Actor/activist Danny Glover discussed what should African-Americans say and do as relates to this second term of President Barack Obama and to this Congress? What does he want to see people mobilizing and organizing around?
MR. MARTIN: The last four years, I consistently heard folks say, “We can’t ask for anything. [The] brother has a lot on his plate. If we do, white folks might get upset. He might not get reelected.”
Okay. He’s been reelected. He’s been inaugurated. What should African-Americans be saying and doing as relates to this second term of the President and to this Congress? What do you want to see people mobilizing and organizing around?
MR. GLOVER: Well, there’re so many things that we need to talk about. There’re things that we have to talk about in terms of the planet itself: climate change; you know, global warming. That’s one of the things that we have to do – and talk about. We have to talk – in the service of that, we have to talk about real initiatives in terms of alternative energy sources, you know? I think we should be, right at their end, talking about the issues around the Keystone pipeline and the … ideas around fracking and all that. We should be a part of that discussion.
We cannot limit ourselves to talking about just us. We don’t have the time. The world clock is not at the time when we can just talk about African-Americans. We have to talk about ourselves in a much larger sense.
You’re talking about – when King and others formed the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, they talked about not only Indian immigration. They talked about what? Part of their model: saving the soul of America. That was part of their realm.
So, that’s our mandate. We have to talk about not only our condition and our issues, which are critical – those young people here in this audience were a part of that. What we see in our communities – wherever it is – it’s a part of that. But we have to put that in such a way that it’s framed in such a way that it talks about the crisis of the country for all Americans.
We have to talk about education. … so, we have to talk about job creation, education. We’ve got healthcare – something that’s better than we had before … but we still have to keep refining ourselves. We can’t just accept where we are, and we still have to find a way that we can be constructively critical about what is happening.
We have to talk about war. What did King talk about? We’re not talking about the March on Washington. What did King talk about? Militarism, racism, materialism. Those are the things that he talked about. If we want to live in the spirit of Dr. King, …what does that mean in terms us? It’s our mandate. Because of this extraordinary experience, we are the moral conscience of this country. So, being the moral conscience of this country means that we have to be bigger than.
One of the things, when I came into acting – you asked me what brought me – when I did Fugard, when I did the work of Athol Fugard, the great South African playwright who wrote about apartheid, when I did that work, I thought what I was doing was bigger than me. It was larger than me, you know, in that sense. So, in the sense of doing that, I was transforming myself not simply as an actor, but more importantly, as a citizen as well, if it’s larger than me.
We have to take on the initiative that what we have to do to save this country, to save this world is larger than us.
MR. MARTIN: You were sitting in the Oval Office. The President says, “All right, Danny. This is your shot. You give me one thing you want me to do, and I’ll do it.”
What would you tell him that is?
MR. GLOVER: The first thing that I would do was to have an effective jobs program to get people back to work – without a doubt. How do we create an effective jobs program similar to the one that we had with the WPA with Roosevelt? How do we get people back to work? How do we get people feeling good about themselves? How do we get people feeling that this country cares about them, this country cares about all of us – cares about them, and then moving forward with that, and feeling that … they’re a part of solutions. … that’s the first thing that I would ask.
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