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CNN "CNN Newsroom" - Transcript


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LEMON: OK. So there is the former speaker standing up for you. Your reaction to that? And the bigger question is, why did you decide to wear a hoodie? You're wearing one now.

RUSH: Well, I just wanted to express, Don -- and thank you so much for allowing me this opportunity. I just wanted to express that a hoodie is nothing but a piece of clothing. I'm glad that the speaker said what she said about women not being able to wear pants. It's nothing but clothing. It has nothing to do with character.

But Trayvon Martin lies dead, partially because he was a black man wearing a hoodie in a white neighborhood. Shot in the head. Something is wrong with that. The assailant has not been charged. Something is wrong with that. The police let him go scot-free. Something is wrong with that.

This is a mere example, protest about the failure of the judicial system as it relates to African-American males and the clothing they wear. Their life is much more than a piece of clothing. And we can't lie down and accept murder because someone wears a hood. A hood is nothing but a piece of clothing.

LEMON: Congressman, I know you're impassioned by this. And I'm a former resident of Chicago. You're there in Illinois. You know what happens in Chicago. A lot of it happens on the south side of Chicago, gang members, African-Americans. People kill each other all the time. I'm talking about your specific area. This is something that's close to you because so many people have died. And you know them and their families come to you and you have to deal with it. And this is something very personal to you. I want you to tell our viewers why.

RUSH: My son, in 1999, was shot down in the streets. Since I've been a member of Congress, I've railed against the NRA, the National Rifle Association, introduced legislation to register handguns, to license handguns. I tell you, if we -- if you have to have a VIN number for an automobile, a vehicle identification number, then why not have a VIN number for all these guns, a gun identification number.

I'm against this violence. All right? The agency will allow someone because they are a black male to be shot down in cold blooded in the back of the head on our streets, and they walk away scot-free. This is just not something that happened in Florida. It happened in Chicago a couple of years ago. Where a man who walked into a drugstore -- they said he stole toothpaste, a container of toothpaste, and he ran out. The security guy chased him, who was not a police officer now. A security guard chased him, put him into a chokehold and he died. Killed him right there. And he still has not been charged. So this goes on and on and on.

All my life, I have been dedicated, fought hard against police brutality and police murder and the willful non-pretension that young black man -- and I'm not excusing those who are criminals, those who are real hoodlums. But just because you wear a hood, a hoodie don't make you a hoodlum.

LEMON: Congressman, I want to jump in now and I want you to hear this. This is Sybrina Fulton, Trayvon Martin's mother talking about you.


SYBRINA FULTON, MOTHER OF TRAYVON MARTIN: This just shows the passion of what's going on with Trayvon Martin. It also shows that some people don't quite get it. They don't quite understand. It's almost like they're an ostrich. They have their head buried in the sand. They don't quite understand what's going on.


LEMON: The parents of Trayvon Martin speaking out about your reactions. I have just a short time to go. What do you say about that?

RUSH: Let me just say, this family lost a son but they have gained a whole generation of children who are now protesting in the streets, walking in the schools. They're doing what they need to do in order to make their voices heard because they do not want to be the next Trayvon Martin.

LEMON: What are you doing next for this?

RUSH: We are trying to get the word out. We have some plans that I'm not -- we haven't firmed them up right now. But this is just the beginning.

LEMON: Congressman Bobby Rush, thank you for coming on and pouring your heart out. We appreciate you. And we'll talk to you soon.

RUSH: Thanks, Don.


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