03/25/18 Sarah Chadwick

This week we bring you voices from the March For Our Lives that took place in Washington, DC on March 24, including Sarah Chadwick from Parkland, FL, Edna Chavez from Los Angeles, CA, Alex Wind from Parkland, FL, Christopher Underwood from Brooklyn, NY, Jaclyn Corin, Parkland, FL, and Yolanda Renee King, the granddaughter of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Program: 
Century of Lies
Date: 
Sunday, March 25, 2018
Guest: 
Sarah Chadwick
Organization: 
student
Download: Audio icon col032518.mp3
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CENTURY OF LIES

MARCH 25, 2018

TRANSCRIPT

DEAN BECKER: The failure of drug war is glaringly obvious to judges, cops, wardens, prosecutors, and millions more now calling for decriminalization, legalization, the end of prohibition. Let us investigate the Century Of Lies.

DOUG MCVAY: This is what democracy sounds like.

CROWD: Vote them out! Vote them out! Vote them out! Vote them out! Vote them out! Vote them out! Vote them out! Vote them out! Vote them out!

DOUG MCVAY: Hello, and welcome to Century Of Lies. I'm your host Doug McVay.

On March Twenty-Fourth, in cities around the United States and around the world, millions of people marched, gathered, demonstrated, against violence, against guns, and against the culture of senseless violence that has become so dominant and pervasive within the United States.

As an activist for social justice, I have never been so proud of young people in my life. Today we're going to listen to some of the voices from that March For Our Lives on March 24th. In Washington, DC, hundreds of thousands of people gathered to protest and to make their voices heard. We're going to start with one the survivors from Parkland, Florida, Sarah Chadwick.

SARAH CHADWICK: Hello everyone. My name is Sarah Chadwick, and I'm a junior at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School. This here, a dollar and five cents. When you take three million one hundred and forty thousand one hundred and sixty seven, the number of students enrolled in Florida schools, and divide it by three million three hundred and three thousand, three hundred and fifty-five, the amount of money Marco Rubio has received from the National Rifle Association, it comes out to a dollar and five cents.

Is that all we're worth to these politicians? A dollar and five cents? Was seventeen dollars and eighty-five cents all it cost you that day, Mister Rubio?

Well, I say one life is worth more than all the guns in America.

This is not a red versus blue issue. This is a morals issue. And to the politicians that believe that their right to own a gun comes before our lives, get ready to get voted out. By us. The future.

We will not allow a price to be put upon our lives. We will no longer be hunted down and treated like prey by politicians who simply just don't care about us. We are fighting. We have been fighting. We've been fighting since Columbine, since Sandy Hook, since Pulse, since -- since Las Vegas.

And we will continue to fight, until we've put a stop to gun violence in America. Because we are no longer a statistic in this country. We will not be treated like a statistic in this country. My school, Pulse, every other mass shooting, will no longer be a statistic, because we are going to put an end to those statistics, and we will never stop fighting. Thank you.

DOUG MCVAY: That was Sarah Chadwick. She's one of the students from Parkland, Florida, who survived that assault when 17 of her classmates were murdered.

We talk, in criminal justice policy, all the time about how we need to listen to the voices of the victims, we need to listen to the voices of the survivors of crime, people who are crime victims and survivors are calling for criminal justice reform because they know, more than anyone, how badly our system has failed, and how much we need to make changes.

We talk about young people and we're so proud, in drug policy we've seen for years that opposition trots out young people to talk about their dream of a drug free world and how they're so proud that people are being thrown in jail and rotting because they might have used drugs, and now there are fewer and fewer of those young people they can find, and so the voices of young people, the voices of young people are calling for reforms. Students for Sensible Drug Policy is a massive organization, it's grown by leaps and bounds in the last few years, and it has chapters at high schools and interest among people at high schools.

I run the Drug War Facts website, and I can tell you for sure, around the time of midterms and finals, and anytime during the school year, that website gets a lot of traffic from schools, because there are a lot of people interested in learning about what's really going on, who are concerned about public health and public safety, because it's their future.

But, look, enough of me. We are listening to some of the voices of people from the March For Our Lives on March 24th. These are voices I'm proud to be able to help amplify. Next up, we have Edna Chavez from Los Angeles, California. She's followed by Alex Wind from Parkland, Florida.

EDNA CHAVEZ: Hola, buenes tardes.

CROWD: Hola!

EDNA CHAVEZ: My name is Edna Lisbeth Chavez, and I am from South Los Angeles, California, el sur de Los Angeles. I am a 17 year old senior at Manual Arts High School, and a member of an organization called Community Coalition, where I am a youth leader at South Central Youth Empowered Through Action.

At Community Coalition, we organize high school students to develop their leadership skills in order to push for educational justice in our communities. That's why I got involved. I wanted to impact policies, and make sure our voices are heard.

I am a youth leader. I am a survivor. I have lived in South LA my entire life, and have lost many loved ones to gun violence. This is normal. Normal to the point that I've learned to duck from bullets before I learned how to read.

My brother, he was in high school when he passed away. It was a day like any other day, sunset going down on South Central. You hear pops, thinking they're fireworks. They weren't pops. You see the melanin on your brother's skin turn gray. Ricardo was his name. Can you all say it with me?

CROWD: Ricardo! Ricardo! Ricardo! Ricardo! Ricardo! Ricardo!

EDNA CHAVEZ: I lost more than my brother that day. I lost my hero. I also lost my mother. My sister. And myself, to that trauma, and that anxiety. If that bullet did not kill me, that anxiety and that trauma will. I carry that trauma everywhere I go. I carry it with me in schools, in class, walking home, and visiting loved ones.

And, I am not alone in this experience. For decades, my community of South Los Angeles has become accustomed to this violence. It is normal to see candles. It is normal to see posters. It is normal to see balloons. It is normal to see flowers honoring the lives of black and brown youth that have lost their lives to a bullet.

How can we cope with it, when our school district has its own police department? Instead of making black and brown students feel safe, they continue to profile and criminalize us. Instead, we should have a department specializing in restorative justice. We need to tackle the root causes of the issues we face, and come to an understanding on how to resolve them.

I am here to honor the Florida students that lost their lives, and to stand with the Parkland students. I am here today to honor Ricardo. I am here today to honor Stephon Clark. I am here today to uplift my South LA community.

Enough is enough. Question: how many more children have to die so that this problem is finally acknowledged? Policymakers, listen up. Arming teachers will not work. More security in our schools does not work. Zero tolerance policies do not work. They make us feel like criminals. We should feel empowered and supported in our schools.

Instead of funding these policies, fund mentorship programs. Mental health resources. Paid internship and job opportunities.

My brother, like many others, would have benefited from this. So let's make it happen. It's important to work with people that are impacted by these issues. The people you represent. We need to focus on changing the conditions that foster violence, and trauma, and that's how we will transform our communities and uplift our voices.

This has not, and shall not, stop us. It has only empowered us.

Mi nombre, my name, is Edna Lisbeth Chavez. Remember my name. Remember these faces. Remember us, and how we're making a change. La lucha sigue. Gracias y bendiciones.

ALEX WIND: My name is Alex Wind. I'm a junior at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School. In the wake of the tragedy on February Fourteenth, we, as students, as youths, decided that if adults weren't going to take action, we would.

No gun related legislation has been passed in this country since 2008, ten years ago. Since 2008 there have been at least 95 mass shootings in this country, and hundreds and thousands more just -- senseless violence on the cities of our nation, and cities like Miami, Chicago, and Baltimore. It needs to stop.

People believe that the youth of this country are insignificant. People believe that the youths have no voice. When Joan of Arc fought back English forces, she was 17 years old. When Mozart wrote his first symphony, he was eight years old. To those people that tell us that teenagers can't do anything, I say that we were the only people that could have made this movement possible.

Together, we will use our voices to make sure that our schools, churches, movie theaters, and concerts, and our streets, become safer, without having them feel like prisons. If teachers start packing heat, are they going to arm our pastors, ministers, and rabbis? Are they going to arm the guy scanning tickets at the movie theater? Are they going to arm the person wearing the Mickey Mouse costume at Disney? This is what the National Rifle Association wants, and we will not stand for it.

We would not need metal detectors, and clear backpacks, and more weapons in our streets, if there weren't weapons of war in the hands of civilians.

For too long, our government has been useless on this issue. Our job as their constituents is to make sure we know what they're thinking. There are over 250 representatives that have not come out with a public stance on this issue. It is our job to make sure that we call them up and force them out of the shadows of corruption and into the light of justice.

As teens, people think that we don't like to wait around for things, and they're sometimes right. A lot of you are probably wondering: what now?

Now, we need to come together on all fronts and push aside those that divide us. Now, we need to get on the phone and call our representatives and push them to stop incumbency and take action. Now, we need to educate ourselves on which politicians are truly working for the people and which ones we want to vote out.

Because at the end of the day, bullets do not discriminate, so why should we? It is not about your race. It is not about your sexual orientation. It is not about your ethnicity. It is not about your gender. It is not about where you live or how much money you make. And it most certainly is not about political party. All it comes down to is life or death.

To all the politicians out there: if you take money from the NRA, you have chosen death.

If you have not expressed to your constituents a public stance on this issue, you have chosen death.

If you do not stand with us by saying we need to pass common sense gun legislation, you have chosen death.

And none of the millions of people marching in this country today will stop until they see those against us out of office, because we choose life. Thank you, I love you all.

DOUG MCVAY: That was Edna Chavez from Los Angeles, California, and Alex Wind from Parkland, Florida. They were speaking at the March For Our Lives in Washington, DC, in front of a crowd of hundreds of thousands of people.

This week on Century of Lies, we hear what democracy sounds like. These young people are in front of a crowd of hundreds of thousands of people who have gathered there because we are tired of the violence. These are the voices of the survivors, of people who are the victims of crime and the survivors of crime. We have always talked about these being the voices of the people that we need to listen to. I am glad that we're able to help amplify their voices on our show today.

Let's hear from Christopher Underwood from Brooklyn, New York. He'll be followed by Jaclyn Corin from Parkland, Florida, who is then followed by a young woman named Yolanda Renee King.

CHRISTOPHER UNDERWOOD: Hello everyone. My name is Christopher Underwood, and I'm 11 years old, and a sixth grader at Eagle Academy at Ocean Hill, Brooklyn, New York. I am also a junior ambassador for Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.

On June 27th, 2012, my 14 year old brother, Akeal Christopher, was shot while walking home from a high school graduation party at his friend's house. My brother survived for fourteen days, and died on his fifteenth birthday, July 10th, 2012.

At that time, I was only five years old.

Senseless gun violence took away my childhood, and nothing in my life was ever the same because I no longer have my best friend.

Losing my brother gave me the courage to be a voice for my generation. I took my pain and anger, and turned it into action, and started speaking out for Akeal, especially for the siblings who have lost their brothers and sisters, and for other children whose voices aren't heard, but feel the painful effects of gun violence.

I have watched for years as gun violence continues to take a toll on communities across the country. For me, I would like to not worry about dying, and focus on math, and science, and playing basketball with my friends.

Don't I deserve to grow up? On April 4th, we will remember Martin Luther King, Junior, on the fiftieth anniversary of his death. What we sometimes forget is that he himself was a victim of gun violence. I would like to finish my speech today by honoring Martin Luther King, Junior, by remembering his words, which are as true today as when he was alive.

Martin Luther King, Junior, once said: Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter, and our lives matter. Thank you.

JACLYN CORIN: My name is Jaclyn Corin, and I am proud to say that Parkland is my home. Parkland is the heart of this movement, but just as a heart needs blood to pump, my home town needs the alliance of other communities to properly spread this message.

We openly recognize that we are privileged individuals that -- and would not have received as much attention if it weren't for the affluence of our city. Because of that, however, we share the stage today and forever with those who have always stared down the barrel of a gun.

This issue is undoubtedly an epidemic that affects communities of all classes, an epidemic that the Center for Disease Control does not have the funds to research. This disease continues to spread, even though we have discovered the cure, but our government -- our government officials close their ears because it involves change, a change that does not align with their own agenda.

That is why Parkland cannot and will not do this alone. There is strength in numbers, and we need each and every one of you to keep screaming at your own Congressman, don't be scared just because they have "senator" in front of their name.

Our elected officials have seen American after American dropped from a bullet, and instead of waking up to protect us, they have been hitting the snooze button, but we're here to shake them awake. Each Congressman has a local office in their district, so pay them a visit, or organize a town hall. They'll be home for the next two weeks for Congressional recess.

Have them hear you out, because they work for us. And if they still won't meet with you, remind them that you invited their opponent, because we all know they'll show up then.

We cannot keep America great if we cannot keep America safe. And 96 deaths by firearm every day is not what I would call great. Our First Amendment right is our weapon of war in this, a weapon that should be on our streets, a weapon that cannot kill, but can heal.

Love will always outweigh the hate, as the universe is on the side of justice. So I need each and every one of you, no matter your age, to continue to fight alongside us, because hearts cannot pump without blood, and I don't want your community to join the ghastly inner circle that mine is now a part of.

In the end, we are all fighting for our lives, but we are a great generation, and we'll be the ones to make America safe. Thank you.

I actually have a special guest for you guys, so I'm going to come bring her up.

YOLANDA RENEE KING: My name is Yolanda Renee King, granddaughter of Martin Luther King and Coretta Scott King. My grandfather had a dream that his four little children will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. I have a dream that enough is enough.

And that this should be a gun free world, period. Will you please repeat these words after me? Spread the word!

CROWD: Spread the word!

YOLANDA RENEE KING: Have you heard?

CROWD: Have you heard?

YOLANDA RENEE KING: All across the nation.

CROWD: All across the nation.

YOLANDA RENEE KING: We.

CROWD: We.

YOLANDA RENEE KING: Are going to be.

CROWD: Are going to be.

YOLANDA RENEE KING: A great generation.

CROWD: A great generation.

YOLANDA RENEE KING: Now I'd like you to say it like you really, really mean it. Spread the word!

CROWD: Spread the word!

YOLANDA RENEE KING: Have you heard?

CROWD: Have you heard?

YOLANDA RENEE KING: All across the nation.

CROWD: All across the nation.

YOLANDA RENEE KING: We.

CROWD: We.

YOLANDA RENEE KING: Are going to be.

CROWD: Are going to be.

YOLANDA RENEE KING: A great generation.

CROWD: A great generation.

YOLANDA RENEE KING: Now, I'd like you to say it like you really, really mean it, and the whole entire world can hear you. Spread the word!

CROWD: Spread the word!

YOLANDA RENEE KING: Have you heard?

CROWD: Have you heard?

YOLANDA RENEE KING: All across the nation.

CROWD: All across the nation.

YOLANDA RENEE KING: We.

CROWD: We.

YOLANDA RENEE KING: Are going to be.

CROWD: Are going to be.

YOLANDA RENEE KING: A great generation.

CROWD: A great generation.

YOLANDA RENEE KING: Now, give yourselves a hand.

DOUG MCVAY: That was Christopher Underwood, Jaclyn Corin, and that last speaker was Yolanda Renee King, granddaughter of the Reverend Martin Luther King, Junior. They were speaking in Washington, DC, at the March For Our Lives. The march was webcast live over a variety of services, and directly by the March For Our Lives organization on Facebook. You can find that video on their Facebook page.

And well, that's it for this week. Thank you for joining us. You have been listening to Century of Lies. We're a production of the Drug Truth Network for the Pacifica Foundation Radio Network, on the web at DrugTruth.net. I’m your host Doug McVay, editor of DrugWarFacts.org.

The executive producer of the Drug Truth Network is Dean Becker. Drug Truth Network programs are available via podcast, the URLs to subscribe are on the network home page at DrugTruth.net.

The Drug Truth Network is on Facebook, please give its page a like. Drug War Facts is on Facebook too, give its page a like and share it with friends. Remember: Knowledge is power. Follow me on Twitter, I'm @DougMcVay and of course also @DrugPolicyFacts.

We'll be back next week with thirty more minutes of news and information about drug policy reform and the drug war. For now, for the Drug Truth Network, this is Doug McVay saying so long. So long!

DOUG MCVAY: For the Drug Truth Network, this is Doug McVay asking you to examine our policy of drug prohibition: the century of lies. Drug Truth Network programs archived at the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy.