Karine Jean-Pierre: Leading From the Heart

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Summary

In our mission to Solve #MeToo, we must be on the lookout for people who are deeply personally empowered – and Karine Jean-Pierre is one of these people.

I knew it from the way she leapt up to protect Senator Kamala Harris when, onstage in the summer of 2019, a protester charged the stage at the MoveOn.org Big Ideas forum. And both her power and her heart were on display the night we met, when I broke into tears in a very public way on her book tour. 

We talked about heart, and courage, and the importance of taking action in these critical times we’re all living through. 

To pick up a copy of Karine’s book, Moving Forward, click here.

To get involved with MoveOn.org, start here.

Would you like us to keep making more episodes like this one? 
Make a contribution here. 

Join the Solving #MeToo community: 

email: feedback@solvingmetoo.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/199718984507390/
Twitter: @Julia_Kline, @SolvingMeToo
#TheSMTPodcast, #SolvingMeToo 

Episode Introduction

I’m so honored to have as this week’s guest, Karine Jean-Pierre. She is the author of Moving Forward, a story of how she found her call to action and how you can too. And we talk a lot about in this interview taking action and what kinds of actions we all need to be taking. And she had a lot of specific suggestions for all of us.

Her roots are in politics, from grassroots organizing to running presidential campaigns. She worked in the Obama white house. She’s managed political campaigns nationally and locally, and now she serves as an MSNBC political analyst and she’s also MoveOn’s chief public affairs officer.

The reason I wanted to have Karine on the show, besides all of that, is because of the night that we met – and I’m not going to tell you about it now, it’s all in the interview. But the interaction between the two of us the night that we met was so powerful and moving. And it revealed to me a depth of character in Karine that isn’t particularly common, I don’t think. And it made me feel a really strong impulse to want to connect with her.

In our mission to Solve #MeToo, we must be on the lookout for people who are deeply empowered, who have an authentic sense of personal empowerment, which is not the same thing as worldly power, not at all the same thing as the ability to force other people to bend to their will. That’s abuse of power. That’s not authentic personal empowerment. Authentic personal empowerment is the exact opposite. It’s, it’s reflective of a feeling of uh, of, of safety and protection and confidence.

Virtually all people have experienced hardship. That’s one thing that all of us are being awakened to if we’re paying attention. Lots and lots of marginalized populations are demanding to be seen and heard and respected and valued in ways that they haven’t been before and in ways that are terrific. What we’re getting is a backlash from the straight, white Christian men – and the women who support them – who feel offended.  Who feel like, what?! Are you telling me that I haven’t had hardship? I’ve had hardship! My life’s been really fricking hard.

And so the reality that we must acknowledge is that everybody goes through things that feel hard. And while we can certainly say, Oh, well, that person’s life has been way harder than your life, that’s not helpful. It’s just not useful for anything.

If we simply acknowledge that through the lens of any one individual person’s life, they’ve had some hardship. They’ve gone through some things. Life hasn’t always been a bed of roses.

What we can do with that next is say, all right, well, given what life has dealt you, how are you responding to it? And how powerful do you feel as a result? Do you feel victimized and traumatized and unsafe and wounded and brittle? Or have you gone through some sort of a healing process? Which, you know, depending on your view of the world, you might not call it a healing process, but another way of saying it is, have you grown up? Have you matured? Have you become a better person because of the traumas and the hardships and the life’s lessons that you’ve had to go through?

The people who have matured, the people who have gone on some kind of a path of personal transformation, the people who have experienced difficult things and said, you know what? I don’t like having those experiences anymore, so I’m going to take responsibility for my own behaviors and words, and I’m going to make changes to myself. And I’m going to start behaving differently in expectation that my life will start to be different. 

People like that are demonstrating authentic personal empowerment. Taking responsibility for the things that have happened in your life, and recognizing that the only real person that you can change is yourself. And that by far the most powerful change that you can make is to yourself.

Other people who are unwilling or unable to go on a path of personal transformation, but who decide that they don’t like the way that their life turns out when they are at effect of bad things happening to them, turn out to abuse power. Those people decide, screw you. It’s totally not true that the only person I can change is myself. I can force other people to bend to my will.

That is fundamentally abuse of power and at core, the person who abuses their power fundamentally feels, if I am not forcing other people to do what I want them to do, they’re going to force me to do what they want me to do. In other words, it’s me or them. One of us is going to be under the other person’s heel and I’ll be goddamned if I’m going to be under their heel.

That’s how somebody who abuses power fundamentally views the world. And it fundamentally comes from a place that’s pretty brittle. A place that is, um, if this feeling of I don’t have any real power, I don’t have any control over my life, and the only way that I can get some semblance of control or power in my life is to force other people to do what I want them to do.

And that’s not authentic. You might be able to get away with it for a little while. And you know, the cynics among us might say, look, the patriarchy has been getting away with that basic premise for however many decades, centuries, millennia, you want to list.

But the tides are turning.  We’re seeing, globally, really a shift in individual people discovering a sense of their own personal power and rising up against authoritarians and dictators – essentially patriarchs, abusers – who are trying to inflict their will upon people who have no say in the matter.

And at core, this is what Solving #MeToo is all about.  The people who have been abusing their power up until now are examples of the brittle, fundamentally insecure people who feel at effect of the things that happened in their life. And as a result, they try to force their will on the people around them. Those are the people that are out there committing workplace discrimination, harassment, and assault.

And the way to solve that problem – one of the ways, one of the ingredients – is for those of us who have been victimized or marginalized to reach down deep inside and say, Hey, you know what? Just because you were able to take advantage of me back then when I was vulnerable, when I was alone, when I was poor, when I was, whatever the condition is that allowed you to take advantage of me, Just because you were allowed to take advantage of me, then you were able to take advantage of me then doesn’t mean you can do that now.

I have become stronger and more certain of my own value, and I have found my voice, but I’ve also connected with other people who are like me. And so when you had isolated me all by myself, maybe you were able to take advantage of me and exert your will upon me. But when a bunch of authentically empowered people get together, wow. That’s when seismic changes start to happen. And that’s what we’re feeling happening now in our culture.

All of this is a long windup to say that Karine Jean-Pierre is absolutely an example of somebody who is authentically, personally empowered. As she describes in her book, she’s gone through some stuff in her life. She’s gone through some hardship. As we all have, right? I’ve already acknowledged we all have. But her response to the hardship that she’s gone through is that it has sparked in her a path of personal transformation. And it has awakened in her a sense of her own value and power and strength, that is not because of any worldly capacity that she has to force her will on others – the exact opposite. She’s found a deep well of strength in her own heart, in her own spirit. And she has developed an ability to connect to other people like herself, including me.

And so the night that she and I met, sparks flew. It was powerful and moving and very public, the connection that she and I had right from the very beginning. And I’m not going to spoil it here, because we talk about it in the interview, but when that interaction happened, I sort of went, ahhhh, she’s one of us. She’s one of us. She’s one of these deeply, authentically empowered people who knows her own value that comes from her heart. It gives her an ability to connect to others from a place of heart. And, and she recognizes strength that comes from heart. And that’s the kind of people that I want to have on my team. Those are the kinds of people that I want to be interviewing.

So I couldn’t have been more thrilled and excited when she said yes to my invitation to appear on the podcast.

And I hope that you enjoy this conversation as much as I did, and I do hope that you go out and buy her book, Moving Forward. You can also connect with her on all the socials

And if you want to contribute to the conversation that she and I had  reach out at feedback@solvingmetoo.com. And of course, you can join the group conversation either on the website or on the Facebook group, all of which are linked to in the show notes. So with that, please enjoy this conversation that I had with Karine Jean-Pierre.

Interview

[00:10:44]

Julia: Karine Jean-Pierre, thank you so much for being on the podcast.

Karine: Thank you for having me. I’m excited to be here.

Julia: Wonderful. So I like to start all of my interviews by talking about how I met my guests.  Because the topics we discuss here on the podcast are ones that go to people’s hearts. So establishing that little bit of personal connection creates that possibility that we can have a more heart centered and tender conversation than perhaps is the norm. And in your case, our meeting was the epitome of a personal connection —

Karine: yeah, yeah, I remember, yeah,

Julia: I broke down in tears when I was asking you a question at a recent stop on your book tour.

Karine: Chicago South side, Hyde Park, love it.

Julia: Love it. And so here I am crying in your book tour, and your response was the most human of all responses – you offered to give me a hug. And even though you were in the middle of your book tour, you had to like get up and walk over and into the audience and give me a hug. And it told me so much about your heart that not only was it your natural impulse to be warm and comforting in that way, but then you acted on it. And that is just not so common.

Karine: Well, I appreciate that.  It’s so funny I think about this, that moment is such a, it’s such a part of so many moments or it’s connected to so many moments that I’ve had on my book tour. And what I mean by that is, you know, in my book, I share a lot of personal stuff. I share a lot of heavy stuff. I talk about mental health. I talk about sexual abuse. I talk about coming out. And I do it in a way – I try to do it in a way – that was incredibly honest and in the hope that it would help. It would help people change minds, maybe, you know, even save somebody, Right?

And I think, I think that’s a responsibility that we all have on this planet, on this earth. And so in those moments when I talk about my book, that book is so interesting because it’s, it’s a memoir, but it’s also a call to action. So there’s a lot of, like – it the urgency of now get involved, this is how I got into politics. But then there’s this really personal story and it.

And almost every stop that I did during my book tour, people would cry, you know, people would cry. People would get emotional because of the personal story that I told. And the chapter that I read is chapter three, which talks about my mom’s kind of life and my, my relationship with her.

And I think people just cry. And, and I think that’s kind of been a big part of my book tour, which is being honest, being open, creating hopefully a safe space for people and having those real raw conversation.

And after a lot of my events, I’m hugging people.  Because they have a story about a son, their son committed suicide, or they have a story about, you know, their relationship with their mom, or they have a story that they want to personally tell me and it becomes this, you know, this really, this moment that we have. That moment was just much more public. It was a very public moment between us in that space.

[00:13:59]

 Julia: Yeah. And I wanted to start the interview with it not only because it’s how we met, but also to kind of center the conversation around that kind of a moment. Because in these interviews that I’m having with people about how to solve #MeToo, and one part of that is how do we hold perpetrators accountable? One part of that is how do we fix broken systems? But another part of that, equally as important as the first two, is how do we heal. How do we heal?

In the conversations I’m having with a whole bunch of powerful political activists like yourself, people who are out there not just fighting for the collective good, but also in very real and personal ways, fighting for ourselves and fighting for people just like us back home or in our circle who maybe haven’t yet found their way to quite as much of their power or their voice yet. I, I’ve come to really appreciate the power of human connection to catalyze political change.

And Ai-Jen Poo, who is of course the director of the national domestic workers Alliance, who I’m sure you know,

Karine: Yep.

Julia: um, she perhaps crystallized it the best when we were talking. And she said that healing and action are two sides of the same coin. And I’m paraphrasing, that might not be exactly how she phrased it, but she credited Tarana Burke with having first shared that basic idea with her. This idea that taking action to fight against injustice is healing.

Karine: Yeah,

Julia: And that by the same token, doing our healing work – which by that I mean courageously telling our story in front of a community who not only believes us, but then is prepared to go out there and fight shoulder to shoulder with us – in turn leads us to more powerful action.

So healing leads to action and action leads to healing. And so in a similar way, I feel at that moment you and I shared at your book talk was a moment not just of warmth and tenderness and human interaction, which of course it was all of those things, but it was a moment of profound empowerment. I mean, look where it’s gotten us, right? You’re here on my podcast,

Karine: Yeah.

Julia: and it was the result, quite frankly, of another moment of profound empowerment that you stepped into last summer on stage with Senator Kamala Harris. And I’d like for you to tell listeners the story of what I’m talking about.

Karine: Yeah. So, you know, there’s, that moment has so much depth, more depth than I had ever, ever realized.   So on June 1st of 2019, MoveOn held a big ideas forum. It was a presidential for the presidential candidates to come and talk about their big ideas. We were in San Francisco, we got 8 of the 20-odd candidates that were, that were out there running. And Kamala Harris clearly was one of them in San Francisco, in her home state.

And, um, we’re sitting on stage. There are three women of color, actually, sitting on stage. I’m in the middle, Kamala’s to my left and my co-moderator Stephanie Valencia, is uh who’s Latinx, uh was sitting to my right.

And we are having a conversation about her big idea and she’s going into – and it was very interesting cause she was talking about women. She was answering a question about women, women of color. And so here she is answering this question, we’re all standing on sitting on stage and this guy from way back of the room starts sprinting to, to, um, towards the stage and, and jumps up, hurls his body onto the stage.

So he comes towards us – really, clearly, he’s making a beeline for a Senator Harris. I step up, stand up and block him. And he grabs her microphone. I grab – try to grab it back from him. But at the moment, I didn’t know – none of us knew – what was going on. And thinking about this woman, woman of color, black woman sitting on stage, who’s running for president of the United States in a climate that’s incredibly dangerous for women, for black women, because we have a divider in chief in 1600 Pennsylvania. Because of the ugly, ugly rhetoric that it’s continuing to see out there. You do not know what’s going to happen. And I was also, I’m sitting there and it was just a reaction. It was a gut reaction. I just went into a one into action and, and tried to stop him.

And also afterwards, I was thinking too, is like, wow, Virginia. The Virginia Beach mass shooting happened the day before. You know where we lost – we lost lives. And I’m thinking, we don’t know who this guy is.

And so I, you know, afterwards I had to tell you, Julia, afterwards, I didn’t think much of it, you know, it was, my heart was pumping clearly. And I was, I had this kind of rush because I was like, Oh my gosh, this just happened. But I never thought it, it was a moment that people would connect with.

And I have to tell you from that day, that moment, it has connected with women. In such a big way. And that’s the conversation we were having the night that we met in Chicago, right? At the University of Chicago, a couple months ago, and it was – ot was how women were feeling and how they reacted to what they saw.

The reaction that I got from people was in – like I said, in particular women who would say to me, you know, I feel this. I feel this, this guy, this white male privilege male coming to you, towards you guys. I feel this every day. Not to that – clearly to that level, but it, it was so representative of how women were living their lives day to day and having to be in that room or to be disrespected, or to feel like they constantly have to stand up and protect themselves. And it was, it was pretty heavy. It was heavy.

And, it’s been something that I have a conversation about almost at every event that I do. Every interview that I did, it comes up. And we have this conversation about how much it resonated for women, and what it meant for women.  

I had a public official, a woman, a black woman, I’m not going to share her name, but she texted me and she said to me, I wish somebody would have done that for me. I’ve been in similar situations and no one has done that for me. And then she says to me that, you know, she says, black women are the most disrespected human, which is a quote, from Malcolm X, I believe, on this planet. And it’s sad. It’s sad that people feel that way.

And so yeah, it started this big conversation, important conversation, key conversation about women and how women feel in the workplace or out there in the world and how they’re treated and how they feel like they’re disrespected or how they feel like they’re being violated physically. And, and what do you do to protect yourself.

[00:21:08]

Julia: Yeah. And I’m sitting here fighting back tears as you’re telling the story.  And for me, what is so impactful is not the specter of the man charging you – the unsafety that’s communicated in that act. But for me what is so just viscerally primally moving is the act of you jumping up to defend the Senator – and I, I’m crying again, just saying that.

And it is that ferocious impulse to protect one another, you know? And as the woman you just referenced said, I wish that somebody had been there to do that for me.  I’ve never been sexually assaulted, but there were two scary moments where it was very much on the table and there was nobody there to protect me.  And I am a tall, affluent, well-educated white woman for God’s sake. And I have felt moments when I didn’t feel safe. And so this idea of not just being unsafe, but then the more powerful emotion and going a little bit off of what Alicia Garza said, that, you know, it rage is hard to connect to, but it’s love where we make the bond.

Karine: Yeah. It’s so funny because I’ve heard that in that interpretation as well for many, for many women who are mothers in particular, who are mothers themselves, and they feel like, wow, that’s such a, that’s how I would have reacted for my child. It’s such like a mother instinct. And, and that’s how they’ve connected it.

It’s like being that mama bear. And getting into action to protect somebody. and I am a mom. We have this beautiful five and a half year old. She’s amazing. She’s wonderful. And I definitely have that instinct. But I just honestly, I just felt it wasn’t okay. And I wish I could explain it.

And I have to tell you, I spoke to someone who’s a therapist, who’s a friend of mine, and we talked about flight, fright and freeze. And she said, you know, those are usually the three reactions that people have. And you, you went into fight. You know that’s just something that is built within you that is something that you just wanted to do, was fight. And maybe it’s connected to the way that I grew up. I don’t know, maybe it’s connected to the environment that I grew up in, or the household, or my mom, or I have no idea. But, but I just knew that I needed to fight.

And it’s so funny. I think the only time that I got scared at that moment, or I should say interesting, is afterwards when a friend of mine – a colleague of mine – came up to me and hugged me and he said, you put your body  in between them, in front of Kamala Harris. He could have killed you. He could have hurt you. And he got emotional. And I had never thought about that. I didn’t think about it at that moment, but when he said that I got emotional cause I thought, Oh my gosh, yes. I could have gotten hurt. And I have a family. I have a five year old and I have a, you know, I have a partner — like I have my own family and what would that have meant for them? And so I that’s probably the only time that I — and I have actually never shared that. This is the first time I’m sharing that. That moment afterwards where my colleague was like, you put your body in between them. Something could have happened to you.

Julia: I think that’s absolutely a part of why it’s so moving to watch that video every time because of that. I mean, it was, he was a big guy. Yeah, tall. He was like 6’4″

Karine: And I’m small. I’m small. I’m about five, two,

Julia: Yeah. You, you are quite little. And, Well, I think that’s part of why it is so moving to watch you do it because – you threw your body, you spread your arms out to just block him, you know? And it was that just instinctual impulse to protect, with your own physical body. That was just so moving

Karine: Thank you. I hope that never ever happens again. I really do, but if it will, I would do the same. I thought about this. It’s like, would I ever do that again? And I’m like, yeah, I would do that again, without a thought. And, you know, I, it will forever stay with me and stay with so many people.

And I got to tell you too, the next day, Kamala Harris called me, just to check in to see how I was doing, which I thought was, was nice. You know, it was a nice thing for her to do. And she said to me, she’s like, okay, you know what? You need to, you need to hang, go hang out with your kid. Don’t think about this. Spend time for yourself. Have a down day. And she thanked me and, and, wanted to see how I was doing, which I thought was – which I thought was, was a really special and a nice thing to do. I was not expecting it. I never even thought of it. And she called me and I was like, Oh, wow, okay.

Julia: Yeah. Well, it, it rippled through the pundit class, certainly, but the, the listening audience as in general, for days, it was a thing.

Karine: Yeah, it was, it went viral.  I thought it would go away after a couple of hours and you know what it is to Julia, things don’t play out for you in that moment the same way it plays out for people watching.

Julia: Right.

Karine: And I think that’s a big part of it. It didn’t play out the same way that it did for people who were, who were looking out and look out and looking in.

Julia: Yup. Yup. So, after we had that tearful moment, and then, you know, I was standing in line at the end of the book, talk to buy my book and have you sign it and I mentioned to you while you were signing my copy of your book that I had this podcast called Solving #MeToo, and I would love you to be a guest on it. And you paused in writing whatever you were writing in my book, and you looked up with this thoughtful and contemplative look on your face, and you slowly started to nod and you said, yeah, that’s something that I could make time for.

Karine: Yeah.

Julia: so I always like to ask you, why? What is it about this topic that speaks to you?

Karine: So this topic is just, it’s just so key and important. And I, for me, I don’t want it to fall by the wayside. I don’t want #MeToo to have a moment and, to have a moment and you know go viral, but then it goes away. And, because it’s so incredibly important for, you know, I – as I mentioned, I think about my daughter and all of the things that I have to teach her and protect her from and, and make sure that she’s prepared and ready.

And I really wish I didn’t have to do that. You know, I hope that she doesn’t have experiences that many women have on a daily basis on, you know, that is very common. And so I think about that all the time, and I think about my experiences. I think about the experience my mom has had and stories that I’ve heard from friends and strangers really.

And I feel like, I have a platform. You created this platform, which is amazing – this podcast, Julia. And I have a platform, and I think that it’s really important that I use my platform, and if I’m able to lend my voice in any way to help this, to continue to elevate this conversation, then I should. And shame on me if I don’t.

And that’s probably what I was thinking when you were telling me. I was like, okay, I’m on this book tour, I connected with this woman who clearly has a path and is fighting for an issue that she cares about. She has this podcast that is resonating with me. I have a platform. I have a story to tell. Let’s make this happen. I’m probably thinking about all of this.  Let’s make it happen. And, it took us a while to make this happen because it was so crazy. And then the holidays happened. but I’m glad that we’re talking and I’m glad that we did make it happen.

Julia: Well, I am too, and I would be remiss if I didn’t ask you what you think is unique about the way that you view this Solving #MeToo issue through your lens as an openly gay black woman. In your answer just now, when you mentioned why it’s important to you, you referenced your daughter and how raising your daughter in this world.  What about your lens? As you already mentioned, black women are the most disrespected humans on the planet, and then throw in that you’re openly gay on top of that. How does that give a slightly different shade to the lens through which you view these issues?

Karine: Yeah. it does. I mean, being a woman is tough. Just in general. You add being a black woman, that’s another layer of toughness. And then you add being openly gay.  That’s three things that makes my life a little bit tougher, a little bit harder than anyone else.

I mean, being a woman, you can’t hide that. Being a black person, you can’t hide that.  I cannot walk outside and people not see that I’m black. And being out as a gay woman is something that I choose. It’s a decision that I made that I wanted to be who I am.

And I have a family. We live in the suburbs of Maryland. I have this child. And we are probably the only gay couple in this little community. But I’ve always felt it’s so incredibly important to be who I am and live the person – my fullest life.

And I know that I’m privileged to do that. And what I mean by that is there are so many people, women just like me, who can’t. Who feel scared, who feel threatened, who feel that their parents or family will disown them. And while I had all those thoughts too, I took a chance and I owned it and now I think it’s important for my voice to be out there, for women who still feel very scared. Who still feel like they can’t live their true self. And not to tell them, you can come out and you can live your true self, but to tell them that it’s okay.

And I think that’s the lens that I see myself and it’s really interesting, Julia. I actually don’t think about it all that much, and I’ll tell you why. Because I’ve been in this, in this vessel, in this space for so long. I’ve been out for a long, long time. The only thing that’s new is I’ve been a mom. Only for the past five, six years, like that’s actually the, the one thing that I probably struggle with the most is being a good mom. How do I do that?  You know, we talk about it, my partner and I, we talk about it all the time. Are we raising her the way we want to? Like that’s probably the only, the one thing that I struggle with more is being a mom to this wonderful, beautiful little girl. And being gay is, is something that I’ve lived with so much for so long now.

You know, racism, it’s part of the system. It’s part of the foundation. It is a institutional racism that’s just part of part of the life and the life that I’ve lived in. And so of course, you’re fighting that all the time. And being a woman, you’re fighting that sexism and misogyny all the time. So I don’t wanna – I don’t want to lighten that.  But that’s, you know, that’s kind of how I see myself in the world is someone who’s been out for a long time, who’s lived it, who’s been in this space. And I hope that what I’m putting out there is confidence is someone who is brave, is someone who is successful, is someone who’s made it, is hopefully that I’m inspiring and motivating people.

Julia: And speaking of that inspiration and motivation, one of your I think goals with your book, is that there is a call to action in the book. You want every person to understand how important it is to get involved right now. And I certainly agree with you, but I want to offer you the opportunity to make your case. Why do people have to get involved? Why- why can people actually make a difference now? Why does their vote matter?

Karine: So we’re living in a time, at least in my lifetime, that I have never experienced before. And while America has a very complicated history with slavery and racism and we just talked about institutional racism, the moment that we’re in currently – if we do not get out and vote and not send a very loud message to Donald Trump and his supporters, it will – it will literally change the direction of this country into a place that is … That is outwardly racist, that is homophobic, transphobic that is xenophobic and people will be okay with it. You know, people will look the other way or just be okay with it, as I just said.

And we cannot, cannot sit back and not get involved. We cannot sit on the sidelines. Just imagine four more years of Donald Trump. Imagine that. Imagine the damage that he’s done in only three years and how he’s changed the complexion of this country. Not just domestically, but internationally. And we have babies in cages. We have the Muslim ban, we have transgender ban. We have women’s rights that are being erased on the federal level. We have neo-Nazis and white supremacists who are feeling emboldened. This isn’t three short years that he has done this.

Julia: I think just yesterday he approved a plan that allows people to dump toxic chemicals —

Karine: Exactly right. Right. I mean, the deregulations, the pulling us back and, it’s so we cannot, we cannot sit on the sideline because it’s not just our generation. It’s your children’s generation, your grandchildren’s generation. I mean, this is will have a rippling effect for a long time to come.

So you have to ask yourself, where was I? What was I doing during this time? Was I sitting back and just not paying attention and not caring? Or did I get involved and try to make a change? And so that is going to be on you.

And one of the things that I always think about is, I have been talking a lot about my kid and I talked about how she’s five years old. And I think about this, I think about when she’s 12, when she’s 15 when she’s, I dunno, 25 and she’s reading history or looking back and looking at this moment, this moment of the Trump era. And if she ever looks at me down the road in the future and says, mama, what were you doing during this time? What was going on? I want her to be easily look it up and say, okay, you know what? Your mama did this. Your mama did that. And to be proud, to know and understand that I stood out there and fought not just for, for me and for, you know, my peers and for people I didn’t even know. But for her. And her peers and her generation.

And so that is the key. It’s like it’s, the thing is we can’t afford to sit back. We can’t afford to not go out and vote. And I say this all the time, and I probably said this that night when we first met. If you are not white, male, straight and wealthy, there is a target on your back.

Julia: Yup.

Karine: And you have to stand up for everyone because if we do not stand up for everyone, we will all fall. It’s not just about black people, Latino people, or – it’s all about all of us. It’s all of us standing together and fighting this. Because that’s the only way we’re going to win, and that’s why I asked people to please get involved. That’s what my book is about. It’s about people please getting involved – and laying that case out and what’s at stake. The urgency of now. We cannot wait four years from now til 2024 and say, Oh, you know what? He’ll be out. We’ll be fine. No, we won’t be fine. We won’t.

Julia: What I hear you saying also is that it’s not, it’s very much so about creating a different outcome and also it’s about making a decision. Who do you want to be? Do you want to be the person who fought what – even if it looked like it was a losing fight, but you were still out there fighting. Or do you want to be the person who hunkered down, made yourself small, ducked your head and did as much as you could to stay out of the line of fire? Who, who are you? Who do you want to be in this moment?

Karine: Exactly, and that’s a decision that we all have to make come November. That’s actually the message that whoever’s the nominee has to be very clear about. Who are we as a country? Who do we want to be? What direction do we want to take this country in? And that is the message that you have to take to everybody out there and how you get folks out there to vote. Who are we as a country, as an individual, as a person? Who are you and are you going to fight? Fight for what is right.

Julia: Yeah, 100% and so I like for these episodes to be very action oriented. And I’m wondering, do you have any particular pet calls to action very specifically? I know in your book you talk about voting as a big one. What website would you like a listener to go to? What initiative would you like a listener to sign up for? What specific actions do you want to get – encourage people to get involved in?

Karine: You have to get involved in your community. Yes, voting matters, but it’s more than that. You not, not only do you have to vote, but you got to get your community out to vote, your household out to vote. You have to actually work a little bit harder, a little bit harder this time around to get that movement that we’re going to need to win.

I tell people, I work for Move On, an awesome progressive organization, the largest independent organization, more than 5 million members. I’ve been with move on for about three, four years. And if you are looking for something to do and you don’t really know where to go, go to MoveOn.Org. We have petitions that you can sign up to and get involved in, or create your own petition.

We are going to be training people. We will have our move on members out there, getting their communities organized. You can join our move on members in that. There is so much to do because – it’s so funny. Before we get to voting, there’s so many fights. There’s the impeachment trial, right? There’s keeping the, the president, you know, making sure that he’s held accountable.

There’s so many fights that we have to do from now until then. So there are, are different ways to get involved. And so join move on, become a member. We will get you ready to go. We will train you. We will make sure you’re not left in the cold if you’ve never done it before, and we will make you part of the family and you can be part of this fight, part of this movement that we will need to win in November.

Julia: I love that. Karine, that’s just fantastic. So listeners, MoveOn.org is the place to go. And, , I hope that you’ve gotten a taste of  the incredible heart that Karine brings to her fight and  if you want to be a part of that kind of heart-centered, passionate, organization and movement, move on.org is the place for you to go next.

Karine, thank you so much – much for making time in your busy life.

Karine: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for this platform that you’ve given us, this amazing podcast and putting all of your heart into it. It’s so important to have these conversations, so thank you. I appreciate the opportunity.

Episode Conclusion

Thank you listeners for tuning in to solving me too, and this interview that we’ve just had with Karine Jean-Pierre.

Make sure that you check out her book Moving Forward, and if you want to participate in the conversation, you can email us at feedback@solvingmetoo.com.

You can also come to the website, SolvingMeToo.com, to join the conversation happening there or over on Facebook.

Thanks a lot for listening. 

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