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Nina Turner Visits Eugene To Talk MLK And Civil Rights In The Trump Era

Zach Stern

A prominent African-American politician and analyst was in Eugene yesterday. Nina Turner discussed Martin Luther King Junior’s legacy in Trump-era America. KLCC’s Brian Bull reports.

Nina Turner is a former Ohio state senator, now president of Our Revolution, a progressive activist group.

It’s been nearly 50 years since King was assassinated. Since then, the U.S. has seen its first black president. Yet Turner says blacks still have higher poverty and incarceration rates than average. She says racism is still an issue, noting Oregon itself was first founded as a whites-only state.

Credit Gregory Evans / Lane Community College
Lane Community College
Nina Turner, former Ohio state senator and currently president of Our Revolution.

“Places like Eugene treated African-Americans like second class citizens just as they did in the Deep South," says Turner.

"Oregon has come a long way, but we have to remember that institutional racism can only be dealt with in institutional ways.  We need institutions -public and private sectors- to say, ‘not under our watch’.”

Turner says she’s encouraged by the growing number of women and people of color running for office, many fired up by President Trump’s stances on immigrants, the Charlottesville rally, and other topics.

She says it’s not enough to run against Trump though…people need to run for the equality and justice that Martin Luther King preached for in his lifetime.

WEB EXTRA: Hear an extended conversation between KLCC's Brian Bull and Nina Turner.  She reflects on Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy, a year of the Trump presidency, the role of #BlackLivesMatter and #metoo in the national conversation, the Congressional midterm elections in November, and the possibility that Bernie Sanders -- and Oprah Winfrey -- may run in 2020.

Credit Gregory Evans / Lane Community College
Lane Community College
Nina Turner talks to KLCC's Brian Bull.


Copyright 2018, KLCC.

Brian Bull is an assistant professor of journalism at the University of Oregon, and remains a contributor to the KLCC news department. He began working with KLCC in June 2016.   In his 27+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (22 regional),  the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from  the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.
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