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Interview with "The Atlantic" Staff Writer Caitlin Dickerson; Interview with U.S. Surgeon General and "Together" Author Dr. Vivek Murthy; Interview with Native American Activist and "American Genocide" Podcast Host Crystal Echo Hawk. Aired 1-2p ET
Aired May 12, 2023 - 13:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BIANNA GOLODRYGA, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. And welcome to "Amanpour". Here's what's coming up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALEJANDRO MAYORKAS, U.S. SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY: Do not believe the lies of smugglers, people who do not use available, legal pathways to
enter the U.S. now face tougher consequences.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLODRYGA: Southern border surge. Is the U.S. equipped to handle a sudden immigration spike as COVID-era deportation powers expire? I ask Pulitzer
Prize winning reporter Caitlin Dickerson who has spent years investigating America's immigration crisis.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. VIVEK MURTHY, U.S. SURGEON GENERAL AND AUTHOR, "TOGETHER": In our extroverted society, to say you're lonely is almost like saying you're not
likable or you're not lovable or something's wrong with you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLODRYGA: America's top doctor, Vivek Murthy, gets personal about his own mental health struggles and why loneliness is now a public health priority.
Then, why activist Crystal Echo Hawk says the U.S. is one giant crime scene. As she uncovers historic abuse of Native American children in
government run schools.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLODRYGA: As renowned conductor Daniel Barenboim says farewell to Berlin State Opera, we revisit a cherished interview.
Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Bianna Golodryga in New York, sitting in for Christiane Amanpour.
The border is not open, that's the warning from Washington as tens of thousands of migrants gather in northern Mexico. It's after controversial
COVID-era immigration rules known as Title 42 came to an end overnight. So, what does it mean? Well, for one thing, harsher consequences for those
entering the U.S. illegally. Several border communities have issued disaster declarations in anticipation of a possible surge, but there was no
influx at midnight, a top homeland security official says.
Migration is high on the agenda of lawmakers around the world, and it's set to feature heavily in next year's U.S. presidential election. Let's take a
listen to some of those most affected. Like this woman, who fled Venezuela and now cannot find her partner.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MACBETH MANTILLA, FLED VENEZUELA, CAN'T FIND PARTNER (through translator): Imagine waiting every day at 5:00 a.m. for the first bus to arrive. We
stand here to see who is leaving and who is not, asking with a picture of him. Have you seen him? Have you seen him? That's all day, every day. And
sometimes you don't even eat because if you move from there, you think the bus with your loved one will arrive.
RANGEL PINO, FLED VENEZUELA (through translator): I already had some knowledge that the border going to close on the 12th or something like
that. I came quickly, before they closed it, and was able to cross before they started deporting people where I was. Inflation is ruining the
country. I tried to find a way to survive there.
SAIER CASTRO, FLED VENEZUELA (through translator): The rive was quite crowded with people. I crossed it with my daughters, my brother-in-law, and
myself. We swam across. At least here, we can sleep on the street. I have been sleeping here for five days and nothing has happened to us. Staying in
Mexico was not an option.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLODRYGA: Just a glimpse of what tens of thousands of people are enduring on this very dangerous trek. Well, one of the places these migrants are
trying to reach is El Paso, Texas, which is where our Rosa Flores is.
Rosa, thank you so much for joining us. So, talk about what you're seeing there in the hour since Title 42 has been lifted.
ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT You know, according to DHS officials, they say that they did not see the expected influx that they were expecting once
Title 42 lifted. And, Bianna, that's exactly what we're seeing today here in El Paso. And just a show you what I'm talking about, I'm standing right
behind the border wall, that's what you see, right. Beyond the border wall is a staging area where migrants wait to be transported for processing.
Now, I want to show you a video that we shot yesterday, and you can see that the lines are long. According to the U.S. border patrol chief, in the
past few days, there was about 2,500 migrants in this area. Within 48 hours, they were able to transport and process about 1,500. And so,
yesterday, according to the chief, there were about 1,000 individuals there waiting to be processed.
Now, I want you to take a look at video from today, and you'll be able to see that those lines are much shorter. There is actually just a very small
group of individuals who are there. That is the reality on the ground right now.
Now, if you're -- you're probably wondering, OK, so, where did all of these individuals go to, and is it having an impact in these communities along
the border? What I can tell you is that the Biden administration is using something called decompression, and what that means is they transport
migrants from areas that are overcapacity, like El Paso, to other areas along the border to facilities along the border where they can be processed
And so, Bianna, that is what we're seeing right now, and it appears to be working. According to officials, about 10,000 migrant encounters is what
they're seeing right now. It is an increase, but that increase has been going on for a few days, and I think that's the point from the Biden
administration at this point. Bianna.
GOLODRYGA: And of course, way too soon to be calling this a victory of any sort for the administration, especially since they've already seen some
legal setbacks overnight. Talk about that.
FLORES: You know, you're absolutely right. The Biden administration has been preparing for this, of course, for more than a year now. And they had
put in place various policies to make sure that they were prepared for the lifting of Title 42.
Now, there's a lot of different ways to explain these policies and they're complicated and there's a lot of them, but it bowls (ph) down to this, the
Biden administration implemented policies that provide legal pathways for migrants to come into this country legally but it also built in legal
consequences. Now, one of those most controversial policies is the asylum ban that just went into effect. Now, that asylum ban says that any migrant
who crosses multiple countries or other countries to get to the United States and who does not seek protections or does not seek asylum in those
countries is banned from asylum in the U.S.
Now, here's a setback, overnight, what happened was the ACLU filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration, claiming that that policy is very
harmful to migrants, that it puts migrants in danger, puts asylum seekers in danger, that's the first setback. And then there was another one out of
the State of Florida, a federal judge blocked the Biden administration's ability to release migrants who are already in its custody into the country
without court dates.
Now, Bianna, I should mention that is a policy that has been used by prior administration. It's been used a lot during surges. And what that does is
it allows the Biden administration to manage the flow within detention facilities. And the administration, this morning, saying that that is a
harmful practice, not just for migrants, but also for the agents that are working in those detention centers. Bianna.
GOLODRYGA: Yes, clear sign that legal challenges are coming from both the right and the left against this administration and its policy. Rosa Flores,
Well, our next guest has spent years covering immigration, and just this week, won the Pulitzer Prize for her reporting in "The Atlantic". The
awards board said that Caitlin Dickerson's cover story, "We Need to Take Away the Children," was a compelling account of the Trump administration
policy that forcefully separated migrant children from their parents. And Caitlin joins me now from New York.
Caitlin, thank you so much for joining us. Congratulations on the much- deserved award. I know you've been covering this piece (ph) for so longer, you're the perfect person to be talking to on this momentous day. First,
let me get you to respond to what you've been hearing from Rosa, and I'm sure from your reporting as well, that we don't, in these early hours of
Title 42 having been lifted, don't yet see much chaos along the border. What do you make of that?
CAITLIN DICKERSON, STAFF WRITER, "THE ATLANTIC": Sure. So, thank you so much for the congratulations and for having me. I have to say that I am not
surprised by what your reporter is seeing on the border today. Where to begin, really? Title 42 is just one of, literally, dozens of band-aid
policies that administrations, both Republican and Democrat, have applied to the border since 9/11. That history is traced in the article I wrote
that you referred to.
So, you know, under the Trump administration, which was really desperate to curtail the number of people requesting asylum, Stephen Miller, who is
President Trump's chief immigration advisor, he scoured federal law and looking for ways that the president could bypass Congress and shut the
border down himself. I documented this on a front-page story in "The New York Times." He finds Title 42, he tries to put it in place initially based
on small public health issues, outbreaks of things like lice and the flu. And White House lawyers tell him, no, you know, this isn't serious enough
to invoke this public health rule.
And so, when the coronavirus pandemic comes around, it actually offers in opportunity to Miller that the Trump administration pushes forward Title
42, kind of, under the guise of a public health concern.
But it was really just an attempt to minimize the number of people seeking asylum. But here is the problem with band aid solutions that cut off access
to a portion of our immigration system but not the entire thing. When Title 42 cut off access to asylum, illegal crossings rose really dramatically.
They had been very low, because prior to Title 42, most people crossing the border were turning themselves over to border agents and it requesting
asylum. So, illegal crossings closed.
Now, we have Title 42 lifting, which affords some people access to asylum again, but the Biden administration attempting to replace it with yet new
band-aid solutions that I think, as you mentioned, are both being challenged in court, and I think are just not going to meaningfully address
the much more powerful factors. Those that draw people to the United States are very significant labor shortages, American employers who are frankly
desperate to hire migrants.
And then, on the other side of the border, factors like climate change, instability, violence, severe hunger, that are pushing people to the United
States, these minimal policies really are no match. But in terms of the quiet that we're seeing on the border today, it's a very typical for a
surge of migration to occur right before a transition in administration or a change in policy.
Those moments offer smuggling organizations, the opportunity that, you know, basically start a fire sale and say, hey, everybody, you need to take
our services because things are changing. And then, the change takes place, numbers go down, this is very much typical and not surprising. And so,
that's kind of why I'm trying to take the opportunity to draw the conversation to our bigger immigration issues and not just the border on a
GOLODRYGA: It's so important that you just explained it the way you did and laid it out the way you did, because clearly this is an issue that's
been grappling, you know, multiple administrations, both Republican and Democrat. And it's notable that the difference it makes when a candidate is
seeking the presidency as opposed to when they're actually in office. Because then-candidate Biden was really campaigning harshly against Title
42, and yet here we are, two years into his administration, and finally you see this program lifted.
I do want to play a sound from the president who is under no illusions that this process is going to be without chaos. He addressed it and said as much
just earlier before this expiration. Let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: So, it remains to be seen, it's going to be chaotic for a while. And as an example, as I raised in the meeting, when I
said, well, we're going to cut and no spending more money. And what they'll have is, if you cut -- if you're going to cut people at the border, you're
going to cut agents at the border. We need more at the border, not less at the border.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLODRYGA: So, you're right to describe these policies are real -- is really band-aids. And what needs to happen is Congress needs to get its act
together and on a bipartisan basis, really enact significant change here. Without that, once again, we are seeing this president and administration
taking unilateral action.
Can you just explain for our viewers the difference, because there have been criticisms, from both Republicans and Democrats, about this policy
that has been introduced by President Biden looking quite similar to the policies that had been enacted by his predecessor.
DICKERSON: Absolutely. So, I think one of the things that the Trump administration created, you know, former President Trump was so focused on
immigration and immigration policy that he, sort of, made it seem to the American public like the president sets immigration laws which, of course,
is not true.
So, what presidents can do is issue memos, issue regulations that chisel out different ways in which the existing set of laws are applied. Many
times, you know, presidents will attempt to go too far and that's what the ACLU, which is challenging the Biden administration in court now contends
it's the same thing that they argued against ways in which the Trump administration eroded the asylum system.
So, the baseline, an important thing for people to understand, is that the United States immigration laws are very outdated. They have not been
updated in decades and they don't address the current geopolitical realities. They don't address the circumstances that are drawing people to
the United States, nor do they address those poll factors I mentioned earlier. You know, the need for migrants who, you know, ideally would
arrive in the United States in a safe and legal way.
But because the Trump administration, as I mentioned, just got so much attention for the president's own focus on immigration.
The Biden administration, I think here, is really operating from a position of fear. From a concern about losing moderate voters who are worried about
chaos at the border. And let me be very clear, in no way do I want to minimize the number of resources, the amount of resources that are required
to process large numbers of people crossing the border. That's a very significant.
But what I'm saying is that, I think, a fear in the Biden administration about picture that depict chaos is really preventing meaningful progress in
the way of updating our laws to address these macro issues rather than just, you know, worrying day-to-day and trying to keep those border numbers
as low as they can on a daily basis.
GOLODRYGA: Can you talk about some of the specifics that this program holds. And, you know, it raises the question that some of its critics are
saying that this is, in a sense, a ban on asylum, similar to what Trump had in his policy. And the Biden administration is quick to fight and clapped
back on that claim, saying that no. That while they do maintain that the asylum seekers have to seek asylum in a separate country before coming to
the United States. That there is a variety of other government services. That they have expanded a parole program leading up to 30,000 Cubans,
Haitians, Nicaraguans, Venezuelans, and I believe even Ukrainians.
But that's based on a U.S. sponsor, right? Sponsoring them. So, they would require more resources than the majority of these migrants. Can you just
give us more detail on what this administration is proposing?
DICKERSON: Absolutely. I'm glad you asked. This is a very important question. So, stay with me here, I'm going to talk about history for a
moment. But since World War II and the response to the way that the United States and other western countries responded to World War II, when we
actually turned away Jewish refugees fleeing the holocaust based on the argument that they simply hadn't applied, hadn't gone through the right
legal process and turned people away to their deaths.
That led to a U.N. convention on refugee resettlement and eventually the establishment of American asylum law, which since the 1980s has held. If
you set foot on American soil, you are entitled to apply for asylum status. It comes from this history of not wanting to repeat the same mistake that
the United States made historically. That has been the law of the land.
And the Trump administration began eroding at that system by coming up with things like the Remain in Mexico policy with Title 42, which was always a
temporary pandemic related measure. But what the Biden administration is doing now, with new restrictions it's imposed, is doubling down. And it's a
very, very meaningful shift in U.S. policy that lots of academics and experts are deeply concerned about. I mean, it's effectively 80 years of
evolution and progress being turned back and we're changing the rules now.
So, it's no longer the case under these Biden administration policies that they remain in place that anybody who sets foot on American soil is
entitled to apply for asylum. Something that lots of advocates are dismayed about and that's why they're challenging it. You know, they said -- they
had hoped that today, the United States will be going back to joining the rest of the world and a having, not every single country, but those that
came to the same conclusions after World War II as the United States did. You know, having a legal system that allows for people to apply for
protection and access it.
What we have instead is new rules that require people to apply in advance. And if they do not get advanced permission to enter the United States, they
face a legal bar. Not only that, but many will have to show that they tried to apply for asylum elsewhere if they transited through countries before
arriving at the United States.
And as somebody who spends a lot of time reporting in Mexico and central America and abroad, you know, I -- the reasonability of requesting that
somebody apply for asylum in advance in a country like Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, even in Mexico with -- most of which is really, really
struggling, both economically and from a public safety standpoint. It's very difficult to say that those are reasonable places to ask people to
seek safety before they come to the American border.
GOLODRYGA: Caitlin, what happens to the migrants that are already at the border now?
DICKERSON: So, those that are in the United States will be processed and eventually released. You know, just to give you an example, here in New
York, my sources in shelters that have been set up for incoming migrants say that most people have a job within days of their arrival and they're
going to work six or seven days a week.
They're gardening, they're cleaning houses, they're cleaning offices, they're preparing food. People tend to integrate into American society very
quickly because of the labor shortages that I described. And for people who are trying to cross the border now, it's going to be, you know, a changing
situation for a while as these new Biden administration policies are debated in court.
But, what's effectively the case is that you've got to use the CBP app to apply in advance. If you're looking for asylum protections, if you're
trying to enter without prior authorizations, some sort of visa, you have to be approved. The app is very glitchy. It's hard to meet these
requirements we've discussed --
GOLODRYGA: And it only works in Mexico.
DICKERSON: And --
DICKERSON: Yes. So, there are lots of restrictions that are going to make it really difficult for people to get access. But again, we aren't seeing,
you know, huge, huge numbers of people that we were warned about in advance, and you know, that's very typical. We've been getting inflated
estimates from the border patrol for at least three administrations now. So, you know, I think that it's not going to be as dire as was anticipated,
but the broader situation and the brokenness of the system is dire and has been for a very long time.
GOLODRYGA: So, we have this Biden policy and also, we have a Republican response as well. The Republicans in Congress just passed an immigration
bill, they call it Secure the Border Act. And basically, it calls for more increase and beef up security services at the border and finishing Donald
Trump's wall. We're talking about 2,000-mile border, Caitlin.
And I'm just curious, from your perspective in years covering this issue, in your view, can anything fundamentally be done, substantively, to change
this crisis and address it head on without congressional approval and legislation from a bipartisan basis coming together in an acting law?
DICKERSON: No, I don't think that's possible. And I think we have, you know -- I'll just point to the last three administrations as very hard
evidence. You know, the Biden administration -- excuse me, the Obama administration, you'll recall had a goal of reforming our immigration
system. And what did it end up with when president Obama left office? DACA, which is an incredibly flimsy executive action which has been debated in
court ever since leaving at the time. Hundreds of thousands of people living in limbo.
Now, when you take into -- when you take them and their children and their families into consideration, because they've been waiting for so long for
some sort of real, clear, and lasting answer from Congress, you got millions people -- of people who are living in the United States every day,
functioning members of our societies, and contributing members of our society, but who are still living with this lack of clarity about whether
they're going to be able to continue their lives here or not, you know, that's just one small sliver of the system.
Of course, we all recall the four years of the Trump administration and the dramatic changes and whiplash that occurred as a result of all the legal
challenges that administration faced. There is no way that you could call that meaningful progress on immigration. And here we are again. You know, I
don't think that this situation can be solved without Congress. But I think Congress has done a really effective job at blaming the White House and
taking attention away from itself.
GOLODRYGA: Yes, we should note that the newly passed Secure the Border Act, passed by Republican majority Congress. It doesn't even address legal
pathways for migration or the status of the dreamers that are already here in the United States. Caitlin Dickerson, this is an enormous crisis that
you've been covering now for years. And it's important that we keep talking about it and continuing to cover it. Congratulations again on your award
and all of the work that you're doing. We will continue to follow this for sure.
DICKERSON: Thanks for having me.
GOLODRYGA: Thank you, Caitlin Dickerson.
Well, America's top doctor is warning the U.S. faces an epidemic of loneliness. U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy says, even though the COVID
global health emergency is officially over, the virus and the lonely world it cultivated are far from gone. Hari Sreenivasan speaks with him about his
mission to foster a culture of human connection.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HARI SREENIVASAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Bianna, thanks.
Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, thanks so much for joining us. First off, this week marks the official end of some of the pandemic era benefits that
citizens have been enjoying. Even down to, sort of, snap benefits. And I'm wondering if you're worried that there might be any negative byproducts of
ending this nationally.
DR. VIVEK MURTHY, U.S. SURGEON GENERAL AND AUTHOR, "TOGETHER": Well, Hari, I'm glad you asked. You know, we've certainly come a long way in the last
three years in our fight against COVID-19. And the end of the emergency declaration is evidence and one more marker of the progress that we've
But it does not mean that COVID is gone. It doesn't mean that we don't need to think about it anymore. What it does mean is that we have to use many of
the tools we have built over the last three years, tools like vaccines, and treatments, and tests. And ensure that we are utilizing these tools.
So, with vaccines, we want people to stay vaccinated, to stay up-to-date with their vaccines. We want them to reach for treatments if they're in a
high-risk group and they do in fact get COVID. And if we do these things, my hope is that we can manage COVID the way we manage other respiratory
SREENIVASAN: You know, I was looking back at the stats and I want to say somewhere around 1,000 people died just about a week ago from COVID-19
infections, and about 4,500 were hospitalized. Is this going to be something that we just accept as the new normal? Do we see any forecast
that these numbers could trend downward or similar to the flu? Is this, kind of, what we're going to have every year?
DR. MURTHY: Well, that's a good question and that story remains to be written. It depends in time, in part, on what we all do collectively. You
know, we have these in two -- lifesaving tools available, like vaccines and treatments, but we now need to make sure that everyone avails themselves of
these tools. And, you know, over the last three years, we've had over 700 million doses of vaccine administered in this country, and we have saved
hundreds of thousands of lives. That's a good thing.
But what we're seeing, Hari, is that many of the people who are losing their lives to COVID today are people who are under vaccinated, or who are
at high-risk groups and not getting treatments. So, we are going to continue our work to make sure that people know about these tools. We're
certainly continuing work to make sure that these are covered by insurance, and that even those uninsured that there are provisions for them to get
access to vaccines and treatments. In fact, that program was announced for the uninsured just a few weeks ago.
So, we're going to continue to work on COVID. And we want people to know that even though we're at a better place right now, we -- it's important
for all of us to know that these tools are out there and to use them because it can make the difference between getting something that feels
like it's a mild illness or worse as ending up in the hospital or losing your life.
SREENIVASAN: Do you see -- I mean, do you hear from either the pharmaceutical industry, the CDC, others that you speak with that there
will be more vaccines or booster shots that say, for example, senior citizens or people with compromised immune systems will want to keep
DR. MURTHY: Well, the CDC and the FDA are still going to work together to make sure that when there are new recommendations for when people should
get additional doses of the vaccine that they will know that. Right now, we anticipate is that for most people they may need an annual shot, similar to
what you get with your flu shot.
But they have already announced, the CDC and FDA, that for people who are in higher risk categories that their, you know, six months or so out from
their last shot that they can, in fact, get an initial dose of the vaccine. And that's a conversation they can have with their health care provider as
well or if they have additional questions. But as new recommendations come out, the CDC and FDA will make those known to the public.
SREENIVASAN: you know, speaking of one of those impacts, you have been writing for some time now, and recently have made some statements in an op-
ed about loneliness. And what's interesting to me is, in your essay that you had in "The New York Times", you talked about loneliness in a way that
I don't think most people would get. Say -- like, he's a public figure. He is surrounded by family and friends. And has, sort of, a private high-
profile job where he's constantly meeting people. And yet you say, after your first-time as surgeon general, when you finished, you experienced
something that you didn't expect. Tell us a little bit about that.
DR. MURTHY: Well, Hari, I wrote this story about my personal experiences because I realized that so many of us feel a sense of shame when we talk
about loneliness. In our extroverted society, to say you're lonely is almost like saying you're not likable or you're not lovable or something's
wrong with you.
Yet, what we now understand is that one in two adults are actually struggling with loneliness at some level. And that kids, young people in
fact, are experiencing the highest levels of loneliness in the population. You know, I'm no stranger to this either. You know, as a child, I struggled
a lot with loneliness when I was in grade school. And then there's various points as an adult.
And when my first tenure as surgeon general ended, I went through this very deep period of loneliness and isolation where I found myself withdrawing
further and further with the community that I had at work. I no longer had -- I wasn't doing the work that I also found to be so meaningful to me. But
I had also made this critical mistake, Hari, that I write about which is that I had, during my job, when I was surgeon general last time, I had
marginally neglected my family and my friends.
I had -- sure, I was spending time with them at dinner or around the table. But I was always distracted by my phone. I had lost touch with a lot of
friends who had really supported me over the years. And I felt their absence so deeply during that lonely period. And so, I had to really
rethink my life in many ways.
And with the help of my wife and my parents and a few good friends, I really tried hard over the last few years to build a life that centered
around people and around my relationships. And focusing on that has actually made my second tenure as surgeon general, not only more enjoyable
and sustainable for me but ultimately, I think, has made me more effective in my work.
SREENIVASAN: Is there a distinction between how you're describing loneliness and how people might here those symptoms and say, it sounds like
he was depressed? And how do you measure, you know, when you say, almost one and two people are feeling this? Is it through surveys? How is that
DR. MURTHY: Yes. It's a good question. And it starts with how we define loneliness. So, loneliness is a subjective feeling, it's a feeling that the
connections I need in my life are actually greater than the connections that I have. And in that gap, I experience loneliness.
And you can experience loneliness if you have a lot of people around you. It's really about the quality of your connections. I mean, when I talk to
college students on college campuses who are surrounded by hundreds and thousands of other students, they tell me that they're feeling lonely it's
because they don't have people who they feel they can truly be themselves with, who they can be open with and vulnerable with. And so, that's really
important for us to have in our lives.
And in terms of the relationship with depression and anxiety, we know that people, when they struggle with loneliness, especially for long periods of
time, that increases their risk of depression, anxiety and suicide. Interestingly, and this may surprise some people, but it also increases
their risk of physical illness as well, of heart disease, stroke and premature death, as well as dementia.
And so, the powerful effects of loneliness and isolation on our health, both mental and physical, are really not fully -- are not well understood,
you know, by the better public and that was one of the reasons why I issue a surgeon general's advisory on loneliness and isolation. I wanted people
to know how common this was, I wanted them to know how consequential it is for our health. But I also wanted them to know that this is a problem we
can address, and that's why lay out, for the first time, a framework for national strategy to address loneliness and rebuild social connection and
community in America.
SREENIVASAN: You know, one of the pillars that you've laid out in this advisory is about reforming digital environments. Tell us a little bit
about it. I mean, we've heard in different dribs and drabs about the impacts say, for example, screen time or social media has on young people.
Is this also the same for adults and how do we reform those environments?
DR. MURTHY: Well, we've seen is that, the introduction of, not just, you know, digital environments more broadly, but social media in particular,
has impacted on how we communicate with one another and our relationships.
Too often, what has happened is that people have substitute what used to be in-person face to face relationships for online connections. We've come to
value quantity of connections over quality of connections. And too many people, especially young people, have been subject to bullying and other
exposure to harmful content as well, you know, through their experience on social media. All of this together has had an impact on how people feel
Keep in mind, when you're scrolling through your feed and you're constantly comparing yourself to other people, especially for young people whose
brains are at sensitive period of development in early adolescence, that can really negatively impact yourselves esteem and sense of self, which can
make it harder to go out and build friendships with others.
I mean, young people also very commonly tell me that in addition to feeling worse about themselves when they use social media, they also feel world
worse about their friendships. As they see all the activities people are doing without them, and they feel left out.
So, part of what we have to do is, on a policy perspective, we need to establish the kind of safety standards and -- that we have for many other
tools and products and platforms that kids use, but we also have to make some changes in our personal life and try to draw boundaries, you know, in
our life, where there are spaces that we have in our day-to-day experience that don't necessarily involve technology.
Think about time at the dinner table, when you're with your family, being able to focus on them without the distraction of technology is very
important. Bed time, also, is essential. We have so many people, young people and older people, who lose hours of sleep as they are on their
phones and -- they go to bed at 11:00, but yet come 12:00, 12:30, 1:00, they're still on their phones, because it's hard to get off of them.
So, we have to carve out time and space in our days that our tech free so we can enjoy each other's company, have a deeper more higher quality
interactions with one another and protect activities that support our health and wellbeing like sleep and exercise.
SREENIVASAN: You know, several of the other pillars that you're looking forward to were hoping for, you know, are -- you know, build a culture of
connection, rebuilding social infrastructure in communities, much of that seems like, OK, these are sort of abstract ideas. How would I put that into
practice if I would say a small-town council or a city that actually has the ability to create policies in a region?
DR. MURTHY: So, let's take social infrastructure, and it's a great question, because this is a place where community leaders and policymakers
have a role to play.
We're used to thinking about infrastructure meaning roads and bridges and highways, but there's also social infrastructure. These are the policies,
the structures and the programs that support the building of healthy relationships. Think about the spaces and programs that bring people
together to learn about one another and build relationships. Think about the built environment in cities which can facilitate people actually seeing
and interacting with one another versus certain types of built environments can cut up cities and make it hard to have people come together.
Think also but what we do in the workplaces and schools. The school-based programs that teach children about emotions and about healthy
relationships, the workplaces which help build a culture of connection and support. Again, people coming together to learn about one another in the
workplace. These are all elements of the social infrastructure that, as school or workplace leaders, as community leaders, we can invest in.
And this is so important because in the last half century or so, we've seen a decline in participation in recreational leagues, in faith organizations,
in other community and service organizations that used to bring us together and help us build relationships, and that's how we know how to proactively
rebuild that social infrastructure in our communities.
SREENIVASAN: You know, it's interesting, I've heard in the context of the pandemic that a lot of people lost that third place, especially sometimes
people lost that second place if they weren't going into the office and connecting with human beings on a daily basis there, whether it's the
security guard that you say hi to on the way in or the -- you know, some -- one of your co-workers. And I wonder, when you're talking about rec leagues
and, you know, church groups and so forth, those are spaces that are not either work or home, but where you can form deep connections with people.
DR. MURTHY: That's absolutely right. And a lot of people did lose those spaces during the pandemic, in addition to losing the opportunity to see
colleagues at work. But the truth is, we have been losing those spaces, places in your community, your neighborhood where you could meet people and
build relations. So, we've been losing those for years now. And it's been, again, the consequence of declining participation, but also, we have so
much convenience that technology has afforded us.
I don't need to go to grocery store anymore, I can have groceries delivered to me. I don't need to go to the mall or the store anymore, I can have
packages delivered to me after I shop online. And this can all be really convenient, because they are products all of us use. But we have to just
understand that this consequence that comes with that, which is that we have fewer and fewer unplanned interactions with people, we're not bumping
into one another, we're not having the short but, you know, pleasant conversation that can give us a little boost in our day.
We have to now, intentionally and proactively, build the infrastructure for connection in our communities and our day-to-day lives, and that's why I
issued this advisory because it's time for us to take that proactive approach, because otherwise, I worry that we will move deeper and deeper
into what I think of as a social recession, where we experience fewer and fewer connections with one another and that has profound impacts on our
SREENIVASAN: You've already written a book called "Together: The Healing Power of Human Connection in a Sometimes Lonely World," and wonder when you
are out there kind of researching the book, what did you find that surprised you?
DR. MURTHY: Well, what was so interesting to me, Hari, about, you know, doing the research on this subject is, one, just understanding how many
people were actually affected by this but didn't feel comfortable talking about it.
Loneliness exists behind the curtain, if you will. And we have to draw it out of the shadows and help people talk about it. But what I also saw,
Hari, that was actually very hopeful for me is I saw examples in communities all across the country of people who recognize that loneliness
was a problem, and we're trying to build programs to address it.
So, for example, I met a mom and a dad who actually lost their daughter years ago to an illness, and after her death, came to realize that she had
been struggling with loneliness in school. And so, they decided to create a program in middle schools and high schools where students would actually
help each other to address loneliness, where they would find people who may have been struggling maybe on their own and create a place where they could
come and feel accepted and where they can build friendships.
I even encountered individuals who were making changes in their own lives, which I found to be inspiring. I remember a woman, Sarah in Texas, who I
encountered, who had just moved to Dallas and she felt really alone, she didn't know anyone, and she didn't have family, she wasn't in a
relationship, didn't have friends there. But she made this bold and courageous decision that she was going to invite her neighbors over for a
meal. And she was really nervous about it. Didn't know if anyone would come.
But her father actually helped her build a wooden table, because her place was really small, and that big wooden table they placed outside and had an
outdoor potluck and so many people came. Because what she came to realize is that even though some of her neighbors had been there for years, they
also felt isolated, they were struggling with loneliness. And her neighbors' table, as it came to be called, became a gathering point for
people all around her community and, really, a place where many beautiful friendships were built.
This is a time when a lot of people are struggling with loneliness, but we can't tell from the outside because we're really good at covering it up.
So, just choosing to check on one another, to reach out to a friend to say, hey, I'm thinking of you. I just want to see how you're doing. Just stop by
a co-worker's desk at the end of day and end of a meeting, just say, hey, how are you doing? I just want to know what's going on in your life. These
are small, small moments which can make a world of difference to somebody who may be struggling with loneliness and that's the power that we have now
to be healers and to help each other address our loneliness.
SREENIVASAN: Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, thanks so much for joining us.
DR. MURTHY: Thank you so much, Hari. Good to be with you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLODRYGA: Such an important conversation. Well, now, to a new true crime podcast that are shedding light on the historically terrible treatment of
Native American children.
And unprecedented federal investigation last year revealed that indigenous children were taken from their families and forced into boarding schools as
part of the U.S. government's attempt to assimilate them into society by force.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DEB HAALAND, U.S. INTERIOR SECRETARY: For more than a century, tens of thousands of indigenous children were taken from their communities and
forced into boarding schools run by the U.S. government. Specifically, the Department of the Interior and Religious Institutions. Many children like
them never made it back to their homes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLODRYGA: The makers of the podcast, which is called "American Genocide," say one school in particular is now the epicenter of controversy. In
America's attempt to "reckon" with its dark history. The shows co-host, Crystal Echo Hawk, joins me now.
Crystal, thank you so much for joining us. I'm so glad we're finally able to have this conversation, it is a really captivating podcast. And I want
to dive into it in just a moment. But let's talk about the history and back up to the story, this American history story, which you described as one
giant crime scene. Tell me more about this crime?
CRYSTAL ECHO HAWK, NATIVE AMERICAN ACTIVIST AND HOST, "AMERICAN GENOCIDE" PODCAST: Well, first and foremost, thank you so much for having me.
I mean, this really is one of the original crimes of the United States, in which really from 1819 until 1969 more than 100 Native American children
were taken from their families and placed into these boarding schools set up by the federal government in partnership with major religious
institutions, including the catholic church.
And really, it's one of those things that most Americans or anyone in the world really don't know about, that this happened in the United States and
many people first heard about these boarding schools and, you know, unmarked graves of indigenous children first in Canada, as that news broke
in 2021, but to understand that the scale and scope and size is actually far greater in the United States. And Canada learned a lot of lessons from
the United States pioneering this.
And so, when we look at, you know, this history of more than 100,000 children being, you know, taken and many never made it home back to their
families. And what Secretary Haaland, who you opened with that speech of hers, you know, she is really the one, as the first Native American cabinet
secretary, that's led this investigation to really bring light the truth the federal government's accountability in this and what happened and
religious institutions, because what was admitted last year in the report that came out from the United States federal government is that this was a
political, military policy that targeted Native American children in order to dispossess tribes of their land. And this is how -- what they did.
GOLODRYGA: Let's hear more.
HAWK: They used our children.
GOLODRYGA: Let's hear more from Secretary Haaland as she gives more detail into this investigation and its findings.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HAALAND: I come from ancestors who endured the horrors of the Indian boarding school assimilation policies carried out by the same department
that I now lead. This department was responsible for operating what we now know to be 408 federal boarding schools across 37 states or then
territories, including 21 schools in Alaska and seven schools in Hawaii.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLODRYGA: Those are just jaw-dropping figures, over 50 marked and unmarked graves were also found at the school site. Given that, given the
enormity of what had transpired and the details here, why is it that we are not hearing more about this?
HAWK: Well, I think the reason why is it is really part of a political policy, right? I mean, here in the United States, we are constantly fed,
you know, this -- the great story of manifest destiny and American progress, right, of just -- where Native Americans sort of gently fade to
black with westward expansion.
And there's a very powerful narrative here in the United States when we think about this land, our land, but not understanding at the cost that it
came, and it really came at the cost of genocide, both physical genocide. But when we think about cultural genocide, which is the wiping away and
eradicating of Native American culture, spirituality, or certainly attempts to do so.
And when you look at the design of these schools, which is in the federal report of the admission that has been made by the federal government, that
they went in and not only took the children as a means to break up families and tribes but then put these children in the institutions where their hair
was cut, they were forbidden from speaking their native languages, praying, practicing their spiritual and cultural life ways and even went into so
far, in terms of the policy and methodology they use, to mix children from different tribes into one classroom so that they were forced to only have
one common language, and that was English.
So, when you look at the success of this policy, right, in which, you know, we don't even know the sheer number of children yet. This is what the
investigation is still underway. But the fact that I'm here, speaking English to you today, shows the success of that policy. And the fact that
my language, the Pawnee language, is one of the languages on the endangered language list. So, this is how effective it was. And the famous saying that
was perfected at the Carlisle Etiquette School, which was, kill the Indian, save the man.
And so, really, it was the federal government's policy along with religious institutions to wipe away any cultural, spiritual, you know, native tribal
identity and to really assimilate us. And if we wouldn't assimilated, then we were going to be eradicated.
GOLODRYGA: While you were --
HAWK: And so, the reason, we -- it's a fine point. But I think the reason why we don't know about this is that is a very violent, troubling, dark
history that underpins the United States, not only its American history, but it -- everywhere we walk in the United States that's indigenous land,
and people need to understand that came at a cost of so much, including Native American children.
GOLODRYGA: And where at the time, politically, we're discussing our history and at times very dark history, has become a very partisan issue. I
don't have to tell you that. But we should note that in your podcast, you specifically, as we were showing, you were speaking, this is what I wanted
to let our viewers know that we were just showing hundreds of pictures of these indigenous students that were taken.
And you mentioned just the lengths that the government, the system had gone to, to integrate them into American education systems and to English-
speaking curriculum. You go to one of these schools, and it is in Pine Ridge, South Dakota. Tell us the story about the school.
HAWK: Yes. So, this school, Red Cloud Indian School, which exists on the Pine Ridge Reservation, which is the home to the Oglala Lakota nation. The
school was established in the 1800s. And its first name was actually called the Holy Rosary Mission. It was later rebranded as the Red Cloud Indian
School after one of the Lakota people's greatest chiefs. And that rebrand, you know, came within these last, you know, few decades.
We got a tip about this school, you know, towards the end of 2021 that they were pursuing a truth and healing initiative at the school and
understanding that there had been reports that there's been severe abuse that had happened at that school that is run by the catholic church and the
Jesuits. But that the new generation of people leading that school were opening up their own investigation to essentially investigate themselves.
And while some people really hailed that and thought that was a really important move, especially given Secretary Haaland's investigation, there
were also many people within the community, particular young people who really questioned, is it right for the church to essentially be
GOLODRYGA: Yes. You were there the day the school was scanned for mass graves. I can only imagine what that day was like for you. And it's
important to note, this isn't just ancient history, I mean, it's recent. Some of the survivors are still alive. Some of the survivors from the
school. And you hear from some in your podcast. Let's play some of that sound.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRYAN BREWER, SURVIVOR: We are punished that night. I remember this prefect. He'd walk through, up and down the halls, and pretty soon he's
say, I hear something, everybody up. He didn't hear anything because we were all laying there are not trying to make them, because we knew what was
A lot of boys were burned on radiators, hot radiators. I never got burned. I was lucky, but I had friends that were burned.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLODRYGA: Clearly, they're still dealing with the emotional wounds. How is this impacting present day generations in the community and generations
HAWK: You know, one thing I really want to say, you know, for elders like Bryan Brewer, who shared their stories and so many elders since the
investigation was announced by Secretary Haaland, for many, this is some of the first times they've ever spoken about the abuse. This is deep, deep
bleeding wounds I think that so many of our elders and generations have been carrying.
And when you look at the rampant, not only physical abuse, but sexual abuse, psychological abuse to have your hair cut, you know, to be -- you
know, as we interview a grandma, Grandma Phoebe (ph), who talks about a nun beating her with skeleton keys in the head, you know, to the psychological
abuse and being told every day that you are bad, you know, you are demonic, you are all of these things if you practice your ways.
When you look at the generational abuse, right, these schools, you know, Red Cloud's operated since, I think, 1890, you know. And look at
generations, this isn't just one generation a long time ago, this is all the way up, you know, through the 1960s when there were still children
being boarded at these schools that the abuse was happening, I think it was lessening as the generations preceded.
But then, you look at those children leave, they become parents, they become members of society, and they are carrying that trauma. And you look
at how that trauma has perpetuated. And we -- you know, I've heard testimony from so many elders and their children, actually, who said, my
mother never told me that she loved me. My mother never hugged me. She was never tactile or other children with -- you know, grown children wouldn't
share stories about how strict their parents were about cleanliness and getting up at a certain hour and wrapping with rulers, and these were the
thing that they were conditioned and taught that they passed on.
And really, you look at, you know, the generational trauma that exists today, and I think that's what's so important. I mean, this investigation
is still brand-new. We are just not even at the tip of the iceberg in terms of unmarked graves and understanding that count, but I don't want people to
get lost in the body count. That is important in finding our lost and stolen children and finding a way to bring them home or give them peace.
But we need to understand the cultural genocide.
GOLODRYGA: And, Crystal, I know you'll continue to shine a light on this very important story, as we mentioned, a dark chapter in our history that
needs to be told. And you raise this important podcast the idea of what accountability looks like and what reconciliation can look like as well.
"American Genocide" podcast is available to download now.
Crystal Echo Hawk, thank you so much for your time. We appreciate it.
HAWK: Thank you so much.
GOLODRYGA: And finally, some reflection with one of the all-time greats of classical music. This year, the conductor and pianist, Daniel Barenboim,
announced that he was putting down his baton and resigning as a general director for the Berlin State Opera, citing ill health.
The Argentina-born musician has wowed the world for more than seven decades. And Christiane spoke to him at the height of his powers as he made
his long-awaited return to New York's Carnegie Hall in 2017. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: It is extraordinary, you are celebrating 60 years since your debut at Carnegie Hall. What does
that mean to you?
DANIEL BARENBOIM, ISRAELI CLASSICAL PIANIST & CONDUCTOR: It's very moving experience for me. You know, Carnegie Hall is one of those halls that have
a very special aura about them, like L'Escala has for singers.
BARENBOIM: I remember conducting my first Brooklyn symphony in Carnegie Hall in 1970, and it was treated as a rarity and it's not just a good or a
wonderful concert hall, but it is something that -- where you feel the walls tell the story of all the people that went through it.
BARENBOIM: People have to have the curiosity to see the real value of music, what music can give the human being. It is, of course, an uphill
battle because there is no music education in the schools.
BARENBOIM: Music gives us so much that we cannot get without music. You know, if you are able to hook on to the first sound of a piece you are
listening to and remain with it, in it, and on it, until the very end, you experience the equivalent of a lifetime, you experience even the death at
BARENBOIM: There is a very -- I find a very lovely story about the great violinist, Mischa Elman, who played his first violin recital when he was
five. So, when he became 75, he had his 70th anniversary on the stage and the journalist of "The New York Times" asked him, what was a difference
between 70 years ago and next Wednesday when you play a Carnegie Hall? And he said, absolutely none. Then and now people say I play very well for my
I hope. I hope I am not on that -- in that category yet.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLODRYGA: Just mesmerizing. I can't think of a better way to close this show. And we'd like to send Daniel Barenboim our best wishes on his health.
Well, that is it for now. Goodbye from Washington, D.C.