Episode 57 - Look How Far We've Come!

Transcript, Web links and Credits below.

Transcript: (Intro music) Hey everybody, this is Shaun King and you are listening to episode number 57 of the Breakdown. I can hardly believe that we’re already 57 episodes in, but I am so excited today to report a very very important action step victory. You know we formed something that we call The Breakdown Crew, and if not already a part of it, you can join right now at TheBreakdownCrew.com.

Over the past 10 days or so, there are nearly 6,000 of us that have joined TheBreakdownCrew.com and we have worked literally around-the-clock — 24 hours a day, seven days a week — to try to get a major new law passed called the MRTA bill. It's the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act of 2019. It's a bill to legalize weed in New York but it's actually so much more than that. It's about expunging the arrest of over 600,000 New Yorkers who've been criminally charged.Because the truth is, and you've probably heard me say this before, that in New York for generations weed has already been legal for white folk because 95 percent of the arrests for weed in New York are exclusively people of color. If you are white in New York and smoke weed, there is virtually no chance that you will ever be arrested for it. And all the studies show that white people and people of color smoke weed at the same rate. So it's been highly, highly criminalized in black and Latino communities, but basically allowed in all white communities. It's a form of white privilege.

And so we were fighting for this bill and we fought hard. We made tens of thousands of phone calls. We sent hundreds of thousands of emails to all the legislators in New York encouraging them to pass it. And early this morning, it was not the bill that we hoped would pass, the MRTA bill, but it was a bill to further decriminalize weed in the state and to begin expunging those thousands and thousands and thousands of criminal records — not only invalidating the crimes, but actually erasing them from New York's criminal database which often doesn't happen. And thanks to so many organizers and activists all around New York and to our Breakdown Crew, again who joined TheBreakdownCrew.com, the bill passed.

It's supposed to be signed here by the governor at any minute, it could've already been signed here over the past few minutes. I hope by the time you hear this that it's signed into law. And we’re going to get right back at it. We're going to organize in deeper ways to get that law passed — the full law.And for me it's not even so much about weed as it is righting a wrong. It's about creating fair systems and fair structures. When The North Star, and the Breakdown is a part of a media company called The North Star that was started all the way back in 1847. When the North Star was started by Frederick Douglass and Martin Delany, it was started not just as a newspaper, but as an organization that would fight to abolish slavery — and all of those systems that held it up and propped it up. And that's why we exist today. It's to abolish these systems of inequity, of oppression, that hold people back.

So yes, we're here to do a podcast. Yes, we are here to have a website, an app, and do all of those things that media companies do, but we're here to do it for good. We're here to abolish these systems and structures that hold us back.And so thank you. Thank you. Thank you, to the thousands of you who participated. I'm grateful. I am deeply grateful. Bit by bit, policy by policy, election by election, we're changing the world for good together, and that's what this is all about. And so, I'm excited and I am elated that we were able to do that, but now we are about to go on a break for a few weeks.

(Outro music) Again this is episode number 57 for the breakdown and since April 1 of this year we have literally gone nonstop. I'm in the studio, sometimes 8 to 10 hours a day prepping for each podcast and we’re giving our entire team a break until early in July. So for a few weeks we are not going to be here releasing new episodes, but I just want you know that we will be back. We just all need a summer break. I'm going to take a little bit of a vacation altogether, and so I'm just grateful. We've built something special. This is one of the top news and politics podcasts in the entire country, in the entire world. We've been number one in the world so many different times. We've stayed in the top 10 for almost 3 months straight. So thank you.

Listen to all the episodes. Catch up if you can. There so many, I'm looking at them now, that are special to me. I hope you listen to episode number 33. It's near and dear to my heart. But there's so many episodes that I love. Let me just scan through them and make a couple recommendations:

Listen to episode number 33, but I really, really, really want you to listen to 11, 12, 13, and 14. If you haven't already listened to those, that's a short series 11-14 where I breakdown some essential Supreme Court cases that I want you to hear. And if you are just now starting out with us, listen to episode number 53 to kinda understand what we've done here this past week, just to kind of get a good idea of what we’re doing and where we are going. Alright! I appreciate you. I love you. I value you. I'm excited about what we're building and what's ahead, alright! Take care everybody. ----- Thank you all for making it all the way through this episode of The Breakdown! If you haven’t already subscribed to our podcast, we’ll be right back here every single weekday, breaking down important news stories and issues, and we’d love for you to subscribe on your favorite podcast apps like Apple Podcasts or Spotify. Please share this podcast with your friends and family. Our next goal is to get to 100,000 subscribers, and we won’t get there without you! Have you left a review yet? On Apple Podcasts we now have over 8,000 5-star reviews, but we’re aiming for 10,000 — so we still want to hear from you. So please leave your best review when you get time. Thank you so much to the nearly 30,000 founding members of The North Star whose generosity even makes this podcast possible. Love y’all and appreciate you so much. If you love this podcast and want to support our work — or want to see the show notes and transcript for each episode — we’d love it if you considered becoming a founding member of our community at TheNorthStar.com. There we not only have our podcasts, but hundreds of original articles and stories and commentaries from some of the leading scholars and thinkers and journalists in the world.

Lastly, a shout out to our Associate Producer Lyssandra and Podcasting Director and Senior Producer Willis for their hard work on this and every episode. ----- Credits: Produced by Willis Polk II