– Good morning. I think we’re just gonna go straight into question and answers. Some things that stood out to you, some things that you want to talk about, things that are not there, you
want to talk about process. So we’ll just open the floor. Yes, I see a hand. Yes, the young lady, yes. – [Woman] Yeah, I just am
interested in your talks about sports and young
people because a lot of what we saw was either
college or professional, and just thinking about the developmental aspect of sports and
the community building. – I think that what we
try to do in the gallery is to really look at
sports at an elite level. And there are sort of costs and consequences to sort of doing that. And so you don’t get
into some of the kind of developmental kind of
issues that are there. Although one of the things we
try to do in the Olympics case is to talk about this idea
of the amateur athlete, where you’re still getting
into younger athletes, but it’s still elite athletes. But we don’t get into what’s often called the American sports creed, and this idea that sports are tied to our
educational institutions because of this concept of healthy mind, healthy body and the idea
that sports help teach values. And so we didn’t chart that, but we do sort of try to
hint at it in certain places, and how this sort of, these concepts around sports
and you sort of develop. You also see it in some
ways in the basketball case. When you get to the kind
of idea of racial uplift, which in many ways is a response to the development of basketball. Basketball was developed
in the 1890s by the YMCA to a large extent because
boys and men stopped going to church, and they still wanted to teach these Christian
middle class values. And so the game becomes associated with temperance, chastity. And African Americans
start playing basketball in part because they want to be identified with those Christian middle class values. And then it becomes a way to
kind of, to challenge racism. So it’s hinted at, but it’s not explicit. Yes, tell me your name. – [Woman] Hi, good morning. Having been a long time ago
employee of the Smithsonian, I know it’s not easy to collect the wealth of artifacts
that you have collected. Could you explain to everyone the process you all went through over
many decades to collect, to build the collection that you have? – Well, usually when museums start, they often start with a collection. And that wasn’t the case with our museum. We were authorized, and then
had to build a collection. And so, in terms of the sports gallery, we’ll say the sports gallery was actually the last gallery that got
approved in this museum. And so, I start working
on collecting in 2013 for a 2016 opening date,
but the reality is that everything needed to be collected by 2015 because you’ve got to build the mounts, you’ve got to install things. And so, it’s interesting
because I don’t really have a background in museums,
I was a college professor. And in many ways, my own
inexperience and naivete was really beneficial
to getting this done. Because if you ask me to
do what we did back then, I would tell you it’s
impossible to build a collection of five, six, seven million dollars. Particularly back then when
no one had heard of us. You gotta go back to 2013, you pick up the phone
and you call athletes. And you know, we’re building
this national museum and they would say,
we’ve never heard of you. And good luck. But now it’s much easier
because in many ways, we’re sort of two degrees of separation from almost anyone in the sports world. So the challenge of building
early on was that you had to find people who
believed in what we’re doing. And so we found a couple of collectors, people who had been collecting and preserving this history for a long time. And people were very kind and generous. One of the big breakthroughs
in terms of collecting was early on when Carl Lewis
donated his Olympic medals, and a couple of other items. And that was our first big donation, and it was the one that
gave me faith and belief that we could build a
world class collection. The totality of Carl Lewis’ donation’s probably over a million dollars. And one of the challenges
of my job now is that the sports memorabilia market has
become like the art market. People us it as an investment vehicle. And so that makes it a
little bit challenging, coupled with the fact that now the sports, the sports museum sort of world has also sort of exploded over the last ten years. Almost every city has
a sports hall of fame, every university. So there’s a lot more competition both from the museum sector, but
also the auction market. And so it’s a challenge. But I think we get our
fair share of artifacts. Yes. – [Man] How do you
determine, is it, you know history is a living
history, and there’s so many great things that we
have in there already. Going forward, how do you determine what should now enter into,
you know I mean there should be a Simone Biles section
there at some point. So how do you determine
what should come into being in the museum as you
continue to go forward? – It’s twofold. The first is, you have to
understand your theory of history. You know, how it is that
I think about history. And you have to collect for that. But then you also have to
understand the other ways to think about history,
the other ways to analyze. Because at this point, I have to collect for the museum so we can rotate. But I also have to
collect for the curators, who’s gonna occupy my
role 50 years from now. And so, in some ways, you’ve
got to be really broadminded and you just can’t say, I
think this is important. Like for example, Esports make
absolutely no sense to me. I cannot imagine coming in here, watching someone playing a video game. I’m just talking about me,
and I could just be old. But, it’s become such
a cultural phenomenon that I have to think about it, and I have to consider it, and think about what are the politics
and what’s the culture, what’s the social significance of that. So that when someone’s doing
this work 50 years from now, they have items that sort of help them. You mentioned Simone Biles. Do you know her? Can you put me in contact with her? ‘Cause I would love to do that. And so sometimes you
also have to step back and get a little bit of perspective. One of the items we just put on display is Simone Manuel’s swimming,
swimming sort of uniform. And so, the 2016 Olympics happened, there were a number of stories that like, this is really important. But then I waited a couple
of years to kind of see okay, now let me see if this
story still resonates, if it still makes sense. And Simone Biles’ story, excuse
me, Simone Manuel’s story is important for a number of reasons, particularly if you go back
to slavery and swimming. It’s this idea that black people
had gills and bigger lungs because African Americans,
or Afro-Barbadians in many respects were often employed as divers on slave ships. So if one of the white crew
members fell into the ocean, it was often a black diver
who was expected to jump in the water, save the crew
member and save themselves. And so people thought African Americans had extraordinary swimming abilities. And then you get to the
Civil Rights Movement, and the ability to swim
in recreational spaces, to change some of those laws. Typically, what would
happen, recreation facilities across the country is that
there would be one day that African Americans could go swimming. And so African Americans would swim, they would drain the
pool, put more water in, and then whites could
swim the other six days. And so to think about her
Olympic accomplishments and the long trajectory
of swimming and race and now more contemporary
story is the extent to which African Americans drown at a
much higher rate than others. So there’s a lot of kind
of cultural conversations that we could have around her career. Yes? – [Man] You’ve got a great facility, and it’s great for people in Washington and for people who come
to visit Washington. What about the rest of the country? What’s the plan, how do
you take this message around to the rest of the country? – And I’m glad you asked that question because that really is the
next phase of the museum. How do we really sort of activate
the national in our title? How do we take this history to people who will never be able to
come to Washington D.C.? So we’re in a process
of developing curricula that’ll be available to students. We’re also in a process of thinking about, how can we do programming
across the country, but also thinking about how do we sort of impact targeted markets and demographics. For example, we just are
in the midst of launching our sports and race
initiative, and we’re trying to figure out how can we
help professional athletes think about their impact,
think about their opportunities while also sort of working to convene conversations around sports and race. And so this is really the next phase, figuring out, how do we
move from being a museum to a cultural institution
that has a national footprint. And so, we are in the process
of finding the resources to kind of make that happen,
but that is one of the topics that we talk
about continually here. Yes. – [Man] We were just talking about the truth telling part of the exhibit. For example, one of the
things we were talking about is the Branch Rickey piece with
Jackie Robinson that it was probably more exploitative
than I thought, anyway. And that how he raided,
it wasn’t just him, but the Major Leagues
raided the Negro Leagues, and I appreciated that,
that was something new that I’m sitting with a little bit. But I appreciate the truth telling that’s a part of this museum. – Thank you, yeah that’s,
it’s a difficult and complicated story about the
integration of baseball. Jackie Robinson integrates
in 1947, and then you really start to see the
decline of the Negro Leagues. One of the hopes of the African Americans and the Negro Leagues, the ownerships, what they hoped was that the Negro Leagues would be incorporated into
the minor league system. Or they hoped that they
would continue to exist because they were being
compensated for the players who were being taken
out of the Negro Leagues and put in the Major Leagues,
but that didn’t happen. And so, it’s a complicated
story about progress, but also destruction as well. And so it’s difficult, because I’ll tell you another
story about that video. And he’s in particular referencing the video in the baseball room. In 2018, MLB held the All Star
Game here in Washington D.C., and they wanted to host their
gala here at the museum. And we invited MLB to come to
the museum to watch that video because it’s pretty,
pretty harsh in some ways. There’s a section where Kevin Blackistone, the reporter from ESPN,
he says in a direct quote, “Major League Baseball has
done an unbelievable job “of whitewashing its racist history.” And so we didn’t want to
surprise them with that. So we brought them in, said
this is how we’re framing the story of the integration of baseball. And this is our narrative
from our perspective. And so you don’t want to
blindside people with it. And so try to be good partners. And so it’s been something
that people go into that room and it is a different perspective and so I think it’s really powerful too. I saw your hand. – [Man] How did you go from
professor to museum curator? – That’s a good question. Well, the, I got invited to come to the museum about 11 years ago. And they asked me to help them think about how to put sports into their
exhibitions because they had decided that they were not
gonna have a sports gallery. And I thought that was crazy. But I did what they asked me to do. I helped them, they sent
me all of the scripts for the other galleries, and I sort of helped them think about how sports fit in to some of the larger narratives. And then at the end, I made
a case for why the museum should have a sports gallery,
and how they could do it. And then I went back to
being a college professor. I got a call from the
museum four years later, and they said, we decided
to put a sports gallery in the museum, and we want
you to be the curator. One, I had no idea what that meant. But I also knew that I couldn’t say no. And so for two years, I
essentially had two full-time jobs. I was a college professor,
which I absolutely loved and had no desire to leave the university. And this job, and then after two years, I decided to come to the museum full time because I got a chance
to really think about all the things that we can do here, so it’s a situation where the job found me rather than I found the job. Yes. – Brother Thomas, Jer’Mykeal McCoy here. Can you talk about the
importance of historically black colleges and the
Civil Rights Movement in regards to sports and athletics? – That’s something we
wanted to sort of emphasize, to think about the
historically black colleges and universities and their contributions across African American
history number one, as a place which provided
athletic opportunities, but also as a place that was used to kind of develop
leaders and men and women. It’s also important to think
about that prior to Title Nine, there were about 30 schools that offered, 30 colleges and universities that offered women scholarships. Half of them were
historically black colleges and universities, so in many ways they were ahead of the curve. You think about a school
like Tennessee State, which sent 40 women to the Olympics. Or Tuskegee University, which dominated women’s track and field
during the 1930s and 40s. One of my favorite quotes
in the entire gallery is in the HBCU Game Changers exhibition, and the quote above was from
a woman, her name is Mo Ivory. And what she said is she said, “Spelman College is where
I learned what it means “to be a black woman in this world. “I graduated with a
degree in perseverance, “self determination, and confidence.” And I thought that was such
a perfect encapsulation of what the HBCU experience
is for a number of students. I’ll tell you another
story about Mo Ivory. She is a radio personality locally. And about a week before the museum opened, we had all these special receptions. And I guess someone told her
she was quoted in the museum, so she invited me to
come on her radio show. And we’re just sitting
talking about her history, the meaning, importance of
historically black colleges, and then I looked over at her, and there are just tears
running down her face because she was quoted in the Smithsonian. And I was like okay, this
museum’s gonna be a big deal. That was the moment where it’s like oh my. Saw some other hands, yes. – [Man] Actually, just two questions. One, the U.S. Olympic and
Paralympic Committee is building, obviously, a huge museum
in Colorado Springs. And obviously, a number of
national governing bodies have a long, rich, and
complicated history in some cases. You’ve showcased swimming
as a great example. Have you had any
conversations with the U.S. Olympic Committee, or any
of the NGBs in that area, and my second question, it was probably a little bit more complicated is, obviously a lot of the exhibit
showcases the importance of advocacy, activism,
and protest through sport. Has the, have you or with
this emergence of activism and protest in sport
becoming much much more, I think commonplace and
mainstream globally, have you considered taking
a position or convening a debate and discussion
that could shape policy, or help governing bodies
shape policy in that area? – We have not been in
conversation with the USOC. I know a number of people
who kind of work there, but we haven’t been
invited to participate in the planning and development
of that particular museum. And no, we haven’t had
much conversation with some of the other Olympic
museum organizations. In terms of your second conversation, your second question
about convening people to talk about and to discuss and debate some of these sort of initiatives, our secretary, Lonnie Bunch,
was recently installed as the secretary of the Smithsonian, he was the founding
director for this museum. One of the things he always
says is the Smithsonian can be the great convener, bringing people together
to have conversations. And so we are certainly
thinking about how to do that, and what’s most effective, and which topics are
beneficial to the population. And so that’s one that we’re considering, but we don’t have any
definitive plans at this moment. Yes. – [Man] As a follow up to Ed’s question, what type of feedback or comments have you guys already had (mumbles). – I should say that we’ve probably had about 21 or 22 NBA teams. We’ve had about four or five football, NFL teams, but probably
another 500 NFL athletes. A couple of baseball teams,
college and university athletes from all over come to the museum. I think, I think one of the
things that’s important to me is that athletes are
able to see themselves in a larger tradition, in
a longstanding tradition. To see that so much of what’s happened is the product of struggle. And it’s often a history
that they don’t learn, that they don’t know. I remember when I was
in college in the 1990s, and I went to UCLA, a
pretty big, big school. We won a National Championship
while I was there, the football team was, we
had won 20 straight games thirty thousand students. But there was not one single
class on campus that dealt with the political, social,
cultural role of sports. And so, I think for a number of athletes, it’s just something that
they’re not familiar with, or don’t often sort of think about. I remember also I had a
moment with Briana Scurry, the goalie from the ’99 Olympic
Team, and I met with her, and we are talking about her career, and talking about donating
items to the museum. And we were sitting
there talking about it, and in the middle of our conversation, she just kind of threw
her hands up and said, I was just trying to win a game. You know, she wasn’t
thinking about these larger kind of forces that were at play, and the audience who were watching. And I think that’s just
the situation a lot of athletes sort of find themselves in, so it’s important to be
able to kind of provide some context to them and so,
that’s been really important. And then I also went up
to meet with the NBA, and to meet with their
front office people. And you know, sometimes
it’s good to ask a question you think you know the answer to. So I sat and I asked them, why do you want the NBA players to come to the museum? And I was a bit struck by the answer. And they said, well we want
our players to be empathetic. And you know, if you think
about professional athletes, particularly in basketball,
they’re being tracked at 12, 13, they’re the center of
their social networks, they’re told you’re on the
path to going to the NBA. And so, and many of them
are still really young. 21, 22 years old worth 25 million dollars. And so part of it is getting athletes to think beyond themselves. And so, as I lead the
athletes around the museum and through the sports gallery,
always have that in mind, that that’s one of the target outcomes that we would like to see. Yes. – [Man] One of our speakers
mentioned the importance of changing the world
through service, and maybe, I didn’t get through the
whole narrative so excuse me if it’s there, but I, but there
are many athletes in there that are great philanthropists,
and many of them that also give back through service
in a number of activities. And I’m wondering if
that might be folded in, because right now, someone
coming away from this could say these are all the great accomplishments, but did any of these folks give back other than protest or try
to make a social change, but not change an individual’s life, you know, on the street kind of thing. – Yeah, that’s a really good point. And so there are points where
we try to emphasize that. For example, if you go to the Tiger Woods Game Changers
case, tell three stories. The first is him going onto Oprah Winfrey and using the term
Cablinasian, which became a crucial moment in
terms of redefining race. Shortly after that, for the
first time in American history, you can check more than one box. And so thinking about
multiracial identity. But the second story is about
the Tiger Woods Foundation, which has raised over 80
million dollars to support STEM education in black
and brown communities. And one of the principle ways
that he raised the money was, when Tiger Woods was at
the height of his fame, the ratings went through the roof, attendance went through the roof. And so if the payout
was a million dollars, they would often pay Tiger Woods, if the first place payout
was a million dollars, they would often pay Tiger Woods five hundred thousand
dollars just to show up. But according to PGA rules, you can’t take that money as salary, and so it was donated to his foundation. One of the other areas
I want to emphasize, I haven’t had the artifacts to do it, is to think about someone like, like Mohamed Ali, who raised over 100 million dollars for
Parkinson’s research. Or the Jackie Robinson Foundation, which has sent a number of
African Americans to college still to this day, they’re giving out 50 scholarships a year. And so I think the legacy of
a number of these athletes is really important to acknowledge, and so there are particular places where we try to do that as well. Yes. – [Man] I just had an interesting point, when uh, mentioned Jim Rivera, graduate of (mumbles) university, I
thought it was interesting when bringing up the
(mumbles) rules in sport, but also the irony,
like one of the pictures there are of the Howard baseball team, and growing up in the
city, and now the irony that that program has
been disassembled and now there’s no baseball team in Howard, and then now, so then
State has just launched a baseball team, just seeing the irony. In the sport (mumbles) they are, but how we’re focusing
so little on this now. – Yeah, I think that’s a really
important point you know, to think about how in some ways, football and basketball has really kind of dominated that industry, and
the need to keep up in those two sports has caused us to
lose opportunities in others. I think that’s a really important part to kind of think about. Yes. (man speaks off mic) – That is one of my big sort
of regrets, ’cause you know part of it, sometimes you just don’t have the objects to tell the
story that you want to tell, certainly if you think about
the legacy of Wendell Smith, and Sam Lacy, reporters
who used their platform to bring change in the sports world. And when I think about those
two guys and Doc Young, I always think about a quote
from Martin Luther King Jr. Who said that leaders don’t
follow public opinion, they make public opinion. And so a number of African American writers and journalists
used their pen and platform to really push society to do better. And that is one of the
things that I, you know if I really talk about the
big regrets that I have in the gallery, is that that’s not there. – [Man] Okay, one of the
pillars of this conference is about involvement
together with inclusion, sport for all inspiration,
sport for life, involvement, sport for change and I think the gallery, the sports gallery,
showcases very well how sport was crucial for
social change for equality, the fight for equality,
for Civil Right, et cetera. But my question is now,
do you have some feedback about how this sports gallery
is impacting visitors, and is promoting change, for visitors, how a visit to the sports gallery is promoting social change for better. – We don’t have any data to do that. I think it’s really important to do that. I think too often at the Smithsonian, we measure success by visitors, and the number of objects
in our collection. And I think one of the
things that our museum in particular has to do in a
space we have to be a leader, is redefining what success is. And so part of it is engaging questions, questions like that. It’s also difficult to
do, because you have the immediate impact, but
then you also don’t know how something resonates with someone 10, 15, 20 years down the road. So it’s also hard to kind of
get a sense of that as well. So it’ll be interesting
you know, over the years, to kind of see how this shows
up in various narratives and in people sort of telling
of their own histories. Yes. – [John] My name’s John Seymour, I’m a student at Georgetown University. I loved seeing the Georgetown
jacket in the basketball area. I was wondering if you
could speak a little bit to the impact of John Townsend socially, and how do you really
capture that large aspect through one artifact and the description, how does that process really play out? – I’m glad you asked about Georgetown, ’cause I wanted to talk about that. If you didn’t get a chance
to go and take a picture of the Georgetown jacket, you should do it because it’s going off display in July. I know, boo. But that jacket’s really
powerful to me because in some ways, it’s part of my
own sort of personal story. You know, I got a chance
to talk to Coach Thompson, and I told him that growing up, I thought Georgetown was a
historically black college. And he says yeah, people come up to me and say that all the time. But you gotta remember,
it was in chocolate city. John Thompson was one of only three or four black coaches at the time. There was him, John Chaney at Temple, there was George Raveling at Iowa, Nolan Richardson, and that was it. And John Thompson was
someone who used his platform to really fight for inclusion, to fight for African Americans, and to fight for what’s right. And so for African Americans, wearing that Georgetown
jacket just wasn’t a way of saying you know, I like the team, it was a symbol of race pride
because of what John Thompson meant in terms of being an
advocate for African Americans. And so wearing that jacket, people who weren’t even basketball
fans would wear that jacket because of what he symbolized. And so it’s a really important
marker of a period in time. And so, coach has been
an inspiration for me. There’s another thing that I want to get into this collection and actually, maybe I shouldn’t tell you
’cause I need to call him. And there’s his basketball. I don’t know if you’ve heard the story about his deflated ball. And part of what he
does with his athletes, emphasizing the student
part of student athletes is he says sometimes the ball is, at one point the ball is
going to run out of air, and what do you do then? And so that’s an object I would like to add to our collection as well. And, do we have time for one more? – [Off Stage] Yeah, go on. – One more, one more and
I saw a hand in the front. Yes. – [Man] I was gonna ask
about Georgetown also. – Oh okay, cool. I’m glad we answered it. Um okay, I saw a hand
go up really quickly. Gotta make this a quick question,
we’re running out of time. – [Man] I was particularly
interested in your Game Changers collection,
and the amount of athletes that were standing up
against racism and other sorts of activism, and I’m
curious what you have to say about the current movement
in international soccer and saying no to racism
and how to combat that as, I think it’s really challenging
in soccer especially because the crowds are
so large and it’s hard to pinpoint who’s
actually making the chants or that sort of thing, and
there’s been a movement on social media but I’m wondering what your thoughts are
on how to combat that. – I think you know, sometimes social change takes a long time. And you know, part of it is you’ve got to change public opinion,
you’ve got to get people to see that that’s no longer acceptable. And it’s different in different
kind of cultural context. Why it happens, what does it mean, what are the politics behind someone sort of using these epithets, someone criticizing professional athletes, and so it’s important that people stand up and call it what it is,
and so I’m really proud of the number of athletes who sort of, who sort of stood up against it. A lot of times we tend to think of them as professional athletes,
but we also have to think of them as employees
who have certain labor rights, and certain rights in terms of ways that they should be treated in the workplace. And so seeing the number
of athletes sort of now think about themselves in those ways, and to think about the
rights and responsibilities that they have as employees has been an important development as well. But thank you guys for coming, and. (audience claps) – And to finish that sentence,
thank you for having us. More to the point, we’ve had
privileged access this morning, and privileged insight with
you, thank you very much indeed. And I think you’ve got a
sense of the engagement from the questions that
came from all of us here, so many thanks indeed,
Damion, much appreciated. I was also struck, actually,
it’s just been sort of coming to me in a way
that the gallery seems to match up so neatly the challenges
of the African community, the African American
community I should say, and the athletes with our,
I mean a lot of, you know, hardened sports fans here
wonder at getting to see and feel and witness these
great sporting heroes at the same time, so that
was a magnificent gallery. So the inspiring power of
sport is an obvious thing to have for our next speaker, and he’s a very important
person to all of us here. And we at the service of, Sport
at the Service of Humanity, are delighted to have
him among us here today. So I’d like to ask his
eminence Cardinal Lacroix, Archbishop of Quebec, member of the Pontifical Council For
Culture at the Vatican and Primate of Canada, to join us to share a few thoughts on the
inspiring power of sport. Cardinal. (audience claps) – Bonjor. As you know, I’m from Quebec, the French speaking part of Canada,
I’m delighted to be here. Just before I get into my theme, what an inspiring place this is. Thank you so much for
welcoming us here and for choosing to bring us here
for this too short visit. I need to come back for
another five hours at least, this is really awesome. If my mother was here in this auditorium, the first thing she’d say,
I don’t want to be the one to have to dust these
fixtures on the wall. But I must say, I was
very impressed to see in the baseball area of
what we saw this morning, my favorite team up there, the Cardinals. (audience members clap, chuckle) Ah ha, you got it, huh? (chuckles) It’s a great honor for me to
stand amongst you today indeed. It’s a privilege to represent
and speak on behalf of his eminence, Gianfranco Ravasi, the President of the
Pontifical Council for Culture. Before anything else, I wish
to thank President John DeGioia and Georgetown University for
hosting this superb event, Sport at the Service
of Humanity Conference. I’ve only been here a day, but what I’ve experienced
so far is remarkable. You’re a wonderful
host, thank you so much. (audience claps) The Catholic Church, alongside
many other religious faiths and beliefs has always
been keen on promoting artistic craftsmanship and beauty, making the world a more
attractive place to live in. Sport plays a major role
in this tremendous project. In fact, sport challenges
us to be our very best when competing with others
while faith is a challenge in being winners in a not
always easy game of life. Both faith and sport act as twins. They combine the powers
of making human life a truly worthy experience
in overcoming obstacles, in rewarding hard work,
resistance, perseverance, and pride in the success of the venture. In sport as in religion, we gain the promise that all efforts are rewarded. That one never stands alone
in success as in trial. However, our Christian faith
has been the inspiring power of helping us believe
that we are forever guided by a heavenly trainer, God our Father. Only God has this ability to
make life appear as a sport, having a definite
meaning that is a pathway to a victorious destination
since it leads to fulfillment in beauty, peace, and love. While learning good
stamina is the fruit of continuous training in sport,
such is the grace of God that repays one’s faith,
hope, and charity. After St. Paul, every
Christian having competed in the sport of life should say, I have fought the good fight,
I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful. Sport is a universal
phenomenon in antiquity as far back as 776 BC,
the ancient Olympic Games were primarily a part
of a religious festival in honor of the Greek god Zeus. Wherever and whenever human
beings have lived together, they have taken pleasure in sharing games, in competing with one another, either individually or in teams. The ancient Greek
tradition has been revived in our modern Olympic Games, although they now evolve in
a more secular environment, the Olympic motto: sitius,
swifter; altius, higher; and fortius, stronger, conveys
ideals that perfectly fit the Christian quest for holiness,
solidarity, and perfection as we make our way in life, striving to become the
worthy children of God. Therefor you shall be perfect, just as your father in heaven is perfect. Sport is also, as we know, a universal language that
everyone can understand. Nelson Mandela is often
reported as saying, Sport has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. It speaks to youth in a
language they understand. Sport can create hope where
once there was only despair. I can’t help but think that this quest of bringing people together, of
helping them to understand and have respect for each other, of finding ways of living
happily and in peace is exactly what the Christian
way of living is all about. Add to these values the grace of faith, and you will recall the words of our Lord describing what is to be
remembered from him in a duty for whoever wants to
comply with his order. I give you a new command,
love one another. As I have loved you, so
you must love one another. By this, everyone will know
that you are my disciples, if you love one another. Sport has the potential of
bringing out the best in people. Faith communities and sport organizations can make a significant difference by working together and
combining their resources. They become an inspiration
for personal life, for creating communities open to all, and by offering an opportunity of involvement to strive
for a better society. Pope Francis enjoys welcoming
sports teams to the Vatican. Seemingly, the Argentinian Soccer Team is greeted somewhat more heartedly. We’ll forgive him for that. I particularly find interest and interesting this quote from Pope Francis, “In my humble opinion, it fits the goal “that Sport at the Service of
Humanity aspires to attain. “Challenge yourself in the game of life “like you are in the game of sports. “Challenge yourself in the quest for good “in both church and society, “without fear, with
courage, and enthusiasm. “Get involved with others and with God. “Don’t settle for a mediocre tie. “Give it your best. “Spend your life on what really
matters and lasts forever.” Sport, my friends, is an
opportunity to share with others. It has the inspiring power to teach how to live together, and
to respect differences. I found this out when I was
an eight year old young boy, an immigrant from Quebec to New England. Even though I didn’t
utter a word of English, I began integrating
into this new community in the back alleys of my neighborhood, playing street hockey and
baseball with other kids my age. I never won any gold medals in sport, and probably never will. But I did learn how sport
can bridge new relationships, and heal the alienating
factor of being different, a stranger, an outcast. This is why the Catholic Church strives to nurture and promote the
values that sport offers: unity, respect, teamwork, and social responsibility of sport leaders. Cardinal Ravasi wisely said
that authentic sporting activity weaves together in harmony
diverse realities such as the body and the spirit, force and beauty, physical exercise and
intelligence, passion and will, immediate intuition,
and spontaneous habit. The first Global
Conference of Faith & Sport was held at the Vatican in October 2016. It successfully launched a
global movement to leverage the power of faith in sport
as a platform for good. It’s now time to move forward, doing all we can to
support what is already proving to be a fruitful experience. Thank you for your active
participation in this conference. May this time of sharing and
learning from each other’s experiences help us continue
building a better world. We know from experience that sport is a fast track to attain this goal. The church is at the forefront
to bring out the best and the brightest forward, to
be in the midst of the world, to make a difference
in all fields of life. I love the title of this foundation, Sport at the Service of Humanity. This organization has a great
service for the world today. It is greatly needed, and it needs us. Now let’s go out there on
the field, and win the game, giving it our very best
support and participation. Let no one remain on the bench. This endeavor requires us all to step up to the plate, and score. Have a great day, enjoy every
moment of this conference, and thanks again for your participation. (audience claps) – There is a gift, there is a gift for the Cardinal. It’s a Murano Glass done in Venice, with the coats of arms of the Vatican. He knows very well that it’s a present offered to him and to all speakers. (audience claps) – [Cardinal Lacroix] Thank you. I finally did get a gold medal. (audience laughs) – Cardinal Lacroix, thank
you very much indeed, and very neatly a call to
action there from the Cardinal, which ties in to where
we’re going right now because I have to thank you lot as well, and I’m thanking you for
keeping Eugenie happy, which is very good news, Eugenie Dieck, who has driven the call to
action and the workshops to do that, and you took
it on full bore yesterday, and many thanks indeed for your efforts in our four corners of the room yesterday. What did you come up
with, that’s the point, and Eugenie’s with us now
to run through the findings, thank you very much. Genie. – Thank you. Well, congratulations to
the 80 people who stayed. I am very appreciative,
we had 80 folks who stayed to do discussions, which
went beyond time, in fact. So I think that people were energized and wanted time to process. Because it’s what we do
going forward from here that will really be the
impact of the conference, and I’m going to suggest
that we also reach out to all of you after
you’ve had some time to think about everything that we’ve done, and what you want to do individually, and what you want to do
as a corpus, as a body. So we had four discussion groups engaged. One was engaging on questions of values, another was inspiring
change through major sports, then we had the one on being
a role model as an athlete, and then bridging divides through sports, and I’d like to thank particularly
Tony, Susie, and Maya, who helped along with me to facilitate. So I’m just going to
give you a few highlights that I think you can take from here. In terms of the values discussion, the important thing was
really to start early, that we need to really
inculcate values into children from the very beginning, because
if we start later in life when they haven’t had
the experience of values, we’re playing catch up. And that we need to make values tangible. So we can’t just talk about teamwork, we need to be able to model for students and for young people, what
is it to be a team member, how do you show compassion? And that we also need to
give athletes a chance and the time to do service
so that they understand that they exist in part
of a broader community. So the takeaway from the values discussion was really to live the values. Then in terms of inspiring
change through sports, there was a lot of discussion
about incorporating principles of social
justice and consciousness into the mission statement
of each organization. And that them impact was
to raise consciousness that lead to actions
to drive social change. So I would say the takeaway
from there is really to be declarative about what we’re doing, because we know that for most
of the young people that we deal with, it is the
experience of sport itself, not what it’s going to lead
to but how it allows them to be that is the important thing that they will take forward in life. In terms of bridging divides,
we shared an action item that also came from the
inspiring change group which is that we want to
sustain this community. That we want to build an online consortium to continue and extend this community so that we can increase communication, we can in fact be brothers
and sisters with each other, we can share best
practices and partnerships, and we can raise awareness. So we will work, and you
will be hearing from us in terms of sustaining those connections. And then last was the group
on role models as athletes. I would say each of you is
a role model by being here and by the work that you do,
so thank you so much for that. And that we want to think
about how we help athletes identify themselves as leaders so that they’re transformative
in their own lives and in their broader communities. So each of us, in fact,
is called to be a beacon for each other and for the
communities that we’re part of. So that’s the summary, I
have many many more notes, but I didn’t want to talk at length, I just wanted to leave
you with these ideas about living the values,
being declarative, sustaining the connections,
and being beacons. If you have any questions,
I’m happy to answer them, but I also would suggest
that each of us take time just to be quiet, not
right now necessarily, but meditate on what we have learned, and think about how we carry that forward. Because I think it’s the internalization of all this experience,
we’re all flooded with so much inspiration, and
now we need to translate that inspiration into our own action and how we each individually live it. So any other comments that
anyone would like to share? You don’t have to, but I’m
just, I want to open it up. All right, thank you very
much, and thank you everyone. (audience claps) – Genie, thank you very much
for all the work you put in. And they’re all doable, and
that’s the important thing, isn’t it, these are real
action points that you can bring into play in your own sphere, so you’ll get more from
Eugenie in due course on that, but let’s follow that up. You’ll have seen in our
program that this next section is called Overturning
a Wrongful Conviction: Golf Art Saved Me, and
Georgetown Set Me Free. Now if you don’t know what that story is, you’ve got to be interested. That has to peak your curiosity. If you do know what that story is, you know it is an extraordinary
one and a fascinating one, and we have a great opportunity to talk to the one man at the very heart of it, the two people who made
this story all possible. What I want to do now then is
to call up Marc and Valentino, that’s Marc Howard, Valentino Dixon, come up and join us please on the stage. (audience claps) Take a seat. As I say, it is just the
most extraordinary story, and I think in a way,
trying to capture it all in conversation in the course of 25 minutes or so is a challenge. And the good news is, we
have a video to show you, be five or six minutes, I think, to lay out the backdrop to this case, and to give you a little bit more idea about the picture you
see here on the stage, the pictures you saw on the way in. So let’s have the video, shall we? (instrumental music) – [Narrator] Wrongful
convictions, it’s an epidemic. – It’s not isolated to one
race, it affects poor people, it affects wealthy people, black, white. – The criminal justice system doesn’t work like it does on Law and Order or CSI. A huge number of mistakes
are being made every day. – Not everybody who is
behind bars belongs there. – Innocent until proven
guilty is a great ideal if we could actually live up to it, but the sad reality is that we don’t. – I spent 11 years in
prison based on hearsay. – Every day in prison is a bad day. (doors slam) (instrumental music) – Marc Howard and I have been friends since I think I was
three or four years old. We grew up together from
Lovie Dovie Preschool, and you know, we continue
to joke that you know, Marc went to Yale and I went to jail. – Marty himself was wrongfully convicted when we were seniors in high school, his parents were
murdered, he was convicted of murdering his parents. And I’d always believed
that he was innocent, and finally I got involved
with his legal team, and eventually it took
him 17 and a half years, but we were able to prove his innocence. – 6338 days I was in prison before I was finally released
on December 27th, 2007. So when Marc asked me to
teach a class at Georgetown, in a weird way I thought
it was crazy because it was kind of like out of the blue, we started talking about it
and I go, are you serious? He goes yeah. And what ends up happening? You live in prison. – And Marty coming down here
and being a co-professor with me for this course,
and for the goal of trying to get other people,
other Martys if you will, out of prison is just
tremendous, and really exciting. (dramatic music) – I think America sees itself
as such a gold standard in terms of human rights, and justice, and then you see these instances where the system has so
incredibly failed someone. – I absolutely believe
in John Moss’ innocence. It’s so just obvious that he didn’t do it. – How anybody ever got a
conviction out of this, I have no idea. It’s a textbook example
of a coerced confession, or a false confession case. – They didn’t even find the
murder weapon, they didn’t, there was nothing that really
linked, like forensically linked Kenneth to the crime
the night of the murder. – There’s a door on the back of the house. – They found blood pooling
in the front bedroom, and then supposedly dragged her to the back bedroom
diagonally across the house. – So this is probably it. So the shooter was coming
from East Cold Spring and running that way, tried to
rob Terrance McCoy over here, and there’s the guard rail. – A couple of weeks before
Justine Baumgarten was murdered, she filed a police report saying that a green Ford had tried
to run her off the road. – John confessed. – He was repeatedly punched by
Cooper Smith is what he said. And he was like, if you
don’t say you did this, if you don’t confess, this is
where they’ll find your body. – When they accused me of this, like it hit me so hard right,
it just killed me you know, and I figured that it
would all work itself out. When they gave me 39 years
or whatever he gave me, I was just, I think I was in space. – Well two things both of you keep saying is there’s no physical evidence. What physical evidence
should there have been? This is a shooting on the street. – There was, Valentino’s clothes
were taken into evidence, and his hands were tested
for gunshot residue, and none of that evidence
was presented in court. – What was your perception of Monfried, his defense lawyer, at
the time of the trial? – He was you know, a seasoned, you know, well thought of attorney. – He actually fell
asleep during the trial. – A lot of attorneys listen
with their eyes closed. – These are lawyers who, you know, take oaths to uphold their
oaths to the profession. And they cheat, steal, hide evidence. – They are never going to
budge on his being guilty and we’re just students, so
it’s gonna be hard to convince all of these people that
we’re right and they’re wrong. – [Student] Do you happen to know where, or who the people who
live in apartment B are? – I was never 100% sure that Kenneth Bond was the person I saw that evening. His life should not have
been taken away from him based on the testimony that I provided. – This isn’t just a class. This isn’t just about
wrongful convictions. This is about people’s lives. The Holy Grail for us would obviously be one of our five cases,
one of the five people we believe were wrongfully
convicted, getting out, getting exonerated and coming home. (chains clinking) (cameras clicking) – We have (mumbles) and have found that you are eligible for release today. (attendees clap, cheer) – It was extremely emotional hearing his family cheering, clapping. I just felt overwhelmed. – I just felt so happy
for him, and hopeful that this experience could
happen again with this class and with other people who have
been wrongfully convicted. – The students gave me the most hope that I’ve ever felt in 27 years. When the students got on board, it was like, this is gonna happen. The minute I mentioned Georgetown, they said oh, you going home. Nobody had any doubt, you know. Nobody had any reservations. – Honestly, for this to
happen is an out of this world experience for me, it
seems almost miraculous. (title thunders, echoes) (audience claps) – So there’s the backdrop to the story. And we got the lights
back on as well, great. Let me introduce then first of all Marc, Marc Howard, who is the
Professor of Government and Law at Georgetown University,
and to the point is founding director of the
Prisons and Justice Initiative. And beside me, Valentino, Valentino Dixon. Golf artist, and of course as you know, exonerated for wrongful conviction with the direct intervention of the PGA. So Gents, thanks very much
indeed for joining me here. I should say as you can
tell from the pictures, they know each other only too well. I might do well to get a word in edgewise once they get going and tell us the story. I mean, not many people
first of all find their Holy Grail anyway, so it is an
incredibly uplifting finish. But as a typical Englishman, I’m gonna get onto a downbeat start here. Valentino, you said you were
in space when your sentence was declared, you didn’t know
what you were lining up for. How long did that sense
of being in space last, I mean we are talking what
was it, I couldn’t work out but Marty had 6338 days. I don’t know if you ever counted how many days you had in there. – No, years. – Well years and years. – ‘Cause days kind of, you know, it’s not as strong enough
as years, you know. You can say 20 thousand days and people can’t really calculate
that in their brains. When you say 27 years, it’s
a whole different level. – And 27 years is one thing, you have a story to tell
through those years, but how long did it take
you to get any sense as to what on earth you were
gonna make of your situation, yourself, because that’s on
ad infinitum, that’s forever, 27 years, or possibly could
have been longer of course. – It took me about seven
years to get started, because the first seven
years I was like in a fog. In the Twilight Zone, all right. And then reality started
to hit me that if I don’t, like in the Shawshank Redemption, he says get busy living or get busy dying. So I had to conclude or
come to a realization that I needed to get busy
living in a six by eight cell by any means necessary. – And tell us then, ’cause you had someone who prodded you really didn’t
you, your uncle sort of said come on,
– Yeah, well, – you’ve got to do what you
can do and what you’re good at. – I was a artist as a kid,
and I went to performing arts high school, but I had abandoned the gift. And my uncle, he kept
saying hey, you know, you gotta do something with your gift. And I didn’t believe
I had the gift anymore ’cause I think I went almost ten years without painting or
drawing anything like that. So he sent me some colored pencils, and eventually I started drawing, and I started drawing every day, up to ten hours a day every day. And this gave me a sense of peace. It was very spiritual. Because in prison, it’s a dark place, and it’s almost designed
to break your spirit. So you have a choice, to
allow it to break your spirit, to turn you into a very
bitter, angry individual or it can transform you into the person that you were meant to
be in the beginning. – And what sort of things were
you drawing in the beginning? – Everything. You know, I didn’t want to,
you know, I didn’t want to limit myself to just African American art, or abstract, I drew everything. Animals, landscapes, name
it, I was drawing it. – I asked that partly because the, it’s almost the oddity of this story but the rather wonderful thing
for a golf loving audience is that you were asked
to draw a golf scene. And isn’t it odd that, of all sports, – Let me say this. I’m a black kid from the inner city. But I’m known as the Artist in Attica. So the warden comes by,
he says hey Valentino, you think you can draw
my favorite golf hole? Of course I can. But it’s you know, should I draw it? I didn’t know if the inmates
was gonna flip on me. And if they flip, that
means turn against you. So it was a gamble, you know. And I’ve always been quite,
you know, sort of a gambler. So I drew the picture, I
tried to keep it as discrete as possible but everybody found out that I was drawing this
picture for the warden. And to my surprise, nobody was angry, they were excited, right. These guys were like wow, that’s cool. You know like come on, really? Even I was like, you know. But so it was another
inmate that suggested, hey you need to draw more golf courses. I said really, get out of here,
what are you talking about? You know, what are we
doing here, you know? But once again, I found myself drawing golf courses every day. Never been on a golf course, didn’t know anything about the game. And whenever I put my time
and energy into something, I just go in hard, you know,
and I have a tunnel vision. I can’t see anything but
exactly what I need to do here. Til I think I had amassed
about 40 or 50 drawings, and I wrote a three-page letter
to the golf digest magazine and sent one of the pictures,
and the golf digest responded. And they came and
interviewed me in Attica. And then the Golf Channel followed. – Can I interrupt for a second? There’s a really interesting
part of the story, which is that there was a column in Golf Digest called Golf Saved My Life. And in that column, people would write, people who golf would write you know, someone had lost a limb as a war veteran, someone had been through a really painful personal experience, and they would write about how the
sport of golf saved them. And Valentino’s column
was published in the Golf Saved My Life, but
he had never actually played golf or been on a golf course. But it was how the sport of golf, through his artistic vision of it, and the landscapes, and the beauty of it, made him feel free in this
six by eight cell in Attica, one of the worst prisons in America. So that Golf Saved My Life story dimension is really important and really beautiful. – Just tell us, I mean obviously
it drew attention to you. But to keep on drawing golf scenes, a sport you have no connection with, probably no interest in
at the time that came, there must be something
in the execution of a golf scene bizarrely
that really drew you in. – Well really, where I grew up
at, this is a very bad place. You know, economic
abandonment, social neglect. Drugs, violence, and the only
time I had a sense of peace is when I went fishing once or twice in the summer with my father. So when I started drawing
these golf courses, it took me back to that one place in time where I had a sense of peace. And it just did something
to my spirit that no other objects or other matters
that I was drawing did. – [David] And I just want
to dwell just for a moment on the art itself, ’cause
we were having a chat yesterday and I made the great faux pa of asking you about your paintings. Well you were onto me like a ton of bricks.
– Drawings. – [David] Precisely. They’re not paintings, and
that’s me thinking they are. So you’ve actually developed a technique all of your own here. – Yeah, it took me about, I
would say about ten years. I read something that says
an artist comes into his own after about ten years of just
constant repetitious work. So it took me about ten
years to develop this style, to layer the colored pencils
on top of each other, to develop this paint-like
look, and that’s the goal now. – Which you pursue on a day, that is you. – Yes. – And I hope people will look,
I mean there’s Healy Hall here, but there are also eight
drawings that are out there. And as you just saw, it irks Valentino when people call them paintings, but at the same time
people call them paintings because they look like paintings, and the extraordinary element
of it is that these are all with colored pencils because
he didn’t have oil paint. He wasn’t allowed to have that in prison. All he could have was colored pencils, and through this technique that, I think he’s the only artist
in the world who has developed to this point, it’s layer
after layer after layer. I mean, there’s dozens of hours, some of these drawings
took you over 100 hours, right, and it’s a unique
technique that he developed just with the only materials that he had in the conditions that he was
in, so there’s a unique story, and a unique element to the art. – Yeah, because there is,
nothing against painters, ’cause I can paint too. But you can’t take any shortcuts, okay. With a paintbrush, I can
paint a tree in a matter of 20 seconds if I know the
technique on how to get, you know. But with a pencil, you can’t. I might be there four
hours with just one part of the little tree, you know,
so I respect it more. Because it’s the time consuming, and you really have to
put a lot of effort, you know, into each drawing. – Well, painting gave you a freedom within,
– Yes. – This lot set you free. Of course, that is the fairy
tale part of this story. And I guess from your perspective, to reach the Holy Grail, okay
once, you’ve got more to do. But what an inspiration for you and for your students to pursue now. – Yeah, I mean I have to
say, it was miraculous. It was something that we hoped for, but we prepared our
students for the reality that we likely wouldn’t reach that point, or that it might take years afterwards. But to think that our class
ended on May 1st, 2018 and on September 19th,
Valentino was released thanks to the new
evidence that the students had found and that was presented
by Valentino’s attorney, was beyond our wildest dreams. But that said, we’ve now
set the bar really high. And we have a number of other cases we haven’t given up on
that we’re working on. The other three that
you saw in that video, we taught the course
this past spring semester where we have five other
cases that we’re hopeful on, and we’re preparing a whole set of other cases for this coming semester. And it’s being filmed by
a TV production company for a multi-episode documentary series that will hopefully be streaming to a major network near you. It will be, I just can’t quite
reveal the details of it yet. – So, you’re free, we saw
that on the screen there. I would imagine as much shock again as euphoria to start with. It must have been a very odd sensation. – Well not necessarily,
because I always had a hope, and I always believed that
I was gonna be released. I just didn’t know when, you know. – Well let me ask you now then. I mean, you have time to reflect on this. And over time you’re gonna have more time to reflect on this. And the fact is, you
spent 27 years inside, and you shouldn’t have. How do you process that? You must have days when
you feel pretty angry. – My mother do. Because I’m the only child, and I went to jail on her birthday. So she lost 27 birthdays, she refused to celebrate her birthday. So she’s still angry right now, but I’m just, I’m different, you know. I’m just grateful to be alive. I know guys that didn’t
make it up outta there. So I don’t have time
to be bitter and angry, there’s too much work to get done. – What do you say to your mom then? – She just tell me to shut up, you know. – Quite right too, probably. – But you know, Valentino has this spirit, and you’re getting a sense of
it here, that’s extraordinary. He’s so positive, so optimistic, and it’s extraordinary,
but at the same time it’s not unique because I’ve
seen it in other exonerees, I’ve seen it in my friend Marty. You know, Marty wasn’t quite
27, it was 17 and a half, but came out all smiles,
all happy, all ready to go. And they all have this sense that they want to help other
people, which is incredible. Valentino has been in
contact with the other, hopefully potential
exonerees in the same cohort. They’re in touch, they have a bond even though they’ve never met. Valentino’s now becoming a
criminal justice reform advocate. He’s focusing on the issue
of sentencing reform. He started his own foundation called the Art of Freedom Foundation. He’s someone who’s out in the public eye, who’s using his experience, his story, and how it inspires others to
help push for change because there are so many injustices
in our criminal justice system. So many mistakes that need correcting, so many people who were
wrongfully convicted and so many others who are
serving far too much time for mistakes they made when
they were much younger. And Valentino’s really emerged
as a leading spokesperson, so in a sense, he doesn’t
have time to be bitter. He’s focusing on the
present and on the future. – Which is great to hear,
very uplifting actually. But we sort of need to
complete the circle here. You were asked by the
warden to draw the 12th hole at Augusta, where were
you earlier this year? – I went to the Masters. (chuckles) (audience claps) – And who did you meet at the Masters? – I met Jack Nicklaus
and I met Tiger Woods. And I told Tiger Woods that he
was gonna win before he won. – Well did Tiger say it first? – But Tiger looked at me, he
says, I’m gonna try my best. – I says no Tiger, you’re gonna win. I have it on my phone. (chuckling) – I tell you, this is
bizarre how this works because when you told me this, actually Marc, you told me first. I actually sat back and
thought, ah lucky devil, to meet Tiger and to meet Jack Nicklaus, I would, I’m a keen golf enthusiast. They’re the lucky devils. I mean, it’s an incredible story. Have you been out on the course yet? – I have, but I’m no good. Terrible, I’m a terrible golfer. – It’s a work in progress. – Work in progress, but I don’t, you can’t teach a old dog
– Tom Watson gave him a lesson – You can’t teach a old dog new
tricks, I just don’t see it. – [Audience Member] Ten years! – That’s right, ten years. Practice every day, ten hours. – With no guarantee. – Yeah. – Well look, I think from
your perspective too Marc, it is an extraordinary journey you’ve had, given your friendship with
someone who was thrown into jail. Obviously, that must be the bedrock under which all this has emerged, but it’s turned into your
route map in life in a way. – It is, I mean I’ve
completely rededicated my life to criminal justice reform, to overturning wrongful convictions. I was hired at Georgetown as a specialist on European Politics, nothing
to do with criminal justice, nothing to do even with the United States. And through my friendship
with Marty when we reconnected and I started visiting him
and I really dedicated my life to getting him out of prison,
I even went to law school. I’m a Georgetown alum myself, actually having gotten a law degree while I was a full professor here. And it’s a direction that
I’ve gone full speed ahead, and personally, professionally, all I do is try to reduce
the injustice in our criminal so-called justice system. And being around Marty’s exoneration, and now Valentino’s exoneration, these are some of the
greatest moments in my life. It’s so extraordinary to take part in correcting such a horrific injustice. But also when on the other end, you have such a wonderful person like
Valentino and like Marty, and we hope to continue
and we’re really proud that Georgetown has been at
the forefront of this movement and has gotten the recognition
that I think we deserve, but also there’s so much more that we want to do and we’re really proud. – Well I’m never going
to ask to take you on in a drawing or painting competition, but if you want a game of golf sometime, I might have a chance there,
it sounds quite promising. We’ve got some time for
some questions from you, and already we’ve got
some hands going up so if we can get the microphone around, Amy has her hand up down the front, and then perhaps we can
go over to the side there. Can we get a microphone
down the front here please? Thank you. – [Amy] Hi. I saw that the Innocence
Project was mentioned in this, what’s their relationship
with your course, and do they provide any
funding for the camcorders and the things that the
students were using? – Well, so we are connected
with the Innocence Project, Marty’s on the Innocence Project Board. He’s very close with many
of the attorneys there. But it’s not an Innocence Project project. This is a Georgetown project. We had a donor who
supported all the expenses for our students, and that
donor’s on the founding board of the Innocence Project as
well so there are a lot of ties. Valentino in his civil
suit is being represented by a firm that’s connected with Barry Scheck and the Innocence Project. So there are a lot of ties,
we’re very close with them. We consult regularly, we talk about cases, but we’re not in any way a part of them. We’re allies, you might say. – [Amy] Thank you. – There were some more hands that went up. Go over there and then we’ll come back across to the other side. – [Audience Member] My
question is, the process of getting students actually
involved in a real life activity. And some of your thoughts
about universities no longer being ivory towers per se, but really helping students
who have different interests. I’m thinking of athletes
getting more involved in the community, just that whole process and what it takes to get
universities in sort of a, I mean you’ve got thousands of students with incredible capabilities and knowledge working with professors like yourself, tackling issues in the
community that they live in. – Yeah, I think that this
course is coming at a time when the current generation of students is very mobilized, very engaged. They don’t see limits,
they’re not complacent. You know, there’s a lot of
criticism that can be made, they’re narcissistic and obsessed
with technology and so on, but I see so many
virtues in their passion, and our course, we have a very extensive application process. We had about 100 applicants who had to submit video applications,
believe it or not. So it’s really, we wanted to have people who are really committed. And from that, we’ve chosen 15, and I’ve just been going
through that process that we’ll be starting next semester. And frankly, all of them were amazing. There are actually, I believe
three varsity athletes among the 15 who were
chosen, and I agree with you that there is a connection
between a prominent role, whether it’s on campus or in
society, and larger issues. And I think many of the
athletes at Georgetown are also seeing the connection, that they can have a larger impact, and they want to be
associated with a project that wants to have such an impact. So, I’m so impressed by our students. They’re so committed to
this cause, to justice. I just wish we could have
more classes like this. But this is the only class in the country. And you know, I think other
schools are contacting us, they want to do it. It’s hard to have the connection
that Marty and I have, and the backstory that we have
going back to three years old and the effort to get him out, and obviously the success we’ve
already had with Valentino. But I hope that this is
something that other universities will use as a model, maybe
for this course but also the larger issue of
engagement with social issues, because I agree that this is no longer an era of ivory tower
you know, separation. We need to be engaged, we have issues that intersect so many
spheres of our lives. And the students see that. So I think it’s a natural
fit, it’s the right time, and I do want to acknowledge
President DeGioia since he’s here because
there are very few, if any university
presidents that would have, presidents who would have
the vision and the foresight to go in a direction and in domain where others haven’t gone. I think there’s a tendency
for many to just sort of wait and be complacent,
but President DeGioia from the get go has supported the Prisons and Justice Initiative, and our vision of bringing Georgetown into our community and leading the country in terms
of criminal justice reform, so thank you, Jack. (audience claps) – So, the guy with a hand
up at the back there. – [Man] Valentino, you said
that you always had hope that you were gonna get released, and I was just wondering,
I mean obviously your art probably played a large role in it, but how did you cultivate that
hope on a day to day basis were there people in your
life that would visit you, or are there things that really
helped you cultivate hope, just kind of in a darker time? – You know, I wasn’t a
very spiritual person before I went to prison. I was young, I was 21 years old, didn’t know anything about
God, anything like that. You know however, God, the Creator, whatever we may call him, sent me signs constantly that everything
was gonna be all right. And whether it’s through the artwork, many times I would finish
a picture and say wow, did you complete this? Did somebody else do this? So I knew it wasn’t me. You know, I was put
there for many reasons, and in life, we’re all
going to be faced with challenges and obstacles,
and you don’t get to decide which test is
gonna be thrown your way. You know, I help guys get their GED. They use to call me the
black Dr. Phil in there because you know, people
always have some issues and they would come to me
to help them resolve it. So I mean, you know immediately
when I walk through Attica you know, people were
like, what you doing here? Like you know, ’cause I was, not gonna say I was better than anybody, but I was just different
from your average inmate, and it was noticeable. And so the golf art is just, just another example of part of my journey into me becoming the person
that I needed to become. (audience claps) – One here, then we’ll come to you. – [Man] You have this incredible
experience and perspective that no one else in this
room has, Valentino. – Thank you.
– With your 27 years, which I can’t conceive of, what would be the message
that you would want to convey to the world based on the
wisdom and the experience that you’ve gained through
it that people need to hear based on what you’ve been through? – Well, when you, most
Americans when they hear the word prison reform, they
don’t have a clue or an idea as to what’s going on
or what needs to happen. So my message has been to keep it simple. You know, to keep a lot
of the rhetoric out, and to focus on the sentencing
guidelines in America. Because there’s a reason why we have over 2.3 million people incarcerated. I just visited a guy that,
he was given 20 years to life sentence, and he has
47 years in right now, okay. It’s a reason why, first of all we know that the system is not designed
or equipped to give the poor person a fair
trail, so let’s start there. Second, if you don’t have
good legal representation or adequate legal representation, then you’re not going to receive fair and equal justice within our system. Which is why China in
itself has a population eight times our size, but
only have a million prisoners. You know, or we have a re-offender rate of 77% compared to Norway of 20%. Our sentencing laws are just
too harsh and excessive. And I think this is what
Congress needs to focus on. In New York State alone, there’s over 9000 people that’s over the age of 65. Now I was housed around a
lot of these guys, you know. And they have met all the
requirements to be released, but however the parole board says no. So until we reduce the prison population, we’re gonna continue to have to deal with this mass incarceration issue. It’s just too many older people
that’s in prison right now. And it shouldn’t be a numbers game, it shouldn’t be an investment thing. It should be about a
person’s civil rights, constitutional rights,
human rights of all colors. So that’s my message is that we need to kind of get to Congress and say hey, these sentencing laws, most
of them are outrageous, ridiculous, and it violates the eighth amendment to the constitution. That’s my solution. – If I could just add
a little bit of context for those who aren’t familiar with the criminal justice and prison system, we have 5% of the world’s population, but 25% of the world’s prisoners. We have 2.3 million people
currently behind bars, another four million on probation, another million on parole
who are one step away from going right back in. We have 20 million people
with felony criminal records, and we have close to 100 million people who have some kind of criminal
record including arrests. So, we are a country who, we
have been devouring our own. We have been arresting,
punishing, so severely, so many, and it’s now, affects everyone. Everyone has someone close
to them, someone they know. And one of the things we’ve
been doing here at Georgetown and the Prisons in Justice
Initiative, in addition to the exoneration project, has
been education in prisons. Because education is proven to reduce recidivism to virtually zero. The Bard Prison Initiative
has been around for 20 years, they have an almost zero
percent recidivism rate. And Georgetown now is providing courses, even credit-bearing
courses at the D.C. jail, and will soon be expanding to Maryland and eventually offering degrees
to incarcerated people. And they will not be going
back to a life of crime, they will be succeeding. So there is a huge problem,
but there are solutions. And we again are at the forefront of pushing for these solutions. – Okay thank you, now
the clock is ticking, but we have a question down here, and another one over there so hopefully we’ll get through the
questions, thank you. – [Devin] Devin Rivera again,
this question’s for Valentino. I know you talked about
the time and the days not amounting to the years,
so how was that transition for you, and let me further explain that. Coming out, you said
you spent 27 years in, and it’s more like a day to day, you have a set schedule routine for you to do now that you’re out. How did that transition work now that you’ve got a lot more time to grasp. ‘Cause we see 30 seconds as,
oh this is just 30 seconds, but that’s something that you could value, or somebody inside. – Well, I believe in planning
everything, all right. And I refuse to allow
myself to get stuck in time. I knew what type of phone I wanted, I knew I was updated with
the technology out here. You know, whether through magazines, whether through just picking
other people’s brains that had just left society. So, I wasn’t stuck in time, I can tell you that much, you know. And I had a plan and you know, I’m the type of person that
stick to the plan, all right. But also to be able to enjoy life, you know the things that
don’t cost anything, like walking in the park, you know. Paying attention to the
nature around you, you know. Everything that’s going on in our world, everybody’s moving so fast, you know. And my message to people is
that slow down a little bit, cut the phone off, and then just you know, enjoy the world while you can, you know. – Coach Ewing would agree with
that, I’ll make that point. We had another question
over here, thank you. – [Man] Quick question for you Valentino, you spoke about how you used your art, and just you had this
very positive mindset that kind of helped you
through those 27 years. You also alluded to your mother
really finding it difficult. And I know when we talk about
dealing with family members being incarcerated, there’s
a lot of struggle keeping that relationship with family
or friends on the outside. How is that process for you and your mom and different family members around you, how did they sort of
deal with that you know, as we continue to be a
population that has someone really close to us
potentially behind bars, so what was that kind of
process like for your family, your friends, or things like that? – Well it was very difficult for them. You know, I had to give
them hope most of the days. I was the one on the phone you know, dealing with family issues
from prison, this is crazy. I did a lot of reading, you know. I read over 800 books
when I was in prison, so. You know, you can throw a issue up at me, and I pretty much can you know,
within a matter of seconds, come to a solution or strategy
on how we should fix it. A lot of times though society,
there’s so much going on that you don’t really have time to really think things out clearly. And I was allowed to do
that in a six by eight cell, so upon release, I said I’m
gonna keep that same peace, that same place of peace for me, whereas I’m up early,
I’m praying, I’m reading, I’m studying, no phone is on,
none of that type of things. I can cook breakfast with
my mom and my grand mom, and you know, we sit and watch a movie in the evening and stuff like that. It’s just deciding what’s important in your priorities in the world, you know. And just trying to figure things out, and not overcomplicating
things, ’cause we do that a lot. – Listening to you say that makes me, it makes prison sound a
little bit like a monastery, and I’m thinking maybe
my next sabbatical Jack, if it’s okay with you I
might spend it in Attica. I’ll get a lot of
thinking and writing done. – Let me tell you something. (crowd laughs) For me, you know, it was
all about what type of legacies I’m gonna leave
in this world, okay. So, if I’m gonna spend,
Malcolm X said it best. Anybody who spends ten years or more in prison should be a genius at something. So I wasn’t gonna waste my time in there. And I try to encourage other inmates not to waste their time. Like you have all of this
time, utilize it, okay. Of course, a lot of my
words went on deaf ears. But I kept on top of these guys. And when I walked out of
there, most of ’em was crying. And I speak to a lot of ’em
on the phone almost every day, and I write like about 20
letters every other week. And I’ve been back to visit, and I send packages, all
of that stuff, you know. So we all have to do you know, our part. No matter how small, no
matter how big it is. We have to do something. – Well look, you’re both
inspirational characters, and you’ve delivered an inspirational conversation for us
today, Marc, Valentino. Thank you both so much. (audience applauds) That’s what they think of it. And you talked about legacy at the end. Well, there’s a bit of legacy. That’s a bit of Valentino legacy, more legacy on the way out as well. Do have a look at the pictures. Have a word with him, he
might want to sell them, I have no idea. But if you want one, you might be able to have it on the wall. Gents, thank you very much indeed. I’m gonna ask you to
come off the stage now because we’re getting to a point where, well we’re into that closing phase, and there is one guy who does
this extremely well for us, and he’s a very good friend. Obviously, he’s an integral part of the Sport at the
Service of Humanity work. He is also giver of
prizes, as you can see, to everyone who comes up on the platform, gold medals coming out of every pocket with Monsignor Melchor Since you’re up here, – Oh, I need my, thank you. – We’ll let you get your notes. But as you know now, Melchor
is right at the very core of what we’ve done from day one. It’s always a great
pleasure for us to meet up as we do from time to time
around the world as well. Melchor, the floor is yours. – Well, if it was difficult
to speak after the Pope at the opening session yesterday, it’s much harder to speak
now after the conversation we’ve just had in this place. After stories of
suffering, you know Adorno, the German philosopher, said that poetry was not possible
any more after Auschwitz. How can you write poetry
after what happened in Europe where millions of people were killed for. So, there’s no room for empty
words of self celebration now. But for inspiration. And I think what we’ve
seen today in this museum and the gallery of
sports in this museum of African American history and culture, has given us two powerful emotions. One is that of the stories of suffering. I don’t know if any of you
has ever been to Auschwitz or Dachau, or a concentration
camp, it’s freezing. You don’t get out the
same as you entered it. If it’s well done, it
conveys a strong emotion, and it is right to be so. But on the other side,
what we’ve seen upstairs in the gallery of sports
is the positive side of, the inspiration side of sports. I was moved seeing in the showcases memorabilia of some of the greatest athletes ever. And again, I happen to be at
the Olympic Museum at Lausanne at the seat of the
International Olympic Committee, I was so deeply moved. And this is why sport has the power to touch some of our deepest emotions. Now let me go on with the words that I have prepared in advance. I read a story told by Larry Ellison, Larry Ellison is the co-founder of Oracle. And he happens to be the
neighbor to Rupert Murdoch, at least one of his many houses and villas throughout the world. And so, Larry Ellison said, I quote, “I was with Rupert Murdoch and I said, “talk to me about television,
how’s the TV business? “And Rupert Murdoch said, Larry, “I can tell you everything
you need to know “about television in 30 seconds. “It’s one word: sports. “And Murdoch said, “It’s the biggest thing ever, “it’s the true religion of America. “Sports. “That’s what we laugh, “and we are religious about it. “And it’s a great business,
it’s a phenomenal business, “and it will continue
to be a great business.” Religion and business. So is sport a religion? Is it simply a great business? According to many, yes. Sport is just a way to make money, a lot, incredible lot of money, and players and fans and consumers are just a means to that end. Well, not for us. It is true, American
thinker Michael Novak says that sport is the true
civil religion of America. He says I quote, “Sports are an almost universal language.” Something Cardinal
Lacroix remembered today. “A universal language
binding our diverse nation.” It is true also for the rest of the world. Our sports aren’t liturgies, even with the smoke of incense and fires and candles and choirs. Our sports are liturgies. We bring the hunger of our spirits, and many of them, of our hunger, are filled with a beauty, excellence and grace few other
institutions now afford. As Spanish philosopher Ortega Enga had dismissed sport as a form of cheap drama, he says nations and
communities need drama, and sport is the cheap
form of drama in our time. But I said, no Mr. Ortega, you’re wrong. Sports is about epic. It is true, it’s drama, but it
is not a cheap form of drama. It’s epic, and we have a proof of it last Wednesday at the arena. How the Georgetown Hoyas came back, they did a great
remontada, they overturned the results of the match. It was epic. Where do we find epic in our times? In the arenas and stadiums
when people stand up, caught by emotion. So, this is a powerful thing we have. And our conference was not
about sports as a religion, but about sport and faith, how
to combine the resources of these two powerful things that
the creator has given to us. Sport, we’ve seen, can be
a source of inspiration. It can move people, it
can bind together nations. It offers examples of beauty, of grace. Think of gymnastics, Simone Biles. It’s grace, it’s overcoming
the laws of nature, the law of gravity. Many millions of people
find joy and inspiration in sport gestures and
sports accomplishments. And yet, we all know
that the world of sport is not a paradise island exempt from the evils that threaten our society. And sometimes, they
even foster those evils. Think of the challenges the
world of sport is facing today. Racism, we have seen
examples here and today, even in Italian Soccer League last Sunday, a match had to be suspended
because of racist insults to Balotelli, an Italian
player of African origins. This is not only an American phenomenon. Racism, violence around stadium. If you go to a soccer match
in Europe or in Spain, you would see police in full gear, prepared to fight against hooligans and, shouldn’t it be a moment of joy? And instead it looks like war. Exclusion, health issues, gender issues, corruption, sexual abuse and harassment. Not to speak of doping, match
fixing, et cetera, et cetera. These challenges are real. Sport is a mirror of society. But I think that in order to combat them, here we have to send to society
a clear, a strong message, which is to embody values
in sport and in life. Life, live like you play, which is the distillation
of Pope Francis’ quote, challenge yourselves in the game of life as you challenge yourselves
in the game of sports, live like you play. Sport is a training ground for developing both body and soul. One of the very first Christian
writers, St. Irenaeus, use to say that the glory
of God is the living person. When the person flourishes
in all its dimensions, spiritual and bodily, I like to quote one of the characters of
the film, Chariots of Fire. He says, when I run, I
feel that God smiles. That’s the same thought St. Irenaeus put in theological language. Sport is not only about
winning competitions, and Pope Francis in his letter to us said, I quote again, “Sport is not only about
winning competitions “and striving for medals,
about earning fame or money, “but about achieving our best, “and in so doing, becoming better persons. “This means putting the human
person in all its dignity, “and without distinction of race, sex, “religion, or nationality
at the center of sport.” That’s why we chose this, Sport
at the Service of Humanity. It is the sport that has to be at the service of the human person, and not the human person
at the service of sport, or the sport industry and sport business. It means putting the sport
in service of humanity rather than making human beings into objects to be used or worse, abused. Here, we are leaders of faith communities, sport organizations, academia, nonprofit. We must think creatively in order to bridge divides through sport, and we’ve done this in
this one and a half day. Pope Francis says in a society torn apart by so many divisions, sport
is still one of the areas where people can ideally
meet without discrimination. It was nice to listen to Cardinal Lacroix speaking of his experience
as a French speaking boy in New England, not able to
speak English, but able to play. You give to a bunch of kids a
ball, and they begin to play, even if they cannot
speak the same language, that’s the power of sport. Well, and let me finish with
a story, which I caught in the media after the rugby
championship in Yokohama in Japan. Siya Kolisi is the captain of
the South African Springboks. And he is the first black
captain of the Springboks. Rugby use to be the Afrikaner,
all white elite sport. Well he, Siya Kolisi,
led the South African team to victory in final against England. It was last Sunday, and
he said in declarations right after the match, we,
the South African team, come from different
backgrounds, different races, and we came together with one goal, and we really wanted to achieve it, which was to win, obviously. I really hope, he says,
that what we’ve done, that we’ve done it for South
Africa to show that we can pull together if we want
to achieve something. And again he says, I’ve never seen, since I’ve been alive, a South Africa like this. All the country was coalesced to support the South African Springboks. With all the challenges we
have, and they have some, the coach said to us, we’re
not playing for ourselves, we are playing for all back home. We can achieve all we want
if we work together as one. End of quote. And I say, doesn’t it
apply to us all here, if we play together, we can achieve the social change we look for. Finally, let me thank,
once again, all organizers, partners, and participants,
you, particularly President DeGioia, and his wonderful staff that have made possible this incredible and this magnificent gathering possible. Thank you all. Thank you for being. Help us to go on and to
push forward this message. (audience claps) – Melchor thank you, thank you very much indeed for
those closing remarks. I’d just like to actually pick up on what Melchor said talking about epics. President DeGioia, epic conference. Thank you so much, really. And for my team, Sport for Humanity, it means a huge amount,
and we are very grateful indeed as we are to all of you. You know that feeling you get
at the end of a great match, you sometimes want to linger
in the stadium a little bit. Well you can. You can stay here as long as you like, you’re very welcome to take in as much of the museum as you’ve got time for. Cardinal, five and a half
hours if you’ve got it. You’re very welcome to stay. I’m just looking at my watch, and aware of actually one quote in the
gallery, was Max Baer who said, “I define fear as standing
across the ring from Joe Louis, knowing he wants to go home early.” So we’re bang on time, so
don’t hold that against me. I thank you all very much indeed. It’s been great being with
you, and good travels. Take care. (audience claps)