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At This Hour

Evanston, IL Considers Expanding Innovative Preparations Program; McCarthy: House "Moving Forward" With Possible TikTok Ban; Tense Protest Over Pension Reform In Paris. Aired 11:30a-12p ET

Aired March 28, 2023 - 11:30   ET




JESSICA DEAN, CNN ANCHOR: Evanston, Illinois is trying an audacious experiment. While many states and cities are talking about reparations, Evanston is already distributing funds. But out of $10 million committed to that, only a fraction has been granted to residents. CNN's Adrienne Broaddus looks at how the program's working out.


ROBIN RUE SIMMONS, REPARATIONS ADVOCATE: This is the bloc that I grew up with. This was my place of refuge. It was our retreat. It was our sanctuary. It was our castle. It was home.

ADRIENNE BROADDUS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And you didn't know this is the only place your family and families like yours could live?

RUE SIMMONS: I didn't know

BROADDUS: Robin Rue Simmons grew up in Evanston's Fifth Ward.

RUE SIMMONS: This is the Redline map.

BROADDUS: Just north of Chicago, where banks in the city refused to give mortgage loans to black families until 1969.

RUE SIMMONS: There were specific anti-black zoning laws and housing practices that are responsible for our racial segregation. Not only our physical segregation but our wealth gaps and homeownership gaps.

BROADDUS: That discriminatory housing policy led Simmons, a former alderwoman to push for reparations, which is highlighted in the documentary The Big Payback. Senator Mitch McConnell and others oppose.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL, (R-KY): We've you know tried to deal with our original sin of slavery by fighting a civil war by passing landmark civil rights legislation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know why they would be given more status than any other group of people BROADDUS: Under her guidance, in 2019, Evanston became the first city in the United States to award reparations for black residents who qualify.

SIMMONS: It is a $25,000 direct benefit to build wealth through home equity. Black residents that lived in Evanston during the period of harm, which was 1919 to 1969, or their direct descendants are eligible.

BROADDUS: And on Monday, the City Council approved a cash option to the program with little fanfare.

DANIEL BISS, MAYOR OF EVANSTON, ILLINOIS: With nine voting in favor and none voting against, the motion carries.

BROADDUS: Initially, funds were restricted to mortgage assistance, renovations, or a down payment on a home.

RAMONA BURTON, GRANT RECIPIENT: I wasn't planning on buying a new home at my age, so I used it for renovations.

BROADDUS: Ramona Burton is among 14 who have received the $25,000 grant.

BURTON: I had eight windows replaced, a new roof, a chimney.

BROADDUS: So far, the city says it has only spent about $326,000 of the ten million promised.


BROADDUS: Kimberly Holmes Ross is among 124 approved but still waiting.

HOLMES-ROSS: My parents weren't even shown houses in this Ward in 1962. Everything was over in the Fifth Ward that they were shown and allowed to buy. So, we're looking to either build another house or add on to our garage.

RUE SIMMONS: It has taken longer than we expected. And some of those challenges have been really underestimating operationalizing the work.

BROADDUS: From Asheville, North Carolina to Detroit, Michigan, cities across the country are trying to repair harms caused by institutional racism. In San Francisco, a reparations committee is seeking payments proposed of five million dollars to every eligible black resident. How will they pay each resident?

RUE SIMMONS: I don't know. And -- so, those are the challenges that we all have as municipalities.


DEAN: And that was Adrienne Broaddus reporting for us. A city spokesperson told CNN 650 black residents have applied. They're still sorting through all of those applications. We do know six people have died waiting for their payout.

On Capitol Hill, lawmakers looking at a potential ban on the popular TikTok app. Coming up. I'll speak with one of the few in Congress against the ban, Congressman Jamaal Bowman. That's next.



DEAN: At this hour, we're monitoring Congress as it's poised to weigh in on a potential ban on the app TikTok. Speaker McCarthy is saying the House will move forward, citing bipartisan national security and data privacy concerns. And joining us now, Democratic New York Congressman Jamaal Bowman. Congressman, great to have you. Thanks so much for being here with us this morning. We appreciate it.

You are one of the very few members of Congress who's actually against a ban or restrictions on TikTok. And it's really just for everyone's information, not just Democrats or Republicans on the Hill. We've got President Biden, the National Security Council, the FBI, that list kind of goes on and on when it comes to those who are deeply concerned about national security and TikTok. Do you not share that concern?

REP. JAMAAL BOWMAN, (D-NY): I'm sorry, before I answer that question, I just have to comment on the mass shooting that happened in a school yesterday in Nashville, Tennessee. We have six people dead. Three children, ages nine years old.

I am a former educator and I feared every day that a shooter would come into my school and try to kill me and my students. This is an American disease and a huge American problem. Now we must vote anyone out of office who does not support a ban on assault rifles.


Gun violence is the number one killer of children in America today. We have to do something about that. And I'm sorry, I just had to mention that before I went into a conversation about any other topic.

DEAN: I hear you and I can certainly appreciate that. I know that's on so many people's minds this morning. And there are a lot of people on Capitol Hill, like yourself that are calling for action, the president calling for action, but there are also a lot of people who say this is it and we're not going to do anymore when it comes to gun reform.

BOWMAN: Of course.

DEAN: But I do want to talk to you about TikTok. And I want to go back to my original question, which is if you -- I know that you have been pretty outspoken on this, do you not share the concerns about national security around TikTok?

BOWMAN: I absolutely share the concerns around national security as it relates to TikTok. I also have major concerns around national security as it relates to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and other social media platforms. Donald Trump use Twitter to incite an insurrection. Facebook allowed Russia to interfere in our 2016 elections while looking the other way. They knew it was happening. They looked the other way and did nothing.

We have safety and security issues across every single social media platform. Our data is now being bought and sold by foreign actors and private corporations around the globe. The American people aren't even aware of this.

If we ban TikTok tomorrow, we would still have data brokers selling our data to China and any other country that wants to buy it. So, we need to have a real honest broad conversation about federal policy that really keeps us safe and secure. Banning TikTok alone is not going to get that done.

DEAN: I think the concern here though, for people is that China -- the Chinese government owns in part TikTok, and that the Chinese government can gain access to Americans' most personal data, that it can amplify Chinese propaganda, essentially manipulating Americans without them ever noticing. And we know that the president isn't necessarily calling for an outright ban, but really wants China to sell its stake in the company essentially spinning off TikTok's American operations into an American company. Is that something you would support? Because that's the difference here. These other companies you're talking about are American owned, this one is owned in part by the Chinese government.

BOWMAN: There are hundreds of apps owned by Chinese companies that people are using on their phone as we speak that can be used for similar reasons. That's number one. Number two, the Chinese government can use American social media platforms to infiltrate American data and learn about our tendencies, our behaviors, and things about us that can be used against us.

What's being -- what's being communicated from some of my Republican colleagues because all they do is fearmonger. They can't govern based on policy. They're communicating as if TikTok is a mind control device used by the Chinese to manipulate us against our own interests as Americans. It is not that. It does not do that.

And again, because Republicans are all about fearmongering. They fearmonger on the border. They fearmonger on China. They fearmonger on debt limit. They fearmonger on crime. This is what they do.

They don't govern. They can't govern on the issues. And for some reason, they can't have nuanced conversations. It's all about fearmongering. China is the new Boogie person in that equation.

DEAN: Yes. I think it is worth pointing out though, that Democrats like Senator Mark Warner, the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee also feels like TikTok is a threat to national security. There are many Democrats that share that as well. Congressman Jamaal Bowman --

BOWMAN: But hold on, let me repeat what I said earlier about Facebook allowing Russia to interfere in the 2016 election.

DEAN: I hear you.

BOWMAN: I mean, what?

DEAN: I know. And I would like to have a longer conversation. Unfortunately, we are pressed for time. But Congressman Jamaal Bowman, let's have you back. Let's talk more about this. We'd appreciate that. Thanks again for making time this morning.

BOWMAN: Thank you so much.

DEAN: Up ahead. Chaos in France as protests over pension reform hit the streets. We are live from France. That's next.



DEAN: Now to some breaking news. Protesters once again taken to the streets across France. It is the tenth straight day of demonstrations over government pension reforms in that country. CNN's Sam Kiley is live in Paris right now.

Sam, we're looking at the images behind you. We see police in what looks like riot gear. Walk us through what the scene is right now.

SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: So, you join me on the Boulevard Voltaire on the marks that supposed to be finishing at the Place de la Nation began at the Plaza de la Republique. And it really goes this series of demonstrations to the heart of what it is to be French for so many people here out on the streets.

What they're officially protesting about is the government's plans to raise the pensionable age from 62 to 64. Now, there have been pitch battles from what are called Ultras otherwise known as the Black Box element -- Black Bloc element, I should say, chucking rocks at the police, and they've been teargassed and stun grenaded back. But there's also a very organized element here of the big French unions. They are now beginning to arrive at the head of the march.


We're really at the most -- one of the most forward positions. There has been a degree of violence. The police are trying to behave with restraint that they have deployed an extra 13,000 police and gendarmes around the whole of the country, an extra five and a half thousand here on the streets of Paris following warnings from the interior ministry that they feared it was going to get violence. Because the pattern has been that towards the end of these marches, there has been a degree of violence.

The irony is, of course, that both the government and the unions are at loggerheads over the policy but in agreement, they don't want to see violence. The unions are asking for dialogue. The government has said yes, we'll talk but we're not going to do any kind of a U-turn on this legislation. And so, there is a kind of logjam in the political processes, which is certainly the more aggressive elements here in terms of the opponents of the legislation who wish to overturn with mass protest.

Whether or not that is sustainable, particularly in the context of widespread strikes is open to question because the unions admit that their members, many of whom have been on strike on and off since the beginning -- middle of January are struggling financially. They can't afford to constantly be on strike. So, in Paris, for example, garbage collection is going to be returned to the city on Wednesday because the garbage collector simply can't afford to stay away from work.

Now, we are seeing a bit of a movement now towards the front where the police are gathering on all likelihood. We'll probably see some tear gas momentarily. Back to you.

DEAN: All right. Sam Kiley for us there on the streets of Paris, thank you so much for that update.

And I want to take us back to Nashville now, the latest American city to face the horror of a mass shooting, once again, involving children. What Nashville's Mayor described as the city's worst day. Let's go back to Amara Walker who's live in Nashville. Amara.

AMARA WALKER, CNN ANCHOR: Hi there, Jessica. Yes, I want to bring in Sissy Goff because she knows -- knew Katherine Koonce quite well. You were friends with Katherine Koonce, who was the head of the Covenant School for it was a three or four years, you said that she had been at the school.


WALKER: And so, you had a long friendship with Miss Koonce.

GOFF: Yes.

WALKER: First off, when you heard about the shooting that occurred here, when did you find out about it? And what did you do?

GOFF: Probably about 10:15, I got a text from a friend and co-worker and I went to my office and several of us from our counseling practice were going to the reunification center. So, I went straight there to see what I could do to help.

WALKER: And you told me that as soon as you heard, you also texted your friend Katherine Koonce.

GOFF: That was my first text I sent just to say, what can we do, how can we help because we've had a long history with the school and just wanted to do anything possible, not knowing -- not having any idea.

WALKER: And at what point did you realize something wasn't right?

GOFF: No one was talking about it yet. And when I went to the center, she wasn't there. And no one was saying anything about her. And I knew -- I mean, knowing her, she's so kind and strong and such a voice of reason and just security for people that she would have been there in front handling everything. And so, I had a feeling. WALKER: You had a feeling. And how did you find out? How did you confirm that she was killed in this?

GOFF: A friend told me really at the end of our time, so not until two or three o'clock. Because no one in the reunification center was really telling facts of what had happened. They were just trying to figure out how to get to their kids and support their kids. So, I was spending my time more talking with parents about this is how you have conversations, and here are some things to think about.

WALKER: I mean, I know you're a licensed professional counselor.

GOFF: Yes.

WALKER: And you've got to wear that hat and you're so put together and you always have such great advice I'm sure for the families. But have you had a chance to process what's happened? This is your community. This was your friend of so many years.

GOFF: I know.

WALKER: And I mean, how are you feeling?

GOFF: Just devastated. And no, I haven't had time. I mean, I barely slept. And coming out to meet with y'all this morning, staying in here was the first time I was in front of the school, and just kept feeling so choked up. But you know -- I mean, you felt like it's your job to have strength and be present with people and so do my best to do that now -- (CROSSTALK)

GOFF: I feel like it, I definitely. Yes.

WALKER: Tell me about --

GOFF: (INAUDIBLE) all the way to the reunification center yesterday, for sure.

WALKER: Tell me about your friend, Katherine Koonce, just her passion for the students and for -- and you know what she would tell you about her here protecting these children.

GOFF: No, I know -- I know. She would have taken that job. She did take that job so seriously. And worked with kids for so many years. And you know, I think she -- like I said she was so -- she had so much strength and I think a really remarkable ability to be strong and direct and so kind, which in this age of anxiety -- anyway, apart from these things, parents are so anxious, kids are so anxious, and Katherine, I think had such a centering voice for people.


And she got a dog to have as the head of school that she -- that she named cubby that she would have a drop-off and pickup. No one -- so many kids were anxious to come to school, as we know, are in general, and so that -- she and that dog would be there again, being such a source of strength and safety and hilarious. She was so funny. She had the best sense of humor.

WALKER: Did she?

GOFF: Yes.

WALKER: Is that what you're going to miss the most about her?

GOFF: Yes. Yes, definitely.

WALKER: Yes. Are you going to take time to take care of herself and help process what -- that you lost a good friend?

GOFF: Yes. Yes. We're -- some of my colleagues and I are going tonight to speak to the parents of the Covenant School at a church and then going to the school tomorrow to be with the kids with several other counselors from the community. So, I feel like probably once all that's passed out, finally be able to do that.

WALKER: Yes, I hope you can.

GOFF: Thank you.

WALKER: Tell me about tonight. So, you're meeting with how many families? And these are not the families that lost their loved ones, is it?

GOFF: I think it's open to all Covenant families, so I don't know how many families will be there. But I would imagine a good bet not just --

WALKER: What do you say to them? I mean, you can't guarantee their child's safety.

GOFF: No. I know.

WALKER: And this -- we know in our country with the gun culture. How -- what do you tell them? What are you going to do tonight?

GOFF: I think probably more try to be practical, which is where they are. I mean, even yesterday, that's what they were asking. How do I talk to my kids? And I think that's where parents' minds are because the reality is we don't have answers. None of us do.


GOFF: And we need to sit with kids in the fact that that we don't have answers and give them space to feel.

WALKER: You know, there was one point that I forgot to mention, I think you had mentioned earlier that Katherine Koonce, she has two older children.

GOFF: Yes.

WALKER: And you said one of them is a teacher here.

GOFF: Her daughter is a teacher in the school. Yes.

WALKER: Have you heard from family members?

GOFF: I've talked with her just a little bit, and texted back and forth with her.

WALKER: The teacher?

GOFF: Yes, her daughter, Anna Kate. And she just said, just be praying for our community. And she said she was an amazing woman. I said, yes, she was.

WALKER: Do you know she was at the school when the shooting happened?

GOFF: I had not heard that.


GOFF: She was not -- I didn't see her yesterday. I hope to get to you soon.

WALKER: Yes. So, you were saying that you went to the reunification center yesterday.

GOFF: Yes.

WALKER: Tell me what that was like for you just as a human. I know that you know, you've got to wear your professional hat. But it's not normal to see children terrified and traumatized in this way --

GOFF: No, it's not.

WALKER: -- trying to find safety from their school.

GOFF: I know. You know, the kids didn't know the full extent at that point. So, they were doing much better, I would say than the parents. Because the parents were finding out more gradually what had happened.

And so, several counselors from our staff were down. We have five therapy dogs in my practice, and one of the counselors took a dog and they were just down talking with the kids. And I mean, they were -- some of them were talking about what they heard and saw but I think they didn't understand the full extent. And I think the school really wanted the parents to get to tell them, which is important.

WALKER: Yes. Well, Sissy Goff, I appreciate your time and speak -- for you to speaking with us, and also for what you do for the community.

GOFF: Thank you.

WALKER: Thank you for your time. I hope the best to you.

GOFF: Thank you. I'm happy to be with you.

WALKER: Thanks. All right. And so that does it for us here in Nashville and for Jessica Dean in New York. Of course, stay tuned to CNN as we will continue to give more -- you more updates on this mass shooting here in Nashville. Much more ahead on "INSIDE POLITICS" after a quick break. Stay with us.