With the November election just weeks away, Melina Abdullah, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Pan-African Studies at California State University, Los Angeles, and a co-founder of the Los Angeles chapter of Black Lives Matter, says the stakes couldn’t be higher.
“I think it’s essential that everybody vote and that we vote all the down the ticket,” Abdullah said.
From her point of view, the November election is much more than just about voting for the President. She said it is important people inform themselves of the issues as well as exercise their right to vote.
“Absolutely voting out this president, or this occupant of the White House, but also the District Attorney in Los Angeles,” she said. “622 people have been killed by police since our current District Attorney took office and she’s refusing to prosecute any of these police, so we absolutely must vote out Jackie Lacey.”
District Attorney Jackie Lacey’s office did not return a request for comment. Abdullah also said there are a slew of important ballot measures that voters should be aware of “including the restoration of affirmative action, the restoration of voting rights” for people who have served their time in prison. She stressed the importance of voting yes on Propositions 15, 16, and 17 for voters who live in California.
“There’s a lot on the ballot, a lot for us to consider, and so it’s important that we all get out and vote, and then also recognize that our job is not done on Nov. 3,” Abdullah said. “Whoever you voted into office has to be held accountable, but also there’s an ongoing struggle that won’t just be solved at the ballot box.”
That struggle includes the issue of police brutality. This year’s killings of George Floyd, at the hands of police in Minneapolis, and Breonna Taylor, who was shot to death when a so-called “no-knock” warrant was served by police at her Louisville, Kentucky, apartment, are just two recent examples.
“We saw with the murder of Breonna Taylor, the officers who murdered her be completely let off the hook but an entire criminal system of injustice really double down and say that Black lives and Black women’s lives in particular in her case aren’t worth saving,” said Abdullah who has taught at California State University, Los Angeles, for 18 years. “So it’s important that Black people and people who love Black people stand up for the sanctity of Black life.”
The Los Angeles chapter of Black Lives Matter was founded in the immediate aftermath of the acquittal of George Zimmerman in 2013 for the murder of Trayvon Martin. Abdullah said she and others had simply grown tired of the number of Black people who were being murdered in such away.
“We felt it important to build what we called a movement not a moment,” she said. “So absolutely struggling in the name of Trayvon Martin but also remembering that this is a system of policing and police who murdered and killed Black people with regularity. The system shows us time and time again that they refuse to hold the police who kill our people accountable.”
By Karen Jordan. Afro World News Writer