Midmorning With Aundrea - October 13, 2020 (Part 3)

Video Credit: WCBI
Published on October 13, 2020 -

Midmorning With Aundrea - October 13, 2020 (Part 3)

(Part 3 of 4) Retired black FBI agents have accused the Bureau of discrimination and a lack of diversity.

And one charitable organization is making sure one California community does not go hungry during the pandemic.

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Midmorning With Aundrea - October 13, 2020 (Part 3)

A group of black former fbi agents is speaking out about a lack of diversity at the country's premier law enforcement agency.

The cbs news investigative unit spent several months speaking with dozens of current and former black fbi agents, who describe discrimination and anger that has deepened in recent months.

Jeff pegues sat down with four retired agents who are calling for change.

The people that you have here today, we've given more than half of our professional life in the service of the fbi.

Mike mason retired from the fbi as an executive assistant director, the highest rank a black agent has ever achieved.

After decades as special agents, rhonda glover reese... // i had a 34-year career.

// it was awesome.

But there needs to be change.

&debra evans smith& what we've done in the past really is not working.

And aaron lasure left the fbi in the last two years, all on their own terms. // i was in a class of 38 and i was the only african american.

// 12:07:21;09 // and you have to realize, in my career, everywhere i went, i was the only one.

They're all members of a group called 'the mirror project,' and what they seek to change is a number at the bureau that has remained virtually the same for decades: of the 13-thousand fbi special agents around the world, only 4-percent are black.

Do you think black agents are held to the same standard as white agents?

// you have to be twice as good to get just as far as someone else.

In addition to the members of the mirror project, cbs news spoke with more than two dozen current and former black agents, all of whom described facing some sort of racial discrimination while working inside the fbi.

// do we bump up against bias, racism?

Absolutely.

I've experienced, you know, invisibility where you talk about being a black female in the fbi.

Sometimes you're not even seen.

These former agents told us that managers inside the fbi, who are mostly white, tend to only promote individuals who look like themselves.

// you start to wonder.

// "it's because i'm- i'm black?

Today, of the agents running the fbi's 56 field offices across the country, only three are black.

Diversity amongst more than gender is also important.

Fbi recruiting videos give the appearance of a bureau made up of a diverse talent pool.

But the agents we spoke with say that is not what the fbi is like at all.

It is not solely the responsibility of a minority to bring minorities into the fbi.

// 114232 it's everyone's issue.

They believe it matters now more than ever, because the fbi is investigating potential civil rights violations in the police killings of george floyd in minneapolis, breonna taylor in louisville, and the seven shots fired into the back of jacob blake in kenosha, wisconsin.

As the fbi, we are the lead agency to protect civil rights.

The bureau declined our requests for an interview, but in a statement the f-b-i called diversity a "core value.

One official told us that director wray plans to engage with the members of the mirror project.

Jeff pegues, cbs news, washinigton.

Me members of the mirror project sent a letter to director wray last month, calling for the fbi to be held accountable for its hiring and promotions.

The cbs news series áa more perfect unioná aims to show that what unites us as americans is far greater than what divides us.

Today, we introduce you to two people, along with some young volunteers, who are trying to make sure their california community ádoesn'tá go hungry.

The group áfeeding americaá estimates the economic fallout from the pandemic may leave more than 54- million americans struggling to áregularlyá feed their families this year.

Jonathan vigliotti shows us how people in one los angeles community are coming together, to help neighbors.

These days the parking lot at the wood caf?

In los angeles is often empty& & áunlessá it's a sunday.

"i'm serving an feeding more people now than i would be if i was open with restaurants."

Demetrios mavromichalis was forced to temporarily close his business back in march because of covid-19.

But then he got a call from an old friend& and former employee natalie flores.

I said, "hey, wha are you doing with your restaurant?

And he's like, "well actually, i had to lay off all my employees.

And it was just like, "ding!

Every week, the two transform the restaurant into a food drive& with a ádriveá thru to help those struggling during the pandemic.

Flores got the idea for "nouris la" after seein families asking for help on social media.

N: they're on their last hundred dollars or less, and they had no food to eat.

J: what went through your mind when you read those things?

N: i was really upset.//and i was frustrated because we shouldn't have that problem.

Where do you see these pomegranates?!

The group collects donations from local farms, food banks, and grocery stores.

Volunteers then pack bags with everything from high quality produce and meat& to freshly baked bread... and flowers.

Nats: kalea pulling cart of potatoes.

Nine-year-old kalea jade salvador is one of the youngest volunteers.

Seeing these families sometimes can make me feel sad.//but once we are able to feed them, it makes me more happy that we can actually give them something.

The kids and the youth are really the catalyst for driving this thing forward.

M: i feel like i should keep coming back.

I feel like i have a duty to, almost.

"how many peopl in your family?"

On the day we visited& the organization fed more than twelve áhundredá people.

Hal hyatt was first in line.

I admire them that they do this.

They take out their own time and they don't get paid.

Retiree linda scott used to rely on income housing foreign students until co-vid 19 shut that down.

Jv: did you ever imagine you'd find yourself in a situation like this?

Ls: absolutely not.//you know i'm 72 so who woulda thought?

//i'm grateful that we have this and people really care.

The problem//is that this issue doesn't discriminate.//food hunger is all around us.

And we can refuse to see it or we could go head on and really love our neighbors without judgment.

Flores and mavromichalis now hope to inspire similar food drives across the nation with neighbors feeding neighbors& and nourishing the soul.

J: how much longer do you think you can do this before you say, "i need th kind of help that i'm offering people right now" d: you know what?//if i keep receiving more, we'll continue to give."// i thought "well, at som point it'll dry up."

But right now it hasn't.

It just keeps goin'.

And i said, "i can't sto this now.

I can't because of-- it's changed me."

Nats: natalie waving good-bye to a family or demetrios nat jonathan vigliotti , cbs news, los angeles she took a break at the height of her fame.

Now a singer songwriter is back with new stories to tell.

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