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President Donald Trump Delivers Commencement Address At West Point; President Donald Trump Reschedules Tulsa Rally "Out Of Respect" For Juneteenth; CDC Issues New Guidelines As Infections Spike In 19 States; Man Fatally Shot By Police At Fast Food Drive-Thru In Atlanta; Atlanta Councilwoman: We Can't Shut Down The Police Department; Thousands Gather In Paris To Protest Against Police Brutality. Aired 12-1p ET
Aired June 13, 2020 - 12:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Now, the basement is where he goes every shift.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Before see the family I had to come down here and be contaminated.
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GINGRAS: The job comes with serious risk to Bell himself and to his family and never held the fanfare which a professional football player might received until now. When every night he celebrated for his work on the front lines by strangers and by former teammates like two-time super bowl winner Howard Griffith.
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HOWARD GRIFFITH, FORMER NFL TEAMMATE OF DR. BELL: Each and every day he leaves the house to go out and help strangers. And he's continued to embrace that. And that's really who he has been for his entire life. He's always wanted to help other people.
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GINGRAS: Those cheers motivation for Bell as he battles his toughest opponent yet. Brynn Gingras CNN, Hackensack, New Jersey.
FREDRICKA WHTFIELD, CNN HOST: Hello again, everyone. Thank you for joining me This Saturday. I'm Fredricka Whitfield. President Trump delivers the commencement address to west point graduates. More than 1,000 students now graduates gathered at the U.S. Military College for a ceremony unlike any before due to concerns over the spread of Coronavirus. Each now 2nd Lieutenant wore a mask and socially distanced.
(BEIGN VIDEO CLIP) DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I want to take this opportunity to thank all members of America's Armed Forces in every branch, active duty, National Guard who steps forward to help battle the invisible enemy, the new virus that came to our shores from a distant land called China. We will vanquish the virus. We will extinguish this plague.
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WHITFIELD: The ceremony happening as the President makes an about-face on his upcoming Tulsa, Oklahoma rally. He now says he will push back the event by one day. This after criticism that the campaign rally was to take place on the day many African-Americans commemorate for receiving news of the end of slavery in the U.S. that came two years after the official emancipation.
That rally comes as the President's top health officials warn the Coronavirus pandemic is not over with 19 states reporting a rise in cases the CDC advising the use of masks and avoiding close contact with others in public.
Meantime, more protests are also expected today as marchers continue to hit the streets for a 19th consecutive day to protest racial injustices and police brutality in response to the death of George Floyd.
Let's begin with the Graduation Ceremony at West Point where the President delivered the Commencement Address and at a time when the nation is undergoing racial unrest a pandemic and tension between the President and U.S. military. CNN White House Correspondent Jeremy Diamond attended today's ceremonies, talk to us about the President's focus today?
JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Fredricka, as you can see behind me, the President is currently saluting every - 1,100 members of this class of 2020 here at West Point. This after the President delivered some remarks here, delivered the commencement address at West Point.
We know that the President kind of got ahead of West Point's announcement that this Graduation Ceremony was going to be taking place in person when he announced this back in April. West Point officials insist it was their decision to have this ceremony in person and certainly we have seen a very different ceremony with a lot of social distancing.
The Former Cadets, now 2nd Lieutenants marched with masks on their faces. Now as for the President's remarks, what we heard him focus on was really the history of West Point. The history of the U.S. army and he did make some small references to kind of the issues of the moment.
We heard him thank the National Guard troops for their role in handling the Coronavirus pandemic as well as addressing the protests and the unrest that we've seen across the country. We also heard the President make a veiled reference to his view that those bases that are named after Confederate Commanders should not be renamed. The President talking about protecting American heritage that's the same line that he has used in the past to refer to that issue of confederate symbols in America and the President's staunch opposition to removing any of those symbols.
What we did not hear, though Fredricka, was also notable. And that was that we did not hear the President do what we have seen so many senior military leaders do over these last couple of weeks which is address these issues of racism as this country, as a whole, is really going through this national reckoning with these protests that have gone on for more than two weeks since George Floyd's death.
We did not hear the President address that substantively. He did talk about diversity in the ranks. But once again Fredricka, what we're still failing to hear from this President is really comprehensively addressing that issue of racism in America that is not an issue that the President has wanted to delve into very strongly.
Certainly we know yesterday he suggested that he would be opposed to a ban on chokeholds with a meandering response but we've not heard him address in full what kind of policing reforms he would like to see and more broadly, really, how the issue of racism affects people, including these new graduates who are now entering the U.S. military, Fredricka?
WHITFIELD: Congrats to these 2nd Lieutenants on this Graduation Day for them. Jeremy Diamond, thank you so much. All right, in response to lots of criticism, people hoping to attend President Trump's next campaign stop will have to wait a bit longer.
The President tweeting that he will push back a planned rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, which was originally scheduled on Juneteenth the day that commemorates when so many African-Americans received notice of the emancipation but still lots of questions about how social distancing will factor in rally?
CNN's Abby Phillip is in Tulsa. So Abby, Dr. Anthony Fauci says he has not talked to the President about the risks of holding a rally like this. Let's address that first. And then, of course, address what's at the root of the controversy of the location and the date the President originally intended this rally to happen.
ABBY PHLLIP, CNN POLTCAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Fred, the campaign's position on this seems to be rally at your own risk. They are basically telling attendees who agree to come to this rally that they have to sign this waiver or agree to a waiver in the fine print essentially of their agreement to come to the event that they're not going to sue the President or the campaign if they contract Coronavirus as a result of attending now that may very well be an acknowledgment by the campaign, essentially, that coming to the rally is a risk.
And that is essentially what you've heard Dr. Anthony Fauci say. There are a lot of questions here about whether people who attend this rally will be wearing masks. Will they social distance? Will they even be able to social distance at this event that's going to be held at an arena that is indoors?
And President Trump says that there have been 200,000 RSVPs for this rally. That is a massive scale. And I think many people believe it will be difficult, if not impossible, for people to get that crucial six feet of distance away from each other.
Here in Oklahoma, as I've been on the ground here for the last day or so, it's been notable how many people are not wearing masks here in this state even while the Coronavirus pandemic continues to be a factor?
And then there is also the issue as you mentioned of the Juneteenth date change. The President pushing this rally over to Saturday, in part because of the outrage here from the black community in Tulsa to the decision for him to bring his rally to this town on a day that they celebrate for the emancipation of slaves in the United States that celebration in Tulsa had been postponed because of the Coronavirus.
Now people here say that they're telling me they plan to have a counter rally, whether President Trump has his rally or not. They want to send a clear message that they do not appreciate the President bringing his rally here, bringing his message here, and exacerbating already, you know, roiling tensions between this community and the police here in Tulsa, Fred.
WHITFIELD: And Abby, it's two things right that rubbed a lot of people wrong. Not just the date, Juneteenth, but the fact that it's Tulsa, Oklahoma as well, the place of one of the largest massacres of black Americans in American history?
PHILLIP: Yes, this is the 99th Anniversary of the Tulsa Massacre in which hundreds of African-Americans just up the street from here were massacred in their community really wiping out a place that was known as the Black Wall Street.
So there were - it was sort of insult on top of injury for people here who have long tried to have that moment in history acknowledged and then on top of that, recent incidents involving police here in Tulsa that they believe - black residents here feel are still being ignored.
This coming at a time, Fred, as you know, President Trump is talking about law and order. He says police are being unnecessarily vilified. And he has not said as much about the concerns among black Americans that there is racism systemic racism in the way that policing is conducted here in Tulsa and around the country.
WHITFIELD: All right Abby Phillip in Tulsa, thank you so much. All right, although businesses and people seem to be going about their business a little more normally now, businesses reopening, the CDC is warning that the Coronavirus is still spreading. The pandemic is not over. CNN's Polo Sandoval joining me now with more on this. What are you learning? POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Fred, good afternoon. A few seconds I'll take you across the country to show you exactly how some of those states are dealing with these increases. First, the very latest from what we're hearing here in New York from Andrew Cuomo in his latest press conference announcing that the numbers do look promising.
In fact saying just a few moments ago that the infection rate in New York, which was at one point the worst in the nation, now appears to be one of if not the lowest at this point so certainly promising news here.
SANDOVAL: Also calling New York the anomaly in terms what we're seeing after we began to see these reopenings. Those numbers do continue to drop when at the same time in other states; those numbers begin to rise as businesses begin to open. As we heard from the Governor if that happens in some of the municipalities here in New York, then they'll likely go back to some of those closures.
Dr. Anthony Fauci with a new warning for Americans as Coronavirus case counts are rising in 19 states.
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DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY & INFECTIOUS DISEASES: If you leapfrog over different phases, you increase the risk that you're going to have the kind of resurgences that we're seeing in certain of the states.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Has the United States stalled in the fight against Coronavirus?
FAUCI: I'm not so sure we can say it's stalled but we're seeing right now something obviously that's disturbing.
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SANDOVAL: With more people congregating in public places, recent protests for racial justice in major cities and the lack of a vaccine, experts are concerned.
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DR. RICHARD BESSER, FORMER ACTING DIRECTOR: We're in the early days of the pandemic. And if only five or 10 percent of the population has had this infection, we have a really long way to go.
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SANDOVAL: Since Memorial Day, the number of Coronavirus hospitalizations has gone up in at least a dozen states, according to data CNN collected from the COVID Tracking Project from May 25th to June 9th. North Carolina has seen the most cases reported in one day since the pandemic began. Democratic Governor Roy Cooper said in a press conference Friday. South Carolina has seen a large increase in daily new cases. On Thursday, the state saw its single largest daily increase since the pandemic started. Florida's average new case count has about doubled since June 1st.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As you're testing more, you're going to find more cases.
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SANDOVAL: And Governor Ron DeSantis says there are new outbreaks in farming communities. In Houston, Texas they are prepping a field hospital at the Texans and RG Stadium just in case COVID-19 hospitalization rates in Texas just hit an all-time high. In Arkansas, a record number of COVID-19 cases reported in the last 24 hours.
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DR. ASHISH JHA, DIRECTOR, HARVARD GLOBAL HEALTH INSTITUTE: If things continue on the current trend we're going to lose 20,000 to 30,000 Americans a month and nothing in the foreseeable future stops that unless we really do things differently.
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SANDOVAL: Dr. Fauci cautioning states on Friday to rethink their reopening strategies if they see increases in the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19.
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FAUCI: Wait a minute. Let's rethink this and see where we're going. Maybe we need to slow down a little. Maybe we need to intensify our capabilities to identify, isolate and contact trace. We don't want it to get out of hand again.
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SANDOVAL: Oregon and Utah have paused their reopenings and California's Orange County, relaxing a strict mandate for face coverings. Neighboring L.A. County which recorded its highest single day increase moved into phase three. Gyms, day camps and TV film production are among the businesses reopening.
All of Missouri will be open next week, and concerts and conventions can resume in Georgia July 1st. As the Coronavirus pandemic continues, officials at the CDC are reiterating the importance of social distancing, wearing face coverings in public and washing hands frequently. New York facing another big test late this month actually you remember Fred, that we saw this wave of protests and demonstrations here in New York.
We heard Mayor de Blasio say yesterday that by next week, we could potentially find out if those protests did have an impact on those numbers, possibly lead it to resurge. At this point it's too soon to say, but authorities are still reminding people if they did participate in those protests that it makes sense to at least get tested.
WHITFIELD: So many are bracing. All right, thank you so much Polo Sandoval in New York. As we see the spike in cases, there is also some optimism about the development of a vaccine. Researchers in Oxford, England, are already in large-scale testing involving thousands of human participants. And here in the U.S., drug company Moderna says it is just about to begin phase three on its own test - human testing of the vaccine.
Joining me is Jessica Malaty Rivera, she is a Microbiologist and the Science Communication Lead with the COVID-19 Tracking Project so good to see you. So this Oxford trial is about to go to phase three and the Moderna trial is almost at that stage. So characterize this for us, you know, is it time for cautious optimism? Is there anything to read thus far from the phases already completed?
JESSICA MALATY RIVERA, MICROBIOLOGIST: Yes, you know, it's always encouraging when a trial advances to the next stage because they're bags that decision on the data from the previous stage when this case with Moderna it's based on the safety data that got from phase two, albeit small. That's what makes phase three that much more exciting.
RIVERA: You're going to have so many more participants involved that's where they're going to be testing for the efficacy and making big decisions moving forward. I am cautiously optimistic because it seems like the end points for the smaller studies are being met. The real test really is in phase three rights now.
WHITFIELD: What happens in phase three exactly?
RIVERA: in phase three, it's going to be a lot larger. They're going to diversify the participant group. They're going to have different age groups represented. It's going to be a lot larger of a population that they're testing. And they're really testing for the efficacy to make sure that people don't actually get COVID-19. They've tested for the safety and now they want to make that this can actually prevent illness.
WHITFIELD: I've spoken to one gentleman who is in the case study of the Moderna. And he has, you know, been very positive about his experiences thus far. Is there - you said you're cautiously optimistic, but is there room right now for scientists to start getting particularly excited about what they are observing in these test cases thus far?
RIVERA: I mean the regulatory system for vaccines is really robust. And it's intended to make sure that we're putting out safe and efficacious, effective vaccines to the public. So I think cautious optimism is appropriate. I think we shouldn't be making any claims that are not based on the data. The U.S. government has fast tracked five candidates in what they're calling "Operation Warp Speed" because they want to make sure if after phase three, something is approved, and then we won't be scrambling to have a stockpile of vaccines. So they're putting their money down to make sure they can prepare for a future approval.
WITHFIELD: The Food and Drug Administration has not, you know, committed to a vaccine trial with at least 30,000 people. So should there be concern about, you know, potential pressure to release a vaccine before it's ready or fully tested?
RIVERA: No, like I said I mean, they're not going to put something out that's rushed that even though it says "Operation Warp Speed," it's intended to essentially put their money focused, making sure that they have the resources, the personnel, the logistics, all the financial support that really elongates the time for a vaccine approval.
So there's a lot of moving parts here. And they are going to make sure that whatever is put out is safe and effective, even if it's happening pretty quickly.
WHITFIELD: So in California, where you are, movie theaters, gyms, bars mostly open despite the rise in COVID-19 cases. What's your point of view on that?
RIVERA: Yes, I'm very concerned about activities that make things like mask wearing and social distancing difficult. I know we've been easing restrictions in a lot of places and I know Gavin Newsom, the Governor has repeatedly said that the decisions that they're making for the state are based on the data.
Right now the data are telling a different story. It's saying things are moving in the wrong direction. A lot of that could be because some restrictions were eased up, Memorial Day activity. And so I do think we need to be very cautious about what activities and what businesses are allowed to reopen right now?
WHITFIELD: Does this mean that you think they should--
RIVERA: It's not going in the right direction.
WHITFIELD: Sorry to interrupt, but do you mean that this should amount to businesses that were allowed to reopen now close as a result of a spike in cases?
RIVERA: I think what we need to be reinforcing is the fact that this should not be the end of mask wearing and it should not be the end of social distancing, and it should not be the end of avoiding contact with a lot of people that you are not - that are not in your social bubble for instance.
What we're seeing are new cases happening all the time, the test positive cases increasing and more hospitalizations. That's indicating the outbreak is growing.
WHITFIELD: Okay. Jessica Malaty Rivera, thank you so much. We'll leave it there now. I appreciate it.
RIVERA: Thank you.
WHITFIELD: The black lives matter movement is spreading around the world. Right now, protesters are gathering in London and Paris as tensions mount between counter protesters from the far right and police. Plus, a deadly police-involved shooting at a Wendy's drive- through in Atlanta an investigator says the violence started over a taser.
WHITFIELD: Welcome back. In Georgia, we're learning more about a fatal police shooting at a Wendy's drive-through. The initial report was about a man sleeping in his car at the drive-through. CNN's Natasha Chen is with us now. What's happened?
NATASHA CHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well Fred, there are about three or four dozen people who have gathered here on University Avenue in front of the Wendy's to protest. I want to talk a little bit about what we know from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation who gave us a press release of this case so far.
What happened within the drive-through on the left side of the Wendy's building that you see there with a 27-year-old man who was reported to be sleeping in his car? The GBI says that he failed a field sobriety test and there was a struggle over a taser after which the man was shot and he later died.
Right now you see police blocking this street as these protesters peacefully are making their voices heard. But I also want to point out a really interesting conversation that happened just within the last 30 minutes between these protesters and Council Member Joyce Shepherd in Atlanta.
The protesters were specifically asking her about the issue of defund the police, a phrase you've heard a lot around the country lately, and about redirecting resources to other services in the community that could have helped this man instead of police with their weapons. Here is what Council Member Joyce Shepherd said.
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JOYCE SHEPHERD, COUNCILWOMAN: There are layers of what we have to do across so many different entities not just the police department? The Fulton County, the state let's talk about the state the Federal Government fighting to really make this happen.
SHEPHERD: So talking about just taking money from the Police Department is not it because at the same time, we still have crime in our streets.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHEN: So you hear her saying that this solution needs to be multifaceted, and these people really just want to see change. She talked about the fact that Atlanta is having a 45-day task force to talk about reforms and these people really want to get that process going.
Right now we want to emphasize this particular incident is still under investigation. We have asked for body cam and surveillance video and have yet to see it, though we know there are some videos in existence that have been circulating among protesters and other folks on the internet. Fred?
WHITFIELD: Yes, still lots of incomplete information. What transpired between a man sleeping in the vehicle and a sobriety test and then what happened in between a sobriety test and use of a taser which then led to this man's death? Natasha Chen, thank you so much. Bring us some answers as soon as you get them. I appreciate it.
CHEN: Thank you.
WHITFIELD: Up next, fighting racism at school as protests continue across the country. The Denver School District is cutting ties with police. So what's being done to keep children safe while promoting equality and inclusion? I'll talk live with a board member leading that movement.
WHITFIELD: Welcome back in London protests against racial injustices continuing there were counter protests are also being held in Parliament Square. This was the scene there this morning. You can see a violent scuffle breaking out between far right protesters were told and police.
Meantime in Paris, we're seeing large protests against police brutality. CNN's Nic Robertson is in London, Cyril Vanier is in Paris. Nic, you first, U.K. officials are urging people to stay home. Are they expecting violence?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Well, there have been those running scuffles that you've just seen and this is the moment. We're now half an hour past the time when the police said all the protesters from both the marches here in Parliament Square and the Black Lives Matter march that ended half a mile away around Trafalgar Square that they should leave, that they should go home.
The police chief in charge of monitoring these protests has said that they need to go to different stations to go home. But what we're seeing right now, and I'll just step out of the way is the police really sort of taken their time trying to persuade people to separate out. But this is the moment that sort of most difficult for the police because you have small groups of stragglers from both of these protests. And whenever they come together, that's when you're seeing also flashes of violence. The police have been separating it and stopping it. But this is perhaps going to be over the next hour or so the most difficult moments of the day. But the police for these protesters that the mass said we're right wing protesters came here. They said to protect statues of Winston Churchill and others.
They've had the running confrontations with the police. And the police commissioner said that she believed that these right wing protesters as the mayor calls them had come to attack the Black Lives movement, Black Lives Matter protest. What we've seen today is really the police managed to keep the sides apart for the best part of the day. Again, now, they're trying to get everyone to disperse.
WHITFIELD: Nic, thank you so much. And Cyril, many people have turned out, they're thinking about a young man who died in police custody five years ago. What are they saying?
CYRIL VANIER, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Well, Fredricka, you have to understand there are striking similarities between the case of George Floyd and the case of Adama Traore who turned 24, the day he died in police custody.
There are two black men who died in the custody of white police officers. George Floyd, as is well documented, as the world knows, died with a knee crushing his neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds. Adama Traore, the circumstances of his death are still being investigated.
The exact cause of his death hasn't been determined. But he was arrested and pinned down by three gendarmeries almost four years ago. The responsibilities in his death have not yet been fully determined. And that is one of the things that has angered not only his family, but the crowd that have turned out today.
So they have turned out to protest against racism, against police violence, and for justice in this specific case of Adam Traore who I should point out also died like George Floyd saying, I can't breathe.
So you saw according to the police, 15,000 people gather and the organizers of the protests will likely say many more. Sorry, Fredricka, I'm squinting. We can now smell the tear gas. There have been clashes on the plaza out in public in central Paris with protesters firing fireworks, police clearing trying to clear the area with tear gas.
Very few -- far fewer people now than there were a couple hours ago. We're seeing the last few groups who really want to get their message across. They've been getting up in the faces of the police branded with their fist up in the air and making sure, making eye contact with the police. Fredricka?
WHITFIELD: All right, Nic Robertson, Cyril Vanier, thank you so much. Appreciate it.
[12:34:59] All right, the conversation on race and COVID-19 continues tomorrow night right here on CNN. Join Laura Coates with four of the nation's top mayors D.C.'s Muriel Bowser, Atlanta's Keisha Lance Bottoms, Chicago's Lori Lightfoot, and San Francisco's London Breed. Mayors Who Matter, tomorrow night, 9 o'clock. And we'll be right back.
WHITFIELD: There is growing pressure on cities and states to enact police reforms in the wake of George Floyd's death. And now many school districts are looking at the role police play in American schools.
On Thursday, the Denver School Board took the extraordinary step of ending its contract with Denver police. The board voted unanimously to phase out officers from school campuses.
Joining me right now to talk about this is Denver School Board member, Tay Anderson. Tay, good to see you. Thank you so much for being with me. So what precipitated this move?
TAY ANDERSON, DENVER BOARD OF EDUCATION MEMBER: We have been working on this for over a decade in the city and county of Denver. And the death of George Floyd was the straw that broke the camel's back.
We had innocent students being shot at, tear gassed, with the rubber bullets, et cetera. And we're no longer going to stand for that. And so we are going to end the school to prison pipeline, and take the first step with doing that by ending our contract of having armed police in only 17 out of 225 of our schools.
WHITFIELD: So who will now will provide security?
ANDERSON: We have our own DPS Department of Safety that's armed and unarmed. But we're not going to have an armed presence in the school. The philosophy of a good guy with a gun that stops a bad guy with a gun is false.
Parkland and STEM both had good guys with guns and we still had kids die. So we need to make sure that we're taking the steps to working with DPD on a new memorandum of understanding. But also letting them know that their actions this past week on our protesters, especially our young children were unacceptable.
WHITFIELD: So other school districts in the country have taken similar steps. I understand Minneapolis, Seattle Portland, have announced that they will end police relationships with schools. Los Angeles and Chicago are looking into doing that as well. Did your school district or did you even personally consult with other school districts across the country before reaching this decision?
ANDERSON: We looked at what other school districts did and we made ours 10 times stronger. So we're not having any armed presence of police officers in our building. We're not going to continue to have the policing of our students. And we're going to make sure that we're phasing them out. So it'll be a 25 percent reduction in December and the full reduction in the end of the school year in May. But again, we only have 17 out of 225 schools have SRO's currently in them.
WHITFIELD: So this is been particularly difficult time and I know that's not even the proper word, what school districts have been going through, you had the pandemic and you've been focusing on how do we reopen schools with that in mind. And now, this is a sizable change that you've just made. How have you all managed that?
ANDERSON: We are able to take on many tasks at the same time. That is why we're ending this contract because we have schools that don't have full time nurses. And post COVID, we're going to be required to take temperature checks, and we won't even have a nurse in the building to take temperature check in some schools, but we'll have a law enforcement officer there with a gun and a badge that is supposed to protect and serve our students.
But why is it that only 17 cops out of 1,500 know how to actually interact with kids. That's absurd. So DPD must do the work. And that's why the next step is we're going to take this to the Stapleton neighborhood after a clans member who's been named, a neighbor has been named after him, were demanding that they change the name of that community because one of our schools have already done it, so that community needs to do it. If not, we're going to march in their neighborhood next week.
WHITFIELD: Tay Anderson in Denver, thank you so much.
Still ahead, he won two Olympic gold medals for track and field, 400 hurdler, now Edwin Moses is pouring his heart out on race, social activism, and his own run in with police. He joins me live next.
WHITFIELD: Unconscious bias impacts our lives in every facet. We put a spotlight on that last weekend with an hour long special and throughout our programming throughout the weekend.
Athletes, they are among the loudest voices now demanding social change and an end to racial inequality in America. Our next guest is an Olympic gold medalist multiple times who has spent the last few decades working to make the world a fairer and more equal place.
Edwin Moses just penned a powerful op-ed in the Atlanta Journal Constitution Newspaper writing, quote, equality remains elusive. So elusive, that literally our lives or our sense of safety and our opportunities in just about every sphere remain in the hands and beneath the knees of white people like Amy Cooper, you recall she was the white woman who called on a black man in Central Park, and Derek Chauvin, that's the Minneapolis police officer who don't even begin to strive for excellence or integrity.
It doesn't matter that now my son also has a graduate degree and as a champion athlete and citizen of the world. As I told him when he was a student at the Atlanta International School, your white friends may be able to hop the fence to take the shortcut across our neighbor's property, but you can't. It's not about who you are inside, your excellence, your integrity, and your commitment to equality. It's about the fact that you are a black man. Because of that, unlike your friends, you're not privileged to make that move.
Joining me right now to discuss is Edwin Moses, the chairman of the Laureus World Sports Academy and an Olympic gold medalist. Edwin, it's so good to see you my friend.
EDWIN MOSES, CHAIRMAN, LAUREUS WORLD SPORTS ACADEMY: Thank you Fred. I'm glad to be with you this morning.
WHITFIELD: So you've really poured your heart out here, you know. So what does today, you know, now the third week of protests and a sort of new global awareness feel like to you?
MOSES: Well, just this morning, I received some text messages and phone calls from associates of mine that I've been dealing with in the sports development world, and also who are sports administrators and the movement is really even gotten at that level.
There's people that are feeling like it's time to change at the top levels of sport, at the top levels of development. And needless to say, when you have to, I did pour my heart out. And needless to say that when you have to think about these things all the time and conduct your life in a very specified and controlled way, it's the way that we've been living as black men and women and brown men and women of color and even transgender and gay people have to live under the thumb.
And it's heartbreaking and it weighs on you every day of your life. And obviously we see people all around the world from all walks of life that diversity is unbelievable, who think and understand and are realizing that it's time to change.
WHITFIELD: Yes. It's so exhausting all those, you know, that wait that you speak of you right in the AJC also that your life is defined, you know, by three principles excellence, integrity, equality, you know, bred into you by your Tuskegee father and a Dayton Ohio Elementary School principal mother. You know, they let you know black people do not enjoy equality.
But in the meantime, you know, situate yourself in spaces where it lives and work to extend it. So you found in athletics, you know, really that space, you'd become an Olympic gold medalist, 400 hurdler, you know, up there with one of the most challenging athletic events. So did you ever feel that these accomplished just might be a sort of an escape hatch from all of those inequities?
MOSES: Not an escape hatch. I saw my accomplishments as an opportunity. Every three or four-year-old child knows that if an advocate is put in a foot race, if they're able to do so, everyone knows that if you put one kid three or four feet ahead of the other that the race is uneven.
And my opportunities from the world of sports I really took upon myself as representing what Morehouse men represent really going out and doing good in the world. And coming from a tradition of equality, morality, ethics that was bred into me not only by my mom and dad, as you mentioned, my mom -- my dad was a Tuskegee airmen, but I've been able to carry that throughout my life and use it as an advantage as and as a tool to help people around the world understand that there are inequities.
And to Laureus, we've been able to be on the ground in over 120 countries to actually do things to help people that don't have a fair chance. So the whole sports concept of fairness, starting at the same finish line, I think people are really waking up to it. And one of the more important on Instagram, one of the more important reads that I made this week was I think it was a picture of a 14-year-old girl or so she was, I don't know how many times it's been reposted.
But she said that George Floyd is not a wakeup call. And that people's alarm clocks have been put on buzz for too long. And I thought that was very succinct and really lays out what's happening in the world today. Everyone's involved. It's a movement for fairness and equity. And lots of people are finally having to deal with what they've been saying and what they've been feeling and the stories that they've been healing and come to a conclusion.
And the George Floyd episode just triggered everything along with the other incidents of just police brutality. But it's much larger than that. It's much larger than just a police brutality.
WHITFIELD: Yes. You write that, you know, a tipping point really for you was that Ahmaud Arbery I mean, a young man jogging, you know, in Georgia, you thought about your son, it could have been you as well. And, you know, I know you are also shaped by the lessons of your dad, your dad, like my dad, Tuskegee airmen who had similar experiences when after World War II, they returned the United States they could not find work.
And that just was added testament underscored the hardships of so many black men in this country that we, many people are finally convinced this sadly has been going on for so many years, these kinds of inequities.
And Edwin Moses, you are an incredible byproduct of fantastic parents and are now you're committed, you know, to helping so many others to find equality, really appreciate you. Thank you so much.
MOSES: Thank you very Fred. Thank you very much.
WHITFIELD: All right, coming up the future of race relations in America. I'll go one on one with Valerie Jarrett who handled criminal justice and police reform under the President Obama administration.
But first, as food banks across the country struggle to keep up with demand, two CNN Heroes are making sure that people don't feel hungry.
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The clients we serve are very medically fragile, vulnerable, primarily low income people, many of them living alone, and many of them have lost caregivers because of the pandemic. That population has the potential for the most complications and mortality if they get the illness. So it's really, really important that this population stays home and stay safe. Medically tailored 100 percent organic, meals are specifically tailored to the nutrient requirements of the client's illness.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We start with canned goods. We've received a lot of calls asking for help in feeding food insecure students that were dependent upon school meals for their basic nutritional needs. The young men and young women that we serve are doing a tremendous job of stepping up to the plate during this time of crisis, grappling with anything even a global pandemic, it starts with a community rallying around one another.
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