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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.

59 Episodes
This fall, millions of American students and teachers will head back to school. In California, for most kids that will mean continuation of remote learning. Dr. Linda Darling-Hammond believes that, if done right, this giant online learning experiment we’ve all been thrust into could revolutionize the future of education.  Dr. Darling-Hammond is the President of the California’s State Board of Education and the first Black woman to hold this role. In our final episode of our week-long series Coronavirus and the Classroom, Trymaine Lee talks with Dr. Darling-Hammond about the depth and severity of the digital divide and learning loss, along with the opportunities to close those gaps. According to Dr. Darling-Hammond, the next few months will force California schools to test out new learning models, teachers to innovate, and kids to think and learn outside the box. Further Reading:  California school districts brace for an online back-to-school season Where online learning goes next A New “New Deal” For Education: Top 10 Policy Moves For States In The Covid 2.0 Era   
The debate over whether to re-open schools doesn’t just affect kids. This summer, teachers have found themselves ensnared in a nation-wide fight over school reopenings. In Florida, the largest teacher’s union sued the state over its plans to re-open. In Michigan, teachers organized a protest to stop school buses from leaving lots, raising their voices and signs, pleading summer camps to stay closed. Teachers are crafting mock gravestones. Some teachers have even started drafting their wills.  For Adeline Baltazar, a middle-school teacher in San Diego, June was a scary month. But soon after, her district decided to stay fully remote in the fall. In the latest episode in our series, Coronavirus and the Classroom, we look at this unfolding debate through a teacher’s eyes. Host Trymaine Lee talks to Adeline, or as her students like to call her, Ms. A, about the challenges she endured going online in the spring, her relief when school stayed online, and why she is surprisingly optimistic about the fall. Further Reading:Educators join National Day of Resistance to fight for safe and equitable schools Some Teachers Head to Virtual Summer School to Learn How to Teach Remotely Schools seeking alternative to remote learning try an experiment: Outdoor classrooms 
Joe Biden finally has a running mate: Senator Kamala Harris.   The Senator from California is the first Black woman on a presidential ticket in U.S. history. Biden promised to pick a woman back in March, and over the past few months, calls for him to choose a Black woman grew louder. Harris is a moderate choice by Biden, a moderate Democratic candidate.  She was District Attorney in San Francisco and Attorney General of California before being elected to the Senate in 2017. Last year, Senator Harris was part of the most diverse group ever to run for president. But despite being an early frontrunner, Harris lost momentum and dropped out before the Iowa caucuses. But not before creating one of the most viral moments of the Democratic primary debates, when Harris criticized Biden for opposing integration efforts in the 1970s. Now Biden-Harris is the 2020 Democratic ticket.  Yamiche Alcindor is a White House correspondent for PBS Newshour and contributor for NBC News and MSNBC and she joins Trymaine Lee to discuss the strategy and significance in Biden choosing Harris, and what it means for November. Further Reading:With Harris VP pick, say Black women, Biden has 'decided to write us into history' Harris VP pick creates dilemma for Trump campaign, which lobs conflicting attacks Trump says Kamala Harris 'nasty' and 'disrespectful' to Joe Biden, surprised by VP pick 
All over the country, policymakers, parents, and teachers are hotly debating whether to bring kids back to school. President Trump and Secretary of Education Betsy Devos have insisted that schools must reopen, while major teacher unions are threatening to strike if schools reopen without adequate safety measures. But for more than 4 million American students, their back-to-school plans are sealed.  At least 17 of the 20 largest school districts across the country have decided to go fully remote this coming fall. That includes the San Diego Unified District, which serves more than 100,000 students.  This week, we’re heading to San Diego as part of a week-long series, Coronavirus and the Classroom, to understand how the decision to stay online is affecting the local community. Trymaine Lee sits down with Kirsten Reckman, a frustrated working mom who is trying to figure out how to juggle work and childcare, all while making sure her 2nd grade son stays engaged and doesn’t fall behind this fall.  Further Reading:As coronavirus closes schools, teachers and families brace for massive experiment in online educationLos Angeles and San Diego Schools to Go Online-Only in the FallReopening schools: Will in-person classes, online learning or a mix be the solution?Many parents want it; few can afford it. Amid school uncertainty, private tutoring ramps up.
Last week, many Americans got their last $600 unemployment check from the federal government. In Washington, Congress is at odds over whether to extend those benefits.Meanwhile, unemployed Americans are now struggling to make do with less. According to an early study from the University of Chicago, two out of every three people qualified to receive the $600 extra would make more money unemployed than at their regular jobs. In Stockton, California, a chef named Selena Pollack was one of those people. While collecting unemployment, she was able to provide for her family and pay off debt. But COVID-19 cases in that county, San Joaquin, are currently some of the highest in the country, and without federal assistance, she doesn’t have enough money to pay her bills.Michael Tubbs, the Mayor of Stockton, argues this reveals how little we value work in this country. And he wants to change that. In January 2019, Tubbs started a pilot program guaranteeing a basic income to some Stockton residents. 125 people started receiving $500 a month, no strings attached. In the pandemic, that support has been more critical than ever. He thinks other cities could follow suit. Trymaine Lee talks with Selena Pollack about what it’s like to be jobless during this pandemic. And we hear from Mayor Tubbs who says now is the time to rethink what it means to make a living wage in America. Further Reading and Viewing: Contours of coronavirus aid deal between Democrats, White House take shape $600-a-week unemployment benefits expire, posing fresh danger to Trump's re-election What would you do with $500 a month? Stockton pilots universal basic income program Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs calls for addressing 'the violence of poverty' Is this California city the blueprint for Universal Basic Income? 
Growing up, Joy Reid loved to watch the news with her mother – and even remembers staying up late to watch coverage of the Iran Hostage Crisis as a middle schooler. Along the course of her career, Joy’s worked in local news, as a press secretary for the 2008 Obama campaign, and written books on American politics.And she recently became the host of a new primetime show on MSNBC: The ReidOut, which premiered on July 20th with big-name guests such as Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden. More than 2.5 million people tuned in.This is Joy’s third show for MSNBC. She previously hosted an afternoon show called The Reid Report and AM Joy, which aired on weekends. With The ReidOut, Joy is now the first Black woman to host a national primetime news show since PBS NewsHour’s Gwen Ifill died in 2016, and the first Black woman to anchor a primetime network show in the history of cable TV.On Into America, Reid tells Trymaine Lee what led to this moment, and how she plans to make the most of it.  For a transcript, please visit Reading & Viewing: The Reid Out airs weekdays at 7pm ET Joy Reid to host 'The ReidOut ' weeknights on MSNBCChris Matthews announces retirement, mutually parts ways with MSNBC   
Into the Future of HBCUs

Into the Future of HBCUs


For more than 150 years, Howard University in Washington, D.C., has graduated high-profile alumni like former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, authors Zora Neale Hurston and Toni Morrison, and rapper Sean Combs. Like many Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in recent years, Howard has faced dwindling enrollment and financial uncertainty. But renewed calls for social justice might be shifting that.Last week, Mackenzie Scott, a philanthropist and ex-wife to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, announced she was donating $1.7 billion dollars to charitable causes, with tens of millions of dollars going to six prominent HBCUs. Howard University is one of them. It received $40 million. It is the largest gift from a single donor in the school’s entire 153 history.Dr. Wayne Frederick, President of Howard University and an alum himself, believes that HBCUs, founded before the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to serve primarily Black students, are in a unique position to respond to this historic moment. Host Trymaine Lee talks with Frederick about the financial uncertainty of running an HBCU and how the Scott gift will have an impact, how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting life on campus, and what the future may hold for all HBCUs, including Howard. For a transcript, please visit Reading:Pandemic ushers in 'new normal' for historically underfunded HBCUs Howard University receives largest gift in its history for STEM scholars programEnrollment declines threaten future of HBCUs, disheartening alumni
The late Civil Rights icon and Georgia Congressman John Lewis was laid to rest on Thursday. But he had one final thing to say.  John Lewis’ last words appeared in The New York Times on Thursday in an essay titled “Together, You Can Redeem the Soul of Our Nation.”  John Lewis wrote the essay shortly before his death and requested that it be published on the day of his funeral.   In this bonus episode of Into America, Academy Award winning actor Morgan Freeman reads the final words of his friend John Lewis. This reading was recorded for MSNBC’s The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell. For a transcript, please visit Reading:Together, You Can Redeem the Soul of Our Nation Watch: Morgan Freeman Reads John Lewis’ Last Words Into America: Into Remembering John Lewis 
Congressman John Lewis was laid to rest this week at the age of 80, after a lifetime of fighting for civil rights and human dignity. As a young man, his life was almost cut short as he led a protest for voting rights in Selma, Alabama. That day — March 7, 1965 — became known as Bloody Sunday, as state troopers attacked the protesters with horses and billy clubs. Lewis was badly beaten, and his skull was fractured.Broadcast images of Bloody Sunday put pressure on Congress and then-President Lyndon Johnson to pass the Voting Rights Act. The 1965 VRA eliminated racist voting practices such as poll taxes and literacy tests. It also put states and districts with especially discriminatory histories under federal oversight. But in 2013, the Supreme Court struck down key provisions of the VRA, undercutting its effectiveness.Activists and political organizers have been working to ensure that this rollback of the VRA does not keep Black Americans from being able to cast their ballots, but voter suppression has still been a major concern throughout the country. Now, the passing of John Lewis is bringing renewed energy to the fight for the franchise.On this episode of Into America, Trymaine Lee talks to political strategist LaTosha Brown, co-founder of the Black Voters Matter Fund, about the ongoing struggle for full voting rights.  For a transcript, please visit Reading & Viewing: Into America: Into Remembering John Lewis Mitch McConnell's complicated history on the Voting Rights Act Bloody Sunday: A flashback of the landmark Selma to Montgomery marches  
From the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, many officials warned it was crucial to slow the spread of the virus to protect what they called the most vulnerable people: the elderly and those with underlying conditions. The people who have been mentioned far less often are those with disabilities. Having a disability isn’t a risk factor for COVID-19 on its own, but according to the CDC, people with disabilities often do have other health conditions that put them at risk. It can also be harder for some people to socially distance if they have caretakers or are in a group home setting. It’s hard to know the full scope of the risk because there’s no comprehensive data on COVID rates among people with disabilities, but around the country, some group homes for disabled people have been coping with serious outbreaks.   On this episode of Into America, 30 years after the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Trymaine Lee talks with disability rights advocate and writer Andrew Pulrang about how people with disabilities are weathering the pandemic and navigating the future. For a transcript, please visit Reading:“Americans Want To Be ‘Over’ Covid-19 — But Disabled People Still Have Questions” by Andrew Pulrang in Forbes  “Covid-19 Deaths Higher in Those with Disabilities” “’I Hate Covid-19': Kids with Disabilities Struggle to Adjust as Schools Close” 
Dr. Elizabeth Alexander is an author, a teacher, a philanthropist and a scholar. But most people know her as a poet. In 2009, she performed her poem “Praise Song for the Day,” at the inauguration of President Barack Obama, reminding us of the ancestors who’ve led us to the progress we see today. She urged us: “Say it plain: that many have died for this day.”Alexander is now the President of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the country’s largest funder of arts and culture. This year, they’re working with a grantmaking budget of $500 million. Every dollar of that will go towards social justice projects, including the newly launched “Million Book Project” to bring literature to prisons across the U.S.Recently, Alexander published an intense and beautiful essay in the New Yorker magazine called “The Trayvon Generation,” about her sons, and all the other young Black Americans who’ve grown up knowing the trauma of Black death — often captured on video, reposted over and over again on social media.On Into America, host Trymaine Lee talks to Elizabeth Alexander about pain, about philanthropy, and, of course, about poetry.  For a transcript, please visit Reading:Elizabeth Alexander’s New Yorker Essay “The Trayvon Generation” The Million Book Project
When the federal government sent officers from the Department of Homeland Security to Portland, Oregon earlier this month to help guard city buildings, the city erupted in chaos. So officials in Chicago were skeptical when President Trump announced on Wednesday he would also be sending federal law enforcement agents to their city.Nearly 200 agents from the FBI, DEA, ATF and other agencies are being sent to the city to help address a recent uptick in violence. The President’s announcement came just one day after a mass shooting in Chicago that left 15 people wounded. Crime rates in Chicago have been down overall during the pandemic, but shootings and killings have been on the rise. Despite the progress made in recent years to stop crime, homicides are now up 51% compared to this time last year. City residents and leaders are grieving and looking for solutions. But are federal agents the answer?Kimberly Foxx, the Cook County State’s Attorney in Chicago, is the county's top prosecutor and one of the officials preparing to work with the federal agents on their way. Trymaine Lee talks with Foxx about her office’s plans ensure that the new federal efforts do not result in further violence in the city. For a transcript, please visit ReadingTrump says he is sending 'hundreds' of federal law enforcement officers to Chicago Chicago activists worried as federal officers head their way Federal agents coming to Chicago 
There has been a slew of anti-Trump attack ads that have gone viral in the last few months. One ad shows the President as weak, sickly, and feeble. Another ad is a mock endorsement from Putin. These splashy, viral ads aren’t coming from the left, but from The Lincoln Project -- a political action committee run by long-time Republicans and Independents determined to defeat President Trump. This group includes conservatives like George Conway, husband to White House advisor Kellyanne Conway. They say the goal of these ads isn’t just to troll the president, but to “litigate the case against Donald Trump.”And they are seeing some signs of success. The Lincoln Project raised $16.8 million last quarter. And a new NBC News-Wall Street Journal poll shows that 50% of voters say they strongly disapprove of the President and 50% say they won’t vote for him come November. But can this group of conservatives convince long-time Republicans to vote for a Democrat?On this episode of Into America, host Trymaine Lee sits down with Lincoln Project co-founder Reed Galen. Galen has worked as a strategist for President George W. Bush and Senator John McCain. And he explains the conservative strategy to persuade voters and unseat Donald Trump in 2020. For a transcript, please visit Reading:Trump's growing re-election threat: Republican skepticsRepublicans who back an impeachment inquiry can save the country — and the GOPTrump has a 50 percent problem in the new NBC News/WSJ poll
Bernard Lafayette first met John Lewis in 1958 when the two men were roommates at American Baptist College in Nashville, Tennessee. They were both from the South, resented segregation, and wanted to do something about it.They began organizing in Nashville and participated in sit-its and the Freedom Rides across the south. Over the years, Lafayette watched Lewis grow into a national figure, from leading the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and being the youngest speaker at the 1963 March on Washington, to becoming the ‘conscience of Congress’ as a Representative from Georgia.Lafayette worked for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and was the National Coordinator for the 1968 Poor People’s Campaign. He later became a scholar. Lafayette and Lewis remained close until Lewis's death on July 17, 2020. He was 80 years old.On this episode of Into America, Trymaine Lee talks with Dr. Bernard Lafayette about his friendship with John Lewis, the protests of the 1960s, and what his passing means for the nation. For a transcript, please visit Reading: Rep. John Lewis, lion of the civil rights movement, dies at 80 Obama on his 'hero' Rep. John Lewis: 'I was only there because of the sacrifices he made'  Watch Rep. John Lewis' last interview with Al Roker on 3rd hour of TODAY 
When it comes to race relations, 2020 has caught a lot of us off guard. When protests broke out in response to the killing of Geroge Floyd, we saw diverse crowds out in the streets. More and more white people began asking what they could do to uproot the racism that plagues America. These conversations on race are crucial. But as writer Damon Young points out, they can also be really strange.Damon Young is Black, a senior editor at The Root, and founder of the blog Very Smart Brothas. He’s also the author of “What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Blacker.” Young noticed an uncomfortable pattern: more and more white people want to start conversations about race. He says there’s a time and a place to talk about things like police violence, lynching, and slavery. That time is not while he’s taking a walk around his neighborhood or standing in line for ice cream.Young wrote about his experience in a New York Times op-ed entitled, “Yeah, Let’s Not Talk About Race––Unless you pay me.” On this episode of Into America, Trymaine Lee talks with Young about how he finds humor in these moments and how it shapes his work as a Black writer.For a transcript, please visit Reading and Listening:Yeah, Let’s Not Talk About Race. Unless you pay me.The first time I realized what my Blackness meantInto an American Uprising: White Accountability
In 2017, Larry Krasner, a public defender and civil rights lawyer who had sued the Philadelphia police department multiple times during his career, made an unusual decision. He decided to run for Philadelphia District Attorney, the city’s top prosecutor. His goal was to reform that system from the inside. Krasner was part of a national wave of progressive prosecutors responding to calls for police reform.Since taking office, Krasner has made efforts to stop the cycle of mass incarceration for low-level crimes while contending with a powerful police union and judges resistant to change. But Krasner says the city is still in the shadow of Frank Rizzo, Philadelphia’s former Police Commissioner and Mayor who was notorious for being “tough on crime.”Now Philadelphia, along with several other major U.S. cities, is facing a spike in shootings and homicides, as well as a growing opioid crisis, on top of the pandemic. Some Philadelphians say Krasner should be doing more to keep the streets safe, others say his office is not doing enough to change the system. Trymaine Lee talks to District Attorney Larry Krasner about whether his reform agenda can survive.For a transcript, please visit Reading and Listening: Progressive DAs are shaking up the criminal justice system. Pro-police groups aren't happy.Why Is This Happening? How prosecutors can help end mass incarceration, with Larry Krasner: podcast & transcript
The votes are still being tallied, but progressive Democrat and political newcomer Jamaal Bowman is poised to beat out sixteen-term Congressman Eliot Engel in the primary race to represent New York’s 16th Congressional district. The district is the second most unequal in the state; it’s majority Black and Hispanic, but also stretches into some very wealthy, mostly white neighborhoods.   Eliot Engel is white, in his 70s, and chair of the powerful House Foreign Affairs Committee. And Bowman - who is Black, in his 40s, and a former middle school principal - is part of a new wave of candidates taking on the establishment of the Democratic party. Bowman’s gotten the backing of progressives like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Bernie Sanders, and the Working Families Party, which recently teamed up with the Movement for Black Lives to form a Political Action Committee.   On this episode of Into America, Trymaine Lee speaks with Jamaal Bowman about why he decided to enter politics and take on one of the most entrenched Democrats in Congress.  For a transcript, please visit Reading and Listening:The New York police under Michael Bloomberg scarred me and my familyAmid U.S. reckoning on race, Black candidates harness voters' fervor for change Into America: Into a New Generation of Black Candidates 
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.  For a transcript, please visit 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.For a transcript, please visit 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
Comments (12)

Tay Off The Top

Thanks!! #BidenHarris2020

Aug 12th

Sofa King

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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