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New Day Sunday

Federal Judge Overturns California's Assault Weapons Ban, Calls AR-15 Rifles "Fairly Ordinary, Popular"; This Week: Biden Embarks on First International Trip as President; NAACP to Meet with Sen. Manchin to Discuss Voting Rights Bill. Aired 7-8a ET

Aired June 06, 2021 - 07:00   ET



BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: Carolyn Manno, thanks so much for the update.

AMARA WALKER, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you, Carolyn.

And a quick programming note. Be sure to tune in tomorrow night when President Obama joins Anderson Cooper for a rare one on one about his life post presidency. An "ANDERSON COOPER 360" special, "Barack Obama on Fatherhood, Leadership, and Legacy", airs tomorrow 8:00 Eastern, right here on CNN.

And stay with us. NEW DAY continues right now.


SANCHEZ: Good morning, and welcome to your NEW DAY. I'm Boris Sanchez.

WALKER: And I'm Amara Walker, in for Christi Paul.

Deeply flawed. Powerful Democrats are blasting a federal judge's ruling overturning California's ban on assault weapons. What survivors of gun violence and the NRA are saying about the ruling.

SANCHEZ: Plus, two days before Senator Joe Manchin is set to meet with civil rights groups on voting rights, the senator releasing an op-ed, saying he will vote against a sweeping voting rights bill. The president of NAACP will join us live.

WALKER: And set to sail. Royal Caribbean announcing six ships will sail once again from Texas and Florida, and passenger will not have to be vaccinated.


WALKER: It is Sunday, June 6th. Thank you so much for waking up with us. I'm Amara Walker, and thanks for having me.

SANCHEZ: Always great to see you, Amara. This is fun, this is great.

WALKER: It's been good. I don't know that I would want to get on a cruise ship now, especially when you don't have to be vaccinated. That would make me a bit uncomfortable in a small space.

SANCHEZ: Yeah, even outside of a pandemic, there can be places where viruses and diseases are rampant. We'll get into that discussion in just a few minutes.

But we start this morning with the fallout after a federal judge overturned California's assault weapons ban. The ruling and injection have stayed for 30 days, and California's attorney general has said that he plans to appeal.

WALKER: That reaction from across the country was swift with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi calling the ruling deeply flawed and a clear and serious threat to public safety. While an NRA spokesperson praised the judge saying the ruling is well-reasoned and principled, demonstrates the importance of appointing judges who accurately apply the original meaning of our Constitution.

SANCHEZ: Yeah. In his ruling, the judge spoke favorably of modern weapons, even comparing an AR-15 to a Swiss Army Knife.

CNN's Polo Sandoval reports on how his words drew sharp criticism from those whose lives have been changed by gun violence.


POLO SANDOVAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): California's ban on certain semi-automatic rifles has weathered decades of opposition until now. San Diego U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez ruled to overturn it, passed in 1989 on the heels of an elementary school shooting in Stockton, California, that left five children dead, the law was touted as California's first assault weapons act. It established what an assault weapon is and made them illegal to buy or possess in California.

This week, Judge Benitez ruled that ban was unconstitutional, and deprived law-abiding Californians of weapons allowed in other states, weapons he compared to Swiss Army Knives.

BRANDON WOLF, PULSE NIGHTCLUB SHOOTING SURVIVOR: If a Swiss Army Knife would have been used at Pulse, we would have had a birthday party for my best friend last week, not a vigil. The weapons we are talking about don't come with a nail file and a corkscrew just in case you get lost in the woods with a bottle of wine.

SANDOVAL: In his ruling, Judge Benitez wrote: Firearms deemed as assault weapons are fairly ordinary, popular, modern rifles.

Benitez's decision is being celebrated by pro-gun groups. One suing the state of California in this case said it was, quote, delighted with the outcome. Those calling for stricter gun laws are outraged.

KRIS BROWN, PRESIDENT, BRADY MOVEMENT: Frankly, the wording in that ruling sounds like it's taken directly from an e-mail or a memo written by the National Rifle Association.

SANDOVAL: First nominated by President George W. Bush in 2003, Judge Benitez has a history of butting heads with the state of California in its efforts for stricter gun laws. In 2017, he issued an initial junction blocking the state's high capacity magazine ban. Eventually, the federal appeals court upheld this ruling, declaring the ban unconstitutional.

But last year, Benitez blocked the law requiring background checks for ammo purchases, calling the law defective and a burden on the Second Amendment in his opinion granting a preliminary injunction. The state says it is appealing the latest ruling.

Among the families of those lost to mass shootings, there is a sense of fear that what happened to their loved ones could happen again.

FRED GUTTENBERG, DAUGHTER KILLED IN PARKLAND SHOOTING: I'm upset for the loss of my daughter and all the other victims, but I am fearful because I know there's someone out there right now, who will go out and buy an AR-15 because of this judge, and use it.

RICHARD MARTINEZ, SON KILLED IN MASS SHOOTING: This ruling, if it were to stand, would make our country a more dangerous place.


Assault weapons, assault style weapons make our country a more dangerous place.

SANDOVAL: Polo Sandoval, CNN, New York.


WALKER: All right. Let's turn now to the critical week ahead for President Biden with big moments looming both at home and abroad.

SANCHEZ: Yeah, tomorrow, the president set to speak again with Republican Senator Shelley Moore Capito after he rejected the latest GOP counter offer on infrastructure. The administration has said that a fish or cut bait moment could come this week in the negotiations.

Of course on Tuesday, the president heads out on his first international trip, the G7 meeting for the first time in person in two years, setting the stage for President Biden's summit, his first face- to-face with Russia's Vladimir Putin on the 16th.

WALKER: Yeah, that will be interesting. And we're also expecting to see President Biden's first slate of ambassador nominees. Former Obama White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti are among the names expected to be announced.

This is also a consequential week for Vice President Kamala Harris who heads to Latin America today.

CNN's Jasmine Wright is at the White House with her new reporting on the VP's first international trip.

Jasmine, what's on the agenda? JASMINE WRIGHT, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: That's right.

Listen, foreign policy will reign supreme this week at the White House. President Biden heads on his first trip on Wednesday, and Vice President Harris on her first trip in her historic role this afternoon, where this will be a huge test for her Amara and Boris. All eyes will be glued to see how exactly she approaches trying to be successful in this really difficult task that President Biden handed to her, which is trying to stem migration from these Northern Triangles through diplomacy.

And this reporting that we have, White House officials tell me and my colleagues that they don't know yet the overall strategy. It's still under development but will be informed by what Vice President Harris sees and hears on the ground from those who are impacted. So, her week ahead will be packed in two days.

On Monday, she'll meet with Guatemala's president in a bilateral, their first in person. They have already met virtually. She will later meet with community leaders and innovators and greet U.S. embassy staff.

On Tuesday, she will be in Mexico where she meets with Mexico's president, among other community and labor leaders.

Now, the stakes are very high. Remember, she is a first woman vice president, she's a first woman of color vice president, and this trip will start to shape how Americans view her, and how she is able to handle herself on an international stage. For someone who likely will run for president down the line.

And so, White House aides kind of walked us through this meticulous preparation that she has been doing, holding daily briefings, peppering aides with that kind of prosecutorial style that we have come to know so well, asking for information both from the government and outside from private sectors, and NGOs looking to diversify what information she receives, because make no doubt about this, they want some short-term results. And so, this is all being kind of compacted into one.

So Vice President Harris last week really laid out how she views the trip and what she wants to achieve. Take a listen.


KAMALA HARRIS, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It is about what we need to do and can do together to both support the folks who need help in terms of hunger, the economic development piece, the extreme weather and the impact that has had on their economy, but it's also about having very frank and honest conversations about the need to address corruption, to address crime, violence in particular against some of the most vulnerable populations in that country.


WRIGHT: So, by the time that Vice President Harris is back in the States from a fact-finding mission, President Biden will be getting ready to go and head to his first international trip. That includes the G7 summit in Cornwall, NATO, and that will end in that big, high profile bilateral with Russia's president, Vladimir Putin -- Amara, Boris.

SANCHEZ: Yeah, the vice president with her hands full. It's not just in foreign trip, too, Jasmine. It's also the push. She has been tasked with trying to get the voting rights bill passed. An uphill battle, no doubt.

Jasmine Wright, great as always from the White House. Thank you so much.

We're joined by "Politico" congressional reporter, Marianne Levine.

Marianne, thanks so much for joining us this morning.

Let's start with the conversation about Biden's trip overseas. He's reiterated that investment in infrastructure is key to competing with China.

How does that play into his trip abroad? He's trying to corral these European allies, these NATO allies. Does this play a role in the conversations that he's having with them, the idea that the world has to use to slow down an aggressive China?

MARIANNE LEVINE, CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER, POLITICO: Absolutely. President Joe Biden wrote an op-ed in "The Washington Post" yesterday that really highlighted (AUDIO GAP) and one of the areas that he talks about is cyber security.


That's one area where he wants to see ransomware attacks limited and he views the G7 and other democracies abroad as playing a role in potentially fighting cyberattacks and other threats to infrastructure.

SANCHEZ: Marianne, the gremlins in our tech are acting up, so please stay with us if we have more issues.

But moving forward in the conversation, Biden continuing to engage in these infrastructure negotiations. Some Democrats are urging him to ditch bipartisanship. Is there a deal still to be made here? He rejected the latest concession from Shelley Moore Capito, an additional $50 billion in funding from Republicans.

Do you think he sees bipartisanship as the road ahead still?

LEVINE: It's hard to say. The White House's readout of the latest conversation between President Joe Biden and Shelley Moore Capito was not exactly positive. And it's hard to know where these talks are going. Some would say that the fact that Senator Capito and Biden are still talking, they're set to speak again tomorrow, some view that as a sign of a possibility. But the reality here is that both sides are really far apart still when it comes to top line, when it comes to pay-fors and when it comes to even the definition of infrastructure. SANCHEZ: And even if Democrats decide to go it alone, it's not going

to be easy, right? Senator Joe Manchin telling CNN's Manu Raju this week that he's not ready to give up on a bipartisan infrastructure plan, even in a 50/50 Senate, Manchin's vote may not be there if he doesn't feel like a deal is bipartisan enough.

So do Democrats even have the option to try to buck Republicans?

LEVINE: It's hard to say now with Senator Manchin emphasizing that he wants these bipartisan talks to continue. As you know, the Senate Democrats have little room for error with an evenly split Senate which gives Manchin a lot of power and say in terms of how these talks proceed.

Many Democrats have interpreted President Biden as speaking to Republicans as not necessarily a sign of reaching a bipartisan agreement but more so about trying to convince Senator Manchin, Senator Sinema, other Senate Democrats who want to work with Republicans issue they have tried everything in terms of reaching across the aisle but that there isn't a deal to be had.

SANCHEZ: And, Marianne, you just heard the reporting from our colleague Jasmine Wright. Vice President Harris doing her homework before her first foreign trip to Central America. Her team, according to CNN's reporting, has actually been trying to distance the vice president from the difficult situation at the southern border. The political pressure, though, still there.

Why do you think congressional Republicans have latched on to Harris on this issue specifically?

LEVINE: Well, this issue is an area that Senate Republicans have focused a lot on just broadly speaking when it comes to President Biden's administration. We saw earlier this year that they focused a lot on the surge of migrants at the border and that seems to be an issue that Republicans think they have a political advantage of over Democrats in terms of being tough on the border, in terms of being tough on border security.

So I think attacking Vice President Harris is part of that strategy where they see Republicans being tougher on border security as a more politically winning message for their party.

SANCHEZ: Marianne Levine, we appreciate you rolling with the technical issues that we had, and the expertise as well. Thanks so much.

LEVINE: Thanks for having me.

SANCHEZ: Of course.

LEVINE: Democratic Senator Joe Manchin meeting with civil rights groups this week to talk about voter rights. The problem is he said he would vote against the current bill that would protect voters that's being debated right now on Capitol Hill. You'll hear reaction from the president of the NAACP next. WALKER: Plus, Royal Caribbean said no vaccine, no problem, come

aboard. But those rules apply to only certain ports. How presidential politics is impacting the cruise industry.



WALKER: In two weeks, the battle over voting rights heads to the Senate floor when lawmakers are set to vote on the For the People Act, a bill that would counter the wave of voting restrictions Republicans have passed recently at the state level. But one Democrat, West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin says he's opposing the bill.

In a new op-ed piece this morning, Manchin announced he's voting now, saying that partisan voting reform that's done in a partisan manner will, quote, destroy the already weakening bind of our democracy. And points out the legislation's lack of support, zero support rather from GOP senators.

Joining me now is Derrick Johnson, the president of the NAACP, he and other civil rights groups plan to meet with Manchin this week to discuss in bill. I believe you guys are all meeting on Tuesday.

Thank you so much, Derrick, for joining me.

Let me get straight to the latest that we're hearing from Senator Manchin in this piece. He also wrote that he won't vote to eliminate or change the Senate filibuster rule that would allow the legislation to advance with 51 votes instead of 60.

So, first off, I just want to get your reaction to Senator Manchin's announcement.

DERRICK JOHNSON, PRESIDENT, NAACP: Look, this is an issue that will not play out in the media. It's the opportunity for civil rights leadership to meet with Senator Manchin and talk about several topics, and to reinforce the need to protect democracy.

Our goal as nonpartisan operations to ensure that states are not breaking law, that states are honoring the Constitution, that all individuals should be afforded an opportunity to fully engage in our electoral process because they're a legal citizen.


They have the right to do so and those rights should be protected. I think that's more important than the legislation because if it's not this legislation, there must be a path forward to ensure that our democracy works for all.

WALKER: Right. Well, we know this bill does aim to protect some of those voting rights and to reverse some of those restrictive voting laws that we saw passed in those Republican led states, and look, the reality is, Derrick, even if Senator Manchin, and all the other Democrats backed the bill, you would still need ten Republicans to override the Senate filibuster, 60 votes. Right now, it doesn't seem like that's going to happen.

So, has your goal or strategy changed at all for this meeting, and what you're going to say to Senator Manchin?

JOHNSON: Well, the beautiful thing about the legislative process, you cannot assume what's impossible. It's our job as civil rights organizations and leaders to make what others believe is impossible possible. We are here now to try to move the conversation towards protected democracy, not a partisan conversation. It is the rights of so many individuals across this concern who really would like to just have their voices heard and participate.

That is not an issue of either party. That is an issue for America, and we need to focus on that.

WALKER: So what exactly are you going to be discussing with Senator Manchin.

JOHNSON: Well, that's -- I don't think that's something we can really talk about in the media. We're going to build a relationship, establish a rapport, making sure that he can hear for us, the NAACP, some of the issues that our members in West Virginia have about several issues, including student loan debt, voting, you name it.

This is an opportunity that we have dealt with several members of the Senate and the House, build and establish rapport and relationships, especially when it relates to important issues to protect our democracies, to grow our economy, and to allow American citizens to truly appreciate the promise of America.

WALKER: Well, and you're right, this shouldn't be a partisan issue. But I mean, the reality is even bipartisan bills died by filibuster, including the creation of the January 6th independent commission. That never happened because of the divided Congress that we have.

So let me specifically ask you about this because the "For the People Act" as it's called, as we said, doesn't have the backing of all Democrats, right? It would need to go through some changes as well to get some of the Democratic holdouts on board, including Manchin. And so, specifically speaking about the things that the Democrats or some of them are not happy with are the requirements on when states have to overhaul their paperless voting systems.

Have you looked at the bill? Are there certain things in the bill that you're going to mention, that need to be updated or changed to get everybody on board? Are you looking into the minutia?

JOHNSON: Well, for us, we see this as the start of the Senate process and really recognizing, you know, how far we can push this. This is not an issue we can take lightly. This is about our democracy, the globe is watching and we must push forward on several fronts.

It was a tragedy to watch the Senate not willing to support a commission to investigate treason and an insurrection, where many of their lives were threatened. We are at an inflection point in this country that we have to deal with. This time last year, I said when we launched our not for profit that

Facebook and other platforms was creating a space that the president at that time was causing harm to people in our democracy, and now, we are sitting here a year later saying our democracy is at risk. We are looking at creating 1940 policy that eliminates access to voting to so many communities and for civil rights organizations, we're going to be making those points very clear. We must protect our democracy, not political party.

WALKER: So, I live in a state, Georgia. That is among the states that passed some restrictive voting laws after the Democratic victories just this past year. So here in Georgia, the new voting law makes absentee voting more difficult, at least when it comes to, you know, requesting the ballots and also with the stricter ID requirements. You can't pass out water to people who are standing in line. That's become a crime.

What are your concerns, Derrick, if Congress doesn't move to pass such a law that would reverse some of these restrictive voting laws?

JOHNSON: Well, the biggest problem with the Georgia bill, so many problems with the Georgia bill, is authority that's taken away from local election officials to certify their local elections, taking away the authority from the secretary of state, and putting it in the body that have demonstrated that they don't care about the truth.


They don't care about facts. They don't care about partisan or political outcomes that favor them.

We cannot in this country allow policymakers and elected officials to select what voters are legitimate and what voters they believe are not legitimate because of how they vote. That is not the democratic process. That's one of the biggest problems with the Georgia bill.

And so we must, as a nation, as a federal government, go after states. This is not 1950, 1940. We have crossed this bridge. We should be able to build a higher bridge of democracy, not lower the bridge of democracy, so that we can sink into something that's more chaotic than any of us would have imagined just five years ago, ten years ago.

WALKER: Well, Derrick Johnson, we appreciate you joining us. Good luck to you in that meeting on Tuesday, and keep us posted on how it goes. Thanks so much for your time.

JOHNSON: Thank you.

WALKER: And on tonight's brand new episode of "UNITED SHADES OF AMERICA," you will see W. Kamau Bell in Philadelphia talking to young people about who's in charge of the city and its future. Here's a preview.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have so-called black leadership, we have a black police commissioner, we had one before. Now she's a black woman.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So we had the first black mayor of Philadelphia. You've got black people in the seats but the white power structure still exists, you know?

So I think the future of Philly is a one that is full of conflict between the people and the state, I believe. I think that that is the reality. It's going to get way worse before it get better.


WALKER: Don't miss an all new episode of "UNITED SHADES OF AMERICA," that's tonight at 10:00 p.m.

SANCHEZ: Ahead, Avengers assemble. As California prepares to roll back many of its COVID restrictions. Disneyland is raising the curtain on its newest attraction. We'll take you inside, next.



BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: A recent CNN analysis projects that the United States will fall just short of meeting President Biden's July 4th vaccine goal. He's aiming for at least 70 percent of all adults, 18 and older to receive at least one dose. So far, only 63 percent of adults have had that first dose.

As an incentive, Anheuser-Busch teamed up with the White House in promising a free round of beer to those 21 and older if the country reaches its goal.

AMARA WALKER, CNN ANCHOR: Be for jabs (ph).

Well, meanwhile, Royal Caribbean is pushing to return to normalcy as they make plans to set sail again as soon as next month. Though notably, without requiring some passengers to be vaccinated at all.

CNN's Natasha Chen joining us live.

OK. So, Natasha, Royal Caribbean will not require any of its cruise passengers leaving from Florida or Texas to be vaccinated. Why is that, and what about other points of departure?

NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Right. So Royal Caribbean has said that they will require vaccinations for guests 16 and older for their sailings departing Seattle and the Bahamas. So, when you look at the North America sailings for the next few months, it's clear that this Texas and Florida thing is a carve out, where those ships will not require vaccination of passengers.

Now, this is interesting given that a lot of the other cruise lines announcing the restart sailings are all requiring vaccinations at this point. So this is a strange change here that happened in the last week, playing out amidst a legal battle between the Florida governor and the CDC.

And that's because the CDC has issued a set of guidance with less restrictions for ships that have 95 percent of passengers and crew vaccinated. But in Florida, businesses are not allowed to require vaccinations of patrons. They are allowed to ask the question, but they're not allowed to make that a condition of entry.

This makes things very challenging for people who are travel agents, booking for guests who want really to get back on to a ship. Here's a travel agent I talked to, about what she's hearing from her guests.


ELAINE EDWARDS, TRAVEL AGENT, DREAMS UNLIMITED TRAVEL: Most people at this point have been telling me that they are vaccinated or they are planning on getting vaccinated before they cruise because it does make them feel safer, whether required or not. I think people are just so excited that they didn't get that -- they didn't get to cruise last summer, they didn't get to cruise this winter, that they are willing to, whatever the cruise line needs me to do, I will do it because I want to get on that ship.


CHEN: So, Governor DeSantis made clear in a press conference that because there seems to be a lot of interest from cruise passengers to be vaccinated before cruising, that this requirement is not -- is a moot point but the CDC, of course, is being very careful about the conditions that a ship needs to meet before it's able to set sail, if a particular ship does not meet a certain threshold of vaccination, the cruise line does need to have test sailings with volunteer passengers before they are allowed to actually have a revenue cruise, Amara and Boris.

SANCHEZ: Yeah, it will be interesting to see how much demand there is for cruising. There's definitely a lot of demand for travel, but given some of the complications with cruising and the fact you can't go anywhere else when you're on a ship on the high seas.


Natasha Chen, thank you so much.

CHEN: Thank you.

WALKER: And how much demand at ports, right, Florida and Texas --


WALKER: -- where you don't have to be vaccinated will be interesting.

SANCHEZ: Yeah, good point.

Well, here's another sign that the country is turning the corner on the pandemic. California is easing COVID-19 restrictions at some of its biggest attractions. WALKER: Yeah. On Friday, Disney opened its latest attraction,

Avengers Campus, one year after the original planned opening.

And as Paul Vercammen reports, soon out of state guests will be welcomed where the Avengers assemble.

PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Amara, Boris, come June 15th, Disneyland will no longer take your temperature when you enter the park, and out of state guests can come, and they have opened up the Avengers campus just in time as California eases most COVID-19 restrictions.

This campus, they want to be a magnet, pull more tourists to Anaheim, and this is the life blood of the economy here in this part of Orange County.

Let's talk about this Avengers Campus. Take a tour. You see all of these Marvel comics, heroes at the center piece, Spiderman, he's so popular. And there's a ride, you swing webs and catch these spider bugs running amok on the campus.

Lots of high-tech wizardry here, but some of the effects are just old school optical illusions.

So that floor was just as flat as the sidewalk behind me, all an optical illusion, and we talked to people who went to the Avengers Campus and they say it was an absolute dream for them.


UNIDENTIFIED MAE: Man, I just felt like I was there more for me than my kids. Some childhood memories over here, got to live the whole Marvel, after watching the movie, and just being there, and seeing all the superhero sights, I felt like a little kid myself.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's just -- you have to be there. It feels like you're in a different world. I felt like I was stepping into a movie set.


VERCAMMEN: We'll also note, the CDC has said there's been an uptick in some areas in hospitalizations of teens, but the parents of the teens we talked to at Disney all told us most of them have been vaccinated, they're going to wear their masks, and they're not too concerned with the uptick.

Reporting from Anaheim, I'm Paul Vercammen, back to you -- Amara, Boris.

WALKER: So good to feel normal. Paul, thank you for that. Looks like a lot of fun.

Well, so, now that the country, much of it, has reopened or is reopening, Americans are ready to visit amusement parks and hit the beach, but there's just one unexpected problem. There's not enough workers to meet demand.



SANCHEZ: As more people get vaccinated and the country reopens, tourism is coming back to places like the Jersey Shore, and other popular vacation spots.

WALKER: Yeah, but as customers return, business owners say they are experiencing a problem they've never had before. They can't find workers.

CNN business and politics correspondent Vanessa Yurkevich has the story.


VANESSA YURKEVICH, CNN BUSINESS AND POLITICS CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): In 47 years of business, Vic's Italian Restaurant says it's never had this, a help wanted sign. As the season heats up in Bradley Beach, New Jersey, the restaurant is desperate for workers to meet summer crowds.

How important is this summer for business?

TRAVIS SEMBLEWSKI, GENERAL MANAGER, VIC'S ITALIAN RESTAURANT: It's very important, but we can't do the customer service the way we used to. So we need more people and I'm just fearful to some degree that if we don't have that, not every customer will understand.

YURKEVICH: Seventy-seven percent of Americans plan to travel this summer, compared to 29 percent last year. A welcome sign for restaurants and summer hot spots like the Jersey Shore, closed for much of last year. This small beach side town balloons from population 4,000 to 25,000 in the summer.

How critical are these restaurants to the Bradley Beach community every summer?

MAYOR LARRY FOX, BRADLEY BEACH, NEW JERSEY: Very critical. And I call it the bookends of Bradley Beach. On the east, we have the beach, on the west, we have Main Street.

YURKEVICH: Vic's is the biggest employer in town, with 100 employees during peak season. But right now, the restaurant can't cover 20 percent of its shifts, even raising hourly wages by $2 for new employees.

SEMBLEWSKI: I just can't get people to come in and to start a new job.

YURKEVICH: Why can't you pay more? Why can't you offer more incentives?

SEMBLEWSKI: Well, if we were to go above and beyond when this all goes away, when the crisis is over, the floor is going to, you know, fall out, and inflation is going to kick in. The customers will have to absorb the cost, and we don't want to do that.

YURKEVICH: At Langosta Lounge in nearby Asberry Park, owner Marilyn Schlossbach is offering bonuses to current and new employees.


Why do you think you're having such a tough time finding people to work?

MARILYN SCHLOSSBACH, OWNER, MARILYN SCHLOSSBACH GROUP: Unemployment. The stimulus is killing us.

YURKEVICH: Schlossbach owns seven restaurants along the Jersey Shore, and usually employs 250 people. She's operating with just 75.

SCHLOSSBACH: I'm honest in telling them I'm pushing them but still, I'm pushing them, and I don't think that's a healthy way to live your life.

YURKEVICH: That means longer hours for servers like Kathleen Thompson, despite being furloughed and making just as much on unemployment, she wanted to go back to work.

KATHLEEN THOMPSON, 22-YEAR SERVER AT VICT'S ITALIAN RESTAURANT: They have been good to me for 20 years, I can't say, no, I'm not coming back because I'm collecting this money. No, that's not fair to them. They need their, you know, their employees to get their business up and running, and I was willing to come right back.

YURKEVICH: Vanessa Yurkevich, CNN, Bradley Beach, New Jersey.


WALKER: Joshua Nelson is paying it forward. He saved money to pay for college, but after being awarded a scholarship, he set up a fund with his savings to help others in need. He's going to join us live next to talk about that.



SANCHEZ: And it certainly was when I was growing up, and as we watch so many kids graduating, parents have to be concerned about paying for college. It's definitely a major concern.

WALKER: It sure is. I had a lot of debt too when I graduated from college.

So when a high school student in Missouri received a scholarship to his school of choice, he decided to donate his college savings to students in need.

Joining us now is that very generous student, Joshua Nelson. A pleasure to have you on. You're amazing, your story. I want to know,

first of all, how in the world you were able to save up enough money for tuition, period, as an 18-year-old? I mean, that must have taken a lot of hard work and long hours.

JOSHUA NELSON, RECEIVED SCHOLARSHIP, GIVING SAVINGS TO STUDENTS IN NEED: Yeah, absolutely. Basically I started working when I was 15 years old. You know, I've always had a mindset as far as just want to maintain my money and be very smart with how I manage my money.

I know my first job when I was 15, I probably wasn't that good as managing my money, but once I turned 16, I huge thing I started to do was I completely got rid of my debit card. So I didn't use debit cards anymore. If I wanted to get money, I went by the bank and lived on a budget of about $20 per week.

So I just continued to save, save, save. Along with money I was getting from my jobs, I would apply for summer internships and things like that. And yeah, that's how I was able to manage that.

WALKER: Incredible.

SANCHEZ: Joshua, I had a number of jobs in school and in college and I did not do nearly as well as you did at saving money or spending it wisely. Walk us through your decision to now as you earned a scholarship use that money to help another student.

NELSON: Yeah. So that definitely comes from principles of my faith. The biblical principle of selflessness and along with that, I just live in a family to where we have a culture of kind of giving back and just being benevolent towards our neighbors. So that played a huge role in my decision to take that money and help somebody else.

From a young age I've always been really attached to just giving back to people. When I was younger, it was just in little ways. But now since God has given me the platform to be able to do something in a bigger way then, you know, that's kind of how I feel.

WALKER: You're amazing. So tell us how this is going to work, because you're using the money, the hard work that you spent saving up your own money and also getting donations from people. How are you going to choose who gets to have some of this money?

NELSON: So we actually just awarded our first recipient on June 1st. I had to start a foundation of $1,000. People from all over the nation has donated to the fund.

Our criteria was you had to be a member of the math scholars organization and have a 3.5 GPA, and you were a leader inside and outside the school. Our inaugural recipient received $2,000 because he was the first ever Joshua Nelson Leaders in Action Scholarship.

And, yeah, that's basically how it goes and the rest of the money that we raised is going to continue to fund the scholarship fund for years to come.

SANCHEZ: And, Joshua, I hope you're making an exception for my application. I don't think my GPA is 3.5 yet. We'll get I there.

It's called the Joshua Nelson Leaders in Action scholarship. What you're starting. And I'm curious, for your own future, what are you studying? What are you aspire to do in the future?

NELSON: Yeah. So, right now, I'm going to Southeast Missouri state and be in their pre-optometry program and my particular major is biomedical sciences.


SANCHEZ: What draws you to that? I'm curious.

NELSON: So, basically, I've always been drawn to the medical field but it's been a gray area as to what area I wanted to go in. So when I decided the area I was going to go, I was like, OK, let me go into the area that pertains to my family. And I know my whole family had very poor vision. My mom relies on contacts, I rely on contacts, my brother relies on contacts, my dad relies on glasses.

So yeah, let's definitely go in a field that helps my family. And along with that, we know that with continued exposure to blue light, we're really going to need that profession in the future.

WALKER: That's all you do, all you want to do is help people, right? Help your family.


WALKER: Help all of us exposed to blue light and hopefully you'll be my optometrist one day because I have horrible vision.


Joshua Nelson, what a pleasure to have you on. Thank you for all that you're doing.

SANCHEZ: Really nice to meet you, Joshua.

NELSON: Thank you.

WALKER: Thank you.

WALKER: And a quick programming note before we go, be sure to tune in tomorrow night when President Obama joins Anderson Cooper for a rare 101 about his life post-presidency. An "ANDERSON COOPER 360" special, "Barack Obama on Fatherhood, Leadership and Legacy" airs tomorrow, 8:00 Eastern, right here on CNN.

And thank you so much for starting your morning with us.

SANCHEZ: Appreciate you being with us, Amara. Look forward to doing it again very soon.

Stay with CNN.