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Moving The Message To Manifestation 
By By Xavier Higgs, Contributing Writer 
Published August 31, 2016
Political Action Panel at Christ Second Baptist Church, Long Beach

Participants include LaMont Jackson – former LACCD Board of Trustees: Dr. Melina Abdullah – Black Lives Matter: Robert Farrell – former LA Councilman: Dr. Earnestine Thomas-Robertson – political scientist:  Rev KW Tullos -West Coast Director of the National Action Network: US Congresswoman Barbara Lee and Moderator Honorable Daniel K Tabor – former Mayor of Inglewood     (photo by Xavier Higgs, President, NABJ-LA)

 

For three years the Black Lives Matter movement has ignited a new generation of the civil rights advocacy while spotlighting racial justice and equality.

The movement has shifted national discourse and media attention on issues that disproportionately affect Black people, such as police brutality, mass incarceration, and economic injustice.

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“Black Lives Matter is trying to recapture and pick up the mantle of resistance work,” says Dr. Melina Abdullah, an organizer with Black Lives Matter-LA.

Dr. Melina Abdullah, co-founder of Black Lives Matter-LA ( LA Sentinel/ Xavier Higgs)

Dr. Melina Abdullah, co-founder of Black Lives Matter-LA ( photo by Xavier Higgs)

Last Saturday morning at Christ Second Baptist Church Dr. Abdullah joined 6 panelists including US Rep. Barbara Lee to discuss how to sustain and strengthen the movement.

The panel of local civil rights leaders were assembled to explore how to be persistent in pressuring local officials to change policies have a greater impact on Black issues and problems.

Dr. Abdullah described the Black Lives Matter movement as the heir to the civil rights and Black power movement.

Black Lives Matter demonstrations over police violence against Black and Brown people have compelled local officials and leaders to consider and implement structural changes. However those involved with the movement are weary that the implementations of policy changes aimed at defusing conflicts between officers and the public that can turn deadly.

During the August 23rd Police Commission meeting Black Lives Matter activists once again called for the firing of Police Chief Charlie Beck as they continue to demonstrate against several officer-involved fatal shootings.

Progress in the effort to reduce excessive police force has also occurred on the federal level. In response to the backlash police received in handling protesters in Ferguson, President Obama banned the U.S. government from arming local police departments with particular types of military-style equipment. Whereas the FBI announced in December a new initiative to improve the tracking of civilians killed by police.

However the movement has an ally, U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif.  When it was her turn to speak she pledged full support for the Black Lives Matters movement. “It is the next step for our fight for freedom and equality this country.”

US Rep. Barbara Lee, 13th District of CA (photo by Xavier Higgs)

US Rep. Barbara Lee, 13th District of CA (photo by Xavier Higgs)

Rep. Lee revealed many in congress could not change laws from the inside unless we have the support and intimidation of activists on the outside.

She assured those in attendance that Congresswomen Maxine Waters and Karen Bass also believe in the inside outside strategy.

Former LA Councilman Robert Farrell stated “it’s important to be a part of Black Lives Matter. I’m reminded of the people who supported me.

As a Freedom during the early 1960’s, Farrell and students from around the country responded to a call from the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). Farrell and others organizers risked their lives traveling to the most dangerous areas of the South to help Black citizens register to vote.

“The struggle continues. We have an obligation to be of some service to the community.”

Robert Farrell, former Los Angeles 8th District Councilman (photo by Xavier Higgs)

Robert Farrell, former Los Angeles 8th District Councilman (photo by Xavier Higgs)

#BlackLivesMatter was born in Los Angeles July 13, 2013 in response to the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the death of the black 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford Fl.

Hundreds of organizers have formed local Black Lives Matter chapters throughout the nation. Working to mobilize people, hold local officials accountable and organize community forums.

In Los Angeles Black Lives Matter is doing more than causing traffic jams and making noise in the street. They’re actively pushing policy proposals that would bring lasting changes for years to come.

This movement has roused millennials.

“And you can’t have a real movement without the millennials,” according to political scientist Dr. Earnestine Thomas Robertson.

Conversely Dr. J. Ayo Alabi, Professor of Sociology and Gender Studies at Orange County College said “some Black people are still scared to say Black Lives Matter because we could be labeled as a separatist.”

Although faithful to its core mission Dr. Abdullah says Black Lives Matter  embraces the LBGQ community too because “we are struggling for and with you too. Blacks Lives Matter is interested in systematic change. Police reform is not enough we believe a transformation of the entire system.”

Categories: Education | News | Political
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