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Standing Up For Democracy: How Activists Are Fighting Injustice in America Today

Bill Moyers talks with activists about an initiative to open Americans' eyes about income inequality.

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BILL MOYERS: So your daughter? Her name is?

GEORGE GOEHL: Adelaide.

BILL MOYERS: Well, given the rate I'm going, when she's ready to take your place on the lines, would you make sure I get a chance to interview her?

GEORGE GOEHL: I would love it.

BILL MOYERS: Okay.

GEORGE GOEHL: She's going to be a good organizer. I can tell.

BILL MOYERS: George Goehl, thank you very much for being with me.

GEORGE GOEHL: Okay. I appreciate it.

BILL MOYERS: If George Goehl’s daughter does grow up to become an organizer, she could have no finer role models than the two women with me now.

Ai-Jen Poo is director and co-founder of the National Domestic Workers Alliance. It includes more than 20 organizations in ten states and more than 10,000 members. She led the fight for the passage of the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights here in New York State, the first of its kind in America. And now she's fighting for a similar bill in California.

Since 2007, Sarita Gupta has been the executive director of Jobs with Justice. That's a labor organization in over 45 communities and 25 states. They work to create a broad, global movement for economic and social justice. She led the Chicago chapter of Jobs with Justice for four years and served as its national field director for three.

The two women have joined forces not only for April’s 99% Spring Action but also to build an economic campaign for domestic and homecare workers of all ages. They call it Caring Across Generations.

BILL MOYERS: Sarita and Ai-Jen, welcome to both of you.

SARITA GUPTA: Thank you.

AI-JEN POO: Thanks so much.

BILL MOYERS: How does the work you're doing connect to what we heard George Goehl talk about in the 99% spring?

SARITA GUPTA: The work connects because we're, for Jobs with Justice in particular, working on organizing and bargaining rights issues and looking at the real impacts of workers rights, we understand that there are corporations that are making decisions, intentional decisions, that in fact are stripping away the rights of workers.

How do we actually say to corporations, "Your practices can, in fact, be different, that allows for us to have the kind of economy that works for everybody"?

BILL MOYERS: So what do domestic workers have at stake in shareholder springtime?

AI-JEN POO: They're a huge and growing part of the 99 percent. And domestic workers have children and grandchildren and their hopes for them, in terms of quality public education and access to higher education and health care and economic opportunity.

All of those things necessitate a different relationship between the one percent and the 99 percent. And we would say that we're the 99 percent for the 100 percent. In that it's in the best interest of corporations in the long term that the American public is able to survive and thrive with dignity and respect.

BILL MOYERS: Unions are among your main allies, are they not? And how do you explain the phenomenon that, unions are struggling in a time when obviously the need for solidarity is so powerful.

SARITA GUPTA: You know, it's interesting, it's all about what people-- the perception that's out there. And we should not underestimate the amount of money that corporations have put into anti-union media blitzes and discussions. I mean, the narrative around unions has a lot to do with the role of corporate backed media and the way that unions are portrayed.

 
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