On Friday June 5, Axios Executive Editor Sara Kehaulani Goo and White House Editor Margaret Talev hosted a live, virtual event on inequality and police brutality against black Americans, featuring NAACP President & CEO Derrick Johnson, St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter, Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren, and Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.).

Derrick Johnson discussed the impact of police unions negotiating to have records of officers not publicly disclosed, as well as elections as a means of structural change.

  • On lack of transparency: "An officer can create a lot of problems in discipline in one agency and then move onto another agency, and no one ever knows he or she actually was a problem officer or a bad apple."
  • On making change at the policy level: "We really need to talk about the structural change that's going to be required, and those changes are inside of public policy...[Voters] have to evaluate: 'Do we have the right people in office? Do we have the right people in the seats for change?'"

Mayor Melvin Carter underscored how the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and institutional racism are connected.

  • "We are facing not just one pandemic, we're facing multiple pandemics of disparities, inequities, and long-term systemic racism that we've seen play out not just in Minnesota but across our country."

Mayor Lovely Warren discussed how Rochester, New York is working to address transparency, including a civilian accountability board and passing laws condemning chokeholds and other measures of force.

  • On holding police officers accountable: "Unions have their role and their place, but we need to make sure that we're protecting the public and protecting employees that act within the confine of the law."

Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) discussed the differences between protests following the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and the 1968 civil rights actions, as well as his proposed Emmett Till Antilynching Act currently being held up in the Senate.

  • On making lasting changes: "I see individuals coming together in beautiful ways, better ways. But I don’t see any organizational coalescing in these margins...I think ultimately we have to get to a position where we are [seeing that organization] in order to have a sustained change in this society."
  • On the Emmett Till Antilynching Act, which would be the first law to make lynching a federal crime: "If it doesn't pass now, I don't believe it will pass...I really believe this bill has reached a moment."

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Updated Jun 19, 2020 - Axios Events

Watch: A conversation to commemorate Juneteenth

On Friday, June 19, Axios' markets reporter Dion Rabouin hosted a discussion on the history of Juneteenth and the current nationwide protests against police violence, featuring former Obama advisor Valerie Jarrett, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, BET founder Robert Johnson and activist DeRay Mckesson.

Robert Johnson discussed the history of Juneteenth and his advocacy around reparations.

  • On reparations and race relations: "Reparations is a demand on the part of African-Americans that we be made whole for the wealth that was stolen from slaves over a 300 year period...My position is that white America should recognize the debt and black Americans should be proud to accept the atonement."
  • How slavery laid the foundation for racial income inequality: "It is no secret that the net income of a white family is $170,000 on average. The net income of a black family is $17,000. That 10-fold disparity can be traced directly back to the wealth transfer that started with slave labor."

Mayor Sylvester Turner focused on policy decisions around policing in Houston, and responded to calls for defunding the police.

  • On his decision to increase police funding: "We need policing. [People] are asking for good policing. They're asking for a policing system that's accountable. They're also going beyond that...They want to be investing in communities and neighborhoods that have been overlooked and under invested in for decades."

Valerie Jarrett discussed the ongoing demonstrations around the country and the upcoming election in November.

  • On the importance of civil rights during this political moment: "We need a robust civil rights division...in deciding how you want to vote, you should say, are the people who are in office actually worrying about the civil rights of all Americans and not just some Americans?"
  • On how to make cultural progress: "It's not good enough to just say, 'Look, I'm not a racist.' What you have to say is: 'What am I going to do to help change our culture, to make it better?' There's something that we can all do individually. There's certainly something the business community can do."

DeRay Mckesson highlighted how the present moment invites people to reimagine the concept of safety.

  • "The question is not police, no police. The question is like, how do I stay safe and what does safety look like? The police are not the best answer to that. The police aren't the only answer to that. And the police shouldn't be the answer that we fund when we think of that question."

Thank you Bank of America for sponsoring this event.

Jun 23, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Larry Kudlow: "I don't accept the view of systemic racism"

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow doesn't believe there is systemic racism in the United States, citing the election of former President Barack Obama.

  • "I don't accept the view of systemic racism. I think there is racism in pockets of this country, but I do not believe it is systemic," Kudlow told Jonathan Swan in an interview for "Axios on HBO."
  • "You have as evidence of that view, our first black president, just a few years back, won two terms, and I regarded that with pride as an American."

Scoop: Goldman Sachs hires first-ever chief marketing officer

Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images

Goldman Sachs has hired former AT&T chief brand officer Fiona Carter as its first-ever chief marketing officer, according to an internal memo obtained by Axios.

Why it matters: While Goldman spends less than some of its financial services competitors on advertising, the company has built a robust in-house media team that produces everything from podcasts to live events and videos.