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Into America

Into America

Author: NBC News & MSNBC

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This a show about everyday people, and the power politics and policy have in shaping our lives. As the nation faces a health crisis that is unprecedented in the modern era, host Trymaine Lee helps Americans share their stories. He holds policymakers to account. And he’s joined by a team of NBC News journalists to make sense of this extraordinary moment in American life. This is how America sounds. This is Into America.

42 Episodes
Into Police Chokeholds

Into Police Chokeholds


As he lay on the ground under the knee of a Minneapolis Police Officer, George Floyd called out “I can’t breathe” more than 20 times. In 2014, Eric Garner struggled to say the same words 11 times while being choked by an officer in New York. These high-profile deaths have been at the center of protests across the country. But in addition to the names we know, there are plenty that we don’t. According to a 2013 Department of Justice survey, of the police departments nationwide that serve more than 1 million people, 43 percent allow a neck restraint of some kind. There are no national statistics telling us how often these holds—sanctioned or not—end in death. This summer we’ve seen conversations at the local and national levels about the use of police neck restraints. States like California and New York have moved to put an end to the controversial restraints; but why are they used in the first place? And is reform even possible?  Trymaine Lee speaks with Paul Butler, law professor and author of the book Chokehold, and Ed Obayashi, a Deputy Sheriff and a use-of-force training expert, about the history of chokeholds and the potential for reform. He also talks to Robert Branch, a Black man placed in a neck restraint by an officer in San Diego back in May of 2015.  Further reading:House passes Democrat-led bill for sweeping police reform in wake of George Floyd's deathMinneapolis police rendered 44 people unconscious with neck restraints in five years Nation's police widely condemn move used to restrain George Floyd 
Into the WNBA Bubble

Into the WNBA Bubble


Professional sports teams are getting back into the game, against the backdrop of two national crises: the relentless spread of coronavirus, and the national demands for racial justice. For the WNBA, the game plan is two-fold: practicing and playing in “the bubble,” and dedicating the 2020 season to social justice.The league’s 137 players will spend the next few months living and playing on a sports compound in Florida, with extraordinary medical protocols and protections. Teams are arriving this week at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, where they are scheduled to tip off their season at some point in July, without fans in the stands. And a handful of players have not yet been cleared to join them, after testing positive for the virus.The league is also responding to the national calls for racial justice in the wake of the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, and to the growing number of players who want to raise their voices and use their visibility to work for change. The league has announced that the 2020 season will be dedicated to social justice initiatives, with a special focus on women like Sandra Bland, Breonna Taylor and Vanessa Guillen, who "have been the forgotten victims of police brutality and racial violence.”Host Trymaine Lee talks with Gabby Williams, power forward for the Chicago Sky. Williams reflects on what it’s like to be isolated at the WNBA compound in Florida and what it means to use her position in the current political moment.Further reading:7 WNBA players test positive for coronavirus, Indiana Fever's travel delayedJonathan Irons, whose conviction was overturned with help of WNBA's Maya Moore, is released from prisonWNBA Announces A 2020 Season Dedicated To Social Justice
On July 13th, Daniel Lewis Lee is set to be the first prisoner executed by the federal government in 17 years. Executions have decreased on the federal and state level since their height in the 1990s, and for the first time in decades, a majority of Americans support life imprisonment over the death penalty. But Attorney General Bill Barr announced last month that four inmates would be scheduled for execution in rapid succession starting next week.Host Trymaine Lee speaks with Yale Law professor Miriam Gohara, who spent years representing clients on death row for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, on the long complicated history of the death penalty in America and how the demands of the movement for Black lives is connected to the fight against capital punishment.  For a transcript, please visit reading:NBC News: Supreme Court won’t stop scheduled federal executionsGallup: Americans now support life in prison over death penalty
Black trans women have been central to the movement for gay rights and the fight for racial justice since their inceptions. But they have always been sidelined by the very movements they helped create. Black Trans women continue to face high rates of violence, poverty and suicide and are often the victims of misogyny and white supremacy.  Raquel Willis, a Black transgender activist and the director of communications for the Ms. Foundation, a nonprofit fighting for women’s rights, is trying to change that. This month, in the middle of Pride, she stood before a crowd of thousands and said, “Let today be the last day you ever doubt Black trans power.”  Host Trymaine Lee sits down with Raquel to discuss her efforts to prioritize her Black trans women in both the LGBTQ community and the movement for Black lives, and why we all need to do the work of rethinking gender.  For a transcript, please visit reading:Rally for Black trans lives draws enormous crowd in Brooklyn Making Gay History podcast episode ft. interview of Marsha P. Johnson  
In recent weeks, the debate over monuments, street names and other relics of the Confederacy has intensified. A statue of Jefferson Davis was pulled down in Richmond, Virginia. In Louisville, Kentucky, a monument depicting a Confederate officer was removed from the city square. And on Tuesday, Mississippi decided to remove the Confederate symbol from the state flag.There are those who argue that tearing these statues down erases our history. And others who say they must come down if we hope to create meaningful systemic change.Caroline Randall Williams is a poet and writer in residence at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. And in a recent New York Times opinion piece she makes a different argument for why these monuments must come down.“My body is a monument,” she writes. “My skin is a monument.”Host Trymaine Lee talks with Caroline Randall Williams about the sexual violence that has left a legacy of the Confederacy in her blood, and about why it’s time for the monuments to come down.For a transcript, please visit reading & viewing:You Want a Confederate Monument? My Body Is a Confederate MonumentStone Ghosts In The South: Confederate Monuments And America's Battle With Itself | NBC NewsVirginia has the most Confederate memorials in the country, but that might change
The state of Florida is seeing record highs of coronavirus cases as the pandemic stretches into its fifth month. More than 140,000 residents have tested positive for the virus and the state is reversing some of its efforts to reopen the economy.  For weeks, Governor Ron DeSantis resisted statewide closures and social distancing while the rural community of Immokalee raised concerns about the virus and requested more testing and PPE.  Immokalee is home to thousands of migrant farmworkers, some whom are undocumented or on temporary guest worker visas. During the pandemic they’ve been deemed “essential” by the federal government. Now, Immokalee has the highest number of cases of any zip code in the state of Florida. Host Trymaine Lee talks to the Coalition of Immokalee Workers about their efforts to protect farmworkers in Florida and beyond, as the agricultural season shifts and the nation’s food supply is threatened. Gerardo Reyes Chávez is a leader of CIW who spent many years as a farmworker in Mexico and Florida, starting when he was 11. Greg Asbed co-founded the Coalition of Immokalee Workers in 1993. For a transcript, please visit reading:Latino leaders demand Florida governor apologize for linking 'Hispanic farmworkers' to COVID-19 rise Farmworkers sue Washington state seeking coronavirus protections  Farmworkers 'harvesting America's food supply' amid coronavirus pandemic fight for safety 
As people look to sustain the movement for racial justice, they are turning to the ballot box.  Hundreds of Black candidates are running in local races, state races, and Congressional races all across the country in 2020.  After weeks of protest, will we see a wave of Black candidates elected as an answer to those calls for change? Host Trymaine Lee speaks with two women who are trying to bring racial justice to the electoral system. Political strategist Jessica Byrd felt called into the movement while watching the Ferguson uprisings, and Sybrina Fulton’s journey through activism to politics began when her son Trayvon Martin was shot and killed by police in 2012. For a transcript, please visit Reading & Viewing:Jamaal Bowman interview on MSNBCDr. Cameron Webb interview on MSNBCKentucky Senate Democratic primary between McGrath and Booker to decide who challenges McConnell too close to call
There is a pervasive wealth gap between Black and white Americans, the result of centuries of systemic violence and racism. Today, Black families have just 10% of the wealth white families have accumulated.  New York Times staff writer Nikole Hannah-Jones says this racial wealth gap isn’t an accident. It’s the product of over 400 years of slavery, racial segregation, and discrimination. In her cover story, “What is Owed,” for the New York Times Magazine, Hannah-Jones explains how the US government has been complicit in preventing Black people from accumulating wealth.And she argues that the only solution is reparations, restitution paid by the U.S. government to the descendants of enslaved people.In this episode of Into America, host Trymaine Lee sits down with Hannah-Jones to talk about her seminal piece and why this may be the moment when the idea of reparations just might become a reality. She explains what reparations might look like and why they are more urgent than ever.For a transcript, please visit Reading:Sen. Mitch McConnell’s great-great grandfathers owned 14 slaves, bringing reparations issue close to home Reparations for slavery are the only way to fix America’s wealth disparities What Is Owed: without economic justice, there can be no true equality
On Tuesday, Kentucky will hold its primary election after a month-long delay caused by COVID-19. County clerks have reduced the number of polling places by 95% and voters have requested a record number of absentee ballots.The challenges to voting could have a major impact on the Democratic Senate primary, which has shifted dramatically in recent weeks. For the first time, state representative Charles Booker, a 35-year-old Black progressive, is polling ahead of his white moderate challenger, Amy McGrath. Both candidates are running for a shot at unseating Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in the fall.Host Trymaine Lee talks to Cassia Herron, Chairperson of Kentuckians For The Commonwealth, about the influence of national protests on Charles Booker’s rise, the state of Kentucky politics, and the pandemic shaping how and if Americans vote.For a transcript, please visit Reading & Listening: Tuesday's primaries give progressives opportunities to make inroads Amy McGrath books big ad buy against Charles Booker as Senate primary heats up Charles Booker outpolls Amy McGrath in KY Dem. Senate primary Follow Tuesday’s primary results live on
President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation ending slavery on January 1, 1963. But it wasn’t until more than two years later – on June 19, 1965 – that enslaved people in the state of Texas were finally told that they were free. The anniversary of that day has become known as Juneteenth.This Juneteenth, 2020, America is in the midst of a racial reckoning. A pandemic is disproportionately killing Black Americans, and violence against Black people continues to be caught on camera, sparking cries for change.Into America host Trymaine Lee convened a special panel for NBC News Now called Can You Hear Us Now: Juneteenth. He and his panelists wrestled with America’s core question of freedom, and whether this dream can and will ever be a reality for Black Americans.Guests included: Dr. Peniel Joseph, from the Center for the Study of Race and Democracy at UT-Austin; playwright and actress Anna Deavere Smith; Tiffany Crutcher, whose twin brother Terence Crutcher killed by police in 2016; Wes Moore, of the Robin Hood Foundation; and NBC BLK reporter Janell Ross.For a transcript, please visit Reading:Into an American Uprising: Can You Hear Us Now?How Juneteenth's history is being reshaped as America reckons with its pastFrom Juneteenth to the Tulsa massacre: What isn't taught in classrooms has a profound impactFrom Amazon to JPMorgan, here's the list of companies honoring Juneteenth
With national protests and wide social unrest, 2020 feels to some like 1968. That year, at the height of the Civil Rights movement, Martin Luther King Jr. launched The Poor People’s Campaign. He called for a revolution around economic justice and a movement to unite people against poverty, racism, and other forms of oppression. In 2018, organizers resurrected the cause, re-establishing The Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival. Host Trymaine Lee talks to Rev. Dr. William J Barber II, president of Repairers of the Breach and Co-Chair of the Poor People's Campaign about the importance of building coalitions for lasting change, and the Campaign’s upcoming virtual march on Washington. MSNBC will stream “The Mass Poor People’s Assembly and Moral March on Washington” on Saturday, June 20, from 10am to 12:30pm EST on and the MSNBC Youtube Channel. Further Reading: The coronavirus will devastate the South because politicians let poverty to do so firstGeography of Poverty: A journey through forgotten AmericaFifty years after Poor People's Campaign, America's once-poorest town still strugglesFor a transcript, please visit
In 2012, President Obama announced DACA – Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals – to give undocumented people brought to the US as minors the chance to stay in the country without fear of deportation. But less than a year into his term, President Trump rolled back the policy. The move was met with protest and legal action and now the Supreme Court is weighing whether the administration’s decision to wind down DACA is allowed.Luis Cortes Romero is one of the lawyers fighting on behalf of DACA. At just 31 years old he was present for the Supreme Court oral arguments last fall. And as one of more than 700,000 DACA recipients across the country, this case is personal for him. The Court is expected to issue a ruling on DACA at the end of June. Ahead of the decision, Into America host Trymaine Lee sat down with Luis to learn more about his personal story, and the SCOTUS case that could decide his future.Further Reading: Supreme Court appears inclined to let Trump end DACA program  'DACA is everything': Dreamers rally as Supreme Court could let Trump end program Two Supreme Court jaw droppers: The LGBTQ decision and you can't believe who wrote it  For a transcript, please visit
Another unarmed Black man was killed by police over the weekend, this time in Atlanta. His name was Rayshard Brooks and he was 27 years old. The officer who shot Brooks has been fired, and the police chief has resigned, while across the country, protests against police brutality and racism continue. NBC News correspondent Blayne Alexander has been reporting the story in Georgia and spoke to Brooks’s wife over the weekend. She and Trymaine also talk about the emotional toll of being a Black journalist covering this moment.  Further Reading: Blayne Alexander on the Today ShowPolice killing of Rayshard Brooks in Atlanta ruled a homicideFor a transcript, please visit
Into Defunding the LAPD

Into Defunding the LAPD


‘Defund the police’ has become a familiar rallying call at protests across the country. It’s a push to reduce the size of police department budgets, in order to reallocate resources to other parts of the community. And a few cities leaders are listening.Last week, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced his commitment to reallocating $150 million of the LAPD budget to communities of color in the upcoming fiscal year. This comes after years of attempted reform and decades of tension between the LAPD and the city’s Black population.Trymaine Lee speaks with LA City Councilman Curren Price, Black Lives Matter leader Melina Abdullah, and historian Max Felker-Kantor, author of Policing Los Angeles, to find out how LA’s history of policing informs the Mayor’s current move and whether this step towards reform goes far enough.Further Reading and Viewing: Calls to reform, defund, dismantle and abolish the police, explainedThe damage done by Jeff Sessions' last act as AG A final farewell to George Floyd, whose death touched off national protestsFor a transcript, please visit
Into America host Trymaine Lee joins Chris Hayes, host of the podcast Why Is This Happening to discuss the current moment of protest.If you listen to anyone about this time of rage and grief and action, make it Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist Trymaine Lee. From his origins reporting on police and crime in Philadelphia to his nights covering Ferguson in 2014 to his Emmy Award-winning work on the lasting trauma of the violence in Chicago, Lee offers a raw and insightful perspective on this national moment. 
Into Protest and the NFL

Into Protest and the NFL


The nationwide movement against police brutality and racism have reignited the debate around protests about the same issues from players in the NFL. Last week, comments made by quarterback Drew Brees about protest and the flag led to a wave of criticism from Black players inside the league. Brees, who is white, has apologized, repeatedly. And now the NFL – the same league that banned kneeling on the field just two years ago - is making their own statement about how they plan to support Black players.NFL wide receiver Brandon Marshall was playing for the New York Jets when Colin Kaepernick first took a knee in 2016. He talks to host Trymaine Lee about his response at the time to protests on the field, why he is approaching this moment differently, and whether the league and its fans are ready for real change.Further Reading:Goodell says NFL was wrong not to encourage players to protest peacefully Ben Carson says NFL players should explain why they kneel. But they already have.Drew Brees to Trump: 'We must stop talking about the flag'For a transcript, please visit
The regulations designed to stop the spread of coronavirus have infiltrated every part of our lives, including religion. Across the country, worship services have gone online or even into parking lots. But some churches are pushing back.Host Trymaine Lee talks with a pastor in North Carolina who sued over restrictions on indoor services.  Plus, NBC News Justice Correspondent Pete Williams explains how governments and the courts are balancing freedom of religion and public safety.Further reading: Roberts joins liberals as Supreme Court rejects challenge to coronavirus limits on church services The right to worship: Church and state clash over religious services in the coronavirus eraFor a transcript, please visit
There have been nearly two weeks of national protests and collective unrest following the police killing of George Floyd. But for some, it is yet another step in the long march of progress.South Carolina Congressman James Clyburn has been fighting for racial justice his entire life.  He started at age 12 as the youth chapter of his local NAACP chapter and today is the highest ranking Black legislator in Congress. His advice to protesters today? “Stay steady, stay focused.”Trymaine Lee sits down with Congressman Clyburn to discuss what leadership from Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden looks like and the lessons from history that fill him with both fear and hope for the future. Further reading:George Floyd Protest News: Live Blog Outrage over George Floyd's death could tip fortunes in Joe Biden's VP search In the South Carolina Primary, Clyburn endorsements carry political weight  For a transcript, please visit
Most Black parents had “the talk” about race and racism with their children, but far fewer non-Black parents have. And “the talk” matters – for all kids -- because what we learn when we’re young sticks with us. So, as the world protests the death of George Floyd and other Black people at the hands of police, how can parents best help their kids understand what’s happening, and how to build a better world? Host Tyrmaine Lee speaks to Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum, a leading expert on how to talk to kids about race and racism, especially at this critical moment, and why starting young is so critical.  Further Reading and Viewing:Assimilation Blues: Black Families in a White Community Beverly Daniel Tatum Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?: And Other Conversations About Race Daring to Educate: The Legacy of the Early Spelman College Presidents Can We Talk about Race?: And Other Conversations in an Era of School Resegregation (Race, Education, and Democracy) Is My Skin Brown Because I Drank Chocolate Milk? | Beverly Daniel Tatum | TEDx StanfordFor a transcript, please visit
One thing feels different about the current protests we are seeing following the recent deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery: the composition of the crowds.In some parts of the country, white Americans are showing up. They are protesting, taking the knee, and flooding social media. There seems to be a renewed call for white accountability. But is posting and protesting enough? And will this energy last?Trymaine Lee talks to Tim Wise, an anti-racist essayist, author and educator, about what white people can do to dismantle the systems of inequality in this country.Tim Wise’s Recommended Reads: Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America, Ibram X. Kendi How to be an Antiracist, Ibram X. Kendi  White Rage, Carol Anderson  The Price of the Ticket: Collected Nonfiction, 1948-1985, James Baldwin  Our Black Year: One Family’s Quest to Buy Black in America’s Racially Divided Economy, Maggie Anderson  Raising White Kids, Jennifer Harvey  White Out: The Continuing Significance of Racism, Ashley W. Doane and Eduardo Bonilla-Silva   Come Hell or High Water: Hurricane Katrina and the Color of Disaster, Michael Eric Dyson  For a transcript, please visit
Comments (11)


This woman can suck it for hating Bernie.

Jun 7th

Vicki Camacho

Lol!! ❤❤❤❤

Jun 7th

Vicki Camacho

You had me until you mentioned AL Sharpton. I must say the buildup was excellent until you mention him.

May 14th

Emmett Stokes

This is a well laid out and informative piece of reporting that laden with evidence of the demographic with ALL of the experience of this parcel of the fourth amendment ... unreasonable search and seizure. Although Blomberg is Billoinnaire, philanthropist and innovator, his innate decision with all the law enforcement officials reeks of undertone of racism and implicit biases.

Apr 29th

Fiona Fleming

really enjoying this

Mar 29th

Vicki Camacho

Louisiana 8 electrol college votes and Georgia has 16. All 16 of Georgia's electrol college went to Republicans.

Mar 21st

Susan Shinagawa

I, too, have been supporting Jaime and his campaign from California. The late Senator John McCain (R-AZ), a long time friend of Lindsay Graham, would be rolling over in his grave at how Lindsay has rolled his honor and principles over to the immature, hateful, narcissistic, self-serving Donald Trump. It's time Georgians send Graham home. I'm doing what I can to help Jaime Harrison become the new Junior Senator from the great state of Georgia. I encourage others to do so, too.

Mar 19th

Julie Nance

Donating to him!!! Lindsay Graham has got to go. I'm not in South Carolina, but the entire country has to suffer from Graham being in the Senate and being a lap dog for Trump. Supporting Jamie from Utah.

Mar 10th
Reply (1)

Ann Wolterbeek Hawkins

well done, good info.

Feb 29th
Reply (1)
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