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8,000 Starbucks Across U.S. to Close for Anti-Bias Training; Man Climbs Building to Rescue Dangling Boy; Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired May 29, 2018 - 10:30   ET


[10:30:00] BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Matt Lewis, I want to ask you about this story about the nearly 1500 unaccompanied minors who are currently unaccounted for by the federal government. HHS says it tried to follow up with the sponsors that these minors were paired with, that those sponsors just didn't respond. But talking to one source who is familiar with this process, they told me that it may be a situation where some of these sponsors, many of whom may be undocumented themselves, don't feel comfortable talking to the government, that actually the political climate when it comes to immigration will dissuade them from being a part of this process.

Do you think that's happening? Is this the president's rhetoric playing into this?

MATT LEWIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think there are many factors that are playing into this and there could be some fear, justified fear out there, people who don't want to come out of the shadows, because of the rhetoric, but I also think that this is a case where the media overplayed this story a little bit.

We had these huge bombshell stories and then it turns out, it's not good but it's a little more nuanced than I think the media originally portrayed it. That's part of this story and I've seen that unfortunately happen too many times.

The bottom line here is whoever is responsible, whatever the laws and the rules are, you just -- the onus is on us, right, to keep track of minors and the notion that we could lose track of them, for whatever reason, in some cases, OK, it's a little more understandable today than maybe we thought it was a few days ago, but we still -- the onus is on us, the danger of course is that they could fall prey to human traffickers.

And I don't think -- you know, you can be tough on borders, you can be for the rule of law, but you also need to be humane and compassionate.

America, we have to keep track of these kids certainly.

HARLOW: Matt Viser, to you, I just want to get your take on this "New York Times" piece by Maggie Haberman and others talking about sort of the conspiracy theory president, and all of what the president has peddled, this sort of theories of his own or suspicion as fact and whether it's working for him politically, and if it can in the long term. John Meacham, the presidential historian writes, "The diabolical

brilliance of the Trump strategy of disinformation is that many people are simply going to hear the charges and countercharges and decide that there must be something to them because the president of the United States is saying them."

It's a very interesting way to put it. And is he right in the end, that they'll think maybe it's not totally accurate but it's enough accurate because it's the president?

VISER: Yes. And, I mean, it was one thing for him to do these types of things as an entertainer and as a host of "The Apprentice."


VISER: And he's had a career of doing these sort of things. And during his campaign we saw, it has a different type of tenor when it's coming from the Oval Office. Even this morning, as we're talking about the Mueller tweet, you know, which is dishonest and conspiracy minded, and his talk of having a spy in his campaign is not supported by the facts at this point. You know, and so he does this and it has a different type of a megaphone coming from the president of the United States and coming from inside the White House.

And I mean I think long term that does damage the credibility of the presidency and of the president of the United States. And so I think that that is -- we're starting to see the impacts of a lot of that on our institutions.

HARLOW: Yes. All right, Matt Viser, Matt Lewis, thank you, both. Appreciate it.

We are just hours away from thousands, 8,000 of your local Starbucks stores closing for the afternoon. Why? Because they want to teach their workers about discrimination and go through this anti-bias discrimination. The company's chairman says it's going to cost tens of millions of dollars. Will others in corporate America follow? Next.


[10:38:10] KEILAR: In just a few hours, 8,000 Starbucks stores across the country will close. This in an effort to train employees against racial bias.

It is a dramatic move that stems from an arrest last month of two black men in a Philadelphia store, who were there simply waiting for a friend. The video that you see here sparking a nationwide uproar.

Joining me now is Alex Marquardt, he is in Philadelphia, where that arrest took place.

What's the mood like there today, Alex?

ALEXANDER MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Brianna, in fact this is the store in Philadelphia where that arrest took place last month. It's been a very busy morning. People going in and out, getting their coffee. You know, we've been speaking to a number of customers, no one saying, no one complaining that they're not going to be able to get their coffee this afternoon, saying it will go elsewhere, and a number of people saying that this is a good thing.

One woman in particular said, you know, Philadelphia is a diverse city. And this is a conversation that needs to be had. But as you mentioned, this is a very dramatic step for this company. Howard Schultz, the chairman, telling CNN today that they are spending tens of millions of dollars on this anti-bias training. It's going to take place over the course of the afternoon. In fact this one due to shut down in just under an hour's time. The training itself will take four hours.

All 8,000 company owned stores across the country will shut down. And the training will involve some 175,000 store employees. And the way that it's going to happen essentially is in three parts. Small groups of employees will break apart, they will watch an introductory video that is hosted by Common, the activist and rapper, as well as Howard Schultz and the CEO Kevin Johnson.

They'll watch a short film that was made by Stanley Nelson, a well known, well acclaimed documentary filmmaker who has done films on the -- on racial bias, on the African-American experience, and then these small groups will discuss what they've experienced in terms of bias and what they would like to see going forward.

[10:40:03] Howard Schultz and other top officials have said, Brianna, that the most important thing that they want to do is to create a self and welcomed third place. And that's a term that they've used since the company's incarnation.

You have your home, you have your place of work, they want people to feel welcomed here in this third place. They're saying this is not the solution. This training is not the be all, end all, but it is a first step on what they say is a very long journey -- Brianna.

KEILAR: A first step. Alex Marquardt, thank you so much.

HARLOW: All right. Joining us now, Michaela Angela Davis, cultural critic and writer, and Mark Lamont Hill, CNN political commentator.

Thank you both for being here today. I don't know if you had a chance to hear Howard Schultz, he was on the show with us last hour. But look, Michaela, he said, this is a start. This isn't it. And I was struck when he told me I didn't think this could happen at Starbucks because sort of inclusion is so integral to who we are as a company and what we live and breathe. Then that's true.

But I said to him, that this is America. This is the environment where 70 percent of Americans think race relations have gotten worse in the last decade. What do you think?

MICHAELA ANGELA DAVIS, CULTURAL CRITIC AND WRITER: Yes, it is America. I think there is, to such an intentional growth, ignorance of American history, I think this could be really well served, either watching 13th by Ava Duvernay or going to the National Museum of African-American History and Culture, to see that. Anti-blackness is a strategy.

You know, there's lots of othering that we do in America. But there is something very intentional around anti-blackness as a strategy, and as a structure, and many people don't even know that they're participating in a history that was designed to have them think of black people if you're not in service, you're surplus. And if you're surplus, you're criminalized, and if you're criminalized, you should be either controlled, contained or killed, right?

So I think that not knowing American history and how we're all part of this is where we should start, right? So I was struck when I first saw the CEO so shocked and so shook after he talked to those two young men, as if he had never had a conversation with two young black men.

HARLOW: And I should note -- I should you're talking about Kevin Johnson, who's the current CEO. Howard Schultz is the former CEO and chairman who we just had on the program.

To you, Marc, Sherrilyn Ifill, who head the NAACP's legal defense fund, she's a big part of this training, and she says in this film that all of these employees are going to watch today, we have to recognize that black people are navigating space, public space differently than white people. And that really struck me. Is what Starbucks doing the right thing today?

MARC LAMONT HILL, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It's a good start. I think Howard Schultz's point that this is just a small slice of a bigger project is important. But it's been underemphasized. So much of what Starbucks said is, hey, we have a problem, we're going to deal with it, we're going to shut down for the day, or for a few hours, we want to handle this problem. And so it reinforces the idea that racism and white supremacy are institutional -- or interactional misunderstanding, like we just got it wrong.


HARLOW: Well, the other option -- but the other option is don't shut down at all. Right? You can't as a business, you know, (INAUDIBLE) to Wall Street, you can't shut down for like a month. Right?

HILL: No. I disagree. I disagree. I think there is always more than two options. The other option is to say, hey, we're going to shut down, but part of our advertising campaign, part of our problem solving crisis management strategy is to say, we're going to have a series of trainings, that this is something that we're going to be committed to long term. And again I think in the media cycle and then their crisis management, they talk about shutting down and talk about how much money they were losing because in the logic of capitalism, that sounds like oh, we clearly are contrite.

HARLOW: So maybe --

HILL: Because look at how much money we're going to lose.

HARLOW: I hear you. Maybe a messaging issue there. I will just note, Howard Schultz, I asked him how much it will cost.

HILL: Right.

HARLOW: He said tens of millions but it's not a cost, it's an investment in our people. And this is the first of many trainings. I asked him about politics, guys, and what role if any the White House has and this rhetoric specifically, Michaela, from the president, here's what he said.


HARLOW: Has President Trump's rhetoric, personally, on race exacerbated racism in America?

HOWARD SCHULTZ, EMERITUS CHAIRMAN, STARBUCKS: I would say on a personal level, it probably has given license to people to feel as if they can emulate and copy the kind of behavior and language that comes out of this administration. But having said that, the racial divide and the inequities that exist between people of color and Caucasians in America is a problem that has existed for quite some time.


HARLOW: I want you both to weigh in on that. Michaela, first.

[10:45:01] DAVIS: Yes. I mean, also in response to how much money that they're losing, I mean, there is so much money has been made on black labor in this country that we can't throw out numbers, right, to make us feel like you're doing something incredible. Like, we have -- black people have put in a lot of free labor. So an afternoon of tens of millions seems insignificant. But I mean, we just heard the president say that people came here to tame this country. And calling immigrants animals, so there has been this reinforcement of this idea of anti-blackness and othering from -- you know, from the highest office in the land.

And also, again, what is significant about having leadership that doesn't understand the diversity of their audience, that is something that we should investigate. Right? Like, what makes you qualified to deal with such a diverse population. You cannot be a black person and be the head of the Post Office and not know who, you know, Jefferson is but you can become the president and not know who Frederick Douglas, meaning that there is a way to have enormous success in this country and not know anything about a population of people that helped to build it.


DAVIS: And that is a core problem.

HILL: I think that --


HILL: Yes, I think I agree with Howard Schultz on both accounts. I think on the one hand, the Trump administration has normalized a certain kind of Nativism, a certain kind of white supremacist, ideology to be mainstreamed. He's normalized anti-immigrants and then it's all these things that make it much easier to just call the police on a black person who's sitting in a store.

But on the other hand, he's right to say, look, this isn't a Donald Trump problem. Black people have dealt with ritual humiliation and being questioned on public spaces, have their credentials challenged, having the police called on them. These are strategies that have existed since slavery. So it's right, on the one hand, Trump makes it worse. But we can't make Trump the scapegoat for this.

HARLOW: Important points, both of you. Thank you for being here.

DAVIS: Thank you, Poppy.

HARLOW: Michaela, Marc, appreciate it very, very much.

HILL: Thank you.

HARLOW: Wait until you see this video. The real-life superhero behind saving this 4-year-old little boy, scales this apartment building in France, pulls the little boy dangling over. It is remarkable. And now he's speaking to CNN.


[10:51:42] KEILAR: A French prosecutor says that the father of a 4- year-old boy rescued from the Paris balcony was out shopping and stopped to play Pokemon Go when this incident was happening. He's now facing up to two years in prison and is expected to be sentenced in September.

Meantime the man that you see in the video, a migrant from Mali, saw this child dangling from this balcony and he climbed four stories to save him.

Melissa Bell just spoke to this real-life superhero, she's joining us now live from Paris.

What did he tell you, Melissa?

MELISSA BELL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Brianna, it was a pretty exhausted man who spoke to us a short while ago, not only after the extraordinary feat that you just showed, just this here, this building on Saturday, when you look at it, those four floors incredibly difficult to scale.

The man did it in 30 seconds flat, Brianna, making it to that child. So not only saving his life through his act of selflessness and bravery, but essentially transforming his own fate. By yesterday, he was meeting with the French president, being promised French citizenship, and today he visited what will be his new workplace since he's going to become a fireman. He's been officially offered a job here in Paris.

We caught up with him as he was being shown around his new workplace and he was, of course, understandably exhausted, emotional, he answered the question when I asked him how he felt, very quickly, let his brother do the talking for him. Have a look.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Good. Really, really good. I've seen things that really interest me.

MAMOUDOU GASSAMA, RESCUED BOY FROM BUILDING (through translator): The last two days I've been with Mamoudou and we haven't slept more than three hours. We're very tired. But we're here.


BELL: His family told us, Brianna, that when he was little, they all imagined he might be a professional soccer player. No doubt that's what helped him accomplish this extraordinary physical feat. In the end of course his destiny, his fate was to be quite extraordinary, just not in the way that they'd imagined, Brianna.

HARLOW: No, now people might ask themselves what would Mamoudou Gassama do in this situation.

Melissa Bell, thank you so much for bringing that to us. We appreciate it.

Get out now, that is the warning to people living in the neighborhood in Hawaii as lava is flowing closer to their homes.


[10:58:29] HARLOW: All right, an emotional return this morning for students at Santa Fe High School in Texas. Their campus reopened this morning under increased security, less than two weeks after that gunman killed 10 people and injured 13 more.

With just days left in the school year, the principal says the kids don't have to worry about their tests or assignments and said they'll be offering counseling, a chance to mourn and be together. Meanwhile, two of the shooting victims are being laid to rest today. Funerals will be held for 14-year-old Kimberly Vaughn and teacher Ann Perkins.

KEILAR: Now people living in the Leilani Estates subdivision in Hawaii are being warned to leave now or risk being trapped by lava flowing through the community.

We have a live look for you of this lava bubbling up near the Kilauea volcano. Civil Defense officials say that fountains of lava are shooting from at least one street. Authorities are going door to door, they're warning neighbors to get out. They're also warning that shifting winds could spread volcanic smog. It is a haze of sulfur dioxide gas and other pollutants and that could be spread across the big island.

The pictures, of course, if you've been watching them, are just amazing to see. You can watch it live. We have it for you right now on

It is so sad, Poppy, what so many people are dealing with, just trying to preserve their homes with really no --


KEILAR: You know, they can't fight this. And yet it is an amazing exercise of Mother Nature.

HARLOW: And I keep thinking about all the tourism dollars that go to Hawaii.


HARLOW: I mean, that's their main industry. And what is happening to those now as this goes on and on and on. We'll keep a close eye on it, of course.

Brianna, good to have you here, my friend.

KEILAR: Great to be here.

HARLOW: All right. Thank you all for being with us. I'm Poppy Harlow in New York.

KEILAR: And I'm Brianna Keilar. And "AT THIS HOUR" with Kate Bolduan starts now.