Gwen Ifill: "There's A New Civil Rights Movement Which Has Sprung Up"


GWEN IFILL: I think that we get caught up in, the mayor used the term layering, layering on our issues. In Washington, we're used to layering on questions about governance, and process, and what happens next, and before the grand jury, and what happens next with, you know, the trial. We like to cover it like a soap opera.

But there's something else that's been exposed here which no president, no attorney general can get to, which is that there's this bruise that we keep poking at in this country about race. We don't know how to deal with it unless there's a flare-up.

What we've seen is that we're dealing with it again and again. You can name the list of names that sparked it. But also more important is watching what's happening behind it. There's a new civil rights movement which has sprung up. We've been looking back 50 years for the last couple of months, the 50-year signings of bills and laws. These young people on the streets, these young people who've created a social media movement around Michael Brown, they're not saying, "Pass a law." They're saying, "Enforce the current ones."

They're not saying, "We're going to wait for a single, singular leader to tell us which way to go." They're saying, "We're going to lead ourselves." And there is something which we can't miss in what feels different to me than Trayvon Martin, it feels different to me than Rodney King; these are all situations in which justice was questioned. But it feels to me like Americans, not just African Americans, are picking themselves up and saying-- the first pictures we saw out of Ferguson, the common response was, "Is that America?" And I think people are saying, "Let's address that. Let's address ourselves, not expect some person to figure it out."

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