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June 12, 2024 26 mins

Two-time Emmy and Three-time NAACP Image Award-winning television Executive Producer Rushion McDonald interviews Marc Morial. His "Gumbo Coalition" documentary explores the resurgence of white supremacy, the "Save Our Sons" program, and a family separated by Trump-era immigration policies streaming on HBOMax. He is one of the few national leaders with "street smarts" and "boardroom savvy" as the transformative President and CEO of the National Urban League—the nation's largest historic civil rights and urban advocacy organization. We will discuss the Gumbo Coalition Documentary on Civil Rights Leaders Marc H. Morial & Janet Murguia. Directed by two-time Academy Award-winning filmmaker Barbara Kopple, the acclaimed film chronicles the work of National Urban League President and CEO Marc Morial and Unidos US President and CEO Janet Murguía throughout the Trump presidency, the racist mass shooting in El Paso, the COVID pandemic, the murder of George Floyd and the uprising that followed, the 2020 elections, and the storming of the Capitol.



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Speaker 1 (00:00):
If you're about to make a change in your life
and you feel uncomfortable, that's the best.

Speaker 2 (00:05):
Feeling you can have because for the first time in
your life, you're making a decision that's going to be
best for you and not for what somebody told you
to do, and that's when all bets are off.

Speaker 1 (00:17):
Welcome to Money Making Conversation Masterclass. I'm your host, Rashan McDonald.
Our theme is there's no perfect time to start following
your dreams. I recognize that we all have different definitions
of success.

Speaker 3 (00:28):
For you and maybe decide to.

Speaker 1 (00:29):
Your ham it's time to stop reading other people's success
stories to start living your own keep winning. Hi am

Rashan McDonald, our host the weekly Money Making Conversation Master
Class show. The interviews and information that this show provides
off for everyone. It's time to stop reading other people's
success stories and start living your own. My guest is
author of the book entitled Gumbo Coalition. He's on the
show to discuss the documentary Gumbo Coalition, which is currently
a streaming on HBO Max. Please Welcome to Money Making

Conversations Masterclass. He's the President and CEO of National Urban League,
Mark Morio, Mark how are you doing.

Speaker 3 (01:23):
Hey, Rashan Man, thank you for having me. Good good day.
And to all of your listeners and viewers out there,
let me just say, appreciate the chance to be with you,
and congratulations on what you're doing to bring to bring
truth about progress. Thank you to people in the community.
I appreciate it a lot.

Speaker 1 (01:43):
Well, before we even get it to Goumbago Coalition, I
said your title President CEO of the Urban National Urban League,
Explain to everybody who don't know what it is. What
is the National Urban League?

Speaker 3 (01:53):
So the National Urban League is one of the nation's
historic civil rights organizations. We go back to nineteen ten,
so we're one hundred and fourteen years young. We are
a network of ninety two community based organizations across the
nation Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, and the Twin Cities
New Orleans, Atlanta and I can continue to go all right,

but we're a unique historic civil rights organization. We focus
on economic empowerment. We focus on bringing programs like job training,
job placement, home buyer education, small business advancement, health equity,
civic engagement to local communities across the nation. And then
we're a national voice with other civil rights organizations, be

it the NAACP of the National Action Network, of the
Black Women's Roundtable, or the National Council of Negro Women,
Lawyers Committee Leadership Conference LDF, and all of the above,
because we work in coalition on issues that impact our community,
so we are a force in local communities. We zent

black people, not only black people, but primarily black people,
and we don't purport to speak for all black people,
but we speak for a lot of black people absolutely.

Speaker 4 (03:12):
So with that being said, the attack of DEI and
we know DEI doesn't just support black people, but it
tends to slant it in that direction.

Speaker 1 (03:25):
We know it impacts white women. So talk about your
organization and what it does to curb the attack of
DEI and also expound to people what is DEI.

Speaker 3 (03:39):
I'm glad you asked that question because to understand it,
you got to go back sixty years ago. When the
Civil Rights Act of nineteen sixty four passed. It banned
discrimination and employment. It banned discrimination in public accommodations, hotels, restaurants,
movie theaters, and the like. Band segregation. At that point

in nineteen sixty four, black people only held for the
most part menial positions in the economy, and we had
a class of black people who were professionals and business owners,
but they only could serve black people. That was the
economy of nineteen sixty four. Doors were opened white women.

You're exactly right, latinos Asians, Indigenous Americans, and African Americans
walked through doors that had been historically closed. And that
change is what and the way and the implementation of
that change is what people now sometimes called D E
and I. What is d E and I rashon equal opportunity,

That's what It is. A level playing field, opportunities for jobs,
whether they be in white college jobs, in factor, in government,
anywhere in America. It is about access and a level
playing field. The attacks on D E and I have

to be understood for what they are. They are the
old segregationist mentality rearing its ugly head again. No ifs
ands or butts about it. They can wash it, they
can try to clean it, they can wrap it in
swaddling clothes or fancy investments, but it is nothing but

an effort to turn the clock back. So we in
coalition with many others, are pushing back. We're pushing back
in the courts. We're pushing back in the streets. We're
pushing back in corporate boardrooms, in state legislatures and city
councils to protect that progress that we've made in that
progress is not enough, that progress doesn't go far enough.

But we are not going to allowed and our When
we had the State of Black America, I said not
on our watch, right and when I say on our watch,
not on the watch of our generation. Can we allow
the gains, the progress, the change in America to be
reversed because we don't fight back, because we sleep, because

we're complacent.

Speaker 1 (06:22):
Wow, you know when I'm speaking to Mark Morayo, he's
the president's CEO of the National Urban League, but also
in this book noted Gumble Coalition as well as the documentary,
he's the former mayor of New Orleans. Now. Also in
the documentary he features his mom, which I think is
a brilliant relationship because to hear her speak and then

see how active she is, to see that you didn't
have an you didn't have an option there, sir, between
your dad and between your mom, you didn't have an option.

Speaker 3 (06:55):
Mark, my mom and dad, my mother, God bless hers
ninety one. My father of course has been deceased from
now over thirty years. But they were civil rights warriors
and it was instilled into us the pride of being black.

It was instilled in us the responsibility to fight for
the underdog and those locked out and left out, and
it was part of how we were raised. And in
that sense, my mother in the documentary reminds us several
times that these attacks of today feel like the attacks

of the nineteen fifties and sixties. And she's repeatedly said,
I haven't seen this in a long time. And as
she has told me in numerous private conversations, she says,
do something. You all have to do something. You have
to organize, you have to fight, you have to make alliances,

and you have to fight with intelligence and with passion. So, uh,
my mom is is not only my mom, but a
role model and a confidant and a mentor and a friend.

Speaker 4 (08:11):
Well, you know, it's a beautiful to you just staying
there because when i'm of course, you know, I met
you and I met.

Speaker 1 (08:17):
On the Steve Harvey Morning Show. You came on the show, yeh,
And it was the interview by Steve Harvey, and that's
when we first met and then when you came back
on my show, Money Made coming masterclassed promoting your book,
Gumbo Coalition and it's about your ability to bring diverse
individuals into your platform to make a better city of

New Orleans. Am I correct?

Speaker 3 (08:43):
Yes? And we yeah? And New Orleans is a city
majority African American city, but a very very uh diverse
in dynamic city. And the challenge of leadership in a
city like New Orleans, in a lot of cities, is
you got to bring a lot of people to the
table in order to build a force to move forward.

And that's what we worked hard to do. I had
an open door policy. I spoke to people, even people
I didn't agree with. But when it was time to decide,
the buck stopped with me and we made the decisions
that were necessary. And we decided that I was not
going to treat those who had not supported me as

automatic enemies. Some people didn't support me, I said, if
you want to work with me on fair terms, hey,
you can be a part of this coalition. And so
we had you know, everybody in that coalition, and we
named it the Gumbo Coalition because Gumbo's got all sorts
of ingredients in it. And our leadership coalition had great

ingredients in it, and people I think responded to that
because it gave them something to be a part of.
Make no mistake about it. You know, equity was at
the center. Inclusion was a guiding principle. We moved the
city forward. We gave Black people an opportunity to participate

in the economy like never before. We bought the Essence
Festival to town. We had Super Bowls, we bought the
NBA to town. We add a ten thousand new homeowners.
It was an important period. But what I tell people
is we really worked hard to get everybody pushing in
the same direction. And that's a hard thing to do.
It's not easy to do, and they are always going

to be people who are outside, people who are outlives.
But a big tent and a big coalition at the
Urban League, we're trying to make sure that as a
historic organization, we're not trapped in yesterday. So we've made
several initiatives that are designed to bring young people the

national urbanly young professionals. Our college initiative called the Black
Executive Exchange or the Business Executive Exchange Program. We are
working hard because we have to have everyone in the movement.
Commons says it well in the song Glory. I love
the line it takes the wisdom of the elders and

young people's energy, and we can't function simply on an
individualistic platform.

Speaker 4 (11:23):
Right, you know, it's beautif. First of all, I want
to remind everybody if they don't know, that his dad
was the former mayor of New Orleans and it was
a beautiful thing that's mentioned in the book Gumbo Colisha,
if you care to buy the book or find a
book in the library and read up on a book.
He made that transition and followed in his father's footstep,

and his.

Speaker 1 (11:46):
Mom was along the way. Now, now let's go to
what I saw with my wife on HBO Max. It
was not of the book per se, same title, but
explained to us the difference.

Speaker 3 (12:01):
So in the documentary, me and my partner in the
documentary is a Latinas sister by the name of Janet McGee,
a strong civil rights leader. She leads Unidos US. It's
the largest civil rights organization that focuses on the Latino community.
And we've worked together for you know, a long time
on a lot of different things, and in this documentary.

We wanted to showcase how we work together. We wanted
to showcase cooperation and a collaboration between African Americans and Latinos.
And then underneath it, there's some important stories. The work
of the Urban League in the Greater Metropolitan Saint Louis
area of the Saint Louis Urban Leagues Save our Son's Program,

which grew out of the tragic murder of Michael Brown
in Ferguson. Janet's underlying story was her advocacy on behalf
of a family that had been separated by harsh immigration policies,
and so those were followed so people could see that

in the work that we do, we might be at rallies,
we might be testifying before Congress, but we're working with
individuals and families and young men and young women on
day to day challenges across the nation. I wanted people
to see the success of an Urban League re entry program,

which is in Saint Louis, just one example of many
programs similar to that that we run all across the nation.
Janet wanted people to see the pain of an intact
family being yanked a part because the husband was deported
right or set up for deported because he didn't have

the right papers in hand or the right papers at
the right time in hand, So all of that, But
we also focus on Charlottesville. We also focus on the
twenty eighteen and the twenty twenty election, and we focus on,
you know, the white supremacy movement, the white nationalist movement,
which is tearing the nation apart, and it's manifesting itself

in attacks on d E and I, on voter suppression,
on book bands and alike. And we wanted people to
see we have to have a coalition of black people
and white people, and Latinos and Asians and Indigenous Americans,
people of all religions Jews, Gentiles, Protestants, Catholics, Muslims, Hindus,

people that may not be in an organized a formal religion,
all genders and gender identities regard we have to build
that is focused on democracy, on economic conclusion, on leveling
the playing field, and on a just and equitable future.

Speaker 5 (14:55):
Please don't go anywhere. We'll be right back with more
Money Making Conversation Masterclass. Welcome back to the Money Making
Conversations Masterclass hosted by Rashaan MacDonald. Money Making Conversations Masterclass
continues online at Moneymakingconversations dot com and follow money Making

Conversations Masterclass on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Speaker 4 (15:22):
Wow, you know it's really important that. Let me break
down a little more detail.

Speaker 1 (15:27):
When the Save His Sons, Save Our Son's program, they
feature a young man named Bradley Cobb. Oh yeah, brilliant storytelling.
Really at the very beginning when he's introduced, you say,
just took the wrong fork in the row. That's all
Bradley Cobb did, the wrong fork in the rod because
I always tell people in life, you always come to

a fork. You know, it's the direction you choose. Can't
plan your future, but that doesn't mean you can't turn
that fork around. That's the Bradley Cobb story. When he's
talking about the Janet story that was featured, that's missus
Rose Escabar and her husband was snatched and sent back
to El Salvador. So we see that try and play

out with the kids and realized that you can make
these laws. Politicals put their effect everyday people. And I
believe that resonated with me as a viewer. I was
compelled to want to know more post story more changes more,
because that probably frustrates you doesn't it.

Speaker 4 (16:33):
Mark that you know there are not enough post stories
about the Bradley Cobbs or the Rose Escabars.

Speaker 3 (16:43):
So you know, Sean like you, I'm sure I grew
up with a lot of Bradley Cobbs. Yes, a lot
of guys in my neighborhood may have taken the wrong
path for a moment or two. Some took a wrong
path and have paid a long, long, long, long sentence

for taking them wrong. What I think we're trying to
say is we cannot throw people away because a person
takes a fork in the word Brothery Cobb. You can
tell by listening to him, the brother is brilliant, He's smart,
but he also understood, Hey, I did make a bad move.

I've paid for it, and I'm going to try to
come correct. I'm going to work on a pathway that
is going to allow me to live a productive life.
And the good thing about saying ourselves is that most
of the young the young men in the program, and
they were a medium term. I mean these were not
people who did on wan or two years with people
doing eight, nine, ten, twelve years in the penitentiary in Missouri.

That most of them were able and as a scene
in the in the documentary were able to come correct
and we lost one or two people who repeat they
were recipedists, and it goes what we're trying to do
is demonstrate not perfection, because there's no perfection, but we're

trying to demonstrate his progress. That's true and why we
have to invest in Well.

Speaker 1 (18:17):
You know the beauty of this gumble coalition which is
streaming on HBO Max right now, you can watch it.
I'm talking to Mark Morial, the president CEO of the
National Urban League. I felt the way you told the story,
you know, the George Floyd is in there, the impact
of America, Donald Trump of course.

Speaker 3 (18:39):
Is in there.

Speaker 1 (18:40):
His mom is in there because I think the reason
I bring up his mom because I believe you got
to have history and one thing you don't want to
know when you're talking to somebody who is history, and
that is his mom. She can see when history is
repeating itself and you should listen to people who've been
there that.

Speaker 3 (19:01):
That's what I felt.

Speaker 1 (19:02):
The inclusion of your mom, Mark, was very important.

Speaker 3 (19:06):
Yeah, you know, the documentarian sat down with my mom
and then said we have to talk to her as
much as possible. And you know, my mom raised five children.
She was an accomplished activist and professional in her own right.
Started out as about my mom. When she was a
young woman, she and her friends tried to join the

League of Women Voters in New Orleans and they were
not allowed to join because they were black women. They
went and started their own organization called the Louisiana League
of Good Government, which was a black women's civic association,
which had about a thirty to thirty five year life.

But when I thought about it, think of the shit
determination of these women, Black women, many of them teachers,
in their late twenties and early thirties, in the waning
days of segregation around the Civil Rights movement, Civil Rights Act,
Voters Act, having the gall and the gumption and the

drive and the determination to create their own entity. And
so what they ended up doing. And I remember this
as a boy. She said, after the Civil Rights the
Voting Rights Act passed, we had to go into communities
and neighborhoods and teach people about voting, how to vote,
where to vote, how to get registered, how to evaluate candidates.

She said, that was the work we did. We did
it in public housing, we did it in neighborhoods. We
did it in churches, so you know, as a little boy,
I remember running all around with my mom. Sometimes you
didn't like it, going to various activities right at various churches,
in public housing, and you felt like, I'm being separated
from my friends. I want to just hang out with

my friends. But it was such an experience of exposure
for me to learn about how activism really worked. In
those days. You had so many people doing so many
things because they were part of a movement. Right.

Speaker 1 (21:16):
You know, as we wrapped this meeting up, let's interview up. Listen,
because yes, we went all the way up to the insurrection,
which was January sixth. Let's talk today. I'm not talking
about politics. I'm talking about America Day. We kind of
mentioned it with being under attack, deis HBCUs being under attack.

You still reside in the city of New Orleans. Gumbo coalition,
this is all about diversity. I think that's all. Mark
Cuban was saying, you want to reach out and get everybody,
and that's a Gumbo coalition. And he said Mark Cuban,
who is the owner of the Dallas math vergs or
he sold the team, but he still is the operation

lead with the average maverickers saying by having DEI that's
what makes corporations and America successful. When by having Gumbo coalition,
which is about diversity, which is inclusion, makes America great,
not saying so I see d and Gumbo colicious hand

in hand.

Speaker 3 (22:23):
Mark Cuban's right. Many are right. Many embrace the fact
that if you look at the American future without all
of the human talent that we have participating to the
fullest and having an opportunity to participate in and enjoy
American prosperity, the nation will not move forward. This, you know,

Rashwan is really as it's a battle in a fight
between the past and the future. People who think, oh,
let's go back to what it used to be like
know when it used to be people talking about the fifties,
you know, a third of the population, fifty percent of
the population, women in African Americans were completely excluded. Look,

I like to watch old shows. I was watching some
old television shows on and I looked at it and
I said, every single actor on this show is white
men and no women. Then no African Americans. Then I
look at the credits, the scroll of credits after the show,
I said, even the makeup artists and a ward robe
consultants are men. That was America of the nineteen fifties,

in the nineteen sixties. So you and in fact had
you know, twenty five thirty, maybe thirty five to forty
percent of the population that had one hundred percent of
the power and the responsibility. So this is not to
say black men, white men should not be included. That
is not what this is about. It's about saying that
everyone needs to be included in decision making in high

level positions, and everyone is qualified, everyone has innate ability
to participate, and we got to affirm that principle. And
that's what the Gumbo Coalition is all about. When you
put all of these flavors in gumbo with shot and
you put it in a little spice, you can't beat it.

Speaker 4 (24:19):
Let me tell you something. You know from Houston, Texas.
You have to sell me on no gumbo. Now, that's
what you're trying to tell me. The chuck the road,
do that gumbo because the beauty by gumble put it.
Look some sausage in there, crabs, chickens, some shrimp, some
some tomatoes. Get that root right, that's what Gumbo coalition

you know, I know that you know the uh, the
Gumbo coalition that's streaming right now current on HBO Max.

Speaker 1 (24:52):
It's been the streaming for a minute. I just wanted
to bring light to the correlation, also bring back our relation.
Let you know that I'm not only an advocate of
your brand and what you represent the National Urban League
that anytime, Like I said, this call came to me
last week, interview was set up this week that you
need your voice heard and spread across this country in

some ways this world, because my podcast is international congratulation.

Speaker 3 (25:19):
Here what you've built in, what you are building to
talk to people. I like what you're doing on the
campuses because US is such an important part of what
we all have to do more of which is to
really reach out, include listen, have conversations with the emerging generation,
with young people. And I'm deeply appreciative and I'll be

back again. We'll check in and appreciate you and your
team for having me today and look, God bless ing,
may a force continue to be with you.

Speaker 5 (25:50):
Thank you for joining us for this edition of Money
Making Conversations Master Class. Money Making Conversations Master Class with
Rough Shan McDonald is produced by thirty eight fifteen Media Inc.
More information about thirty eight fifteen Media Inc. Is available
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