Don Lemon on Where America Goes from Here: ‘Don’t Be Afraid, Speak Up!’


Ryan Seacrest connected with CNN Tonight’s Jon Lemon on-air on Wednesday, June 3, igniting the conversation of what happens next following the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless others whose names will never be forgotten.

Protests have been ongoing weeks now for justice of Arbery, who was shot and killed after being chased down by armed white residents of a South Georgia neighborhood, and Floyd, another unarmed black man who died in police custody in Minneapolis after a white officer kneeled on his neck for more than eight minutes. (The gunman, Travis McMichael, 34, and Greg McMichael, 64, have since been charged with Arbery's murder as well as a third man who was at the scene and recorded the now viral video, William “Roddie” Bryan Jr.; Derek Chauvin, the officer seen kneeling on Floyd's neck has also since been charged, but the remaining three officers at the scene have not.)

“We need a change in leadership and it has nothing do with being a democrat or republican,” Don shared with Seacrest. “We need an administration that understands the plight of people who are in the streets. ... And I think we need to all sit around and talk, but beyond talk, there needs to be some action. There needs to be some self-examination in our lives about how we’re going to affect change. … People live in their own bubble and if you look around most people, the people around them, look exactly like they do and I think this a problem in America.”

Don added that initially this fight is about getting back to enforcing “some change within police departments” and that “that change isn't going to happen within police departments unless the people of America step up and do it.”

Don has been spreading his message and urging Americans to do their part and speak up nightly on his CNN broadcast CNN Tonight.

“I think the only way to do the job that I do is to be honest and have honest conversations,” he stressed. “… I'm speaking for black Americans, but mostly, right now, I’m talking to white Americans because that's really who is going to fix this problem. We need allies. … Don’t be afraid — speak up!”

Don added that he’s extremely proud of America’s youth who have been peacefully protesting and leading the frontlines of change.

“I think that people, they’re awake now, and they’re not going to stand for it," he concluded. "They see the injustices and they’re tired of it.”

The CNN anchor also touched upon how he believes COVID-19 quarantine assisted in the energy behind the protests and increased desire for change and his thoughts on the remaining three officers who have yet to be charged. Listen back to the full interview in the Zoom video above and join the conversation on social @OnAirWithRyan 

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