tv PBS News Hour PBS November 29, 2021 3:00pm-4:01pm PST
captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> woodruff: good evening, i'm judy woodruff. on the newshour tonight, omicron raises concern-- as a new covid variant spreads, president biden urges calm and implements a travel ban from eight african nations. doctor anthony fauci joins us. then, covid's toll-- tens of thousands of children face a difficult road ahead after losing a parent or other caregiver to the coronavirus. >> our instinct is to say how horrible a child has lost mom or dad. what will that lead to? it could lead to the loss of income, it could lead to food scarcity, children could lose their home. >> woodruff: then, political stakes-- democrats push for a senate deal on the president's build back better legislation in the final weeks of the year. all that and more on tonight's
>> the william and flora hewlett foundation. for more than 50ears, advancing ideas and supporting institutions to promote a better world. at www.hewlett.org. >> the chan-zuckerberg initiative. working to build a more healthy, just and inclusive future for everyone. at czi.org. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions: and individuals. >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you.
>> woodruff: a growing number of nations imposed travel restrictions today to try to slow the spread of the new coronavirus variant, omicron. the moves came as more cases of the variant were confirmed internationally. but some warned the travel bans, including one imposed by the u.s., would not be effective and could even be counterproductive. white house correspondent yamiche alcindor reports. >> alcindor: today, a u.s. ban on foreign travelers from across southern africa took effect. as japan, morocco and israel banned entry by all foreigners. at the white house, president biden addressed his decision targeting south africa, where omicron was first detected, d seven other african countries. >> this variant is a cause for concern, not a cause for panic. the reason for the immediate
travel ban is there were significant number of cases unlike any other country, well, the few around south africa, in the world. we needed time to give people an opportunity to say get that vaccination now before it's going to move around the world. >> alcindor: along with the u.s., britain, canada and dozens of other nations, including the european union, have banned travel from southern africa. australia has delayed it's plans to reopen borders, while others have taken more extreme measures. >> alcindor: south african president cyril ramaphosa criticized the rush to impose travel bans. >> we need to resist unjustified as well as unscientific travel restrictions that only serve to further disadvantage developing economies. >> alcindor: many public health leaders have also pushed back on the bans. dr. andy slavitt, president biden's former senior advisor on covid-19, took to twitter, saying: “a far better response would be the mass shipment of hundreds of millions of vaccines
to the area.” the omicron variant has now been confirmed in more than a dozen countries, across several continents. europe, the middle east, asia and the pacific have all reported that the variant has hit their shores. and over the weekend, two cases were confirmed in canada. that's the first time the variant has been recorded in north america. the makers of two highly effective vaccines, pfizer and moderna, are already pivoting their efforts to address the omicron variant. dr. paul burton is moderna's chief medical officer: >> we'll know from laboratory tests in the next couple of weeks just how effective the vaccines are against this, this variant, if we need to manufacture a omicron specific variant. it's going to take some weeks. >> alcindor: the world health organization has classified omicron as a variant of concern. but it's urging nations not to overreact. here's the w.h.o. director general: >> south africa and botswana should be thanked for detecting, sequencing and reporting this
variant, not penalized. >> alcindor: the delta variant remains responsible for most infections globally. and, it's not yet clear whether omicron causes more severe disease. president biden says that while he does not favor further shutdowns or lockdowns, the best defense against the variant is the vaccine. >> believe that the vaccines will continue to provide a degree of protection against severe disease and as additional >> alcindor: while omicron has yet to be detected in the u.s., experts say it's not a matter of if, but when. for the pbs newshour, i'm yamiche alcindor. >> woodruff: in response to the omicron threat, the centers for disease control and prevention today recommended all adults receive a booster shot. for more on all this, we turn to dr. anthony fauci. he's the director of the national institute of allergy and infectious diseases at the i spoke with him earlier today. dr. fauci, thank you very much for joining us, so first of all is omicron in the united states? >> we don't know that right now,
judy. we are certainly looking very carefully to stee if it is already here. but given the characteristics which we're starting to see unfold about this virus and what's gone on with other countries over the last 24 to 48 hours, i really would be surprised if we didn't ultimately have it here in this country. but right now there's no def evidence that it is here yet. >> woodruff: dr. fauci as you know the world health organization is saying that this is potential three very high risk, what the omicron poses. but then president biden said today that it is a cause for concern but not a cause for panic. so how concerned should people be? >> well, we have to take is seriously. because the virus that was isolated and characterized by our south african colleagues and i must say kudos to them for being so transparent and so helpful in collaborating and giving us the information in
realtime, it displays a constellation of mu taitions, judy, that would be suggested that it has a high degree of transmiss ability advantage and it could in fact evade some of the imunological par amers that we kol like monday clonol amount bodies and vaccine induced antibodies, we don't know the ultimate impact of that. it might not be a big deal at all or it might turn out to be something that we are really going to have toed ares, so there are a number of unanswered questions but fortunately we likely will have the answer for them in a matter of a couple of weeks. namely, what does our vaccine do when we induce antibodies, will it neutralize this virus and parentally as we are getting information from our south african colleagues, when you do get infected with this is it a severe disease or is it it only very mild disease. so it could be a highly
transmissible virus without severe consequences. or not. we don't know that. and that is the reason why the president very appropriately said we're concerned. we're paying very close attention to it but we should not be panicking about it. >> is there early evidence though as to whether the vaccine being offered right now protect against this new variant? >> from our experience, judy, i can say that i would be very surprised if the level of antibodies that are induced by our vaccine particularly folling the booster would not have some affect in countering this, because when you look at the dela variant which is the variant that is not really one that the vaccine is specifically directed against, yet when you get a high knife titer following vaccination and certainly following a booster, you cover the delta variant. you have a crossing over of
protection to it. so knowing what we know about variants, i would be surprised if there was at least some degree and maybe a significant degree of protection. we don't know that yet until we prove it. but i wouldn't be surprised if that were the case. >> so beyond getting vaccinated. getting the booster and we saw that today the cdc is expanding theirecommendation to all adults now to get the booster. what more can people do to stay safe? >> just what we have been saying all along. i don't think anything needs to change, scrudy. and that is when you are in a congregate setting, particularly indoors with individuals when you don't know their vaccination status, wear a mask. i know there will be traveling during the holidays that are coming up. when you go to an airport in a congregate setting, wear a mask, keep your mask on. you can enjoy the family setting, particularly if everybody is vaccinated. so we don't need to feel that we need to be cooped up and restricted in that regard. but just be careful, be prudent.
but above all, if ever there was a reason for people to say let's get vaccinated if you are not vaccinated, and if you are vaccinated by all means, get boost erred, this is really a very strong endorsement for that. >> and dr. fauci, we know biden administration and now what, over 40 other countries have instituted travel bans against countries in southern africa, but you are also aware there is criticism of this. there are those who say this is overly punitive, that it is not effective enough, that it could lead to governments being less transparent in the future. do you think there is some truth to these criticisms? >> it's a very tough call when you have to make a decision like that. because when are you looking at something in which the molecular virologist he who and those looking at the virus say this is really of a concern, we don't know yet the full scope of it it, so the prudent decision is
to try and give us at least a couple of weeks of leeway to be able to be better prepared. and that was the motivation for the travel restrictions, no one likes to do that with any country but of course i can tell you judy, you know the way things go. if we had not done that, we would be highly criticized for putting ourselves in danger. so there is always going to be criticism. you just have to do what you feel is the best judgment and hopefully if things turn out okay this will not be a long duration of a restriction. >> one final question, dr. fauci. here in the united states, after all these months president biden spoke of the need to get more testing. it seems that there still is many americans having trouble finding places to get tested. i know from personal experience over the weekend trying to help someone find a testing site, what has happened to that? should we be farther along in
this country right now? >> i can tell you what the government is doing, judy, there has been an investment of literally billions of dollars to get to the poingt where you have anywhere from 200 million to 500 million tests per month available. that's going to be the goal. and i think we're really well on the way there. there are places where you can get testing pretty easily. but you're right, i know of experiences of people calling me where they are having trouble finding a place where they can get a rapid test. but that is in unevenly distributed throughout the country. so hopefully when that money gets put to use to get those 200 to 500 million tests per month, this will not be a problem any more. >> dr. anthony fauci, thank you very much for joining us, we appreciate it. >> good to be with you as always, judy. >> woodruff: in the day's other news, a federal judge in st. louis blocked a federal covid
vaccine mandate for health care workers in 10 states. they had challenged president biden's order, arguing there was no clear legal authority for it. an earlier court order blocked a federal vaccine mandate for large employers. iran today pressed for an end to u.s. sanctions as talks resumed on reviving the 2015 nuclear deal. negotiators from six nations met in vienna for the first time in more than five months. iran's top negotiator said the other parties understand what's needed. >> ( translated ): i think it is itself a great achievement that all of the members of the group have accepted iran's rightful demand and clarified that the illegal u.s. sanctions must first be lifted and then there will be discussion, assessment, and decision-making on the remaining matters. >> woodruff: president trump quit the nuclear deal, and in response, iran stopped complying with limits on its nuclear work. president biden has indicated he
wants to rejoin the agreement, if iran returns to compliance. in honduras, they're still counting votes, but leftist xiomara castro appears headed toward becoming the country's first female president. supporters celebrated last night as she ran up a landslide lead in early results from sunday's election. castro called for a new era after 12 years of conservative rule. >> ( translated ): we are going to form a government of reconciliation in our country, a government of peace and a government of justice. we are going to start a process, in the whole of honduras, to guarantee a participative democracy, a direct democracy. >> woodruff: castro's husband had once been president, but was ousted by a military coup in 2009. lawmakers in sweden have elected magdalena andersson, again, as their first female leader.
she was briefly prime minister last week, before her coalition collapsed. after today's vote, most of sweden's parliament stood and applauded andersson as she accepted her new role for the second time. back in this country, federal prosecutors in new york charged that ghislaine maxwell trafficked young girls to jeffrey epstein for sexual abuse. they spoke in opening statements. the defense answered that maxwell has been made a scapegoat for epstein, a convicted sex offender who died in jail in 2019. jury selection began today for jussie smollett, accused of staging a hate crime attack. the former star of the tv series "empire" arrived at the chicago courthouse with his family, but had no comment on the way inside. smollett claims white men assaulted him in 2019, shouting racial and homophobic slurs. two black men say he paid them to attack him.
twitter's c.e.o. jack dorsey has stepped down. he said today it's time for change at the social media giant. dorsey co-founded twitter in 2006. under his leadership, the company was criticized for not doing enough to block hate speech. on wall street, stocks put aside some of friday's fears over the new covid variant. the dow jones industrial average gained 236 points to close at 35,136. the nasdaq rose 291 points, nearly 2%. the s&p 500 added 60. and, lee elder, who broke racial barriers in professional golf, has died. he passed away early sunday in escondido, california. in 1975, elder became the first black player to compete at the masters. ultimately, he won four times on the p.g.a. tour. lee elder was 87 years old. still to come on the newshour: journalist nikole hannah-jones'
new book offers an expanded look at the long legacy of slavery in the u.s. tamara keith and amy walter break down the coming congressional battle over the president's agenda. the life of the late designer virgil abloh and his impact beyond the fashion world. plus much more. discussed, the number of deaths from covid-19 has surpassed 775,000, a staggering figure. but left behind are tens of thousands of children, some orphaned entirely, after their parent or a grandparent who cared for them died. in this report co-produced with the newshour, kaiser health news
correspondent sarah varney looks at the risks these grieving children face to their well- being, both in the short and long term. >> i think the little boys don't really have a concept of what's really happening, what really happened. because i think they keep looking for him. >> reporter: betty hamilton says her five grandchildren still haven't accepted that their dad died suddenly of covid in august. the boys, ages four to ten, came to live with her in eastman, georgia because their mom is gone too. she died in a car crash years earlier, and they needed a home. now, betty's day is filled with helping her grandsons with homework, and she spends endless hours in the kitchen trying to feed the growing boys. the boys are among at least 140
thousand children in the united states who have lost a parent or grandparent who cared for them to covid, and these grieving kids face grave risks. it was betty who told the boys about their dad. >> they looked at me like i was crazy. i'm hoping with me and my daughter, that we could give them something to look forward. even though they don't have a mother and father in their life, but you got a grandparent, granddad, grandmom, you got an aunt, you got an uncle. 24/7. anything you need, you know. >> reporter: if only it were that simple. she gets no financial help for the boys from the government, except food stamps and medicaid. >> that was the main struggle, just getting them clothing and getting them fed. >> reporter: their aunt, carla hamilton, tried to move the boys into her home in gwinnett county, but her landlord said they weren't on her lease. now, she frequently makes the
trip, three hours each way, to help her mom figure out the basics-- setting up a gofundme page and finding a bigger house. and caring for the boys' mental health. >> how are they feeling? talking to them, death is sad their mom, i didn't want them real depressed or anything. so we tried to talk positive, tell them positive things about how everything that was going around, keep them happy and hopeful and not looking at it like this is another bad thing that happened to us, our mom and now our dad. >> reporter: kash is four and sometimes acts out at pre- school. kolby is five and in kindergarten. it's difficult for the younger boys to comprehend that their dad is really gone. where do you think your dad is now? >> he's at his house. >> reporter: the older boys are dealing with complex emotions. kristian, what were some of your
favorite things to do with your dad? >> play games with him. >> it's okay, kristian. >> draw with him. >> reporter: even though there are so many families and kids left to grieve on their own, there is no concerted government effort to help them or even identify them. there are organizations across the country that help grieving children but they are few and far between, and often not well known. at kate's club in atlanta, surviving parents, caregivers and kids come together to grieve and to learn healthy ways to cope. kids who've lost a parent or
caregiver to covid come from all backgrounds, but there are stark differences: one out of 753 white children have lost a caregiver, compared to one out of 412 hispanic children, one out of 310 black children, and one out of 168 american indian/alaska native children. compared to kids who have never lost a parent, bereaved children are at significantly increased risk for lower self-esteem and poor academic performance. they're at greater risk for death due to illness, suicide, drug abuse, and violent crime. 10-year-old london mcburnie and her mom, lauri clay, started coming to kate's club after london's dad, joel mcburnie, died of coviin august, at age 46. processing grief in the time of covid is complicated. some children feel guilty for infecting a parent, others, like london, are angry that their parent didn't get vaccinated or
wear a mask. and do you find, when people don't wear their masks, does that make you mad? >> yes. reminds me of not, of daddy not wearing his mask at the soccer game, and i told him to put it on, but he said he would put it on, but he never did. so, and that's when i got mad. >> reporter: the pandemic is far from over, and with every surge of covid-related deaths, there are more and more children left behind to grieve and deal with the consequences. >> in the united states, the original figure we thought was about 120,000, we think that is closer to around 175,000. >> reporter: charles nson co- authored a study in the journal pediatrics that estimated the number of children who've lost a parent or caregiver to covid. he says without interventions these kids face serious risks. >> there's the issue of unresolved grief. that is, the depression isn't treated, and it becomes a persistent form of depression.
>> reporter: so, this could affect them for the rest of their lives? >> these stressful events can be biologically embedded. so, their physical health could also suffer long-term. >> reporter: but nelson says there's more to it. a child's entire life can unravel. >> our instinct is to say how horrible a child has lost mom or dad, but what we're not really thinking about is: so what will that lead to? it could lead to the loss of income, it could lead to food scarcity, children could lose their home. they could wind up living with a relative they don't know. they could wind up in foster care. there could be impacts at school. kids could make fun of them. and so, eventually all of those things could pull the rug out from underneath a child and make the loss of a parent that much worse. >> reporter: camille and mallory dunlap, of elyria, ohio, have felt those ripple effects. their father, galen lewis dunlap iii, died of covid a year ago. mallory decided to quit college softball after a teammate called
covid a hoax. camille faced a bully at school, too, who said her dad abandoned them and didn't really die. >> he came up to me and told me my father went to go get milk and never came back. it drives me insane, i told the principal, he got suspended. >> reporter: both girls were home when their dad died in their parents' bedroom. their mother, julie wallace, tried to revive him with mouth to mou resuscitation and mallory called 911. nearly a year later, mallory is struggling to stay on course. >> now i feel like there's definitely days where it's better. i can focus really well, and i can study, and i'm good. but there's also the other days where, like, nothing seems like it's going to go right. it feels like there's a big cloud over my head, and it's raining, and it's not going to work. >> reporter: with the sudden loss of lewis' income; he had
helped run a truck repair shop considered an essential business at the height of the pandemic; julie now has to pay the monthly bills, find health insurance and therapists and put her girls through college. she is entirely on her own. >> these are all essential workers who we demanded these essential workers go to work. and they did. and they died. and it seems like, to some regard, it's just like, ¡okay, sorry, you know, thank you for your service, we're moving on.' and meanwhile, all of the families are drowning. >> reporter: experts say that if these kids and their families continue to be left on their own, the deaths of their parents will be felt for generations to come. for the pbs newshour and kaiser health news, i'm sarah varney in elyria, ohio.
>> woodruff: with only a few weeks left in the year, the president has a full slate of challenges ahead, from passing his "build back better" plan to tackling the new covid variant. here to assess the politics of it all: amy walter of the cook political report with amy walter. and tamara keith of npr. ska hello to both of you on this monday, very good to see you. so we're going to begin with what we're leading with in the program tonight and that is this new variant of covid. amy, just when i think we thought maybe we were on the good side of this. >> right. >> it turns out that there is a big question mark out there. we don't know yet how serious, how severe the symptoms are, but we know that it is on the move. and president biden is imposing a travel ban, he's saying no reason to panic. we know there are health reasons, health things he has to
worry about. >> that's right, i thought it was note worthy that he said be concerned but don't panic and also that he said we're not going to do lockdowns. made very clear we can defeat this with vaccines and with boosters, we don't have to go into where we were in 2020, the challenge though for the president as he noted also in that speech is he doesn't have any control over what other countries are doing and this is as you know be, a global paemic. yes, the u.s. can send lot of that around the world but we're still looking at countries in africa like south africa, 6 percent or something of vaccination rate so this is going to go on for quite some time. >> seems to me the other challenge the president has is feeling in realtime these mu taitions that will be with us while the long tail of covid is still with us just like this piece that ran before us about the mental health challenges for i had cans. we watched this year where we have record number of overdose deaths, that we have people
getting in fights on airplanes and punching flight attendants. we're still dealing with the affects of being in lockdown for 2020 that haven't been resolved. we're still sort of getting back into society while we're also dealing with the present reality of a mutating virus. that is probably going to be with us for some time. >> not to mention the economy. >> not to mention the economy. >> woodruff: there are so many different pieces of this that the president has to think about. but it do fek t is affecting him. >> absolutely. and he did come out, he had to come out after this long weekend where everyone at home got really frightening news that there is a new variant of concern that has this name that we haven't heard and we don't know how to pronounce. and he had to come out and say basically i'm president. i'm here to help. even though they have virtually no answers on all of the important and relevant questions, and he doesn't have a lot of levers left to push. he can beg people to wear masks
but outside of liberal urban centers, people just aren't wearing masks any more. the cdc came out with new recommendations, pushing boosters even harder than they were before. the president can continue sort of pushing boosters but they've be run out of being bold things that they can do to move the needle to get much more of the population vaccinated. he's in a tough spot and his political future rests on people feeling like there is some sense of normal. and just as we were having this seminormal thanksgiving where we saw people we haven't been in the same room iith a long time, just as this is happening this news comes out that is a big bad reminder that covid isn't done with us. >> and as we're heading into the holidays people are asked to be patient. just wait, we'll find out later
how serious. but meantime this isn't the only thing the president is dealing with right now. he's got several things before the congress. first and foremost build back better, his big social spending program, authorization bill, funding the government. what does it all. >> what does it all look like? >> remember t wasn't that long ago, tam, maybe it was a hundred years ago, it it feels like that these would be considered a really big deal. there would be panic on wall street, people in washington would be panicking, oh my gosh we're getting to the end of the year, there is a debt ceiling and we'll fall off a cliff and now it feels like there is sort of a collective shrug because this seems to happen every year and it fixes itself and we don't head into disaster area. the bigger challenge for the president is getting his build back better plan passed before we head into 2022. the majority leader chuck schumer said we're going to get
this done by christmas, maybe. but he wants this done so that 2022 starts off with hey, everybody, look what democrats have offered before you for the mid-term elections. >> so 28 days or i don't know, i didn't count. i made that up, tam, however many days it is. i mean how much of this is in the president's control? because we're talking about this at a time when his public opinion approval ratings are, you know, are moving down. >> yeah, and this comes at a time when democrats really are convinced that they need this. democrats brief that they need to be able to go out and say look at all this stuff we did for you. i'm not sure that that is totally going to work. but they have become convinced that they need that. and certainly president biden is going to be pushing for this, the white house is signaling that they are planning to be tougher be on republicans bek the thing is republicans are
pretty easily consolidated behind the message that is like no, no, no, this thing could hurt inflation. no, no, no, this is just going to trun up the debt and democrats hadn't quite consolidated behind a message of what's in it and why it's a good idea. and so the white house is signaling that president biden is going to get tougher and going to say well, what is their alternative? so that is sort of the phase they're moving into. i don't know that that is going to make democrats all come together and hug before christmas. >> so amy, while republicans say the country is going to fall apart if this passes, what is the secret poation that the president has. >> you mean to get his own party aboard. >> yes. >> some of it is hey, if i don't do well, if my approval ratings don't go up, then it's going to hurt everybody alongside. so you can try to distance yourself from an unpopular president when your party is up but it is very, very difficult to do.
and the really big flashing red light right now for democrats isn't that republicans are against what the president wants to do. it is that independent voters have-- soured a lot on this president, when you look at the last six mid term elections, the president going into that mid-term election with approval ratings where this president sits with independents have lost in that mid term, lost a seat in that mid term election. >> flashing red light. >> yes, i call it now it's the check engine light for american politics, independent voters. >> we're going to remember that, amy walter, tamara keith, thank you both. >> you're welcome. >> >> woodruff: journalist nikole hannah-jones' "1619 project" has become a topic of much debate in recent years. for our "bookshelf" tonight,
amna nawaz spoke with her about expanding upon that original work, the importance of looking back at how our nation's history unfolded, and its relevance to today. >> nawaz: in 2019, the "new york times" magazine published the“ 1619 project,” with the bold claim that 1619, the year the first enslaved africans were brought to a land that would later become the united states, could be considered the origin of this country. the journalist who created and helmed the project is nikole hannah-jones, a reporter for the magazine who won the pulitzer prize in 2020 for her work on the 1619 project. that work went from a special magazine issue, to a special newspaper section, to a multi- episode podcast series, and has now been expanded into a just published new book, “the 1619 project: a new origin story.” nikole hannah-jones, now the knight chair in race and journalism at howard university, joins me now in our studio. welcome to the newshour. thanks for being here. >> thank you. thanks for having me. >> nawaz: so why an expansion?
what did you feel it was necessary to expand upon from the previous work in this new book? >> well, we expanded for a few reasons. project was originally, there were still so many areas of american life that we wanted to explore and other writers and historians we wanted to include that we couldn't fit into the original project. and it also was an opportunity to really expand on the original essays to answer some of the critics to really show our work in the scholarship that undergirded the original project and to, i think, really make the connection of slavery to modern america even stronger. >> nawaz: you tackle a lot. even in this expansion, 19 essays, 36 poems and works of fiction issues include capitalism, inheritance, citizenship, music. just as contributors include dorothy roberts, wesley morris, trymaine lee, ibram x. kendi. how did you even decide what to include, who to approach, who to include? >> so it was kind of a mix. there's a essay by dorothy roberts on how race was constructed. i knew that martha jones, i wanted her to write on citizenship. and then there were certain
writers where, like ibram can be where i just i think he's a brilliant scholar, and i didn't know what he would write, but i knew i wanted to include him in the book. one that will probably be the most surprising to readers is the one by harvard historian tiya miles on settler colonialism, indian removal and how the five so-called civilized tribes also engaged in chattel slavery. i knew we needed to have an essay that dealt with indian removal, but we had to find the right one, so it was a mix. >> nawaz: there's also the inclusion of portraits, beautiful photographs, real people throughout american history. why did you choose to include that, include those? >> when we learn this history, so seldom do you see just regular black people in the 1800s or the early 1900s, and every one of those photos, which are not of famous people, forces you to pause before you enter the essays and reflect that these were human beings with real feelings with the same emotions, love, hearts, wants as anyone else, which is the opposite of what slavery tried to do, which was strip that
humanity from people. >> nawaz: this claim, this central idea to the book that 1619 could be considered the country's origin. that that's not the national narrative we're taught growing up here, and it was met with some very fierce backlash when you first published the 1619 project historians, politicians, state lawmakers legislating against it by name. did the strength of that backlash surprise you? >> yes, it did. yes, of course. i mean, i knew that there was going to be backlash to this, this is a ambitious and provocative project. the reason the project has to exist is we have wanted to treat slavery as an asterix, and even a lot of historians are invested in the idea of american exceptionalism. we treat the revolutionary period kind of as a divine event, and this project was seeking to unsettle that and to say yes, we were founded on ideals of freedom, but the practice of slavery. and if you think about 1619 as an origin that explains really some of our most vexing problems
and tensions, which i think we so i knew there would be pushback, but no one could predict that state legislatures would be seeking to ban the project that the president of the united states, donald trump at the time, would be castigating the project and in passing executive orders against the project. i think that's really unexpected. >> nawaz: there was an update to the work published. we should know it, right. in march of 2020, there was a clarification made. the original language suggested that protecting slavery was a "primary motivation for all columnists colonists." rather, you updated that to some colonists. why was that an important clarification to make? >> well, one let me say we weren't suggesting all colonists. that was correct rhetoric. so for instance, if we say americans love pizza, no one assumes that we mean every single american loves pizza. and so when i said colonies, i wasn't arguing that every single colonists had slavery as a motivation. but when scholars pushed back on that, then we amended it because i think that's what a journalist should do. i think that only strengthens
the project. >> nawaz: more big picture. let me ask you about where we are right now, because there's a james baldwin line that's actually in the book you cited inhe chapter called fear that“ not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” so do you see now a greater willingness among americans generally to face the history of racism in this country, the legacy of slavery and to begin to do the work to change it? >> i do. i mean, i think there was. wants to the 1619 project speaks to that you wouldn't see this type of intensive backlash if millions of americans didn't actually care about learning this history. i believe that if we believe our country is truly great, then it can withstand the light of the truth. and it's only if you are afraid that somehow the truth will destroy our country, that you try to repress it. so i think what we saw last year with the racial justice protests, with americans starting to make connections and say, wait a minute, we have unresolved issues.
when we saw george floyd being killed on national television, that was not just about one bad police officer, that was about a 400-year structure that would make this white officer feel he could kill a man in front of witnesses and not be punished. so those connections are very powerful, and that's why we're seeing the backlash. so i do think we're at a place where americans are willing to excavate our history so that we can actually try to build the country that we say we are. >> nawaz: the author is nikole hannah-jones, the new book is "the 1619 project: a new origin story." thank you so much for being here. >> thank you. >> woodruff: we'll be back shortly with a look at the life of virgil abloh, the trailblazing designer who brought streetwear to the world of luxury fashion. but first, take a moment to hear from your local pbs station. it's a chance to offer your support helps keep programs like ours on the air.
>> woodruff: for those stations staying with us, we turn to a pianist who found a way to bring her music to the world. jeffrey brown tells the story of her unusual journey as part of our ongoing arts and culture series, canvas. >> brown: called rapa nui in the polynesian language, easter island sits in the middle of the south pacific ocean, more than 2,000 miles off the coast of chile. it's home to about 7,000 residents and some of the world's most stunning scenery, including about 1,000 giant statues known as moai. ♪ ♪ ♪ it's also home to 38 year-old mahani teave. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪
teave recorded this version of chopin's scherzo number one in b minor for her debut album, "rapa nui odyssey." and in march, the album climbed to the top of billboard's classical charts, a remarkable development for a woman who grew up on one of the most remote spots on the globe. >> as a child, i never felt isolated. in fact, in the beginning, i thought this was the whole planet. >> brown: but, she told me from near her home on rapa nui, there was a big problem. >> it was difficult, like, to have dreams of some kind and want to pursue some artistic talent, for example, and not have the possibilities. >> brown: pianos were almost non-existent on the island. teave's introduction came from a visiting teacher. she fell in love with thsound and her talent was soon recognized. but then, another barrier: to really advance she'd have to leave her island home.
a chilean music conservatory came first, then top flight training in cleveland, followed by berlin. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ by her 20's, teave had earned a spot on the international concert stage, and was on the cusp of a promising career. >> i never imagined myself performing every other day in a different place, that was never my goal. my goal always was when i was with these amazing teachers, was to find beauty, the maximum beauty i could find in these pieces. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ >> brown: but nearly ten years ago she walked away, and returned home to create something she never had growing up: a music school on easter island. did you feel a responsibility
like you're the only one who could do this? >> everybody who's here loves being here and everybody who's far away dreams of someday coming back and will someday come back. and i felt that nobody else would understand maybe or would be able to do this because i had been the one that had had the chance to study the music. i had the chance to go abroad and be with amazing teachers and listen to incredible musicians. so i felt in a way then it's just what i had to do. >> brown: we first met teave in 2018 at the school she helped create: called the "toki school of music." we were on the island as part of our reporting on the rise of plastic pollution around the globe. the school represents another of her concerns, for the environment. it was partially constructed out of thousands of cans and bottles
and other waste left behind from the more than 100,000 tourists who normally visit the island every year. there's also been an influx of garbage steadily washing ashore in recent years. >> all the currents in the pacific come to this vortex in which we are in the middle. so we receive the garbage from china, from new zealand, from chile, from the united states, from everywhere. and if we can contribute to offering solutions to the different problems that we're facing as a civilization, then maybe we can inspire other places as well. >> brown: more than 100 students train at the school, receiving lessons in both classical and traditional rapa nui music. >> on the island, we have a very, very strong identity. and that's what's beautiful of the island.
it's like each culture in each and in our school, we want to preserve that as well, that our children learn as much as they can of our culture. >> brown: i'll never forget visiting your school and even just how hard it was for you-- you wanted to play for us, but how hard it was for you to find an instrument you felt was good enough for our cameras, right? >> oh, jeff, you have no idea the difficulties we've faced. but somehow our goal was the music has to continue and we found a way to make it continue. >> brown: that includes during the pandemic, which has hurt rapa nui's economy through the loss of tourism. by chance, though, this became the moment teave re-introduced herself to the outside world. on a visit to the island three years ago, seattle-based arts patron david fulton heard teave play and convinced her to come to the u.s. to record.
now the album is out. in addition a new documentary on amazon tells the story of her life and home. it's called "song of rapa nui". >> on the island, there's an artistic blood in everybody. i mean, everybody somehow sings and dances and carves and or plays an instrument. and there's nothing more natural and more true to the human being than art and music. >> bwn: all of it adding new wonder and beauty to one of the world's most remarkable places. for the pbs newshour, i'm jeffrey brown.
>> woodruff: the fashion world is mourning the loss of one of its most influential and contemporary black designers, virgil abloh. the artistic director for louis vuitton menswear, abloh died yesterday at the age of 41 after battling a rare type of cancer. stephanie sy tells us more about his legacy. >> sy: judy, virgil abloh was instrumental in cementing streetwear in high fashion. an architect by training, his first fashion foray was with rapper kanye west. in 2013 he launched his own clothing line called "off- white." and in 2018, he became the first black man to helm the creative side of louis vuitton, the famed parisian design house. for more on how vigil abloh shaped fashion and beyond, i'm joined by robin givhan, the senior critic at large for the "washington post." ms. givhan, thank you for joinings newshour, what has been the reaction to the death in the fashion industry?
>> the fashion industry has been in shockment i don't think anyone really realized the gravity of the illness. and he was only 41 years old. the other aspect is just immense sadness that this was someone at the top of their game and really paving a way for others to have such a short, short legacy. >> why did his work have such resonance. did he have a unique signature you can describe or was it just the force of his character? >> i think it was the combination of things. one was that he came to fashion from really a-- he hadn't studied at fit, he hadn't studied at parsons, he really came from the creative world of music. from branding, from working with kayne west. and he also was someone who
walked very tall when he got to louis vuitton. he was very much proud of the fact that he was a black de cyber at that level. and he sought to hire other black designers, he sought to create scholarships specifically targeting black designers. and i also think that he was an incredible source of admiration for a lot of young black designers who saw in him someone who wasn't outside, who wasn't a superhero, who wasn't a genius, so to speak. he was someone who very much was talented but also human. >> how many young black designers do you think are reflecting on virming il-- virgil abloh's trail-blazing path today and thinking can i do this, i can reach the very pinnacle of luxury fashion? >> i think the number is really
countless. i think part of it, was the fact that here is someone who was an incredible optimist and who believes that he can make the existing system work for him, who wasn't trying to burn down the fashion system as it was. he was just trying to blow open the doors. and i think he did that. the other thing is that you know, by stepping through the door at louis vuitton where he worked as the artistic director for menswear, he was really stepping into a world that had an incredible heritage that celebrated that heritage and tradition and exclusivity and instead of focusing on that heritage and focusing so much on like the craftsmanship of the object, he was focused on the ways in which the object connected with customers. he wanted customers to be able to see themselves reflected in
the work. and not have the work looked down to the customer, but to really create a kind of community with the customer. >> do you think that virgil abloh has permanently changed the status quo in the fashion industry? >> you know, i think i have hope that he did. fashion can be quite stubborn when it comes to change. but i do think that he proved to the fashion industry that someone from his background, someone below looks like him had the talent and had the determination and also had the character to be able to excel at that levelnd hopefully if the industry has learned anything, it should be that it should look beyond the usual suspects for talent. >> virgil an low is-- abloh is srvived by his wife and two
kids, robin kif han of "the washington post," thank you so much for joining us. >> a life cut short far too and that's the newshour for tonight. i'm judy woodruff. join us on-line and again here tomorrow evening. for all of us at the pbs newshour, thank you, please stay safe, and we'll see you soon. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> a raymond james financial advisor tailors advice to help you live your life. life, well-planned. >> the kendeda fund. committed to advancing restorative justice and meaningful work through investments in transformative leaders and ideas. more at kendedafund.org.
>> supported by the john d. and catherine t. macarthur foundation. committed to building a more just, verdant and peaceful world. more information at macfound.org >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org
[upbeat music] - hello everyone, and welcome to "amanpour & company." here's what's coming up. - this document, the constitution of the united states, has held these millions of people together, a very diverse group thinking so many different things. - a rare interview with a sitting supreme court justice. i speak with stephen breyer about the danger zone, when politics inrferes with the law. then, a furniture salesman and a hotel heist. two-time pulitzer prize winner colson whitehead brings us inside that world in his latest novel, "harlem shuffle," plus. - peril remains, it's not over trump is out there. - [christiane] investigative journalist bob woodward joins walter isaacson with new details about the turbulent transfer of power from trump to biden. [upbeat music]