Video: A Tribute To John Taylor, Founder Of The National Community Reinvestment Coalition

NCRC Founder John Taylor announced his retirement on August 1, 2021. John’s legacy is synonymous with a strong dedication to advancing financial inclusion and investments in communities across the nation. 

John moved from Boston to Washington, DC, to launch and open NCRC’s first office in 1992. Under his leadership, NCRC grew into an association of more than 600 community-based organizations, and into a social enterprise that produces agenda-setting research, investigations, publishing, training, insight and programs to increase the flow of private capital into traditionally underserved communities. 


  • Jesse Van Tol, President and CEO, NCRC
  • Sherrod Brown, U.S. Senator, Ohio
  • Shawn Donovan, Former Secretary, Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • Bart Harvey, First Board Chair, NCRC
  • Peter Hainley, Executive Director, CASA of Oregon
  • Bethany Sanchez, Senior Administrator Fair Lending, Metropolitan Milwaukee Fair Housing Council
  • Don Graves, Deputy Secretary, Department of Commerce
  • Elizabeth Warren, U.S. Senator, Massachusetts
  • Catherine Crosby, Town Manager, Apex, North Carolina
  • Stephen D. Steinour, Chairman, President, CEO, Huntington Bancshares Incorporated
  • Bob Dickerson, Executive Director, Birmingham Business Resource Center
  • Marc Morial, President and CEO, National Urban League
  • John Taylor, Founder, NCRC


NCRC video transcripts are produced by a third-party transcription service and may contain errors. They are lightly edited for style and clarity

Van Tol 00:00

Good evening, I’m sorry, I’m not able to be there in person. But in my case, sharing is not caring. And you’re in good hands with the NCRC. staff and board. I hope you’re having a wonderful conference. But I’m most saddened that I won’t be there to celebrate John Taylor, my brother from an older mother, who I love, John, I love you, I wish I could be there to celebrate you. You know, NCRC is its people. And when you look around the room, look at the people around you. Look at who they are hundreds of people, hundreds more online, who are part of the NCRC family. And that’s a window into John’s soul. John set out to build this organization 30 years ago, imagine a much smaller room with just John in it. And person by person, he built this organization, he went out and found a diverse group of community leaders as the board. He built the diverse staff, he built the membership. That doesn’t happen without thought and intention along the way. And that’s what John set out to do.

Taylor (media clip) 01:17

You lose your income is a whole other set of problems. And that’s happening a lot that’s adding to the problem. But this is whole massive loans that were by the nature of the type of loans they were they were toxic. We’re trying to clean those up. At least we can do that for people who are still working.

Brown 01:34

John Taylor, Sherrod Brown here. Congratulations. Thank you for 30 years of service, that NCRC I’ll always appreciate the work that NCRC has done over the years to help those neighborhoods and families, who too often are overlooked too often underserved. Thank you for all you’ve done to strengthen the Community Reinvestment Act to ensure banks serve all communities. And the work you’ve done to address racial and economic inequality across the country. You’ve earned a long and happy retirement. Thank you so much.

Donovan 02:04

You are for so many of us in DC, a moral compass.

Harvey 02:10

This is Bart Harvey, or Baat, as you would say, and I was one of the first chairs of NCRC and CEO of enterprise and current chairman of Calvert impact capital. And I marvel at all you have done over your decades of work for NCRC. You ought to stop for a second. And really look at what you have done for so many people in this country that need a little help. And I remember the very early days, and never laughing harder. In the midst of a really tough campaign. It’s your your humor, and your perseverance and your spirit. And it is shown forth over the decades in the work that you’ve accomplished. All the best to you.

Hainley 03:10

Hey, John, it’s Peter from Casa of Oregon. Remember me? Favorite board member of all times? Cracker backs cruncher of numbers, master of oversight. I’m sure you remember me. I just want to say it’s been fabulous knowing you this last decade. I wish I had met you sooner. I learned a lot. And I really appreciate everything that you’ve done for the communities. And thanks for coming out to Portland right after I got on the board. Really appreciate getting to spend some time with you. And now you can really head off and smell the roses. Happy retirement or fim.

Sanchez 03:49

Hey, John, it’s Bethany Sanchez sending my greetings from Milwaukee. One of my favorite memories is one of the early conferences that I attended. You got everybody on a couple of buses and took us over to the National Press Club. And I just have this memory of them clinking the glasses to quiet the room and start the proceedings. And I was just so impressed. It’s like wow, here we are in Washington DC at the National Press Club and John Taylor and Al Franken are about to moderate a discussion on CRA. How cool is that? And it was very cool. And if then it I’m sure it was helpful in helping the audience across the country to understand what CRA was and its benefits. And that was only one of the things that you did in the early years. Thank you for everything that you’ve done in the decades. I’d love for you.

Graves 04:49

Hello, everyone. Its Deputy Secretary of Commerce Don Graves. John, I am so sorry that I can’t be there with you on this great day of celebration. What Career seems like just yesterday that you and Reverend Smith and Bob Denise and I were meeting with Alan Greenspan in his office, beating him up for not paying more attention to communities, and to the hard working people of the country. Thank you so much for all that you’ve done. You’ve been a fantastic friend. And more importantly, you’ve been a fantastic leader for the country, for so many communities. You’ve laid it all out there. I can’t thank you enough for your friendship and your leadership. I hope you have a great rest of your celebration, and I look forward to seeing you again soon. Take care. Bye bye.

Warren 05:38

Hello, National Community Reinvestment Coalition. I sure wish that I could be with you in person to celebrate John’s retirement. But I am so glad at least to have a chance to speak to you virtually. First, I want to thank NCRC for the important work that you do every day to build more vibrant and thriving communities by combating lending, housing and business discrimination. Your advocacy and research are crucial, because the fight for economic justice is far from over. The second thing I want to do is say to John, congratulations on your retirement and for your service to NCRC. For all these years, under John’s leadership, NCRC has tirelessly fought to create a fairer economy for American families, including by championing a strong community reinvestment act, to ensure that giant financial institutions are following the rules and serving communities in need. Now, even though John has retired from his day to day work at NCRC, his legacy will be the work that all of you continue to do every day. So thank you, John, for being such an outstanding partner all these years, enjoy your well deserved retirement. And for everyone else, stay in this fight.

Crosby 07:22

Good afternoon. Thanks. So I don’t know why they sent me out here with a script, John, because I’m not gonna follow it. You know, I love you dearly. And, um, you may not know this, but I always called you the Sour Patch Kid. Because sometimes you’re sour. And other times you are so so sweet. And that is what I love about you. And I think that’s probably what most of us love dearly about you. Your passion, your commitment for this work, your willingness to to challenge us to do better to be better for our communities. Your heart is always in the right place. And I am so honored one to be Board Chair of NCRC. But more importantly, I am so honored to be able to be a board member of NCRC you probably do not remember this. But my first introduction to NCRC was in grad school. I think I was just out of grad school. And Commissioner Dean Lovelace, who used to be a board member of NCRC introduced me to the Community Reinvestment Institute. And so I signed up. So I was, I was so mesmerized by Commissioner de Lovelace, who was the Social Justice Commissioner for the city of Dayton. That’s what that was he, that’s what they termed him, as. And he introduced me to the Community Reinvestment Institute. And I think John was our graduation speaker. And he’s always so passionate. If you’ve ever heard John speak, he’s very passionate, he’s very engaged. And he really gets you riled up. And he makes you want to be a part of this movement. And that was my first introduction to NCRC. So when Commissioner Lovelace came off of the board, I sent him a message and said, Can I please fill your board seat, and I was honored to be accepted to fill the term. So John, first, I want to say thank you dearly, because I cannot imagine someone started an organization over 30 years ago with this mission. And that did not require a lot of passion and hard work, we need you now we needed you, then we will need you in the future. So I just want to say I love you so much. And thank you for this opportunity.

So you I know I’ve been off script all day long. So I gotta figure out where I am. But, um, so I just want to say this is full circle for me. Because I always tell people, there are two organizations that have really changed my life for the better and that have allowed that has allowed me to, to really be the person that I want to be and show up for my community in the way that I need to and NCRC was one of those organizations. I want to invite three people up to how Let me congratulate John on his retirement, but also congratulate John for the hard work and dedication and the organization that we have today. The first is Steve Steinour, he is the CEO of Huntington Bank. The second is Bob Dickerson, who was the immediate past chair of NCRC. And here’s the full circle moment. The second Oregon the second organization that really allowed me to show up and be all of who I am is the National Urban League. And so I like to invite Marc Moriel and one second, I’ll invite Marc Morial.

Steinour 10:59

So good evening, and John, what a special night this is for you. And I hope Susan, those videos were outstanding. These remarks from my my fellow colleagues, I’m sure will be as well. But you gotta suffer through me first. John had an amazing career in Boston. And that’s where he learned how to spell CRA. And that’s when he worked on TRIPLE DECKERs and, and getting housing and affordable housing and businesses and fairness introduced in Somerville and the other neighborhoods that were tough, really tough in Boston. And I was there when he was doing his work. He was a legend that he could have gone on to do anything, could have been governor, mayor, anything. But his passion was to help build this wonderful institution. And for 30 years, many hundreds of you nationally, running different organizations helping over 30 years, millions of Americans achieve fairness, achieve their dreams in housing, or business. It’s a remarkable moment for us, all of us tonight, to be with you to celebrate your incredible, incredible impact. And a commitment that went the full gamut you ran to the end. And like a true founder you found and made sure you had good succession great succession. I can’t imagine what Jesse must be feeling tonight. As your your brother who’s who’s got his entree moment with with the past with COVID. But wonderful work, wonderful career. you’ve defined CRA for four decades, not three, you’ve made such important impacts throughout our society. And the US. Congratulations to you. Well deserved retirement. Thank you, my friend.

Dickerson 13:03

So good evening, as in NCRC. Fashion, I have notes. They will prepare for me, John. Just want you to know that Hello, Susan. So, so first of all, I just want to say that especially to pass chairs, Irvin Henderson and Bethany Sanchez, thank you, for your leadership and for my ability to stand here tonight to talk about John Taylor. John, thank you for what you’ve done for this nation for this country for the world. Now, most of you, I think, know, John, but we’ve got a lot of people in SCRC that are relatively new. So I think some of the things I will say tonight are going to be redundant and repetitive to a good number of you. But maybe some people need to hear these things. As we recognize the contributions of the special man. So John, as he’ll tell you grew up in the projects of Boston in the 50s and 60s. I heard a comment about the 50s and 60s. Okay. But but it but you know a lot of us come from similar roots, we come from similar communities. We come from similar circumstances. And we know those things intimately. We know him personally. And we know how growing up in sometimes challenging circumstances, leaves an impression on us. And that impression stays with us for our entire lives to see hardship and hope together. hardship and hope together that’s important to be able to to understand what your neighbors were talking about because the walls are so thin. Yeah, some of y’all know what I’m talking about, that you hear their conversations and then to see government they purport to solve the problem. And then some unscrupulous businessman or somebody who didn’t have the right motive makes it not work for you, for a low income person for moderate income person, but John had a some things that happened in his life. And he’ll tell you about him. That really changed his trajectory. There was a paradigm shift he, he was able to do some things that a lot of the folks in in Roxbury weren’t able to do. So he went to Northeastern University. He went on to Northeastern law school, he finished with his JD. And growing up in those circumstances, and coming out and ending up running a community development organization, an organization that was investing in the community and helping the community. It was almost like providential. You know, this man who had grown up in those circumstances comes back, to be able to help his community. And so his decade of remarkable service, and in Somerville, that’s somewhere in Massachusetts, I’m not really sure where it is. But but it put him on a national radar. And a national radar is how he got to NCRC. Now, I’ve heard the story about John and NCRC, several times how John shows up at NCRC. And, you know, we see in CRC now, and John showed up and he was in CRC. So if you introduced the NCRC, staff, and 1992, when John got there, then you just be introduced to John, because he was the NCRC staff. He was the staff member. But look around, I mean, look around this room and look around the staff of NCRC. Now, it’s a national organization with almost 700 members. It’s a powerful organization with 60 staff members. It’s an organization that has bought a building in Washington DC within a stone’s throw of the Capitol. That’s what John has done for NCRC. But but he didn’t build NCRC, just to be a beltway organization just to be an organization that’s influential inside of Washington, DC with policymakers and with with legislators. He built it to be connected to the grassroots. And that’s what we are, you know, that’s where we come in, and thank you. So he connected us. He’s listened to us, he’s helped us to empower ourselves, in our neighborhoods and our cities in our states. So I heard a story. I just I heard this story, John, and you’ve never told this one. But in 1995, the Clinton administration, as most administrations do, got beat at the midterms. Irv, I bet you were at this meeting.

They got beat in the midterms. And so like most folks do, they call him Cisneros to HUD director, and he called activists and advocates like John, to say, Hey, what are we going to do to fight these Republicans? That sounds familiar, right? What are we gonna do, to try to fight to make sure that, you know, we don’t lose the gains that we tried to make in these first two years? And so, from what I understand that Cisneros made a passionate speech, so they say he put his shoulder to the wheel, I’m not really sure I know what that means. But he but put his shoulder into it I, you know, that was new to me. Script, by the way. But, but at the time, this, this young, relatively young guy stuck his hand in the air. Now if you know, John, if you’ve ever been around him, he’s never going to be the one to not make a comment or ask a question. Can I get an amen on that job? He’s never been the one to not make a comment and not ask a question. So John says to Cisneros, in his Boston accent. I dare not try to impersonate him. But Mr. Secretary, I understand what we can do for you. But what I want to know is what you’re going to do for us. So that’s something that three years of running a place that didn’t exist before he got there to lay down a marker with the her secretary right in his face, you know, that took a lot of you know what, you know, because because what John understands, and we know this if you’ve been around him and been around in NCRC, that power yields are nothing without demand. We all need to realize that. So that’s John as who yields. He’s the man who built the NCRC. John, you deserve all the accolades that we’re giving you. And the praise is coming your way, your hero, you’re an icon, you’re a champion. Congratulate congratulations for making the world a better place. Your your your commitment to community, your passion for justice, your dedication to this organization is those are the reasons that we’re here tonight at this just economy conference, and And wow, those words exemplify your life’s work, fighting the powers that be and loving every minute of it, fighting for a just economy. So I’ve been privileged to be to spend a lot of time with JT over the last decade or so. I’ve got a lot of stories. Some of them I won’t tell. I do want to share just a couple of things before I sit down. No, they’re all good. But but but the one thing if you know, John, he likes to talk about his athletic prowess. That the heart part that came from over there somewhere. I’m not really sure I have my glasses on but I think it was you. Anyway, so he talks about his you know how he was almost recruited to play football at Northeastern. But the coach told him he will make him a football player and get him in shape. And that discouraged and he talks about his talent on the baseball diamond. And then and then I love his his talks about his battles with late board member Pete Garcia on the basketball court. understand people’s a hell of a basketball player. And, you know, we all of our ability to shoot a basketball and catch a football or hit a baseball grows with time. We’re all better than we used to be, believe me. But I got to share this one memory. Before I sit down of John Taylor, that I think all of us would get a kick out of it was the 2019 conference. We had a band somewhere around here that was jamming. Y’all remember that? Yeah. Let me know. Let me know. And I have a video of John going down to Soul Train lane. I promise you that is something to see JT. You made a difference. You’ve given us so much. I’m glad you’re getting this night your glory. Know that you’re respected. Appreciate it and love. Let’s stand up and give John Taylor a great round of applause. 

Crosby 23:14

One more surprise. They just made their way in John. Marc Morial.

Morial 23:26

Greetings, friends, how you all this evening? Where’s John? I’m trying to see with these bright bright lights. Where are you John? I’m Marc Morial. I’m proud to serve as president and CEO of the National Urban League. And I am just honored and humbled to be a part of those to salute John Taylor. How can I best describe John Taylor. You know, in Black America, occasionally, we have this very special designation. That designation is called an honorary soul brother.

And John Taylor has repeatedly earned the designation as an honorary soul brother. And I can best described by John Taylor as someone with a highly trained mind, but a well tuned heart. Because in my work, and in working with John every conversation that I’ve ever had with John was indeed a learning experience. He was constantly teaching, educating us about the intimacies and intricacies of banking and community development. The intersection with racial justice and economic justice and I always look forward to those conversations. And the chance to sit side by side with John in numerous meetings meetings with members of Congress meetings with financial services sector executives meetings with other like minded advocates and organizational leaders. John also had a special passion because he believed that there was more in common between black, white, Latino and Asian working people, then is often understood, given the complexities and the confusions and the divisions in American politics. So his voice was singular. In that case, he, you know, he was Roosevelt desk. He was Kennedyesque. He was someone who truly believed in that vision of America’s new frontier, America’s new deal. So John, I’m here tonight to just on behalf not only of the National Urban League, but so many of us, who’ve had an opportunity to work with you to salute you and say thank you, we appreciate a life of great service builder of an institution. An insistent impatient person and patience is a good thing. So damn good thing. If it’s impatience for purpose, John Taylor always exhibited in patients for person, ya know what I mean? Right. And so John again, I’m just going to join in saying thank you, thank you. Thank you. Godspeed. Congratulations on whatever your next chapter is there’s no such thing as retirement or being quiet for John Taylor nothing like that brother keep on keepin on. Thank you very much my brother my friend, John Taylor

Crosby 27:17

So before you leave Marc, Bob, I think Steve had to leave John if you could come back up so we can give you a gift and take a picture with you. And then I’d like to offer I asked the board to come up as well. 

In John Taylor fashion, there is always music

Music (Tupac) 27:47

Taylor 31:24

Am I going well, all right. How is everybody? I wish for all of you that you have the kind of career I had. Because you know, as as as Steve Steinour and And, Bob, we’re talking about, I did grow up in public housing in Roxbury, Massachusetts. Is that is the fella from Roxbury here, Smith. He’s not would you take his name down, make sure we talked to him he What didn’t he come? Anyway. But you know, I have a lot of people thanking me. And it’s difficult to do with so many folks. But there’s been pivotable pivotal people in my life and at NCRC. And not the least of which has been Bob Dickerson, and Ervin Henderson, two of the most influential board members in my life, Pete Garcia, unfortunately passed away. You know, without their help, their guidance, they’re challenging me. They’re telling me to shut up now and then never never worked. But and don’t let anyone tell you to shut up here. You know, one of the things that goes on in this town is there’s a, there’s a real push, especially with the national organizations that always agree with each other. And when you you sit, and the reason that HUD Secretary saying we were the moral compass of, of the sea, is because there was a meeting at the at a meeting at the White House, and they were 20 national organizations there. And they and we were talking about the bill, I don’t even know what the bill was. But, you know, they’re all like, Yes, Mr. Secretary, that Gene Sperling, who was the National Economic Adviser, whatever his title was for President Clinton, he was in there and they’re pushing us and everybody in this town, the way you build power, is who you know, and, and who you connect with. And for me, the way we build power, is having people out in the communities who could talk to congressmen who know they vote for them, or they don’t vote for them. That’s real power. And by the way, thank you, I guess, anytime I plan to speak, I guess, which is not going to be very often, but plan to speak at the end of the demo. You because I’m thinking well, people gotta be busy eaten, and they can listen to the bankers who had a lot of good things to say. And you know, until listen, I mean, to listen to the way MIT and US bank to bank the way they all talk. And think thinking maybe we’re going to easy on especially if Kevin is saying, Hey, this is a good deal. We must meet Kevin, you’re getting older some. So, you know, I It’s funny to get this award could have been bigger. All I’m saying what did they spend? To me? The thing is, you know, 30 years

Don’t remind me so at January 2 1992, that’s when I began. I moved from Boston and I As the Senator for community change was kind enough to give me an office without windows and all brick walls and fluorescent lights and no computer and an old telephone, and I’m thinking, Damn, what have I done moving? Moving here, my wife couldn’t get down here, Susan couldn’t get down here for a year because she was working at the federal government. And we were working things out there. But it was a, it was an interesting beginning. So this is nothing that I had to say I had a lot of stuff to say here. Because because I think it’s, you know, I want to say something meaningful. And at first to thank all of you as well. I mean, I’m really nothing without you. And Jesse is nothing and without you, because our power and I want to say it again, there’s two ways of creating power in this city. You either give us a lot of money to somebody’s election, or people listen to you in their district about who they should vote for. There’s only two ways now a lot of us don’t have that kind of money to influence an election. But we talk to people. Lots of people in our community about what this person is doing is not doing that can make a big difference. And that’s the power we have. I’ve always said and I want to thank Jesse because Jesse, Jesse had just graduated from University of Madison, Wisconsin. And I had met him when he was a few people have heard this story, but I’ve met him when he was like this tall. I knew his father Hubert van tol, who was on the board of directors at NCRC at the time, and he introduced me to these van tours, and they all tall, that’s why they got tall. And it used to be funny because they were free spirited. They were homeschooled. The mother was a doctor, and he was an activist he ran Jesse Jesse Jackson’s campaign for was a Tennessee. Yeah. And and so I meet these tall people, the van tall. And but this one’s he’s, he’s like, 11 and he’s this big. And but um, he’s 11. So I started, how are you young man? You know, I, I’m, you know, I’m talking this kid leggies a kid. And I say a few things to him. And then he comes out with this, you know? Well, conversely, I think that if we really look retrospectively at what is and I spent a little more time around this kid and I saw him a few years later and stuff. And I was just watching this brilliant kid growing up. And so I didn’t see him for several years. And I saw him at a party up in New York State.

Is that is that the only word they said? That wasn’t? Alright, I saw this, this hurts my jaw. But I’ll say it right. I saw him at a party. And he had just graduated from the University of Wisconsin. And we had this farm we’re drinking beers. And again, it was the funniest thing because at this point, he’s no longer here. He’s here. And he was the small one in the family. He had these brothers that were like boop boop boop and then daddy who was big. And the music would come on at this farm and you know how you know how people well, white people anyway, we, you know, when they when they play the music. We’re very slow to get up. Okay, now we I’m not. I’m not slow to get up. No, no, I’m not. But most people are that you gotta wait for that first person to make a fool out of themselves. And for everybody and look at before everyone, not the van tos, Jessie, this whole family. They’re like giants walking out there. And here’s the thing, when you’re big, you try to keep a super low profile, you know, you know, not the Ventos they will now, try and imagine, like eight of them doing that. It was a sight to behold. But Jesse says he just graduated and I said so. And again, he’s as brilliant as ever. I said the so what are you going to do? He says, I don’t know. I think maybe work in New Yorker, maybe DC so I have a job for you. I forget what it was because part of it is when you find a person, black, white, brown, female. Tall short, who absolutely has a clear thinking way of talking, communicating thinking that’s the kind of person you want to hire the other stuff you could teach him. Just because the resume say he worked a workday at work there. And he got by got up got over. That doesn’t mean he’s necessarily going to be somebody who’s good. But I knew Jesse would be good. And so yeah, took me 12 years to train them. Okay, I’m gonna take a little bit back now, a little bit back from giving him all the credit. But he was for many years. You don’t know this, but the person I looked at internally to take over from me, because I thought he had the right commitment and whatever. But look at you the membership, you are the most important part of NCRC. We need you as much as you may think you need us to want to come to these conferences or want to do these things. That power I started to talk about this. I didn’t say it. But that White House meeting with Secretary of HUD, what was his name? No, man, the guy who do you see snare it says Nero’s up on that thing. Shaun Donovan. That’s it. Shaun Donovan. He was in the meeting with you Gene Sperling, and all these community groups in Washington. What I call they don’t like this. I call them sycophants, because they were given up too much. And here’s the thing. The people we know, in our neighborhoods and communities, we see on a regular basis, struggling, having nothing, wanting to own a home, wanting to start a business, wanting to live in a safe neighborhood, wanting their children to go to decent schools, wanting all the things that many Americans take for granted. We’re the voice that speaks up for that, at that moment. There’s no one else in Washington when we talk about this subject. And so we don’t need to be sucking up to the White House and those guys, we need to be saying no, that’s not enough. That’s not gonna move the needle. And that’s what this organization is about and should always be about, you know, wait, Henderson is some you know, anybody know, Wade Henderson is a fabulous human beings with the leadership conference for civil rights. He was one of the people in the room, African American, the nicest guy you’ve ever met. And so I’m getting a little tense in this meeting about us not fighting for more. And wait stands up and says John, look, the way things work in Washington, and he’s a very smooth talker. Very nice guy. I love him. Don’t, don’t read into this comment. By the way, don’t be telling me the way things were saying what work in Washington, I’m trying to change this way it works. Because nobody is talking about my five brothers and sisters. Who went to war get mocked up in Vietnam. My sisters who bet married bad men who left with babies. And that’s just some of the people I grew up with in the projects. Who’s talking for them? We look alright, I’m getting excited. This by the way. Can I have a water from somebody? When they talk about passion in the city? I didn’t figure this out for a long time because they would always say to me that John Taylor, he has a lot of passion. And what they mean by that is you’re crazy. Thank you. And can we spare in a word? And they mean, they mean you need to come down that’s what that statement is. So if they say to you in the city, what are you you know, we’d like you because we you have a lot of passion. So anybody who knows me well, and there’s a lot of people in this room who do Do I have a lot of passion? Let me ask them I want all you to be accused of having a lot of passion. Kevin, you’re too damn calm need to raise your voice once you haven’t raised your voice and 20 years I know that. But I hope all you get accused of being passionate, because that means you’re pushing for it. You’re making it happen. Like mentally like a lot of people in this room. If not most if not all you I don’t know all I wish I did. But look at a speech and now I can’t do it because I’ve used most of my time. But I actually have a point to make. Not that that wasn’t a point. But in all the places I work before I took the job at NCRC to start this organization. I used to do solar energy conservation stuff. Community gardens, I was ran a community development corporation that CDFI was a Fair Housing Commission, I did all these things. And in the process continued to meet a lot of folks who were really struggling, who couldn’t, couldn’t get a lot of things. I guess they probably set that chair and table over there for a reason. I got one here. Oh, underneath. I don’t like these clear things, you know, it’s because it shows I forgot my black shoes. So I would, I wore these red socks, so you wouldn’t notice the shoes. I guess. Thank you very much. Thank you very much. But in all that time, I used to wonder, as I was doing community development, stuff, development, affordable housing and say, oh, okay, all we need is more money for CTCs. We can build affordable housing when we create housing that creates wealth that will solve everything. And then I was CDFI work and oh, all we need is more money to do bla, bla, and conservation. And all we need is more education, more money in education to teach people so I was always looking for a magic bullet. I never found one. All we found is pieces of opportunity that got addressed. And then they go away. Until now, so I got I got a solution for you. You got to really thank me for this. So I don’t know how I’m gonna work any of this in but I gotta get the studio. So do you. Would you like to hear what I think you need to know? Okay. All right. Since you since you asked. The one commonality they finally figured out with all these things that I was doing, and I didn’t bring a napkin, can anyone get a clean? Clean something? Thank you. We don’t have to pay extra for this that we forget all invoice.

I ain’t paying. That’s right. So all that the commonality that I figured out was happening and all the things I was doing and what’s happening now. We’re sort of as leaders and activists in economics, justice and financial equality and income inequalities, you know, going after that, a kind of scratching on the surface. But in every one of the things we do, it really is connected to who has the power. Right, who has the power in Washington, who has the power in your state governments and city governments. And that’s where we’re really been losing it. Can you imagine if the 1968 civil rights bill? No, it wasn’t 68 knows what? Yeah. 64 with Johnson 65. Somewhere in the 60s, we should know this, right?

There’s no lawyers in the room. Four and five. Okay, now that we cleared that up. Do you imagine having that bill go before the Senate today – to pass a civil rights bill? What do you think would happen? Nothing. That’s right. The Voting Rights Act, they let that expire. You know, I mean, expired before making any improvements to it, the Brady Act, the guy gets shot in the head and, you know, Reagan get shot too. But you know, I ain’t gonna say anything on that. Because I know that I know. There’s some Republicans in the room and he’s still the patron saint, but we will need to talk some about that. Because you know, when Reagan got elected in 1980, the HUD budget in today’s dollars was $140 billion after year one, you know what of Reagan? You know what the HUD budget was? Anybody? Eight $8 billion from 140. Cut to 8 billion. And about that time, surprise, surprise, we started to have more homelessness. They weren’t building affordable housing or public housing. So anyway, that’s Reagan will let it go. And I know people love him. I don’t know. I’m just gonna let that go. I don’t want to offend. I don’t want to I actually think corporate America is actually more progressive than most of the Senate in the house, because they have more experience in dealing with real people. House and Senate people, their experience is about raising money to get reelected. And you know, some of them, it’s the best job they ever gonna have. It is the best job they ever did have, and it’s the best one they’ve ever gonna have. And they’ll get on Jetson because they’re in this committee and that fly here, fly there, so on and so on. They get they don’t have to wait in line for anything. You know. And I mean, you know, some used to be Undertaker’s. And, you know, a lot of lawyers, you know, a lot of different. So why am I talking about this? I have no idea. But I do really, I do, really, the reason I’m talking about it is because somehow, we went from Lyndon Johnson. And the and the civil rights bill, the war on poverty JFK, to this, one won’t even pass a bill that says you got to be 21, before you can get a weapon that you can shoot at everybody. I’m sorry. And that’s not in line with the American public, it’s not closely in line with how the public feels. And yet they vote that way. That’s true for everything we work on. For everything I’ve done in my life, whether it’s creating soup kitchens, or affordable housing or anything, it’s always that they don’t really care, they’ll do enough to say they passed this bill and they beat their chest and there’ll be press releases, and they’ll carry that into the next campaign and get a bunch of votes. And it’s only gotten worse. And here’s the real point I want to make. We can change this. Now, some of you ain’t gonna like this. But you’re gonna grow to understand why it’s true. Is Marc still here? Mario, he’s too important. He left. All right. The rest of you are important enough, but Marc is, Marc is on another level. But actually, your civil rights leaders, I talked to them about whether it’s Jesse, Marc, or other people who are at the top of their field, when I talk about this issue, I’m going to set it as mentioned to you get it instantly. And that is when we progresses. Lm by the way, I meant to say this is John Taylor’s remarks, that doesn’t reflect the C three status of NCRC. Let me be clear about all that. But when we go to vote, that I was saying, Go to vote. Now. So when, when, when we speak about political things, we progressives, we talk about the black community, we talk about the Brown community, we talk about the LBG TQ community, we talk about gender rights, we talk about a lot of things. Why people don’t think we’re talking about them.

And look, I just want to say I like white people. Don’t get me wrong now. But I want you to to, because when I first started talking to NCRC’s Board about wanting to focus more on having conversations with working class whites and whites. And by the way, if I did a list of all the things environment, how they think about that, how they think about more money for education, how they think about schools, are they, those poor whites will line up just like us, but they will vote for Democrats. Because they don’t think we like them. Because we say shitty ass stuff. Like, why are you voting against your self interest? And who the mark are we to tell them like we like with daddy, and to judge them and tell them something like that. There’s a way of saying things and having a conversation. And when we talk about fairness and equality and justice, and economic opportunity and things like that, we gotta get white people to understand we’re not saying not you. We’re just saying we haven’t had much of that. We, you black folk, brown folk, you know, and that’s what we’re trying to do. We’re not going to abandon that by turning to whites. Now the Republicans understood this. They’re much better in politics. And I know that some Republicans in the room. God bless you, you’re much better politics than we are. That Well, it’s, it was supposed to be funny, but sometimes when it’s serious, you know, it doesn’t quite work so well. But in any case, I want to tell you, also whites are in rural America. We used to have in 7655 for 45% have white rural Americans voted Democrat 45% 43% voted for Republicans, we had the majority. Today if you say to somebody, do you think we ought to have some control on guns? Those people, they will say yes. Do you think we ought to put more money into the economics of rural America and help you help smaller farms instead of just the big ass farms? And say, yes. Do you think we ought to make sure you have adequate health care that doesn’t cost you your farm? If you get sick? And say, yes, right down the line of what we would want them to say. But then if you say, if the person who was running for office held those views, would you vote for him? They’ll say, yes. Would you vote for him? If they were Democrat? They would overwhelmingly say no, that’s how much we lost them. Last time, we had a decent showing now this is good news. For rural white America was when Obama ran. They voted him both times. And they didn’t vote Gore very much. They didn’t vote for

No, I’m talking the other democratic was Hillary, oh, my God, no, Hillary. I’m sorry, I love Hillary. But you can’t call people deplorables. And think they’re gonna like you and vote for you. It just doesn’t. It doesn’t work that way. So what has happened and and what’s happened in rural America, is they think Democrats don’t like him because of the way we talk about him. And the fact that we don’t even talk about them when we’re talking about economic opportunity and fairness and equality. They don’t think we’re ever talking about them. They don’t think we care about them. They think Trump does and did, because Trump would go out there. And clearly using a racial leverage to pit people against each other, each other he would say to them, you’ve been ignored, your time has come, we’re going to help you. And they believe that they will vote for people because of who they are and what they stand for. They liked Obama, in part because he wasn’t a career politician. All right. He was in the Senate for not even a full term, but he was there. But they liked him because he sounded different. Trump sounded different. We certainly can do better than that. You know. Do you know by the way? What the DNC, anybody here from the DNC, the Democratic National Committee, good, I can talk about them. The DNC, Tom Perez, who was all it was a great guy at the Justice Department, we liked him and so on. He said, we’re not going to do rural America, on campaigns, who’s talking over there. You’re stuck and you want to you want to leave? I don’t mind if you leave. Somebody might want to hear what I’m saying. And see, I’ve done that over the years. Don’t do that. What I’m doing right now, don’t do that. That’s not a nice thing. People don’t like it. But I can’t be fired now because I retired so. So we, the DNC decided this would Tom Perez said, we’re not going to go to rural rural America, you can’t knock on doors. If that isn’t the stupidest thing I ever heard, rural America is where you can knock on doors. People are happy to see you. And so the Republicans have hundreds and hundreds of activists who speak the dialect of the communities where they are knocking on doors talking about how great the Republicans are those Republicans who decided to not let Medicare reach their cities and towns who didn’t increase funding for small farms, but for big farms, were due to all these things that weren’t necessarily in their interest. But they liked the way they talk and they liked the fact that they came to the door. Why not go to the door. The DNC had one person who was in charge of rural campaigns without any people out there. One, one group in the Republican Party that raised some money raised $150 million just to do rural work. So the Democrats said, well, we better do some so they raised 30 million. So in all this, wow. They’re not just looking at the presidential race as Democrats did. They were looking at state legislatures legislators. So in 76, we had 31 of the state legislatures had. Both the House and the Senate were democratic. Willie Ron 31 You know how many they have now? 13 or 1416? Maybe. And you know what happens when the state legislature controls things? You know what happens to federal elections? Right? Let me hear the word. Jerry gerrymandering. A stat. A recent study came out that showed currently 36 of the members of the House of Representatives who are Republicans, or Republicans were elected solely because there they were redistricting gentrified regions that allowed them to win. I remember North Carolina, the state had 500,000 more democratic votes, and they lost four seats in Congress. How the hell does that happen? So, look, I’m telling you all this because, you know, I’m not dying, I’m gonna, if people say I ain’t gonna rule over, I’m gonna do stuff, you know. And I’m still hired for the next few years to advise Jesse and the rest of the board.

Some of your board members need to call more. But But any case, I’m going into the sunset when the time comes. But I’m going in kicking and fighting and being loud, and working towards a more just economy.

And I really hope you do the same. If we just shift, like get this, then I’m gonna shut up because I know, you don’t hear from me. I’m the last thing between you and going outdoors. It’s raining anyway. So if you relax. If we shift in rural America, or in white America, whatever you want to call them, if we shift 5% of their vote, if all of a sudden they start hearing No, no, for me, even the NAACP when they talk about stuff that they say no, we we care about poor whites, we want poor whites to be able to have a decent life suffering is suffering inequities and lack of humanity, that’s bad for everybody. Look, we get 5% shift. That means is a 10% differential in the House and the Senate elections. We win it all. You hear me folks, we win it all with a 10% shift. Now that’s gonna take some work. But we we have a spear of this thing. You know, we’re not in this town, most of us with a spear in the communities that we need to begin to put in a framework and are thinking, what will we talk about the center open and opera, this service being available, whatever. Even if you don’t have white people in the neighborhood, you know, I’m saying, say they welcome. Oh, shoot, they do care about us. And eventually will will become one nation, one humanity. One group of citizens working in a nation that has great, great promise, and being able to take the wealth and make sure it works for everybody. We play a critical role in making that happen. This conversation I’m happy with having with you now, you’re going to hear more of it from different people. But not enough people having this conversation. We cannot continue to ignore people who in a flash will be on our side if they understood what we were doing. And if they believed we care about them. Can I get an Amen? All right. So look, that’s kind of what I wanted to say. So there’s one very important thing I do want to say because I’ve thanked everybody. But the most important person of all to thank, you know, I’ve spent the last 30 years memory I said January 2 99, to run around this country, sometimes the Europe, Africa, Central America, South America, Canada. I know it’s not that far, but it’s a it’s a foreign country. But someone was fun, you know, going to France and places like that. That’s great. But all that, wow. I have a wife who doesn’t see me while I commuted for years from Boston. And I still live in Boston to hear my wife didn’t see me for most of the week, that she might have been happy about a little bit of that. But I was happy she never complained. She was always supportive. And being smarter than me was real value that I can come back and she could straighten my ass out from what I’ve been thinking and saying. But Susan forward is it was a gift from God from me. It is one of the most wonderful things that ever happened in my life. And she’s, she’s really, she’s so much better than I am such a decent human being so good. And she doesn’t have a foul mouth or any Come on, come on up, Susan. Come on up here. Our hiring because we got we got to let these people go. But I hope you really heard me I you know, I got my speech if somebody wants it, you can read what I was gonna say. And I’ll sign it maybe it’ll be worse than someday I don’t know why. Because I would have got a bigger trophy than what they gave me if if my speeches were. But you know, I love you guys very much. Because I love what you do. And I love love what you stand for. And to get all these accolades and nice words and whatever, for having done something that I’ve done as the life’s work that may gave me great pleasure was hard work and it was frustrating at times. And I pissed off a lot of people but I want you to piss off people because you are the voices and you have to stay on hard for what we believe in and not go with the flow which is everybody works with everybody and gets along then they go out and have dinner and stuff forget that shit. They know what I’m talking about! So, thank you, membership board directors, and anybody else I forgot to thank. I do that. But I I’ve had such a blessed career and I’m I’m not done, but I crave I really crave this opportunity I for some reason it probably has to do with like I’m like Forrest Gump or something. I don’t get nervous in front of crowds. I sweat but that’s just because I get worked up in a passionate but I SAY WHAT THE HELL comes to my mind. And that’s a pleasure in life to be able to be like that to be able to say the words you want. It’s not always going to land nicely on everybody’s ears and I’m saying this in particularly young people. Most important of all, be who you are and be what you believe in and don’t let anybody tell you that you shouldn’t believe that way.

So if they had a hook I wouldn’t be gone much gone much longer ago. But thank you everybody and thank you lenders for stepping up and and for all the ones who support NCRC we can’t do this without you. We appreciate it very much. Anything you want to say? 

Susan Taylor: Just you are John’s family. You are all his family and we love you.

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