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Day Three Of Emotional And Tense Protests After Roe V. Wade Overturned; Interview With Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI); January 6th Committee Public Hearings To Continue In July; 2022 Midterms Could See Abortion At The Center And Historic Rise In Black Women As Candidates; Russian Missiles Hit Ukraine's Capital As G7 Summit Happens In Europe; Roe Reversal Prompts Concern About LGBTQ Rights; New Film Explores Arthur Ashe's Impact On Sports And Society. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired June 26, 2022 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PAMELA BROWN, CNN HOST: I'm Pamela Brown in Washington. You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM.
Aftershocks across America. As abortion rights advocates and opponents react to the sudden end of a 50-year-old federal constitutional right. We're in a third day of clashes in the streets of cities large and small. In Lynchburg, Virginia, a crisis pregnancy center was hit by vandals who spray painted, "If abortion ain't safe, you ain't safe." According to the center's Web site it does not provide abortions or make referrals for them.
This incident coming as the Department of Homeland Security warns extremist violence is likely to continue across the country.
CNN reporters are tracking all of the latest developments tonight. Let's begin with CNN's Sunlen Serfaty who has been at the Supreme Court today talking with people who have come out to protest or to applaud the decision. Back to you, Sunlen.
SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Pam, it certainly has been an emotional and at times very tense day out here, outside of the Supreme Court. You see there are protesters still here protesting at the base of the steps of the Supreme Court and there was a very large and at times very vocal crowd here. People on both sides of this issue, people who are for and against Friday's historic ruling. And we heard the passion from both sides of this issue earlier today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARK BAGWELL, RETIRED TEACHER FROM NORTH CAROLINA: Personal opinion is I'm happy with it. But one of the reasons is it now gives each individual state the right to decide for itself what it wants this law to be regarding abortion which is true about numerous other things and no one complains about it.
JANNIFER CHAVEZ, MOTHER, D.C. RESIDENT: If you aren't outraged by this Supreme Court decision that was made this week, then you're not paying attention to what's happening in this country. And you need to open your eyes and educate yourself. Maternal mortality rates are shameful and it's atrocious, and it's disproportionately people of color and people that don't have access to resources.
And then to take that away from them, to take away their agency, to take away their ability to make these decisions for themselves, and to access the healthcare that they need, it's shameful and it's not what this country is about.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SERFATY: And the people who are speaking out against Friday's Supreme Court ruling they decided to take this demonstration on the move. A short time ago they left the Supreme Court and they marched about a mile down Independence Avenue towards the White House which is where they're protesting now. The people said they want President Biden to know and hear that they are angry -- Pam.
CAMILA BERNAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Camila Bernal in Los Angeles where protesters are on their third day of marches on the streets of downtown Los Angeles. Today's march began with speakers who shared their personal stories and organizers who told this crowd to introduce themselves to one another because they believe these are the people that will be fighting side by side over the next couple of months with them.
They want to prepare because they say that California will see an influx of women from other states coming to get an abortion and they believe that with money and volunteer work, they will be able to help other women coming from other states searching for an abortion here in the state of California. They say that over the next couple of months they have a lot of work to do. But they believe that their work begins right here on the streets.
BROWN: Sunlen, Camila, thank you for your reporting.
And joining me now, Wisconsin Senator Tammy Baldwin.
Welcome to you, Senator. We all heard about this draft opinion when it was leaked a month ago. But the reaction to the reality is very intense. No matter how you feel about this you probably feel a strong reaction. I think frankly a lot of people have been surprised, even though it did leak a month early. What do you think?
SEN. TAMMY BALDWIN (D-WI): Well, I certainly know that that sentiment was shared among my colleagues, among my constituents, so many that I've talked to that even though we knew this was coming, nevertheless to wake up one morning and realize that we've gone back 50 years and in the state like Wisconsin, where the criminal abortion law on the books was written in 1849. We've gone back well over a century and a half.
And it is shocking when you think about all of its ramifications but the fundamental constitutional right, women's freedom to control their own bodies, to make decisions about whether or when to have a family, to access healthcare, is now, you know, stripped away. And in many ways, women are going to be second class citizens with regard to their ability to participate in the economy and again have bodily autonomy.
BROWN: What do you say to your Republican counterparts who feel just as strongly as you do but on the other side of this debate, that look, there is nothing in the Constitution guaranteeing abortion? That the Supreme Court essentially came up with this through due process nearly 50 years ago and that this is about protecting the weakest in the womb and it's up to the states to decide. What do you say to them? Because as you hear, the argument is just as intense on that side as well.
BALDWIN: Listen, first of all, this has been standing well-accepted precedent for almost 50 years. And many of the justices that now sit on the Supreme Court including the three appointed by President Trump during his term, you know, talked about the standing of long standing precedent, said things were settled. And so first of all there's the deception that so many feel there.
But beyond that, you know, when you leave it to the states, you are saying literally that depending on what state you were born and raised in, what state you reside in, you have a different set of rights. And I can certainly tell you again that women in Wisconsin that has the oldest criminal abortion law on the books enacted in 1849, you know, we have been sent back to a previous century, two previous centuries, and it's going to be very different from state to state. And that's not how we view, you know, fundamental freedoms.
BROWN: Right. I want to ask you, you brought this up that the conservative justices there has been a lot of scrutiny on what they said during their confirmation hearings with respect to Roe v. Wade. They didn't outright say they would overturn Roe v. Wade. They said that it's important precedent and so forth and so on.
Do you feel, as you look back on their comments, that they were being misleading or deceitful? I mean, you know, I know some Democrats feel that way. Joe Manchin for one who voted for Kavanaugh.
BALDWIN: So I would say that it has been customary practice for many decades now for candidates, nominees for the Supreme Court or other judicial seats to skirt around any direct question about how would you rule on, you know, a given set of facts or hypotheticals. But these justices in public meetings indicated that they had a great respect for long standing precedent. And we've been reading a lot about what they said in private meetings where there were note takers and staff present.
So, but, you know, again, I think this whole decision leaves a shaken America. You know, it's not just about the members of the Senate who sat down and feel like they were given certain indications or promises or, you know, were implied certain things. But I feel like there's a whole swath of America who is looking at this court saying they are partisan. They are, you know, again, not standing by a great respect for precedent.
BROWN: Yes, certainly confidence in the court is at an all-time low from the public.
BROWN: Given Clarence Thomas' remarks that gay marriage and the right to contraception should be re reconsidered, as well as gay relations, do you anticipate having to fight those battles too?
BALDWIN: You know, he put it very clearly where, you know, this was something that people were speculating about after the draft opinion was leaked several weeks ago. But he said it very clearly that the cases that use the same reasoning that this one does should be reviewed again. And I would go even further to, you know, this would also impact Loving vs. Virginia. And as you said, contraception cases, marriage equality cases.
This is far reaching in terms of its implications and I do believe that there's going to be great -- first great worry about those cherished rights and freedoms being stripped away but also, as you saw, people are speaking out and preparing to vote. And it's what I have been urging everyone to think first and foremost about is use your voices and your votes. We need voters to go to the midterms and elections beyond, and look at who's standing on the side of the women's freedom and what's right and who is standing firmly against them.
BROWN: Right. But --
BALDWIN: And cast your votes accordingly. Particularly for pro-choice Democrats because --
BROWN: But quickly, what do you say to the disaffected voter who was like, look, we did our job, we went to the polls in 2020, we elected a Democratic president, this is what we're having to deal with now? Why would they go to the polls in the midterms then?
BALDWIN: So, first of all, democracy is not a spectator sport. Democracy requires people's involvement and it's not just, you know, every four years. Frankly it needs to be focused on local races, statewide races as well as national races. You know, the people who have been plotting since Roe versus Wade was first decided of how we're going to go about overturning it, and there are folks who have been working on this for decades, they stuck with it.
In many cases, they're one-issue voters and you know, they very much plotted this out. We have to use our voices and our votes and recognize that in order to safeguard a democracy, in order to safeguard the advancements of constitutional rights and not the retreat or going backwards, that it requires constant attention. And so it's not casual voting. This is voting like our lives depend upon it because they do.
BROWN: All right. Senator Tammy Baldwin, thank you very much.
BALDWIN: Thank you. BROWN: And you are in the CNN NEWSROOM the January 6th Committee is
far from done with public hearings. I spoke to two members of the committee this evening. Hear what they told me about their plans up next.
And then later, a fight breaks out at an antiabortion rally where Republican state Senate candidate punched his political opponent.
Plus Justice Clarence Thomas wrote that he wants the Supreme Court to revisit making same-sex marriage a constitutional right.
We just talked about that. Well, in 2015 I spoke live with the man at the center of the original decision.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: Jim, when you hear the president say to you that your leadership has changed the country, what is that like?
JIM OBERGEFELL, PLAINTIFF IN CASE THAT LEGALIZED SAME-SEX MARRIAGE: I can't even put it into words.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: That was seven years ago today. Jim Obergefell joins me live this hour to talk about the current situation.
You're in the CNN NEWSROOM.
BROWN: Layer by layer, witness by witness, the January 6th Committee has used its first five public hearings to drive home a truly unsettling reality check that this nation was perilously close to a coup essentially. This past week state elections officials testified how then President Trump and his allies pressured them to decertify Joe Biden's legitimate election win.
And on Thursday, top officials from the Trump Justice Department described how they defied Trump's increasingly maniac pressure to act on his baseless claims of voter fraud.
This evening I spoke to two Democrats who sit on that committee and here are some of our conversation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: Where do things stand with Ginni Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas? Have you heard back from her? Is she willing to come to testify behind closed doors about her connection to these efforts to overturn the election? REP. ZOE LOFGREN (D-CA): Well, as you know, we sent her a letter
asking her to come in. It was sent privately. She made a decision to share it publicly, which she had every right to do. And she did say to the media that she was looking forward to coming in and talking to the committee and we take her at her word that she will be coming in to talk to us.
BROWN: Well, have you heard back from her, though? Or have you just -- are you just referring to what you (INAUDIBLE) from her?
LOFGREN: I don't know where that is.
LOFGREN: Obviously that is negotiated, the time and place, between her lawyers and our staff, and I don't know the precise status of that. But since she said publicly she was eager to come in, I expect that that's the truth. Why would she lie and say that if she didn't mean it?
BROWN: Your committee has weaved in new information with what the public already knew painting this big picture. New headlines have emerged from every hearing. How much new information or testimony will we see in the upcoming hearings? Can you give us any insight on what to expect?
LOFGREN: Well, there will be new things. We've gotten new information coming in, by the way. And so we need to evaluate you know really a very large amount of new information and see how much of it is relevant and how much isn't.
REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD): We've been pursuing a chronological breakdown of the events that took place leading up to January 6th. And now we're getting closer to January 6th. I have been working most intently on the mobilization of the mob and the domestic violent extremist groups like the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers and the Grapers and the Three-Percenters and so on.
And so we want to explain both of what happened with the mobilization of violent fascistic street movement. And then how that insurrection or mob violence converged with the attempt to coerce Mike Pence and Congress to step out of the way so that there could be essentially a seizure of the presidency by Donald Trump.
BROWN: Just quickly do you think that Donald Trump by way of the actions you've laid out that he was treasonous?
RASKIN: Well, you know, that's not a word that I have used. But, you know, I'm continuing to watch very carefully all of the evidence that's coming out and you've heard at the hearings. Treason is the only crime we have that's actually defined in the Constitution. So it's a very strict proof.
(END VIDEO CLIP) BROWN: And the committee's final two hearings have been scheduled for this week. They have been moved to later in July.
And you are in the CNN NEWSROOM. In America's 246-year history, there has never been a black woman elected as a governor. CNN looked into what's behind the struggle and what it will take to change that. Eva McKend and Chandelis Duster are here with their new reporting up next.
BROWN: Well, tensions at some of the country's abortion protests have reached a boiling point. In Providence, Rhode Island, a fight broke out at an abortion rights rally there. State Senate candidate Jennifer Rourke was punched in the face several times she says by a man who is running for office against her. Rourke says she was trying to deescalate the anger in the crowd when it happened. Her opponent who punched her is also a police officer. He turned himself in and he has been charged with assault and says he is no longer running for office.
Well, striking down Roe v. Wade was a major win for conservatives most notably for evangelical voters. And this morning Republican Senator Lindsey Graham pointed to one man for making that happen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): President Trump deserves a lion's share of credit here. He fought like a tiger to put three constitutional conservative judges on the court. He stood behind Kavanaugh and all of us who've been working for the last 50 years to get this right, to have a constitutional reset.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: Joining me now is CNN national politics reporter Eva McKend and CNN politics reporter Chandelis Duster.
Hi, ladies. Great to see you. So, Chandelis, welcome to the show, by the way. I want to start with what polls are showing. They're showing a majority of Americans support the right to an abortion. Could this end up being a losing issue for Republicans in the midterms?
CHANDELIS DUSTER, CNN POLITICS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Pam, it's too early to tell. We're still a little far out from November. But we do know that there was concern when the draft opinion was leaked. There was concern among some GOP members that that would gin up the Democratic base. But also to that, there's also just the issue that even though there are Republicans who are for the Supreme Court's decision, not every one of them can be for the decision because it stems not just to abortion.
It also affects reproductive health of women in terms of fertility treatment. And that is not a party issue. That is an everyone issue. And there are other issues on Americans' minds including how to feed their families, high gas prices and inflation. And so those are some of the most prominent issues that may not have abortion on the forefront come November.
BROWN: And Eva, the Democratic nominee for governor in Georgia, Stacey Abrams, she is calling for a legislative solution to restore nationwide abortion access. Let's take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STACEY ABRAMS (D), NOMINEE FOR GOVERNOR IN GEORGIA: I think President Biden should do what is within the purview of the executive. I believe that we need a legislative solution that restores the constitutional protection to women regardless of the state they live in. State lines should not determine the quality of your citizenship in the United States.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: So how is this abortion ruling changing the conversation for Democrats ahead of the midterms?
EVA MCKEND, CNN NATIONAL POLITICS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Pam, this certainly gives Democrats an issue to rally around at a time when they sorely need it. But take Stacey Abrams, I think that's a really interesting case, running for governor in Georgia. Not California, not New York. Georgia, which many would argue is more of a purple state. But she feels really comfortable leaning into this.
So we saw her briefly suspend her fundraising effort to redirect funds for reproductive justice organizations in Georgia. And so what we've seen is that Democrats just feel really comfortable with this. They believe that they don't have to waffle. That they can lean into their value and take this issue to the voters.
BROWN: And Chandelis, some of the black women running for governor said they don't feel supported by the Democratic Party. Why is that? What has been the Democratic Party response to that?
DUSTER: Well, traditionally black women haven't really been seen as viable for the executive leadership and offices like this. The experts that we spoke with have mentioned that, so these black women who don't feel that they are being supported, not only is because that they are black women, but also because of where they are in terms of fundraising. They feel that they have a lack of resources.
I spoke with Deidre DeJear who's running in Iowa, and she was talking about her struggles within her fundraising and saying that they've done a lot with a little. If they can do so much more, if they had more money, and that's something that black women have been seen as doing a lot. And so in terms of the response from the Democratic Party, state party officials told us that they don't typically endorse during the primaries. And that the DGA also said that as well.
But they also recognize the criticism behind the support for a large white apparatus in the party. And that there needs to be some improvements made. But they do feel that they have been behind the candidates and being able to give them the resources and some type of support:
BROWN: What is your reporting indicate, Eva?
MCKEND: Well, I think a really interesting case is Danielle Allen in Massachusetts after I think about 15 months, she dropped out. Didn't even make it to the Democratic primary. And she actually said the issue was not the DGA. They do not get involved in primaries. But she still felt like she had resources from them in terms of advice. She didn't feel like it was fundraising or enthusiasm.
But it was actually the barrier to entry of even getting on the ballot. She doesn't come from a traditional background of having a background in terms of running in or participating in the state legislature previously as many candidates do. She is actually a professor at Harvard.
So when we think about elevating black women, and Republicans and Democrats look to do that, sometimes they come from not traditional political backgrounds but their experiences should not be any less valued. I think that is the frustration that we routinely heard.
BROWN: Yes. Such important reporting from both of you. Chandelis and Eva, thank you both.
Well, in Ukraine's capital, Russian missiles hit an apartment and a kindergarten. The attack coming just as President Biden and G7 allies met in Germany. We'll have a report from Kyiv up next.
BROWN: At the same time President Biden and G7 leaders were meeting in Germany today, Russian missiles again pounded the capital of Ukraine. A residential apartment complex was destroyed sending rescue teams scrambling. And one of the survivors pulled from the rubble is a 7- year-old girl whose father was killed.
CNN's Salma Abdelaziz is in Kyiv.
SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN REPORTER (voice over): An attack that rattled Ukraine's capital. In the early hours of Sunday morning, multiple Russian missiles hit a residential area. A nine-story apartment block was struck, leaving families trapped under the rubble.
Dozens of rescue workers scramble to pull survivors out of the ruins using cranes to reach the still smoldering top floor.
Natalia Nikitina now watched in horror as first responders tried to rescue her daughter-in-law. "Losing loved ones is the worst fate," she said. "We do not deserve this."
This video from emergency services shows the harrowing rescue. After a nearly five-hour ordeal, Katerina was pulled out injured but alive.
(On camera): This horrific attack is going to shake up Kyiv. For weeks now, the capital has been relatively secure, relatively quiet. This is absolutely going to shatter that semblance of safety.
(Voice over): Several other residents were wounded, including Katerina's 7-year-old daughter who was cut by fragments as she slept. At least one person was killed, police said.
The backyard of a nearby kindergarten was also struck, leaving shrapnel where children play. On the scene, the mayor of Kyiv expressed outrage.
MAYOR VITALI KLITSCHKO, KYIV, UKRAINE: This is a senseless war and we have to do everything to stop this war because thousands and thousands of unguilty people, civilians die.
ABDELAZIZ: There are a number of military facilities in the area, officials say, but the victims here clearly innocents.
The airstrikes happening as G7 leaders gathered for a major summit in Germany, a possible message from President Putin.
Salma Abdelaziz, CNN, Kyiv.
BROWN: You are in the CNN NEWSROOM on this Sunday. With the fall of Roe v. Wade there are real fears of what landmark cases conservative Supreme Court justices may target next. Jim Obergefell, the lead plaintiff in the 2015 case that legalized same-sex marriage joins me next with his concerns.
BROWN: Seven years ago today the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry. It was a historic ruling that I covered and it marked a turning point for LGBTQ Plus rights in the United States.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBERGEFELL: As people see more gay couples get married, they're going to realize we're no different than they are. And I think it's just as this becomes more open, more visible, people realize we're simply asking for the exact same things.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: Fast forward to 2022 and a vastly different court that struck down Roe v. Wade and ended more than 50 years of abortion protections. In his concurring opinion, Justice Clarence Thomas made clear he wants to revisit other major decisions including the 2015 case that established marriage equality.
Jim Obergefell was the plaintiff in that case and the celebratory voice you heard moments ago. He is also running for a seat in Ohio statehouse.
Hi, Jim, I can't believe by the way that was seven years ago. Wow. When we were standing there. I hope you can hear me, Jim. Can you hear me? I think we're having issues connecting. Guys? OK. We're going to have to -- unfortunately we're going to have to try to get Jim back. You know how this goes with technical issues. We've all been through it. We'll be right back.
BROWN: All right. Picking up where we left off. In his concurring opinion Justice Clarence Thomas made clear he wants to revisit other major decisions including the 2015 case that established marriage equality.
Jim Obergefell was the plaintiff in that case, and he's right here with us.
So, Jim, it is so hard for me to believe that that was seven years ago today when we were out there in front of the Supreme Court right after the ruling came down legalizing same-sex marriage and the president called you. Let's listen to that moment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBERGEFELL: Yes, it is, Mr. President.
BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT: Just wanted to say -- I figured when I saw you (INAUDIBLE), we did. I just wanted to say congratulations.
OBERGEFELL: Thank you so much, sir. I think it was your wishes --
OBAMA: You know, your leadership, you know, changed the country.
OBERGEFELL: I really appreciate that, Mr. President. It's really been an honor for me to be involved in this fight and to have been able to, you know, fight for my marriage and live up to my commitments to my husband. So --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: So what is it like to revisit that moment from seven years ago and then be in the reality we are in today with Roe v. Wade being overturned but also that concurrence from Thomas?
OBERGEFELL: Well, Pamela, it's great to see you again and I have to say it's painful to realize that was only seven years ago and to hear a bit of that conversation that I had with the president. You know, seven years ago the world was getting better. Our country was getting better and we were taking steps forward, and this decision and what it could mean -- well, what it means for women and their ability to control their own bodies, make their decisions, and what it can mean for the LGBTQ Plus community and marriage, it's terrifying.
I feel like our nation has taken so many steps backwards to the past and it's because of this extreme Supreme Court and the extreme people we have in office across the country.
BROWN: And as you know there are so many conservatives in America who say we finally, after this fight for so many decades we finally got what we wanted. This is exactly what they have been fighting for. And I'm wondering, how worried are you that we might actually see a ruling overturning the right to gay marriage now?
OBERGEFELL: I am quite concerned, Pamela. You know, that concurring opinion by Justice Thomas gives opponents of marriage equality and really LGBTQ Plus equality and women's rights just the language that they can use to start teeing up cases to attack those rights. And I always believed that America was a country where the Supreme Court expanded rights and guaranteed rights, and protected rights. And to have them take back a right that women have enjoyed, that people in our country have enjoyed for almost 50 years is just devastating.
It's not democratic. It's not American. And they are coming for marriage. I am convinced of that. And not just marriage but the ability to, you know, to have intimate relations with the person we love in the privacy of our own home.
BROWN: Right. That's the Lawrence case. We talked about the Thomas concurring opinion and the main opinion Justice Alito specifically says, quote, "We emphasize that our decision concerns the constitutional right to abortion and no other right. Nothing in this opinion should be understood to cast doubt on precedents that do not concern abortion." Justice Kavanaugh made a similar point in his opinion. Does that bring you any comfort?
OBERGEFELL: No. And I have to ask, why should it? When many of these justices during their confirmation hearings were not truthful before the Senate when they said they considered the right to abortion a precedent. They weren't telling the truth then clearly by this decision. So why should we believe anything they say about any other right we currently enjoy in this decision?
BROWN: Right. And I know there's been a lot of scrutiny on the justices what they said in their confirmation hearings. They did not specifically say that they wouldn't overturn Roe v. Wade but they did say that it was important precedent, that it was precedent, and there was a lot of focus on that. And several people including lawmakers felt misled by them.
Jim Obergefell, thank you so much and it is so great to see you again after all these years. Hope you can come back on the show soon.
OBERGEFELL: Likewise, Pamela. And hopefully it will be for something better. BROWN: Yes. All right. Thank you so much, Jim.
You're in the CNN NEWSROOM. Tennis legend Arthur Ashe made history as a black athlete who excelled in a mostly white sport and he changed how the world looked at social issues from civil rights to HIV and AIDS. The new CNN Film "CITIZEN ASHE" takes a fresh look at his impact both on and off the court.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He had evolved from someone who was analytical to someone who became more and more about direct action.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you get in South Africa feeling that you could change things just by playing tennis?
ARTHUR ASHE, PROFESSIONAL TENNIS PLAYER: I am not presumptuous enough to think I can change anything per se.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He wanted Black South Africans to see a free black man and the possibilities that a free black man could live.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: Joining us now are the directors of the film, Rex Miller and Sam Pollard.
Hi. So, Rex, let's kick it off with you. You saw Arthur play as a child and followed him closely through his career. You're obviously an admirer but what was it specifically about Ashe that made you want to tell his story?
REX MILLER, CO-DIRECTOR, "CITIZEN ASHE": Well, yes. I am the product of two tennis fanatics and I was at the U.S. Open in '68 as a little kid. So tennis was my entry point to Arthur, but over the years he was very much a character in my life and he opened me up to things like problems in South Africa, the Apartheid situation, so he was a real hero and role model for me.
BROWN: And Sam, Ashe really, he blazed a trail for many of the athlete activists like Colin -- Kaepernick, I should say, LeBron James, Naomi Osaka, speaking out today. Just how big was his impact?
SAM POLLARD, CO-DIRECTOR, "CITIZEN ASHE": I think his impact was tremendous. I mean, here's a man who won the first U.S. Open who then used it as a platform to speak out on issues like specifically like apartheid in South Africa. And any of the athletes you mentioned, Coco Gauff, LeBron James, Colin Kaepernick, they stand on the shoulders of Arthur Ashe and Muhammad Ali and others, who basically who had the courage to speak out and speak up, you know, about the things that weren't right, you know, in America and in the world.
BROWN: Rex, if you were to take one thing away from watching this film, what would you want it to be?
MILLER: Well, in Arthur's word he really wanted young people to hear his thoughts and they were start where you are, use what you have and do what you can. But as he was stressing, you can't do nothing. You must use your voice and use it to create a change to make the world a better place.
BROWN: Sam, final thoughts to you.
POLLARD: My final thoughts would be that something Arthur said at the end of the film. He didn't want to be remembered as a tennis player. He wanted to be remembered as a man who had spoke out and spoke up about being the injustices in the world and that's what makes him unique and very special, and that's what makes this film so important, "Citizen Ashe."
BROWN: All right. Thank you all so much. Sam Pollard, Rex Miller, we appreciate your time tonight. Looking ahead to this, "Citizen Ashe" premiering right now. Have a great night.