Dr. Martin Luther King’s Legacy Still Galvanizes Today’s Movement For Justice And Equality
Speaker 1: 00:00 The legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King is remembered today. Didn't change Speaker 2: 00:06 Requires an extraordinarily heavy dose of good Speaker 1: 00:11 I'm Jade Hindman with Mark sour. This is KPBS midday edition. Oh, look at Biden's newer approach to the threat of climate change. Clearly, this is progress and we're excited. Speaker 2: 00:30 I had to work with the president elect and his cabinet, and everybody else to make real change happen. Speaker 1: 00:37 Look at San Diego's history of racial discrimination. Plus the latest on the distribution of COVID 19 vaccines. That's ahead on midday edition. Speaker 2: 00:45 Yeah. Speaker 1: 01:00 As we reflect on the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Today, it's important to look at the civil rights movement of the fifties and sixties and how it shapes the movement. Now, one of the people who marched alongside Dr. King is Reverend James Lawson, Jr. He is often referred to as the mind of the movement, Dr. King called him the leading theorist and strategist of non-violence in the world. Today. He remains a staunch defender of human rights and is a lecturer at UCLA where he teaches about nonviolent social movements, Reverend Lawson. It is an honor to have you on midday edition today. Speaker 3: 01:36 Thank you. My pleasure to do it on this day. Speaker 1: 01:39 You know, I first want to listen to this 1963 audio clip from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's. I have a dream speech also known as normalcy no more. Speaker 3: 01:50 When the architects of our Republic wrote the magnificent word sub the constitution and the declaration of independence, they will signing a promissory note to whichever the American was to fall out. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men, as well as white men would be a guaranteed on 80 on a bull, the rights of life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note in so far as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check, which has come back marked insufficient funds, Speaker 1: 02:59 No Lawson. When you listen to that, um, in what ways do those words still ring true? Is America still in default? Yes. Speaker 4: 03:08 You asked the question. The simple answer is yes, and the United States of America does not know it. We, the people of the United States of America are not aware very often of how far short we have fallen of those two historical documents, especially their preambles. Speaker 1: 03:37 So what will it take then for America to truly live up to the promises of the constitution even, and to make good on their check as Dr. King put it? Speaker 4: 03:47 Well, this is where United States ought to be grateful that we have a large black leadership because the movement that the late Congressman John Lewis calls, uh, called, uh, the nonviolent movement movement of America, 1953 to 1973, I dated in those 20 years, that movement, the nonviolent movement of the USA that engaged in direct action and directly challenging the tyranny, the lack of the vote discrimination in employment, the violence against black people that was integrate integrated part of racism. All of that we challenged, uh, then today in the 21st century, we ha we have what I have consistently called for the black lives matter, which is an evolutionary part of the 20th century of our black freedom movement or black struggle for Liberty equality, justice for all, or the beloved community. So in those, in these two great movements, the nation has been given an invitation to do the slow work, sometimes complicated work, but the most significant work in carrying out and becoming a society that is fully democratic, that is moving towards becoming a beloved community. And that has become the happen in the last 60 years. And the black lives matter evolutionary campaign, the finest campaign of nonviolence, the nation has ever over 8,000 demonstrations and more than 2,500 locations in all 50 States involving maybe 15 to 25 million people. The most people diverse demonstrations the nation has ever had in that. And in this campaign of black lives matter in the 21st century, this is the continuing hope that our nation can pay off fulfill the promissory note of which Dr. King talks, Speaker 1: 06:40 Okay. What Stacey Abrams was able to achieve in Georgia through voter registration efforts as a form of nonviolent resistance. Speaker 4: 06:49 Absolutely. The boat is a non-violent tactic in the history of nonviolent literature voting to make changes and organizing and make changes to the politics is a major way that you work against them guarantee tyranny. That of course, in part of the history now I'm country, Speaker 1: 07:13 Right? When you saw the violent attempt at a coup take place at the us Capitol two weeks ago, and law enforcement response to those rioters, uh, compared to the treatment you received during your non-violent protest for equality with Dr. King, what were your thoughts? Speaker 4: 07:31 I had a multiplicity of box. One was we have had this kind of violence across 300 years in the United States, by white people, um, who were not seeking justice and truth. We're all, but we're seeking power. And that violence has never been, um, effectively prosecuted. So in one way, I thought of the fact that the chickens have come home to as much as I did not want, that would not have supported anything like that. Uh, United States was not in our various governments at the state local national level. We have not really resisted the use or misuse of violence for the purpose of domination and control. And, and that right was a direct result. January six of our not stopping police brutality towards black people and or stopping the militia groups that call for a race war, which is why they do their exercises in the jungles of California and Michigan and elsewhere. And we have never held them responsible publicly for their misdeeds. We have to understand that any number of the people who've now been arrested, have a personal history of threat. And if acts of violence and speech speeches of violence in their personal journeys, you can look at this. I have followed much of this from the 20th, early 20th century to the present moment. So, uh, I would, that was, that was one of the things in my mind. Um, I, I think secondly, my major, Speaker 1: 10:03 Um, Speaker 4: 10:04 Thought who's evolved how with all of the warnings, the Capitol police and the Congress, um, and not done the work of preparing for the kinds of groups that declared on in social media and all that they were coming. And I should edit this by shame that there were strong voices like Congresswoman Maxine waters. We talk with the chief of police about preparation for the January 6th demonstration and was assured that a plan was in place. But that goes to show you how we, civilian elected officials and others must take responsibility to see to it that our police operate for the support and advancement of our society as a society shaping itself, according to the preamble of the constitution or the preamble of the declaration of independence, Speaker 1: 11:21 There are calls for unity after that insurrection can peace and unity exists without justice and accountability. First Speaker 4: 11:31 Of course not. Um, our society has never been a peaceful society. We are the most violent culture across 400 years that the earth has ever known. And you're exactly right. The tensions are not tensions between primarily Trump and us or between the Republicans and Democrats. The tensions are caused by the often grow test injustice in our country. And so to, to achieve unity, we have to dismantle, we have to dismantle racism in the sexism and the violence and especially the economic injustice, but that requires you E we radicating our eradicating the wrong so that unity can take over our minds, our hearts and our daily work. Speaker 1: 12:43 I've been speaking with Reverend James Lawson, Reverend Lawson, thank you for your work and for sharing your insight on this Martin Luther King, Jr. Speaker 4: 12:54 Well, thank you for having me and for doing this. Speaker 1: 12:59 Can we talk about the capital riot? We can't overlook the connection and current threat of white extremist terrorism, nor can we overlook its place in history. I'd like to turn the conversation now to Latina gauze, a professor of political science at UCLA who holds a PhD in public policy and political science professor gods. Welcome. Thank you for having me today. I'll start by asking you the same question. I asked Reverend Lawson, uh, when you saw the violent attempt at KU take place at the us Capitol and law enforcement's response compared to their response over the summer to black lives matter protest and even civil rights demonstrations in the fifties and sixties. What was your reaction? Speaker 5: 13:42 My reaction was surprised and alarm, um, mostly because when we, when I saw the Capitol Hill riots, I saw police who were in their normal uniforms and they weren't in riot gear. They weren't deploying tear gas or rubber bullets, or even using blockades. And it it's not the alarm because I felt like they should be using those in all circumstances. It's just when I saw protests in the past and in the, uh, last summer in 2020, but also in, even during the civil rights movement, police were talking about how they needed to use these more excessive tools, uh, of these more excessive uses of force, because I've said that they were necessary in order to, to halt or to, uh, address the threat that was occurring. When we saw what happened on June and June 1st, 2022, uh, almost six months ago, or almost, I guess, almost nine months ago. Speaker 5: 14:37 Now, uh, we saw almost 6,000 law enforcement agents, um, from even federal agencies like ice and the da, the national guard. They were all mobilized, uh, against a potential threat by black matter protests who were very peaceful, not, uh, not aggressive. And over 300 people were arrested. Then only 60 people were arrested on January 6th, which is a huge difference. And a lot of times they try to justify the difference in use of force by saying that black lives matter protests are very violent, right? And the data does not support this, uh, there's data that shows that even since 2017, if you look at all those years, 96% of those were non-violent. And in comparison, you had the protest, the attack on Capitol Hill, sorry that were occurring. And there was just a lot of aggression, a lot of violence people lost their lives, and yet still there wasn't the same mobilization. And even today, considering we're celebrating Martin Luther King, a lot of his protests were purposely peaceful. He had, uh, a huge, uh, agenda of nonviolent resistance, where there were all these peaceful demonstrations, and yet still police were sending dogs on protesters, sending fire hoses against them. And you might even recall bloody Sunday or John Lewis, and many other black Americans were brutally beaten for attempting to walk across a bridge that I'm in Pettus bridge. And we saw a completely different response in, in this the recent capital and riots. Speaker 1: 16:10 And, you know, let's talk about the bigger picture here. You know, today there are threats of violence all over this country from armed white supremacist groups and other extremists who have been in Bolden for years and planning attacks in plain sight online, just like the one at the Capitol and despite the warnings, why do you think there's been a delayed law enforcement reaction to this growing threat? Speaker 5: 16:33 So, in my work, I talk about how, uh, when you think about the, the, the white supremacist type protest, and then also black lives matter protests and civil rights movement protests in the 1960s, a lot of the difference was based on who the groups were and what they wanted, right? And, and the United States, there's this common stereotype, this false stereotype that black people are prone to violence. And also that America Americans are more white, right? They're the more likely to be perceived as white people, um, and less of a threat to our institutions. Our institutions were built in a way to protect white people, white wealth. And, uh, in, in many ways, the, the threat by, by black lives matter protesters or civil rights movement, protest is for more progress than equality challenges, a status quo that is built within our institutions. It's, uh, the way many of our laws were created were created to defend those institutions and defend the very things that, uh, these white supremacist groups are protesting about. Speaker 5: 17:39 So some part of it is just the, the stereotype is perception of what it means to be criminal and, and, and do bad behaviors that police are not immune to. The other part is police. There are many police officers who are, who have similar beliefs as some of these white supremacist groups looking at Capitol Hill riots. There were police officers, law enforcement agents who were also attacking the capital and the name of defending, uh, what they believe democracy in the United States should be, which is more of a white supremacist type democracy. Um, and, uh, even in the civil rights movement. And you had, uh, the FBI with COINTELPRO, which was a, uh, uh, program instituted by FBI and Hoover to really try to infiltrate and diminish, uh, the civil rights claims, uh, that were, uh, made to explicitly challenge the status quo. Most of the efforts by COINTELPRO, which included illegal behaviors, wire tabs, sometimes even violence and assassinations were meant to keep that progress from happening. And it was done by law enforcement agents. Speaker 1: 18:50 Hmm. And given all of that, what opportunities do you see for the modern civil rights movement, like black lives matter to influence legislation and policy now that the Biden Harris administration will be inaugurated this week? Speaker 5: 19:04 Yeah. So one thing about, uh, the Brighton Harris administration is that it is empower, it, it did win the election because of the efforts by civil rights groups. And if they hope to win elections again, they need to put forth policies that actually achieve some of the civil rights progress that, uh, these groups are asking for in their protest behavior. So one thing is just institutionally, if they want to continue to win elections, one of the one, the midterms, and then the 2024 presidential election they'll need to Institute policies that, that really respond to these groups so that they are continuing to support them electorally, but also beyond just the electoral incentive, uh, this administration is a lot more, uh, willing and desires, or at least in, in the platform of the political party, uh, to produce these types of policies compared to the one that's called outgoing the Trump administration. So if they, they want to say that they are achieving their policy goals and they actually have to, to deliver on some of these promises. Speaker 1: 20:10 I've been speaking with UC San Diego political science, professor, Latina gauze, professor gods. Thank you so much for joining. Speaker 5: 20:16 Yes. And thank you for having me today. Speaker 6: 20:22 It was a pleasant surprise to open the San Diego union Tribune this morning and see an introduction on the front page of a new regular column. It will quote, explore the many ways people's identities and values, shape our ideas about government politics, culture, and more. And the man writing the new column is Charles T. Clark, who joins me now, Charles, welcome to midday edition. And congratulations. Thank you, Mark. I really appreciate it. Excited to be well, let's start with the Genesis of your new column. How did it all come about Speaker 7: 20:52 Who I had been the politics and County government reporter here for, uh, coming up on two and a half years, although I enjoyed a lot of the work I did. I, I wanted to try something new. And when you kind of added that with the backdrop of everything that happened this summer, you know, in light of the killing of George Floyd, I really had been thinking about a few different ideas related to, uh, social justice and racial justice issues. And I actually did a commentary back then about, uh, Giana Floyd, uh, that kind of laid the groundwork for launching this whole endeavor, which was this idea of taking kind of a broader approach to daily news and civic life in San Diego and all these different things that make up the culture here. Speaker 6: 21:34 You had covered the County government beef for a long time for the Union-Tribune very well. I might add. We've had you to, as a regular on my Friday round table program now, uh, was it a tough decision to switch from a busy, important beat to it's a very different beast writing a column? What, uh, what are your thoughts there? Tell us what it's like making that switch, Speaker 7: 21:53 You know, honestly, uh, it was a bit intimidating, like going into something like this, where it's a bit more intimate and developing a personal relationship with readers was kind of a scary thing. And I was just very excited that the UT was open to, to given this ago. Speaker 6: 22:10 No, I'll point out to our listeners that you are a black man, and I submitted an excellent choice for this particular column by way of introduction. Tell us about your background in life and in journalism that brings you to this point in your career. Speaker 7: 22:21 You know, originally, originally I'm from Kansas city. Uh, most of the core of my family is from the Midwest originally. My dad is black. He was born in Kansas city, uh, pre civil rights act. Uh, my mom is white from Sioux city, Iowa, but it really, I, I, you know, had a diversity of experiences growing up. I moved to Minneapolis and Phoenix and a lot of different places. Uh, and I got my exposure to journalism while in college, uh, which was really, you know, I was drawn to because of the fact that I liked to write and I like to talk and listen to people. One thing that I think has really defined me over the years is, you know, all the different things that make up my identity from being someone from Kansas city, which I still identify with. Um, but also just, you know, the obvious one being racially, you know, I am a black man. That's how I experienced the world. And it's informed a lot of how I see different things, obviously, like I would venture a guess every black person in this country I've experienced racism and in different forms, uh, you know, as far back as childhood. Um, cause I know that I have this lived experience that, you know, while you've seen it more often or you're starting to see it more in newsrooms, um, and an increase in diversity, uh, it is a pretty unique perspective, I think for, uh, certainly a columnist at a local paper to have Speaker 6: 23:42 No entirely fitting. It was to launch this on Martin Luther King day. And your topic is San Diego shocking history of overt racism. Explain as you're doing the column about the strong resistance to honor Dr. King back in the 1980s here. Speaker 7: 23:55 It was interesting when I started getting an idea of when we wanted to launch this thing. Um, this was actually an idea that I had been thinking about for a few years. Um, one of the first events I went to was a community event, uh, with Shirley, uh, Dr. Shirley Weber. Um, and this story actually came up when I was at this event several years ago about, you know, back in 1986, the city of San Diego decided they wanted to name a street after Dr. King, uh, which was similar to what most major cities in the country were doing around the time with, uh, Martin Luther King day becoming a national holiday the same year, the first choice for the city council, uh, ended up getting a lot of pushback, um, from committee members who some of whom actually explicitly told the LA times they oppose Dr. Speaker 7: 24:42 King's mission. Uh, they ended up choosing market street, ultimately as the street that they were going to rename Martin Luther King way. They did it and then got this huge pushback, um, from mainly downtown business owners. Um, the majority of them were white. You know, they said things like, Oh, it confuses customers. But the big thing that I kept seeing in archives that I kept coming back to it's, you know, disregarding San Diego's heritage, um, which I think a lot of us, you know, certainly pick up on that as a buzzword, uh, given some of the conversations we've seen the last several years over Confederate monuments and things like that, where oftentimes there's this reference to heritage to justify not doing something. These downtown business owners mounted this fight, they got a ballot initiative pushed and put onto the ballot that would permanently revoke the name and rename it market street again, which by the way, was not even the original name of the street. Speaker 7: 25:35 And ultimately, uh, in a very disappointing fashion, San Diego voters approved, uh, or pushed or an approved rejecting Martin Luther King way and flipping it back to market street. But then when you look at it, I think in the, kind of just where it fits in with the history of San Diego, it's not entirely that surprising because this is a region that much like the rest of the country has a deeply, deeply racist history. Um, despite I think how most of us probably, uh, interpret this place, especially at, you know, once you just progressive California, Speaker 6: 26:09 We'll look forward to reading your column on Tuesdays and Fridays in the local section. I've been speaking with Charles T. Clark who's new column debuted today in the San Diego union Tribune. Thanks Charles. Thank you, Mark. Speaker 1: 26:27 You're listening to midday edition. I'm Jade Hindman with marks. Our last Friday, San Diego County reported 2,695, new COVID-19 cases, 32 deaths and 337 hospitalizations. These actually represent a slight decline in the new surge of cases resulting from the holidays, but conditions are still dire in local hospitals, intensive care units in the County are at or near capacity and the situation for ECM machines, which take over for the heart and lungs by removing carbon dioxide and adding oxygen is even worse. KPBS health reporter tear mento spoke with script's health CEO, Chris van Gorder last Thursday, about how scripts is dealing with the onslaught of cases. In part two of that interview, van Gorder talks about the availability of ICU beds and EPMO machines. Speaker 8: 27:22 The other big concern going on right now is ICU capacity. We've heard at the state level that hospitalizations are improving or at least stabilizing a little bit. Um, is that what you're seeing in your facilities as well? Speaker 9: 27:38 Well, our IC is today are at 104% capacity. Um, so we are, uh, at certs. Um, we are at about 200%, uh, correction, 167% capacity and Encinitas, 104 at LA Jolla, 106 at mercy San Diego. So, um, we are full, uh, but we're opening additional capacity. Um, every day. I mean, we've got engineers that are literally converting regular floors into negative pressure isolation ward. So we've still got a little bit of capacity, uh, that we can build into, but we are bulging at the same seems. Staffing is tight. Um, we have seen a little flattening out over the last maybe four or five days. Uh, I know sharp went up today. I haven't seen their final numbers yet. We actually dropped by eight patients today. Uh, but the amount of turnover in patients is astronomical. I mean, in the last 24 hours we had, um, let me see 12, 15 deaths. Um, and we discharged 56 patients. Um, and so, you know, you can see this enormous turnover of patients that are being admitted, uh, and patients that are being discharged and sadly way too many patients who are dying this morning. Uh, when I said we were at 104% capacity, we had, I think, seven ICU beds available. And we had well in excess of 20 patients waiting for beds in our emergency departments. Speaker 8: 29:00 How do you decide who gets those first seven beds and who has to wait? Speaker 9: 29:05 That's a clinical decision made by the individual hospitals. Remember I'm talking about the discharges. So they were waiting for that group of patients that were going to get discharged to be discharged home today. And as those beds opened up, they're obviously terminally cleaned. And then at that point we can admit the patient to a, uh, to a new bed. So it's a constant battle of, you know, holding for a while until a patient, uh, either dies or is discharged. And then we can put another patient in that bed Speaker 8: 29:31 And we keep hearing about crisis care, the crisis care continuum. We've heard Dr. Galley say that. No. Um, as of last time I heard him speak that no hospital has actually activated care, but he did say that hospitals are implementing parts of crisis care. Are you implementing parts of crisis care? And if so, what is that? Speaker 9: 29:50 Um, crisis care. Obviously we put the triage teams together and they make decisions based upon, uh, both, um, um, a, an algorithm that our electronic health record gives them and, and their own clinical decisions, ethical decisions, uh, on who should receive the care versus somebody that might not get that care. Um, we have not had to do that yet. Uh, we are very close, uh, on ECMO. Um, we are pretty close. We have, we have eight ECMO machines and basically the staff to run the eight. Um, and we have been full for the last, uh, almost week. We actually had one patient that, um, an additional patient, we, and there's a ECMO consortium, very well organized here in San Diego County. Other counties are actually looking at us to, to model, but, uh, uh, where we can actually move equipment and if necessary patients around to get the patient where the equipment is. And we were able to borrow a machine from UCLA and get a ninth patient on the ECMO machine when we needed it. So, uh, but we are, we are right maxed out and at a certain point here, I mean, literally it could be today. Uh, we may have to use crisis care protocols to decide, uh, who can get them ECMO machine, and who's going to be left off the ECMO machine. Speaker 8: 31:02 You did just say that there was that you just, just provide an example of collaboration with UC San Diego. But, you know, I talked to a lot of different people and I'm actually hearing that, um, access to ECMO from a bunch of different hospitals is difficult. I'm hearing allegations that, um, certain types of patients who have private insurance are being, uh, prioritized over other individuals, um, with little, uh, explanation. Why are you experiencing that? Have you received complaints of that happening in your own facilities? Speaker 9: 31:33 No, I have actually you're the first person I've ever heard that from, uh, economics or payer mix is not coming to play in. The decision is a clinical decision really made by the physicians and our ECMO team. And, um, and, uh, so as far as I know, economics payer mix is not coming into play at all. Speaker 6: 31:57 Joe Biden will be sworn in as the 46th president this week. And this new administration means a new approach to the existential threat of climate change, a threat. The new president calls the greatest challenge facing our nation and the world. His plan connects the environment with the economy. It calls for a 100% clean economy and net zero emissions by 2050 infrastructure investments in transportation and energy protection and distribution rallying the rest of the world to meet the threat of climate change, taking action against fossil fuel companies and other major polluters who disproportionately harm, low income communities and help for workers transitioning to new clean industries as part of coverage from the KPBS climate change desk. We checked in with a number of San Diego leaders and experts on the environment and clean energy for their reactions to the incoming president's plan. David Victor is a professor of industrial organization at UC San Diego and co-leader of UCS DS deep decarbonation initiative. He says, getting the United States back into the Paris climate agreement is a critical first step. I think Speaker 10: 33:06 It's very important to keep in mind that climate change ultimately is a global problem that the us is 15% or so of global emissions and will be shrinking as our policies become more effective. Uh, and so we have to find ways of working with other countries that means starting with the allies, starting with Europe, starting with the UK government, which is hosting the next big climate change conference in November in Glasgow. It also means working with Brazil, uh, where the president has, frankly not been supportive of climate change policies. That means working, uh, first and foremost, with China, the world's largest, uh, emitter and in the run-up to the Paris agreement, uh, not so long ago, it was the ability of the United States and China to work together. They really framed what was possible in Paris. And now the Chinese us relationship is much more fraught with a lot more pressure and tension inside that relationship. And so this is going to be a foreign policy problem in addition to a national policy issue. And I think it's interesting that he's assigned John Kerry to lead on the foreign policy side around climate change because John Kerry is somebody knows this issue extremely well. And in particular, uh, knows how to develop the right relationships, uh, between the United States. Speaker 6: 34:17 Next up is Nicole Cafritz. She is founder and executive director of climate action campaign, a San Diego nonprofit that has helped to get eight local 100% clean energy climate action plans passed, including the city of San Diego's plan. Cafritz emphasizes the urgency of the crisis. Speaker 8: 34:35 President elect Biden has set this ambitious target of getting to net zero carbon by 2050 and well, that's a great first step. And it's certainly a departure from where we've been, uh, the last four years. We're probably going to push for a more ambitious target, um, in timeline of 2040 or 2035. And certainly we intend to do that the local level, hopefully model what that can look like. But clearly this is progress and we're excited to work with the president elect and his cabinet, and everybody else to make real change happen. Speaker 6: 35:08 Rom Ramanathan is a professor of climate and atmospheric sciences at Scripps institution of oceanography. He explained what he likes about Joe Biden's climate plan. Speaker 11: 35:18 The most important thing is he has recognized the investment it's going to need. I think he has committed to, uh, trillions of dollars over the next five, 10 years. So that the first thing we need to recognize we can't fool ourselves thinking it's just going to happen. No, it's not going to happen. It requires top-down policies, top-down investment. So that from the bottom up the industries, the private donors, privacy investors will join in. We need both. We need the top down action. We need that investment. And then being bottom up a movement all the way, starting from our kids in schools, urging the adults to take action. The involvement by private foundations involvement by industries involvement by investors, all that's needed because we have delayed taking action. So, so long Speaker 6: 36:18 Terra Lawson reamer, a Democrat is a newly elected San Diego County supervisor Lawson Riemer emphasizes the Biden plans investment in reshaping, the green economy and transforming millions of jobs. Speaker 11: 36:30 But fundamentally the plan is focused on the kind of investments that we need to tackle this climate crisis. And those investments are going to in their very nature shift, our economy from an old economy, that's been dependent on fossil fuels to a new economy that is in its very, very core, um, dependent on renewable energy to, to power us, um, you know, for, for the next generation. Speaker 6: 36:55 Those were comments by various San Diego leaders and experts on the ambitious plans by incoming president Biden to address climate change. Speaker 6: 37:13 I'm Mark Sauer with Jade Heinemann and you're listening to KPBS midday edition. We end our show today with a remembrance of a San Diego blues legend singer songwriter, Tom cat, Courtney died this month at the age of 91, Courtney traveled from the cotton fields of Texas to dancing in a three ring circus. And along that road, he found the music that sustained his life. He was an award winning nationally known bluesmen and a staple on the San Diego music scene. He performed in our studio and spoke to KPBS midday edition host Maureen Kavanaugh in 2013. Speaker 2: 38:35 [inaudible] Speaker 12: 40:00 Thank you for that. Thanks and welcome Tonka Courtney. Speaker 13: 40:04 Thanks for having me. Speaker 12: 40:05 Well, you know, that's a song that was made famous by a lightened Hopkins, right? Speaker 13: 40:09 Yeah, it was, well, it was written about blind lemon Jellison, but uh, you know, uh, lightning Hopkins, he, uh, he done it better than I think anybody has done it. They come me to brought it out in, in a Texas Delta style, you know? Speaker 12: 40:24 Did, is he one of the influences on you? Is he somebody you wanted to be like when you were coming up? Yeah. Speaker 13: 40:30 Oh yeah. He was my main influence. Really? Yeah. I saw several of them while we was at, you know, living in the country at that time, they had different people coming out, Monica player two and maybe one or two good tar, but I saw lighten and then I want a good time. Speaker 12: 40:48 Yeah. Tomcat, you grew up in a really small town in Texas. So how did you see all these performers when you were growing up? Speaker 13: 40:57 Well, at that time, see if you was on a big farm during the fall of the year, all in most guy that played music would play out there, they would have a giant than me out there to be up there. So like on weekends they would get them to play. Speaker 12: 41:14 So they would just come on the circuit to these little juke joints. Yeah. What I heard was on the first instrument you really liked was your feet. Speaker 13: 41:23 Well, I learned how to tap dance by imitating a train. Really? Speaker 12: 41:30 How, how does that work? Well, when we lived his farm, it was Speaker 13: 41:34 A cotton gin and a stove. That's all it was. And it was a Creek, a big, big wide Creek. So they had a bridge cross it where they crossed the catalyst. So I would go on that bridge, you know, that's where the train would cross. And so I'd be on that bridge and a train leader with a load of cotton and he'd go, [inaudible], you know, I am a take the train, you know, we didn't go to the city too often. So we went to the city, one said, and never forget it. I saw they had little shield medicine showed that, you know what, he sell his snake on him at all kinds of stuff like that, that about 39. So, uh, I saw Bojangles' tap dancing and I just went to this bread back to this trust and start amputating them, you know? Speaker 12: 42:30 And that, and that got you out of the Texas town and into the circus. Yeah. Speaker 13: 42:35 Yeah. So what happened doing the fault is Ryan for the phone? They were drafting everybody in the army. So they had some dancers on his show. It called them both in the service. Somebody told them about me out there on the bridge, you know, and they came up there. Yeah. And that's how I left. I bought 15 in, yeah. Speaker 12: 42:56 You, you saw that as your opportunity to move on into the world. Speaker 13: 42:59 I just kept going. You know, Speaker 12: 43:01 Now another thing I was reading about you was that, uh, when you were in the circus and you were doing your dancing, you also found out, or the world found out you could sing. Speaker 13: 43:12 Yeah. Yeah. They, they find, well, the way to find out I could sing. I didn't know I had it. So, but they had this good. Let's see what a young lady she's about 21 or two. She could really dance and had a beautiful voice. And I was about 15, 16. Anyway, I felt sorry for her. Cause they was on her back. They want her to sing St. Louis blues. So they said, and she just couldn't remember it. And voice was beautiful. So I said, Oh man, I know St. Louis blues. I've been listening to it all my life. So, uh, so I liked the, I say, I hate to see, you know, she said, I hate to see that evening song go down. I said, God, come here, Lord. I hate to see daddy evening song, go down. I'm just going all over the song. You know, we'll go with that. Let me hear you go over that again with a kid. Let the kids things Speaker 6: 44:15 That was San Diego, blues legend, Tom cat, Courtney speaking to KPBS midday edition host Maureen Kavanaugh in 2013. Courtney died this month at the age of 91.