May 23, 2023 - PBS NewsHour full episode
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May 23, 2023 - PBS NewsHour full episode
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05/23/2023 | 57m 46s | Video has closed captioning.
May 23, 2023 - PBS NewsHour full episode
Problems Playing Video? | Closed Captioning
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Good evening.
I'm William Brangham.
AMNA NAWAZ: And I'm Amna Nawaz in Uvalde, Texas.
On the "NewsHour" tonight: A community reflects on the first anniversary of the elementary school shooting that left 19 children and two teachers dead.
What's changed and what hasn't since that fateful day?
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: The economic risks from a potential government default rise, as Congress and the White House struggle to reach an agreement to raise the debt ceiling.
AMNA NAWAZ: And a Philadelphia organization works to mentor Black teachers to counteract dropout rates among Black students.
SHARIF EL-MEKKI (Founder and CEO, Center for Black Educator Development): Thirty-nine percent less likely to drop out of high school and up to 29 percent more likely to go to college if they have a single Black teacher.
Why isn't this the intervention that we're leading with?
(BREAK) WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Welcome to the "NewsHour."
This week marks one year since the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School, where a gunman killed 19 children and two teachers.
AMNA NAWAZ: William, here in Uvalde, this community is still trying to make sense of exactly what happened a year ago.
Family members who lost loved ones have been pushing for accountability and more action from their elected officials.
Most folks here say that they just don't have answers to their questions.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Amna, you were there a year ago reporting on this massacre.
What is it like now a year later as they're approaching this anniversary?
AMNA NAWAZ: William, we all remember, a year ago, this was a community very much united, right, united certainly in their grief, mourning the loss of those 19 children and two adults, united in their shock that this could happen, something like this could happen here, and also in their anger not only at the teenage gunman who carried out the rampage, but at the police response, which you will remember fueled national outrage when they learned about those excruciating 77 minutes when heavily armed police officers failed to go into the classroom, even as children inside were calling 911 and some lay dying.
Even today, as Robb Elementary, the school itself, has been shut down and shuttered, there are signs of that grief everywhere you look in this community, memorials like the one behind me here which still stand today, people who walk around with "Uvalde Strong" tattoos, but also murals, huge building-side murals dedicated to each of the 21 people killed in that attack.
We actually spoke to a muralist named Abel Ortiz, who's one of the artists behind some of those murals, and asked him about marking this day one year later.
ABEL ORTIZ, Uvalde Artist: If there's any art in the world that I wish didn't exist would be these murals, because that means that children would be alive, the teachers would be alive, Uvalde would be the normal town it was before.
But now they have to exist, because it's a way to remember their names and remember their faces, but also to bring about, hopefully, maybe change.
AMNA NAWAZ: We also spoke to Tammie Sinclair.
She's an archivist at Uvalde's library, where they are now -- have been receiving and are now keeping some 10,000 different pieces of memorabilia and gifts and letters that poured into this community over the last year.
She read us just a portion of one of those letters they received from North Carolina.
Take a listen.
TAMMIE SINCLAIR, El Progreso Memorial Library: "Know you are loved and supported during this challenging time.
Know your loved rest in peace.
Dream your sweet dreams until your soul is released."
AMNA NAWAZ: William, it's fair to say, one year later, this is a community that has been forever changed by the events.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Amna, as you mentioned earlier, there have been attempts at accountability.
Where do those efforts stand?
AMNA NAWAZ: Yes, we have heard this from a number of families here who remain very frustrated by what they say is a lack of transparency and information from their elected officials and police officials in particular.
They told us, many times, they hear about developments through the news media or through social media itself.
There are some investigations.
The Uvalde district attorney has launched a probe into the police response.
We know the Department of Justice has also launched its own inquiry.
There was a senior Department of Justice official named Vanita Gupta who was just here last month to meet with families.
But, so far, no criminal charges have been filed.
And family say they want more accountability.
There is a divide here, though.
There are members of this community who believe it is time to move on one year later.
And, similarly, there's a divide over how to handle gun violence.
This is an area where gun rights are highly valued.
It's a big hunting community.
And while the families of those who lost loved ones have been pushing to raise the purchase age limit from 18 to 21 for those assault-style weapons like the one used in the attack, that effort failed in the state legislature.
And, quite frankly, many people here don't support that kind of effort.
You have to remember, William, just a few months after the shooting, the majority of residents here in Uvalde County actually voted to put Governor Greg Abbott, Texas governor, back into office for a third term.
He, of course, has long opposed any kind of gun violence reform -- William.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Tomorrow, as you well know, is the actual anniversary.
What is your understanding of how the city is going to commemorate that day?
AMNA NAWAZ: The schools here have been closed all week.
We also must remember, for the many who lost someone that day, there are many, many more who survived, children who were in the school and had to flee, parents who are similarly traumatized by the events of that day.
Many families we talked to said they were going to leave town this week because they didn't want to be here for this anniversary.
We know there's a big vigil tomorrow evening as well.
And even that has been largely pushed and organized by the families of those who lost someone on that day.
This is another divide that we're seeing among those who feel they should move on and those who don't want to forget.
In fact, local officials here issued a statement in advance of the anniversary asking people not to come to Uvalde, saying: We ask you to respect the community and stay away.
But the families of those who lost loved ones issued their own statement welcoming people to come join them here and saying: We don't want the world to forget -- William.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Amna, thank you so much for being there.
I know we will hear more from you tomorrow.
In the day's other headlines: Illinois' attorney general reported that the sexual abuse of children by Roman Catholic clergy in the state was far more extensive than previously known.
The investigation found 451 clerics sexually abused nearly 2,000 children between 1950 and 2019.
That's four times more clergy members than the church had previously disclosed, although many of these cases are now too old to prosecute.
KWAME RAOUL (D), Illinois Attorney General: These perpetrators may never be held accountable in a court of law, but by naming them in this report, the intention is to provide the public with accountability -- public accountability and a measure of healing to survivors who have long suffered in silence.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: The report also charged that Catholic diocese failed to confront accused clergy and failed to warn parishioners.
A judge in New York today set former President Trump's criminal trial for next March 25, in the thick of the presidential primary season.
Mr. Trump is running again, and he threw up his hands in frustration as he heard the news.
He appeared by video link to go over an order that bars him from using evidence in the hush money case to attack witnesses.
If he violates that order, he could be held in contempt of court.
A Russian court has ordered Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich to be held for another three months.
He was arrested in March and accused of espionage.
The Journal and the Biden administration have denied that claim.
Gerskovich appeared at an April hearing, but today's session was not announced, and the U.S. State Department said it's being denied regular contact with him.
MATTHEW MILLER, State Department Spokesman: We once again call on Russia to comply with their obligation to provide consular access to him.
The claims against Evan are baseless, and we continue to call for his immediate release, as well as for the immediate release of Paul Whelan.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Whelan is a retired U.S. Marine who is serving a 16-year sentence for espionage in Russia.
The U.S. denies that charge as well.
Meanwhile, Russia's military claimed it defeated a cross-border raid from Ukraine, killing more than 70 attackers.
Moscow said Ukrainian soldiers carried out the raid in the Belgorod region.
Kyiv said they were Russian dissidents.
Today, an anti-Kremlin group released video of fighters driving in what purported to be Russian territory.
They said -- quote -- "One day, we will return to stay."
The people of Guam battened down today for what could be the most powerful storm to hit the U.S. territory in decades.
Forecasters said Super Typhoon Mawar intensified as it headed for a possible direct hit from the Southeast.
Palm trees swayed in the rising winds hours before the storms expected landfall.
In a recorded message, the governor warned that only buildings made of concrete will be safe.
LOU LEON GUERRERO (D), Guam: Mawar is bordering a Category 4 typhoon with winds up to 150 miles per hour.
Please take action now, and evacuate in anticipation of strengthening winds and the likelihood of flooding.
We must act now to ensure the protection of our people and your safety.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Here in Washington, President Biden approved an emergency declaration to mobilize federal aid and recovery operations once the storm passes.
U.S. Park Police have arrested a man who crashed his rental truck near the White House last night.
Officials say it may have been intentional.
The 19-year-old from Missouri faces multiple charges, including threatening the president.
Amateur video showed the truck driving into a barrier at Lafayette Square in front of the White House.
Investigators said they found a Nazi flag inside the vehicle.
And on Wall Street, stocks gave ground as the debt ceiling talks in Washington showed no clear progress.
The Dow Jones industrial average lost 231 points to close at 33055.
The Nasdaq fell 160 points, 1.25 percent.
The S&P 500 was also down than 1 percent.
Still to come on the "NewsHour": an on-the-ground look at the human toll from the battle for Bakhmut in Eastern Ukraine; the Los Angeles Dodgers reinvite a satirical LGBTQ group to pride night after widespread backlash; a tenuous cease-fire in Sudan offers some needed relief; and a boundary-pushing artist discusses her new installation.
If you stacked up the full debt of the United States in $100 bills, you could make not one, not two, but 13 piles of cash as tall as the Washington Monument.
Lisa Desjardins takes a step back from the debt ceiling negotiations on Capitol Hill to account for what the nation owes.
LISA DESJARDINS: OK, the national debt, all of the money the U.S. government owes, is currently $31.4 trillion.
But what does that mean?
For one, that's decades' worth of government spending, things like Medicaid and other health care, the U.S. military, food stamps, and other benefits, fixing roads, Head Start and schools, the environment, national parks, and 1,000 other areas.
For years, what the U.S. government spent on those things was far greater than the amount of money it had brought in to pay for them.
That stacked up to that $31.4 trillion in debt we have now.
That's an enormous, almost nonsensical number.
So let's put it a different way.
If all Americans pitched in, it would take $94,000 from each one of us, every man, woman and child, to pay off the national debt.
The U.S. national debt, in dollars, is by far the largest in the world.
But we also have the largest economy in the world.
And that is how most experts approach this.
Think of it this way.
The national debt is a weight, sometimes a heavy weight, like a barbell at a gym.
But what matters is not just the size of the debt, but the size of the economy, or person, trying to handle that debt.
So, how big is our debt compared to the economy trying to hold it up?
Back in the year 2000, it was a relatively easy.
The debt equaled 36 percent of the combined earnings, goods, and everything the U.S. economy produced that year.
But it shot up, and now the U.S. is shouldering a national debt that is 98 percent of what we will produce this year.
And, much worse, if nothing changes, in 30 years, the debt is forecasted to soar to be nearly twice as large as everything the economy produces, a potentially overwhelming weight for the U.S. economy.
MICHAEL PETERSON, CEO, The Peter G. Peterson Foundation: As the debt keeps creeping up, we just are placing a greater and greater burden on the next generation.
LISA DESJARDINS: Michael Peterson is CEO of The Peterson Foundation, a nonprofit group focused on the U.S. budget long-term.
And he is particularly worried about the cost of the debt.
MICHAEL PETERSON: The interest cost is really what is the cost of the debt.
If you think over a long period of time, by about 2050, approximately 50 percent of federal revenues will go towards interest only.
LISA DESJARDINS: That means, by 2053, when little kids today are in their 30s, the interest costs on the national debt will be the largest expenditure the federal government has, and 50 percent, half, of the taxes that these guys pay will go to those interest costs.
That will constrict funding for everything, including what we mentioned earlier, health care, the military, food stamps, education and the environment.
Even Social Security benefits would be significantly cut.
There is still time to change course and multiple ways to address the debt.
But the longer lawmakers wait to tackle it, the deeper and more painful future cuts and the future burden will be.
For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm Lisa Desjardins.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: In just the time it took Lisa to tell that story, the U.S. slipped nearly $10 million deeper into debt.
And each passing second brings the country closer to a first-ever default.
Lisa has spent the day chasing down lawmakers, and she now joins us to bring us up to speed.
Lisa, a terrific report on the debt there, but back to these talks on Capitol Hill.
We are right at the precipice here.
What is the current status of negotiations.
LISA DESJARDINS: We're getting close.
As you said, I was on the Hill with our producer Kyle Midura.
This is where we are.
Talks are at a standstill at this moment.
In fact, Speaker McCarthy earlier today said talks had broken down.
Really, there -- there is some agreement over many areas, but they are not making any distance over two big areas.
That is work requirements, which Republicans want to add more of for some benefits.
And then the other one, here you see Republicans, the White House lawmakers coming in for the morning meeting.
Republicans also say they are just -- there's Speaker McCarthy -- simply too far apart when it comes to spending and funding.
One dynamic we have seen today, William, is Speaker McCarthy again and again coming and talking to reporters.
Republicans feel like they're winning the sort of public argument here.
We're seeing Democrats just starting to speak to us more.
But I think, right now, the House is expected to recess on Thursday with no deal.
And I think, this weekend, we could still be talking about this.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Well, you, I know, in addition to all your other reporting, have some reporting about what the Treasury Department might be doing in case we get to this dreaded moment.
What is that?
LISA DESJARDINS: Sources familiar have confirmed that the U.S. Treasury has sent out notices to government agencies asking them to hold off on any payments that don't have specific due dates right now.
It's something that maybe pro forma or just kind of happenstance.
They were sending out these payments, but they can wait.
They have a deadline that they don't have to meet.
They're saying hold back on that, the U.S. Treasury essentially trying to hold on to some kind of cushion of cash, because it is getting concerned that we're close to the deadline, and it may come down to a few hundred million dollars, which is usually not a lot for the U.S. Treasury, but could make a big difference in these negotiations.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Lisa Desjardins, as always, thank you so much.
LISA DESJARDINS: You're welcome.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: So, the impact of the U.S. defaulting on its debt or not paying its bills would be felt immediately by many Americans.
We don't know precisely where the axe would fall, but it could include suspension of Social Security checks or a loss of food stamp benefits, to name just a few.
Beyond that, many economists argue it could also be devastating to financial markets, potentially tipping the country into a recession and creating economic turmoil globally.
Mark Zandi is the chief economist at Moody's Analytics, and he's been keeping a very close eye on these concerns.
He testified before Congress about them, and he joins us now.
Mark Zandi, thank you so much for being here.
What is your sense of confidence about whether our not a deal is going to be reached?
MARK ZANDI, Chief Economist, Moody's Analytics: Well, William, logic dictates that they will reach an agreement.
A lot of drama, Sturm und Drang, but when it gets down to the last minute here, I expect them to come through and pass a piece of legislation increasing the limit.
But, having said that, I -- we have seen many debt limit battles over the years.
This one feels potentially different.
The politics are different.
And, as such, there's not a nonzero probability that lawmakers make a mistake here and breach the debt limit.
So we can't rule that out.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Speaker McCarthy says that, just looking at the calendar, they have to strike a deal in the next couple of days in order to make the trains run on time.
The markets have shown some concern over this, but not that much.
Do you think that there is enough fire being applied to the feet of the people on Capitol Hill?
MARK ZANDI: Not enough.
I mean, it's a bit perplexing.
I don't -- I have not heard the pounding on the doors that I typically have in past debt limit dramas from businesspeople, from donors, from voters, from the markets.
I mean, take a look at the stock market.
It's kind of hung in there really very well, no sign of any angst among stock investors, which makes me a bit nervous, right?
Because I do think it takes that pounding on the door to kind of light the fire to generate the political will to get lawmakers to make this tough vote.
And the fact that we're not seeing that makes me nervous.
Now, I suspect, as we get closer and closer to that so-called X-date, when the Treasury can't make all the payments, then markets will react, and we will get that pressure.
But, so far, the people are not as anxious as I thought they would be at this point in time.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Let's say that they don't meet that deal.
What happens in the days in the weeks immediately afterwards?
MARK ZANDI: Well, it's a mess, progressively worse mess as hours and days go by.
I think it is important to recognize, though, I don't think the Treasury would default on the debt.
They have the ability to pay bondholders.
It's a separate accounting system, payment system, and they can get that done, because they know, if they don't pay on the debt, that would be like -- words like catastrophic would be appropriate, just a complete, utter fiasco.
But they would stop making payments on all other bills, and everyone would get their money from the government later and later and later, depending on how long this went.
And, of course, investors would be very anxious as well.
Even though they're getting paid, they're going to say, hey look, they're willing to breach this go-around.
What about next time and the time after the time after that?
You, the taxpayer, have to pay me more in higher interest to compensate for that risk.
So the damage would start to accumulate pretty quickly.
Within a few days, I think it'd be so significant that, given how weak the economy already is coming into this, we would be in recession.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Do you think that your firm, Moody's, and others would, as has happened in the past, downgrade the U.S.' credit rating?
And I guess my question is really the long-term reputational harm that this seems like it would do to the United States' standing?
MARK ZANDI: Well, if you -- every rating agency is different in terms of their methodology and approach.
If you read what they're writing publicly, I think it would take a default on the debt to actually get a downgrade, at least initially.
I mean, if this -- if the breach extended on for more than a week or two, given the turmoil, they would be under pressure to downgrade at that point.
But you make a great point, William.
Downgrade or no downgrade, the fact that we, the United States of America, can't pay our bills on time -- and we have done that since the founding of our nation -- the fact that we can't get that done will have a big impact on people's trust and faith in us.
And I can't understate more how important that is.
That is critical to keeping interest rates down here, allowing us to invest and be the global engine of economic growth, and not only economically, but geopolitically, and we would significantly diminish that by going down that dark path, if we did breach.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: You warned about all of this and the coming storm as early as January of this year.
When you see how close we are to the precipice now, does it surprise you how far we have gotten to the edge?
MARK ZANDI: No.
I mean, we -- I have done this for a long time.
I have seen this go right down to the edge every single time.
So -- and it's the politics of it.
There is this aspect of it that's very performative, theater.
There's folks on either side of the aisle here, way on the other side of the aisle, that need to be accommodated, so that you can get enough votes to get a piece of legislation.
And that does require the drama.
So I'm not surprised.
But I am -- each time that we come down to the wire, I get increasingly more nervous, and my level of angst is now starting to grow.
I suspect we're going to come back next few days, certainly after Memorial Day, and lawmakers will start a deal.
But, gee, it just feels very uncomfortable.
And it goes to a broader point.
Yes, this is no way to run a railroad.
I mean, this debt limit thing is not at all productive.
It's highly counterproductive.
We need to figure out a way to get rid of it.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: All right, Mark Zandi of Moody's Analytics, thank you so much for being here.
MARK ZANDI: Sure thing.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Russia now claims it has won the battle for Bakhmut, but the fighting continues.
Both sides have taken massive casualties to control the symbolic, but strategically marginal city in the east of Ukraine.
John Ray of Independent Television News has this rare look from inside one of Ukraine's military field hospitals.
And the note of caution: Images and accounts in this story could well disturb some viewers.
JOHN RAY: Its location is secret, because, in the battle for Bakhmut, even this medical post is under fire, a fragile haven of humanity amid carnage.
We watch as doctors fight to save a soldier.
Half his face has been ripped away by shrapnel.
"All you have to do is breathe," says a doctor.
He tells him: "If you panic, you're dead."
There are more casualties than ever, sometimes too many to treat at once.
DR. KAPLYA, Fifth Assault Brigade (through translator): You know, I am a doctor.
I'm not God.
JOHN RAY: This is Kaplya, one of Ukraine's top trauma specialists, who leads a team of front-line medics.
DR. KAPLYA (through translator): Sometimes, I have operated on a soldier who should really have no chance to live, but, somehow, they survive.
That inspires me.
JOHN RAY: The soldier's name is Anatoly.
He's 31 years old and, for a while, his fate seems to hang in the balance.
As shells begin to land, so too does the safety of the medical unit.
Ukraine's artillery, close by, fires back.
Members of the team were injured when a Russian rocket landed outside the door.
Dimitri says it's a constant danger.
Back and forth, yes.
You fire, Russians fire.
Ukraine does not reveal the number of its soldiers killed and injured.
But the discarded bloodied uniforms reflect the intensity of fighting in Bakhmut.
This commander tells me that, in the city, his unit has been bombarded for three hours nonstop.
One of his men lies on the treatment table.
A shell exploded beneath.
He cannot move his legs.
When you witness scenes like this, it's impossible not to think about the bloodshed, the sacrifice, the loss of life.
But, for these medics, I suppose the operating table itself is a kind of battlefield, with its own defeats and victories.
The paramedics here risk their own lives, ranging across the battlefield to save others.
Why do you do this?
WOMAN: Because it's my country.
JOHN RAY: It's your country.
WOMAN: Yes, it's my country.
I would like this country, my country, stay on the map of the world.
JOHN RAY: As for Anatoly, his condition is now stable.
Will he be OK?
Will he be OK?
DR. KAPLYA (through translator): Yes.
I feel good.
JOHN RAY: He's taken to a hospital safe, from the front line, alive, but he will bear the scars of Bakhmut forever.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: The latest company caught up in the battle over LGBTQ issues is the Los Angeles Dodgers.
One of baseball's most storied franchises, the Dodgers originally planned to include one particular queer and trans group as part of its Pride event.
But then, under pressure from critics, the Dodgers retracted that invitation.
Now, as Stephanie Sy reports, the team has reversed course again, apologized and welcomed the group back.
STEPHANIE SY: The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence are a charity and drag group calling attention to LGBTQ+ issues.
Not only were they invited to the Dodgers' Pride night.
The franchise originally planned to honor the group with its Community Heroes award next month.
But conservative Catholics have called the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence a hate group, and a local diocese called the group's behavior demeaning and disrespectful to the sisters of the Catholic Church.
The Dodgers reacted by rescinding the groups invite.
A member defended the charity.
PERFORMER: They have always said that we are anti-Catholic and that we are making fun of Catholicism, which is not true.
We are here to be silly and to look flamboyant, in service to people in our community who have no resources, no money, no voice.
STEPHANIE SY: With the organizers of the Los Angeles Pride Parade threatening to pull out of Pride Night, the Dodgers have now done another 180.
Yesterday, the team apologized and reinvited the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.
It's the latest example of a corporation facing fallout for trying to be LGBTQ+-inclusive.
Last month, right-wing boycotts of Bud Light like these flooded social media after trans actress and influencer Dylan Mulvaney this on her Instagram: DYLAN MULVANEY, Influencer: This month, I celebrated my day 365 of womanhood.
And Bud Light sent me possibly the best gift ever, a can with my face on it.
STEPHANIE SY: In the fallout, the brand took a hit in sales and two top marketing executives took a leave of absence.
Anheuser-Busch said it would re-focus marketing on sports and music.
For another perspective, I'm joined by L.Z.
Granderson, columnist for The L.A. Times.
L.Z., it is good to see you.
I should say, you are also a veteran sports journalist, and you have reported for years on professional sports' move toward more inclusivity of gay athletes.
So, did the Dodgers strike out, so to speak, on this one, at least initially?
GRANDERSON, The Los Angeles Times: Using their own words, yes.
I had an interview with the president of the Dodgers, Stan Kasten, and he flat out said that they made a mistake and he explained why, that they're an organization that have done these sort of celebrations for 10 years without any hitch.
And then, this year, they had a hitch and they didn't know what to do, and they panicked.
But they had meetings with the community, with the LGBTQ+ community leaders, with the Sisters, and then decided to reinvite them, returning back to their overall sort of theme, which is, the organization supports the community.
STEPHANIE SY: What was the original sin, so to speak, here by the Dodgers, in your view?
Was it rescinding the invitation?
I mean, at what point did they go wrong?
GRANDERSON: I think they went wrong, assuming that they could operate the same way they have been operating for the past 10 years, to be quite honest with you.
And that's not just a commentary in regards to the Dodgers, but, really, as much of corporate America.
As I said earlier, the Dodgers have been doing this for 10 years.
Well, go back 10 years ago, we had a different president, we had a different Supreme Court, we had a different sense in the culture.
Things have changed over the past decade.
And so it's very difficult to try to wade into waters that's dealing with groups, whether it's with conversations of diversity and equity and inclusion, whether it's about trans rights, et cetera.
Anything that's seen as progressive can be used against your corporations.
And so it's really behooved upon a lot of corporations to look to see what happened to Disney, to see what happened with Bud Light, to see what happened with the Dodgers and be prepared with statements and a philosophy, so, when criticism comes, you're not scrambling like those organizations I just mentioned.
STEPHANIE SY: L.Z., in the context of legislation being passed lately by conservative states to specifically target trans people, do you think the Dodgers' decision to now include the Sisters of Indulgence charity is more poignant?
GRANDERSON: Well, I think that it's more consistent to what they have always tried to be, particularly during Pride celebrations, which is to celebrate all aspects of the community.
I think that it's a little -- I think it puts too much credit, to be quite honest with you, to the conservative movement that's attacking the trans movement right now, because it isn't really a well-thought-out plan.
It's really just another example of throwing anything up against the wall and seeing what sticks.
And for this particular news cycle, this particular political cycle, it is attacking, again, the queer community.
But we have seen other examples of them trying to find a cultural touchstone that can help drive voters, right?
So this isn't unique.
It isn't about the Dodgers trying to make a statement with the Sisters.
They have always been supportive of the drag community, just like all aspects of the queer community.
This is, again, just about a lightning-in-the-bottle moment, in terms of where we are politically, and that the Dodgers are just doing what they have always done, which is try to be an organization for everyone, including the queer community.
STEPHANIE SY: So, the political lightning rod that are trans issues in particular right now aside, L.Z., there are people who are offended by this group and what they view as mocking of Catholicism and its figures, including Christ and Virgin Mary.
You heard that criticism coming from outside politicians and groups, as you mentioned, but did you also hear that from Dodgers fans?
GRANDERSON: We have heard a lot actually from Dodgers fans.
They're -- if you go online, anyone can just simply take a look at some of the commentary that's happening on social media today.
And there are a lot of people who are upset about the system's inclusion and who were actually happy that the Dodgers decided to initially disinvite them.
That's just going to be a reality for anyone who decides to try to do anything that's remotely tied to the culture, because we're just in a very divisive moment right now in this country.
And anything, whether you're talking about Black History Month, whether you're celebrating AAPI Month, you're going to find a group that's going to find some level of offense.
And I want to just say that, when it comes specifically to religious ideology and imagery, you can go back to "Rosemary's Baby" in the 1970s, and I believe the Catholic Church was upset about that.
You can go back to Madonna and "Papa Don't Preach," and they were upset in the '80s about that.
And so there's been consistent examples in which people have used religion imagery to try to have a cultural moment, maybe a satirical moment, and that people of that faith have been offended by it.
This is not unique to the Sisters.
This is not unique to the Dodgers.
This is something that we have witnessed in this culture for many decades.
STEPHANIE SY: Certainly a conversation that continues in many quarters.
Granderson, a columnist for The Los Angeles Times, thank you so much for joining us.
GRANDERSON: Well, thank you very much for having me.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: In our series on higher education this spring, we have looked at why it's crucial to build out and diversify the teaching pipeline.
Tonight, we focus on why developing and recruiting more Black teachers is especially important for Black students, to make sure they continue their education and finish their degrees.
Geoff Bennett has the story for our series Rethinking College.
LEE DATTS, Teacher: All right, if you are in group six, you are coming to me now.
GEOFF BENNETT: Time for reading lessons in Lee Datts, second grade class at Mastery Prep Elementary in North Philadelphia.
LEE DATTS: Remember, read to comprehend.
Let me hear that again.
Read to comprehend.
STUDENTS: Read to comprehend.
GEOFF BENNETT: It's a common scene in classrooms across America, except for one key difference.
LEE DATTS: What did we talk about the last time I saw you all?
GEOFF BENNETT: The teacher.
SHARIF EL-MEKKI (Founder and CEO, Center for Black Educator Development): Nationally, there are less than 2 percent of all public school teachers are Black men.
GEOFF BENNETT: Sharif El-Mekki is the CEO of the Center for Black Educator Development.
He says teachers like Lee Datts are all too rare.
SHARIF EL-MEKKI: Even in places like Philadelphia that is extremely diverse and about half of the student population are Black, it hovers between 4 percent or 5 percent every year.
GEOFF BENNETT: And yet studies show, for young Black students, having a teacher who looks like them has huge long-term benefits.
CONSTANCE LINDSAY, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill: Students in kindergarten and first grade, if they experience at least one Black teacher, they are less likely to drop out of high school and more likely to enroll in college.
GEOFF BENNETT: Constance Lindsay is an assistant professor at the UNC School of Education whose research focuses on educational equity.
What in your research has surprised you the most?
CONSTANCE LINDSAY: I think the outsize impact on Black boys.
Across several of our studies, we find that, many times, the results are driven by persistently low-income young Black boys.
So it's really important for them.
GEOFF BENNETT: So the stakes, she says, are highest in these classrooms where most students are Black and also come from economically disadvantaged families, especially for the boys.
SHARIF EL-MEKKI: Thirty-nine percent less likely to drop out of high school and up to 29 percent more likely to go to college if they have a single Black teacher.
Why isn't this the intervention that we're leading with?
What are you doing this summer?
GEOFF BENNETT: Sharif El-Sharif, a former principal and teacher himself, is on a mission.
SHARIF EL-MEKKI: You can go to WeNeedBlackteachers.com and just see.
We would love to have you.
It's a paid apprenticeship.
It's a job.
GEOFF BENNETT: El-Mekki's Center for Black Educator Development is building a Black teacher pipeline, one component, paid apprenticeships at Freedom Schools Literacy Academy, where high school and college students get hands-on teaching experience.
SHARIF EL-MEKKI: Don't go to McDonald's and Starbucks.
Come work here if you are interested in becoming a teacher.
This summer, we will have almost 200 Black and brown teacher apprentices working and leading hundreds of first, second and third graders.
JOSHUA MCQUEEN, Student: At first, I really didn't like kids.
GEOFF BENNETT: Teaching was not an obvious career path for high school junior Joshua McQueen.
JOSHUA MCQUEEN: I used to be scared of them, actually.
It was like -- because they made me so nervous because they have so much energy and stuff like that.
GEOFF BENNETT: But when McQueen apprenticed last summer, he says one student gave him a new perspective.
JOSHUA MCQUEEN: Like say if we went out to recess, I'd be playing tag with them and basketball with all of them.
He would be the one that was like constantly playing just because I was playing.
And it made me, like, realize the impact that I can have on a kid's life.
WOMAN: How can you even picture yourself in the shoes of excellence when you don't see yourself?
GEOFF BENNETT: McQueen is now taking a course his high school offers on the history and culture of Black teachers.
SHARIF EL-MEKKI: Often, when teachers are being prepared to teach, everything is centered in a white historical lens; 80 percent of our public schoolteachers are white.
And then they're sent into predominantly Black and brown classrooms.
GEOFF BENNETT: Imere Williams is an education major at West Chester University.
IMERE WILLIAMS, College Student: I have always wanted to be a teacher since I was 5 years old.
I have loved school my entire life.
I look at it as sort of a calling.
So, when you guys are writing your own sentences, I want your sentences to convey what that word means.
GEOFF BENNETT: Twice a week, Williams student-teaches fifth graders at James Rhoads School in the West Philadelphia neighborhood where he grew up.
IMERE WILLIAMS: I think that, a lot of times, people have misconceptions of West Philadelphia students or just urban students in general that they won't amount to much, they aren't scholars, they can't learn.
Well, I grew up in this neighborhood, and I'm in college.
I wanted to sort of just come back and prove that, like, students that come from urban schools can go on and do amazing, great things.
Who was described as obedient in the book?
GEOFF BENNETT: Williams receives scholarship money through the Black Teacher Pipeline to support his education.
Once he gets to five years of teaching, he will get a retention bonus.
What kind of impact do you think you have on your students?
IMERE WILLIAMS: I think they see me and they see someone that looks like them in a professional position.
They see that, like, I can do that one day.
Actually, one of my students, said, like: "I want to be like you, Mr. Williams one day."
And that sort of just like -- first, it melted my heart, but also sort of gave like even more fire to do this work, especially in a profession where so many doubts come with it, not a lot of pay, a lot of stress, a lot of duties, but things like that sort of, like, reel you back in.
GEOFF BENNETT: Constance Lindsay says educators like Williams are influential role models.
CONSTANCE LINDSAY: Seeing a college-educated Black person might sort of put a spark in you to attend college later on.
GEOFF BENNETT: Lindsay cites another reason Black instructors can be so impactful.
CONSTANCE LINDSAY: My colleagues actually have a study where they show that Black teachers, on average, expect Black students to go farther.
GEOFF BENNETT: That's the case with second grade teacher Trent Petty.
TRENT PETTY, Teacher: I always tell my kids you can be the one taking care of me in 10 years.
You can be my doctor, my lawyer, my mayor, my president.
LEE DATTS: The expectations are high because I believe in you.
GEOFF BENNETT: Lee Datts acknowledges his students tell him he is a lot, because he expects so much from them.
LEE DATTS: I always tell them, I'm looking for you to be an Ivy League student, because it's easy to just give up on a child.
It really is.
It is a natural thing to have a day where they're off-task and they're doing this, they're doing that, and they're Black and brown.
Or you can believe in them and believe in their dream and hope and desire and hold onto that.
What did Ruby Bridges have to deal with?
GEOFF BENNETT: Datts feels an obligation to teach his students about their shared history and culture.
LEE DATTS: What does segregation have to do with being bullied?
I don't understand.
In our classroom, anybody who we learn about that's African American, I really try to make it vocal to understand the importance of what they had to go through, like, understanding your background, understanding your history.
GEOFF BENNETT: I imagine all teachers feel a sense of responsibility.
I would also imagine that you feel that even more, given that you are a Black man in a school, predominantly Black school.
LEE DATTS: My natural responsibility is just to show what a Black and brown teacher looks like.
Like, if you never have another one, you know you had one.
GEOFF BENNETT: In the long run, that could make all the difference.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: After weeks of brutal fighting, a cease-fire is supposed to have started last night in Sudan.
It was brokered by the U.S. and Saudi Arabia and signed by leaders of the two army factions who have been at war with each other for control of the third largest country in Africa.
The ongoing conflict has killed hundreds, injured more than 5,000, and sent nearly a million people fleeing to neighboring countries.
Millions more have been trapped in their homes, unable to access basic services or health care.
To better understand what is happening now, we turn to Kholood Khair.
She's a Sudanese policy and political analyst and founding director of the Confluence Advisory, which is a think tank based in Sudan.
Kholood, thank you so much for being here.
Could you just give us a status report?
This is now the seventh cease-fire that has been agreed to.
Is this current one holding, as far as you can tell?
KHOLOOD KHAIR, Founding Director, Confluence Advisory: Well, we're getting some mixed reports.
Overall, it seems like there is more calm than there has been in the other -- during the other cease-fires, but we are hearing reports of intense fighting in some areas.
So what it looks like is that the fighting has been scaled down, which is no mean feat and is something to be thankful for.
But, at the same time, we haven't seen a total cease-fire.
The other six cease-fires that preceded this one had not held, because there were -- there was no or else as part of the agreement.
It was, pretty pleas, would you stop fighting.
What we're seeing this time around is that the U.S., who helped broker the cease-fire, is saying that it is prepared to use, for example, sanctions to enforce a cease-fire.
But, as yet, we don't have an idea of what that will look like.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: You were in Khartoum when the fighting first broke out back in the spring, and you have since been able to get out.
What has Sudan's life been like in this -- in these weeks of this conflict?
KHOLOOD KHAIR: What this war has done in the matter of weeks is completely annihilate Sudanese political, social and economic life.
There is -- people haven't been earning a wage for April and now for May likely too, and there's not enough money to go around.
Where there is, people can't afford to buy what's in the shops.
Sudan is a net importer of goods and hasn't been able to get goods into the city, including some agricultural products.
And so we're looking at the city, particularly Khartoum, being on the brink of starvation.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: I mean, what you're describing in certain parts of the country is an obvious humanitarian disaster.
We know that I believe it's 25 million people need humanitarian aid.
The U.N. has asked for several billion dollars, but yet we are also seeing reports of different factions attacking aid groups and destroying - - hijacking their convoys, destroying their medical supplies.
Given the need in the country, can you help us understand why these warring factions would be attacking the very people who are there to help?
KHOLOOD KHAIR: Well, they would like an advantage.
And any advantage right now in terms of supply, particularly medical equipment, would be vital.
And they would rather compile all of the aid coming in, particularly health aid and food aid for their own troops.
Now, we understood that this was going to be the case, that, despite the dire humanitarian situation, both sides would politicize the aid.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: I understand that there have been accusations of war crimes on both sides here.
Could you just tell us a little bit of the kinds of crimes that we have seen allegations of?
KHOLOOD KHAIR: Well, both sides have been committing crimes, but it looks like -- it looks different, depending on which faction we're talking about.
So, for the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, they have been looting people's homes.
There have been allegations and evidence of sexual assault.
There have been abductions, forced abductions.
For the Sudan Armed Forces, which is the official army, there have been accusations again evidenced of aerial bombardment of, for example, hospitals, schools and other public buildings that are protected by international humanitarian law.
Now, the Sudan Armed Forces says that they are bombing these buildings because they have been taken over by the paramilitary forces.
Because of the way that this has effectively been a race to the bottom, we are likely to see the rate of atrocities go through the roof.
Already, we're seeing in parts of Darfur, which you will remember has been through 20 years of conflict, we're already seeing atrocities ratcheting up there, particularly in the east - - in the western part of Darfur.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: On this issue of accountability, you touched on this before, but given that there is no seeming mechanism to hold either of these sides accountable for their crimes for all of these things that you're describing, is there any sense that this conflict can truly be brought to an end anytime soon?
KHOLOOD KHAIR: The leverage lies elsewhere.
The leverage lies with their partners in the region, their supporters in the region, Egypt for the Sudan armed forces and the United Arab Emirates for the Rapid Support Forces, respectively.
Is the United States willing to -- and other actors, are they willing to sacrifice some political cachet and force some of their regional allies, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and others, for the sake of Sudan has continued peace and stability?
That is the core question.
If the answer is yes, we may see some traction.
I'm afraid this looks like it's going to be a protracted conflict.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: All right, Kholood Khair of the Confluence Advisory, thank you so much for being here.
KHOLOOD KHAIR: Thank you, William.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Photos, videos, objects, sounds, and light, the myriad stuff, both real and virtual, in our daily lives, it's all the material for Sarah Sze, an artist who takes this information overload and gives it a new shape.
Jeffrey Brown takes a look for our arts and culture series, Canvas.
JEFFREY BROWN: At New York's Guggenheim Museum right now, you can walk around and into an artwork by Sarah Sze and be taken by more than a few surprises.
Is this your studio ladder?
SARAH SZE, Artist: I know.
I didn't -- that wasn't on purpose, but I didn't peel it off.
We didn't have time.
JEFFREY BROWN: Oh, so, studio ladder, pliers, house plant.
SARAH SZE: Yes.
JEFFREY BROWN: I mean, I can just go on and on.
SARAH SZE: Yes.
JEFFREY BROWN: But anything goes, in a sense?
SARAH SZE: So, anything goes, but everything is necessary.
JEFFREY BROWN: In art terms, these works or installations or sculptures.
More colorfully, some have seen an exploded hardware store or the contents of an iPhone spilled out into space, all the millions of images in our lives turned into objects, pieces of constructions that may hold together, but may break apart.
SARAH SZE: I like dismantling the artwork and having it seep into the architecture, the audience seep into each other.
So these boundaries, these frames, they get blurred, because I think that's the way we're experiencing life.
We can walk down the street and watch a movie.
So, we're looking up at the sky, and then we're looking down and then we're seeing a person.
And so that intersection of the way we experience time, the way we experience space is changing.
And I'm interested in how we mark what is important, what is meaningful with this new language.
JEFFREY BROWN: The exhibition is titled Timelapse.
And, in some works, like one called Timekeeper, the references to marking time are over, a metronome, clocks in different cities set amid a kind of giant science experiment of objects, small projectors, videos, sounds, lights.
There's a different way to experience time in Times Zero, a large abstract painting, and a strange mirror version of it cut into pieces and reassembled beneath the original.
Everywhere you turn in her work, images of images, it might be on our screens, on our walks, or in our heads.
SARAH SZE: The number of images that are around us is -- becomes -- the volume on that is turned so high that the images that are in our head, which happen while we're dreaming, while we're imagining what we're hoping, when I look at you, I can picture like seeing you on television.
That's in my head.
So I'm seeing these images at the same time.
Interior images are being merged all the time with exterior images.
So that's something I'm interested in people thinking about.
JEFFREY BROWN: Sze, now 54, grew up in Boston, her Chinese-born father an architect, her mother a schoolteacher.
She's received a MacArthur fellowship, represented the U.S. at the 2013 Venice Biennale, completed major commissions in public spaces such as New York's La Guardia Airport and High Line Park, and is exhibited in museums around the world.
At the Guggenheim, she's created site-specific works that play off and with Frank Lloyd Wright's landmark architectural spiral, the curved bays where art is exhibited, and the sloping ramps that can disorient viewers.
SARAH SZE: You can see actually how off-balance we are.
Usually, things like this would be covered up in the museum, but I wanted you to really see like this is the first step to leveling a piece.
So you can really understand that even your body is always at an angle at this space.
JEFFREY BROWN: And then, when you move around - - and so we see the -- we see the construction.
SARAH SZE: Exactly.
It's not hidden.
Nothing is hidden.
JEFFREY BROWN: She's also offered new sight lines of the spectacular oculus at the top of the dome, and hung a pendulum that descends to a small fountain in the atrium.
And she's filled the space with everyday objects, including appliances, materials you're more likely to find at Home Depot or in your own home than in a museum.
SARAH SZE: I think of material as a palette, a palette of daily life, and... JEFFREY BROWN: A palette of daily life.
SARAH SZE: I'm interested in the line being blurred between what's outside the museum and in the museum.
So you start to see the artistry in the world.
JEFFREY BROWN: So why do you like that?
I mean, why are you seeking that?
SARAH SZE: I think it's the way we experience life.
There isn't a boundary.
It isn't framed, to marry the everyday experience with the profound.
So, for me, many things, I'm interested in having something very profound happening next to something very, very, very mundane.
So you can look up and see a volcano go, and then you can look down and you can just see a piece of paint on the floor, and that you should shift between those things,because I do you think a lot of our moments of profundity or moments of joy come at times we least expect.
JEFFREY BROWN: I mean, the other obvious question is, how do you know when it's finished?
SARAH SZE: Right.
JEFFREY BROWN: How do you know when you're done?
SARAH SZE: For me, when it's done is when it's right at the edge of feeling like it's coming together, but it could also fall apart.
It's this teetering moment of change.
We're always in that moment, right?
We're somewhere in between.
We have -- time is finite for us.
We know that.
And to highlight, to make that moment of presence really powerful as you stand in front of something is, I think -- is, for me, what -- why I am so interested in seeing art.
Artwork is always -- it's a time traveler.
It's a capsule.
It tells us what it means to be human both in the past, in the present, and potentially what it might be like in the future.
JEFFREY BROWN: Sarah Sze's Timelapse exhibition is up through September 10.
For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm Jeffrey Brown at the Guggenheim Museum in New York.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: And that is the "NewsHour" for tonight.
I'm William Brangham.
AMNA NAWAZ: And I'm Amna Nawaz in Uvalde, Texas.
Join us again tomorrow night, when we will have more from the families of those killed in the elementary school shooting that forever changed this community.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: For all of us at the "PBS NewsHour," thank you so much for joining us.