A capacity crowd assembled to witness the swearing-in of Isaac G. Bryan, the new California assemblymember for the 54th District. The event was held June 26, at the Hot and Cool Café in Leimert Park.
A festive spirit filled the air as members of the audience, who ranged from elected officials to civic leaders and local residents, greeted each other with elbow bumps and wide smiles. While the occasion certainly called for celebration, the recent relaxing of pandemic restrictions, which permits larger gatherings of people, further enhanced the joyful mood.
Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon administered the oath of office to Bryan, who then acknowledged his family, neighbors and constituents for their support. Bryan vowed, “I’m looking forward to serving with you, for you, and by you.”
He also recognized several individuals during his remarks, including L.A. County Supervisor Holly Mitchell, L.A. Councilmember Mike Bonin, and Heather Hutt, the second runner-up in the race for assemblymember. Bryan ended his comments by presenting a proclamation to café co-owner, Tony Jolly, commending the successful Black-owned business.
Several participants preceded Bryan at the podium, starting with the Rev. Edward “Eddie” Anderson, pastor of McCarty Memorial Christian Church, who said the new assemblymember answered “God’s call of ‘who shall I send.’” Anderson prayed, “Lord, as he goes to the capitol, may he be a troublemaker for justice … may he love the people, may he know the people, may he continue to work with the people all the days of his life, and may he work to repair the walls of our village and community.”
L.A. Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson said, “We want to send our brother to Sacramento with all of our backing, all of our energy and all of our assistance on justice. He’ll be representing all of us and we’re demanding change. We’re demanding a better tomorrow.
“There are a lot of people that like things just the way they are, so when he goes to initiate change, they’re going to fire at him. But, they got to know that when they fire at him, they’re firing at us. We will be there with you when the going gets tough and it’s going to get tough because you are going to make change for the rest of us,” insisted Harris-Dawson.
Expressing similar confidence in Bryan’s abilities, Melina Abdullah described herself as “a big fan of Issac” and noted that the organization she co-founded, Black Lives Matter L.A., is “about Black liberation and Black freedom.” She added that she joined in celebrating Bryan because although he was “elected to office, being an elected official is not your identity. You are a freedom fighter! You are there (in Sacramento) to do work for all of us.
“We will always have your back. You are a man of tremendous vision and someone who knows that there is an end coming on unjust systems. We are so grateful that you choose to serve in this way,” said Abdullah.
Dr. David C. Turner, manager of the Brother, Sons, Selves Coalition and a fellow at the UCLA Ralph Bunche Center for African American Studies, led the crowd in a boisterous, repetitive chant of, “Ain’t no power like the power of the people, cause the power of the people don’t stop!”
Proclaiming that “people power” elected Bryan and “people power will help redefine environmental justice and economic justice,” Turner declared, “I’m so proud of you, Brother Isaac. You represent the movement that we have all believed in and have strived for. I have seen you in those late nights and 24-hour days putting in work for our people. You belong to the community and we will be with you every step of the way!”
The audience also heard from Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, California State Senator Sydney Kamlager-Dove, SEIU Local 2015 President April Verrett, and L.A. Councilmember Mark Ridley-Thomas. In addition, attendees enjoyed refreshments provided by Jolly and the Hot and Cool staff, along with live music by an African drum band.
As the 54th District assemblymember, Bryan will represent the neighborhoods of Baldwin Hills, Cheviot Hills, Crenshaw, Century City, Culver City, Ladera Heights, Mar Vista, Palms, Rancho Park, Westwood and sections of South Los Angeles and Inglewood.
edited 7/2/21 by Sentinel News Service