with asking for funding.
SEBASTIAN: Before COVID-19 hit, she had hired a small team and was making six figures in annual revenue.
In the wake of the nationwide protests that followed the killing of George Floyd, there's been a wave of support for black entrepreneurs. SoftBank has launched a new $100 million opportunity fund intended only for people of color. Andreessen Horowitz announcing a $2.2 million fund for underserved founders.
MELISSA BRADLEY, MANAGING PARTNER, 1863 VENTURES: I am deeply concerned about the amount of money that is pouring into our community that is probably going to be controlled by the people who write the check, who don't understand our reality, who don't experience the racism and the challenges we have, and the desired outcomes will be unrealistic.
CURNOW: Melissa Bradley, who served in the Clinton and Obama administrations, has spent several decades funding and mentoring black and minority businesses. She says this is about much more than just investor prejudice.
According to 2014 data from the Federal Reserve, 47 percent of black- owned businesses who applied for credit were fully funded, compared to 75 percent of white-owned.
BRADLEY: The inputs for the credit scores require a set of assets that oftentimes are declined to black Americans. And so you obviously get different ratings if you rent, versus you own. You obviously get different ratings if you have student loan debt versus no student loan debt. And those are inputs that are to no fault of our own but literally because of lack of access, lack of scholarship, bias in applications. But yet, we are penalized for the rest of our lives.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No justice, no peace!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No justice, no peace!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No justice, no peace!
SEBASTIAN: You think this might be a moment where things change?
BRADLEY: I'm optimistic that things will change, but I don't want it to be a onetime marketing campaign with these companies.
SOBITAN: We're not looking for a handout We're not looking for charity. We're looking for the same type of access we give a white founder who went to Harvard.
SEBASTIAN: Clare Sebastian, CNN, New York.
CURNOW: And just in to CNN, President Trump is threatening to take action to quell protests in Seattle. We know that he has been saying demonstrators have been occupying several blocks of the city, forcing police to abandon one of their precincts.
They say they're going to try and get a dialog going with protesters.
But the president has just tweeted this: "Domestic terrorists have taken over Seattle, run by Radical Left Democrats, of course. LAW & ORDER!"
He also tweeted that the mayor must take back the city, saying, "If you don't do it, I will."
The mayor was quick to respond to the president, tweeting, "Make us all safe. Go back to your bunker."
We'll continue to monitor that story here at CNN.
But coming up after the break, once there were devastating warnings for African countries over the coronavirus, but so far, the pandemic is playing out much differently compared to Europe or China. Find out why. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CURNOW: Well, Latin America is the world's coronavirus hot spot right now. More than 70,000 people have died. That's according to John Hopkins University.
And as we were reporting earlier, Mexico has hit another record for the number of confirmed daily infections. Brazil, though, is accounting for more than half of the total number of deaths in the region. It's actually reporting that third highest death toll in the world, after the U.S. and the U.K.
But so far, experts can't seem to agree on how much coronavirus will affect African countries. Months ago, a report by the U.N. agency had a dire warning: anywhere between 300,000 and 3 million coronavirus deaths across the African continent.
But a few weeks later, the WHO published a drastically different model, predicting far fewer deaths. And now more and more experts say that a surge won't ever happen in most of those areas.
Well, this is something that David McKenzie and his team have been investigating for us, and David joins me now live.
David, hi. Good to see you. So can you explain to us, you know, the discrepancy between these models?
DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, models are always just an estimation --
MCKENZIE: -- based on the factors that scientists believe, Robyn, will be contributing to the disease spread. It's based on the virus's characteristics itself.
But one group of African scientists used some really important other factors, and they believe their estimation is more accurate. Take a look.
MCKENZIE (voice-over): As lockdowns across Africa began, health professionals sounded the alarm. Frightening, severe, catastrophic. Words used to describe the continent's prospects in the pandemic fight. But that was then.
DR. HUMPHREY KARAMAGI, WHO TEAM LEADER, ANALYTICS & KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT: The countries in the Africa region are not where they had predicted that they would be now. I think a lot of earlier predictions had painted a picture of, by this time, it would be quite overwhelming.
MCKENZIE: A group of leading African scientists have predicted a very different outcome. Even in the worst-case scenario, their modeling suggests a smoldering outbreak in Africa, where many countries could avoid a deadly surge.
KARAMAGI: The deaths and the severity of the outbreak would also be a bit less severe than we've seen in other countries.
MCKENZIE: A key to the modeling work including the socioecological factors that impact COVID-19 spread, like weather, population movement, organization.
Two factors stand out. The relative youth of sub-Saharan Africa: 70 percent of people are under 30. And the lower burden of so-called diseases of lifestyle, like diabetes, obesity and hypertension. Both, they believe, could lessen the severity of the disease.
But even if countries avoid a surge, they believe that any spikes could overwhelm weaker health systems.
KARAMAGI: Those are less severe health outcomes that need to be balanced against the capacity of the system to respond to those outcomes.
DR. JOHN NKENGASONG, DIRECTOR, AFRICA CDC: Our curve is increasing, and increasing quickly. So I think the virus has seated itself into the communities and gaining momentum.
MCKENZIE: And despite the new predictions, the head of the Africa CDC says it's far too early to be complacent. He says just five countries on the continent represent more than half the confirmed cases, and overall, testing is still woefully inadequate.
NKENGASONG: I'll characterize it as a delayed pandemic. And now we have to intensify our efforts, be bold and aggressive in putting in place public health measures.
MCKENZIE: Health measures like the army of health workers in South Africa tracing and testing for COVID. Here, unlike in many African countries, the cases are rising quickly. And the modeling of COVID- 19's future spread will soon be tested.
MCKENZIE: Well, Robyn, predictions can be a dangerous game. And even the modelers say any factor that changes can change the outcomes of those predictions.
South Africa is an interesting case, Robyn, because in a way, it's an exception that they feel proves their rule. There are much higher levels of those co-morbidities in this country than in other parts of the African continent, and that believe that could mean that South Africa could see a significant surge. It is, obviously, a very diverse continent of more than a billion people -- Robyn.
CURNOW: OK. Thanks. Great to have you there, live from Johannesburg. Great piece. Thanks so much. David McKenzie there.
So you're watching CNN NEWSROOM. Still to come, the richest man in Japan tells CNN about reopening his flagship store before the state of emergency was lifted, and why he thinks the unrest in the U.S. right now shows that Americas image is, quote, "breaking."
CURNOW: So a stolen mural by famous street artist Banksy has been recovered. You might remember this. The artwork, which was painted on an emergency exit door outside the Bataclan Theater in Paris was stolen back in January 2019. The brazen thieves cut the mural out of the steel door.
And authorities, though, have just found it in an abandoned farmhouse in Abruzzo in Italy. Banksy painted the picture, called it "Mourning Girl," as I said, following the November 2015 terror attacks on the theater, where 90 people were killed.
Meanwhile, now to a CNN exclusive. The richest men in Japan tells CNN about how his retail empire is dealing with the coronavirus pandemic. And the social unrest in the United States.
Kaori Enjoji reports now from Tokyo.
KAORI ENJOJI, JOURNALIST: Fast Retailing reopened its flagship store in Tokyo before Japan lifted the state of emergency. It's the kind of move founder and CEO Tadashi Yanai relishes, despite the toughest times he's facing in years.
TADASHI YANAI, FOUNDER/CEO, FAST RETAILING (through translator): If we kept our stores closed, the whole city will die. Not a single employee has been infected. I was confident we could do it. Someone needs to have the courage to go first.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Black lives matter! Black lives matter!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Black lives matter! Black lives matter!
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Black lives matter! Black lives matter!
ENJOJI: But then more problems hit.
YANAI (through translator): It shows just how devastated the U.S. spirit is about how the situation is untenable. It's not working. They should have thought about what would occur if something like that happened after a long period of keeping everyone locked in. The very image of America is breaking.
ENJOJI: The blow could dent Asia's fragile textile industry further, he says, which has already been crushed by falling orders.
[00:55:04] YANAI (through translator): Salaries for garment factory workers in China are on a par with other industries, and their facilities are state-of-the-art. Other developing nations need to develop that same kind of infrastructure. It's not just one factory's problem.
ENJOJI: Fast Retailing has cut earnings twice this year, but it's flush with cash. I asked Yanai if he's looking to buy a brand that may be struggling to stay afloat.
YANAI (through translator): Absolutely not. Nothing new will come out from buying a failed brand. And secondary, in Shenzhen, industries buy out (UNINTELLIGIBLE) with this sole purpose of selling out. That's just like picking through the coffers (ph).
ENJOJI (on camera): He's pouring millions of dollars into A.I. and robotics, and he says in the future, technology plus fashion instinct will determine what customers really want.
From Tokyo, I'm Kaori Enjoji.
CURNOW: And we will have much more on the George Floyd case next hour. For now, an emotional plea, though, from a member of the U.S. House.
Lucy McBath's only son, Jordan Davis, was killed eight years ago when a man fired ten shots into the car he was sitting in at a gas station. Well, he's son's killer used the controversial "stand your ground" defense but was ultimately sentenced to life in prison.
Well on Wednesday, McBath pleaded with colleagues to be part of the problems solving -- part of the solving problems for black Americans. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. LUCY MCBATH (D-GA): I grieve as a mother who lost her own child to the very same violence that we're talking about today. And tomorrow, and next week, and next month, and next year. I feel the pain experienced by too many families every single day. And every day it happens, it's like a sucker punch in my heart and my gut.
Because when is it going to stop?
I am begging you to stand in the gap. I am begging you to speak up. I'm begging you to be a part of solving the problems of all the young black men and women in this country that die every single day. Because if you do not, you are complicit.
(END VIDEO CLIP)