Melina Abdullah


Hi Everyone Sophia Bush here welcomed a work in progress where I talked to people who inspire me about how they got to where they are and where they think they're still going. Day Whip smarties. Today, we're going to depart from. Her normal schedule and we're actually going to re air a podcast that came out last year. Back in August of two, thousand nineteen. I was lucky enough to interview Dr, Molina Abdullah. She is a recognized expert on race gender, class and social movements. She was a founding member of black lives matter and continues to serve as the Los Angeles. Chapter leader. She is a woman, a scholar, activist, a mother and a friend. She is an incredible offer and she is a person that I learned an incredible amount from in terms of how to show up. Disparity in the system in what we can do about it. In the wake of continued police brutality. In the wake of understanding that police brutality is a public health. And in the wake of horrific videos like that of the death of Ahmad, barbary. The murder of George Floyd. And? Our understanding that Brianna Taylor an EMT, a first responder carrying for covid patients was executed by police in her apartment. We have worked to do. We have things to confront. I say we because I am including myself as a white woman. And my hope is that all of you will join us today to listen to this episode as we re air it with no ads. Just, because we know it is the right thing to do. You won't hear from sponsors. You will just hear from Dr Abdullah. She answered my questions and they're questions that I imagine many of you have as well so please. Show Up. Listen Up. And learn from the experts how we can all speak up. Because, people are dying and it's our job to do something about. I really appreciate all of you I hope you enjoy this conversation with Dr Lebda left. I want to jump right in getting that. We were talking about before. I realized I should have pushed record. There's an article in the land magazine. And they wrote that you have quote, become the scourge of the L. a. p. d. a CO founder of the Los Angeles Chapter of black lives, matter and a member of the group's national, leadership team you are perhaps the most vocal visible effective critic of law enforcement, and all of Los Angeles. For the past four years you have organized the grieving families of people killed by the police, or who died in police custody into a formidable group of advocates, seeking deep changes to policing in La. To me, that reaches very high. Compliment me to. Word score is so charged, but do feel. kind of like a badge of honor at this point, absolutely absolutely when we think about what LAPD is, you know I love the idea that I'm one of the most vocal critics right at may need to be criticized. They need to be transformed, and that only comes by lifting our voices and doing work to do that, so yeah. Yeah, that's A. It's a high honor. Yen Prep. For this. Going through and looking at. The stats of the number of people who died at the hands of the police in this city, and how it's higher than in cities like Chicago, it's higher than in cities like New York it's. It's something that I. Don't know that everyone is really aware of what what a kind of crisis for the citizenry of La this problem is. And it's an interesting topic to discuss. Because what I realize, is that so often in circles like? Our overlapping circles were analyzing the problem of system. And in other circles where this topic comes up, people really feel personally attacked. It turns into my uncle's a cop and is a good guy or you know there's a lot of people who sacrificed to to be in uniform whether it's in the police force, military service or whatever? And I'm curious because of your level of expertise at looking at the broken -ness of a system and the historical problems of system that have been passed down to modern day, but I think so many people aren't. Aware of and I WANNA. Get into that with you, too. How do you get people to analyze the system and what the system does to even the quote, good guys who volunteer? WHO GETS swept up in it this a huge question I think number one. We start with the people who are most directly impacted and so for black lives matter you know a lot of people think that like the term black lives matter is meant for non. Black folks to see our humanity, but it's not. It's black lives. Matter is a rallying cry. It's for black people to understand our own power and black people I. Don't think any black person I know is in any way. Duped into believing that the police are here to protect and serve US right so I think getting people to stand up getting my people to stand up I. write is hugely important. Right so there's not a whole lot of convincing that needs to be done than you know policing as we know, it hasn't always been. That means it can be changed. Right policing as we know, it is a system that somebody invented, and where people who can disrupt it, and so I think that that's the biggest part is recognizing our own power. We're talking about systems and structures and institutions, but I think for black people in regular neighborhoods like I live in the crenshaw district. Right Black People in my neighborhood. It's not we don't have to think about structures and institutions and systems in like some theoretical way you know what it means. When the current LAPD chief Michael Moore says he wants. Police on every street corner at every bus stop at every church Pew and every Barstool, and we know that's a bad thing like when you see now on crenshaw, you usually see you're starting to see like two officers per Busta. Just standing there with their hands on their bills that feels like an occupation, it does not make us feel safe, and so we don't have to explain this system to other black people, because we all feel the same thing and not to centralize us, but I think that our collective experiences with police you know, tell us in. Inform us and I think that kind of wisdom in that kind of expertise is the most valuable. Yeah Wow. I'm just I'm just I find that I sit when when I hear you speak and. Ingest that I'm like there's going to be all this air and this interview. is going to be like. Why isn't she talking? So can we walk back? I'd like to know about. How the mission as black lives matter, black lives matter La began because you have been an advocate, you are an organizer. You are professor. You are an academic and I'm a Mama and your. S Two, wonderful kids, and your face lights up when you Tom. I have so much fun when I read profiles of you and there's always like a mentioned what the kids are up to and I love it because I feel like I'm I'm getting the picture painted. But I'm curious. How this all began, because you know I became aware of you already this leader in the movement, and as an advocate, and and for people listening. We finally got to meet years ago at the La Women's March and they were like. Hey, you're going to introduce Molina. Doa and I was like what? And I remember when I was like. I was. And I remember running up to you and being like. Hey, this is crazy. I WanNa talk to you about everything that you do and figure out how to how to be there. You know supporting anything. Can I? Just run you through my remarks? Really Quick 'cause I wanNA. Make sure they're OK to you. And it was really sweet. L., you're so generous I. Just was like you know they're all these things I feel like it's really important to say and. And it is an interesting thing. As as activists in my own space and an advocate. To try to figure out how to be. A proper supporter and ally for my neighbors, and for communities of Color, and and also not to like be a basic white girl who says the wrong thing. I'm just like I. Don't know so I asked you all of the questions, and and you are so lovely and gave me the confidence to walk up on that stage, and just be like the only reason that we're here and the only reason there's been any progress has been because of black women, and if we don't start following them. The way we should have always been were stupid. I didn't use those words exactly, but that's the trip and. And, then you came up on stage. You know with a whole crew in your family. And you gave the most rousing speech. There was amazing. and. Yeah. I just. I feel like we've been teammates for a long time now so. That's that's where you and I first connected. And You are this incredible icon in the community and I'm wondering how. From the inception of black lives matter to. Speaking to seven hundred fifty thousand people in the streets of the women's March had. Is that all get started for people who don't know the story? So I. Don't think I'm an icon. I appreciate that I. You are Ma'am. I mean I'm just like even when you sit, you know expertise in this I'm not like I'm just I am just. Right I, am just I have three children and I have a million spirit children right, and I'm a community member and I'm a Mama's daughter and my grandmother's granddaughter and you know my grandfather thought I could walk on water, and so all of that is in me. And I feel I believe I know that it's I. Use a term called sacred duty, right? It's our sacred duty. To not simply sit by. As our people are oppressed and degraded and killed, and so I have a loud mouth, and my mother taught me like never be quiet, right? Never just sit there and take it right, and you know that's one of the things I really appreciate it about our meeting. Is You know I? Don't watch a LOT OF TV? Right so I I knew your name but I. Didn't really you know watch TV, right? But what I loved about. You is one the. Authenticity with which you approached me. But to that it wasn't a one time thing that it was. Well, how can we? What can I do? How can I use my platform? What what feels good in terms of what I share and I know like we have a whole bunch of friends in common and everybody you know kind of reports back on their work with you and I just think it's. Really Powerful and beautiful when people say. I feel like you've never said these words, but I feel like you've said. That it's also my sacred duty, it's my duty. You know one of the chance we use them black lives. Matter is it is our duty to fight for freedom. It is our duty to win. We must love him. Protect one another. We have nothing to lose. What are chains and I feel like? You've embraced this idea that we can't just accept the world as it's handed to us and as those who are in it for. Greed and greater power and kind of the hoarding of resources at the expense of everyone else right. They don't get to decide how the world is going to move. We get to decide how the world is going to move and so I love that you've stepped into that and you know I like the term teammates that were teammates in this work. That's so kind. Thank you really like that just that my chest feels like it's GonNa Explode. And I do. I do. Identify so deeply with that term sacred duty and I think about how the fuel I talked my friend Glennon all the time. We talk about sacred rage that like that fire in you, that refuses to be quiet in the face of injustice is sacred rage that is a fuel source that never runs out and I think we have to press toward the things that light that for us and. It is not okay whether we're talking about. The hoarding of resources are disparities in healthcare or the disparate experiences of different communities and those experiences being based solely on what those communities look like this is this is not okay. How could any of US NOT BE ENRAGED? None of us is free until all of us are free, see the the ugly intertwining of the oppression of communities of color in the oppression of women. The you know we. Even in the most conservative circles in America. You hear people. Criticizing communities around the globe that they view to be threatening, or you know that say well terrorists come from X, and it's like well. What do they have in common? They oppress poor people in women they destroy education system so that they can promote fundamentalist ideology that is dangerous and inherently patriarchal right? Hello, look in the mirror, sir. Do you not see that you're doing that here? In in ways that are unique to our own country in our own experience, and it is, it's our duty to stand for each other. Absolutely absolutely, so how does it start? HOW DOES THE STAND START IN LA? Because you were among the original group of organizers who formed black lives, matter and Back in two thousand thirteen. What is the landscape? What happens and what did your life look like at the time? Yeah, so I mean I've always been one who's not quite right. but I've also never been a real joyner like I don't like joining organizations right I always feel like the deeper you get into something more like the drama kind of unfolds, and so I just prefer to kind of move and I would be a part of different movements, but not really deep. And July thirteenth two thousand thirteen. That's the day George. Zimmerman was acquitted in the murder of Trayvon Martin. And Trayvon was not the first black boy to be killed by. A white supremacist or wannabe white supremacist, because Zimmerman's also this kind of complicated character. Right where? He's a wannabe cop. He's a wannabe neighborhood watchman. He's a wannabe white guy. He's really none of those things right, but he's kind of exhibiting like drawing power from his proximity to it right. And so. The murder of Trayvon. In many ways it's like the murder of Emmett till right Emmett till was not the first black boy to be lynched, right? But there was something special about Emmett story, and there was the power of his mother Mamie till who decided to give him an open casket funeral, and let the world see the horror that her fourteen year old son had endured right. And with Trayvon, there was something about his spirit like I. Imagine the spirit of Emmett right. That it resonated like it resonated with us and. When they would show Trayvon's face on the news. you know Barack? Obama said President Obama, said if I had a son, he looked like trayvon. And I had a son. And my son actually looks like trayvon right like not exactly but very feeling wise right like same kind of shiny face. Same sparkling is right, same innocence and also kind of budding. kind of like. A little nuttiness in my children. Just like life like life in their faces, right we'll mischief is so good for kids. Yeah, that's the word Maistre feel that makes us investigative thing that makes us challenge systems. It's the reason movements are born because we go to really have to go. Rhino? The eight year old wants to take a toy apart to figure out how to put it together could become the next great engineer or the next great. Social activist because they want to take it apart and put it back together better and in the meantime. They're frustrating their mothers right. It's like Gila Joke. I used to be a nanny, and I was like nannied for the best kids in the world, and they were also like tiny terrorists. Were at moments I was like. Where did my sweet little children? Go your evil? They come back to you because their kids right right and that's what I feel like. We got with Trayvon. He was seventeen year old child i. don't like when they call him a young man. He was a child right seventeen year old child, doing exactly what he should have been doing, and his life was stolen, and then the state gets behind Zimmerman. And says he had the right to steal the life of this boy who was ours and I remember July, thirteenth two thousand, thirteen was a Saturday. and. We were watching. We were glued to the TV and in California was becoming evening, so it means it was nighttime in. Florida, right and everybody on the news. All the newscasters are going well. The verdict second come in today. It probably won't come until Monday. And so I left the House I went to Carmax was trying to get a new car because my family was getting bigger. And I. Remember going into Carmax and almost as soon as I got there. My brother called, and he goes where you at tell him and he goes. We'll sit down could not go like it. And he said he got off in their giving him his gun back. And like even when I don't know if it's like the events of the last week, but even when? When I hear that second part it the gut. They're giving him his gun back. Just like hit me and I. Felt this fog kind of overtake me and. Grabbed my kids get them in the car and I go home. We didn't buy car. And at the time, my son was three. And you know my other kids are a little older and I'm getting them all together and I did what like mothers do a my single mom so I cook? Dinner bathed. My son put them all to bed. And then I found somebody to sit with them, and I had these other moms come over to my house, and we Kinda Sat, and we talked and decided to go out, and there's a park in the crenshaw district of Los Angeles, Lamarque Park, which is like. The Cultural Center of Black La. Terribly and I hope we can get to this. They've put up a fence around it now, so you can't get into the park anymore, but at all at all. Even during the day Nope so that I. Think has a lot to do with the gender the neighborhood it's undergoing gentrification and there were helpless folks who slept in the park. So they're trying to keep the House list folks out, but I also think about like black lives. Matter was birthed there right like every protest. You can think of began in that park, so we didn't need a tweet. We didn't need a text. We need nobody to call us. We knew where black people were going. We go there for a rage, but we also go there. That's where we went to celebrate the election of Barack, Obama right, and so they fenced off the park, but on July thirteenth two thousand thirteen. The park was open and we knew that's where to go. and. That's where we went. And there were you know easily a thousand people milling around in the park, some crying some upset some giving like impromptu speeches and always tell people like who were becoming activists the first investment. You need to make in a bullhorn, right? There's a power that comes whoever has the bullhorn is to dictate the action? And, so I had the boomer and I remember there was this young sister there who I was talking to in this was her first time kind of coming out. And she said to me 'cause. We were all talking to each other wall. I don't want to be in this park in me and the other moms or like. What do you want to do? And she said why. I WanNa March, so grab the bullhorn and I go we all March. And so everybody starts coming together, and then there's kind of this back and forth. which I think is really important. Where some people were trying to March South Down Crenshaw South it gets blacker and poorer right. You Go north. You actually start marching towards Wilshire right with a wider and more affluent humor turned into Hancock Park right exactly and so I'm like we are not marching south because if you think about like what happened in ninety two. They don't care if you march. Right, that's. Whatever right? So I remember yelling on the Bullhorn I, felt like we were running for freedom, I was like go north right, and so we all start marching north of crenshaw. and. We were kind of in the streets like that intuitively for about three days, and on the third day of protests. We had this group like we just call it like black community organizers space. We're about maybe fifteen of us. One of them was Patrisse cullors and I was in that space as well and so we have become really. Friends and comrades that space. And Patrice have been in conversation with the Lisa Garza. Who I didn't know at that time and open committee and Alesia hit. Put this letter online, and she signed it black lives matter, and so while we were doing this intuitive work, they were talking about how to build a movement, not a moment. So on the third day of protests I remember exactly where I was I. was it was the first freeway shutdown of the black lives matter era right? So were marching north of crenshaw. These boys probably younger than Trayvon. Decided we basically adopted a philosophy. This is why than northern pattern was important of disrupting spaces of white effluents right, so we're not going to disrupt south La we're going to disrupt the spaces that we see is responsible for the murder of by, and so there were these boys, and I remember seeing their eyes Dart back and forth to each other, and they launched onto the off ramp of the ten freeway, and all these thousands of people find them right. And my oldest daughter, who's a hell of organizer in our own right. She was eight at the time. She's Maybe, she was nine. She's fifteen now, so we're six years old, so she must have been nine. She goes come on Mama. Let's get on the freeway. And I have like my three year old son in a Stroller, and I'm a courageous mom, but I'm not crazy. Right so I'm like we ain't getting on the freeway, and so we stood at the overpass and I took some pictures at wound up going viral. And right after I took the pictures I get this text. And it originated with Patrice and it said to meet. It said he didn't nine PM at Saint Elmo's village right, which is this black artists community, and so we did, and it was the third night, and we gathered in this beautiful artists village that is set up like an African village with this space in the centre, and we circled up in there were about thirty of us, including some of the MOMMAS including a bunch of my students who had called out into the streets, and then a bunch of Patrice is beautiful artists and organizers friends. And we committed to building a movement, not a moment now at the time. We didn't know what that Mitts. But it was a commitment that we may like our souls, and it felt like because we were under the you know dark, and the stars and imagine the moon was full I. Don't know that for sure, but in my memory. It feels like it right. Like also felt you felt this ancestral presence, right? And that was the birth of black lives matter and from that day forward we continue to organize. I think. It took US two or three days to. Organize the first planned march of black lives matter which we did in beverly. Hills we marched down Wilshire from last year and again Wilshire all the way down to Rodeo and Wilshire and those folks thought they were like what's happening like. In fact, they were uttering those words. What's going on? We. Shutdown that pretty woman mall and did a lot of work in that, was it? WAS BIRTH OF IT! When you talk about. This. Intuitive knowing that you have to go north, you have to disrupt these affluent white spaces to make a statement because it's not the community south on crenshaw. It's not the community that is suffering from. The death of their sons at greater numbers than the communities you disrupt it that needed to be disrupted. I know that there will be some people who. Hear this and wonder what that means. Who say you know some people who wonder what that means? Who might say you know? There were people driving down Wilshire that day going what's going on like? Tell us what's happening. Who would assume I have nothing to do with that? You know I don't support what happened with Trayvon's killing. I don't think that George Zimmerman should have been given his gun back. How how to people who might not understand what you mean by that you? Educate. On. Disrupting that system and how that system even a community on again Wilshire how their system is supporting the system that let George Zimmerman off. Yeah. So a couple of things one most of you are responsible right if we think about like the majority of white people voted for trump right. Yeah, so you're responsible. All of this that's going on is your fault, right and so there is a direct responsibility right, but even if you go well I didn't vote for trump right. I give money to black lives. Matter Right. They're still a responsibility while one. There is a the weight of blackness in this country is not something that can just be born by black people right so. The philosophy of disrupting white affluent spaces is about the fact that. I say I'm not scared of anything and I'm not right, but I'll say that I'm. Very anxious. About my son and specifically my son, but I you know I, I'm concerned for all my children, but specifically my son, who's now nine who I'm starting to see his shoulders get broad. Right and he was talking to me today and I was like his voice is a little deeper like he's not going through puberty yet, but he's growing into. He's not a baby. Right and I feel like as he continues to grow. The target on his back gets bigger. And I don't know white moms who feel that about their sons, and so it can't just be a weight that I carry right i. need you to care as much as I care. And so you will never know what it's like to be a black mom. However. As, long as these kinds of justices happen in our communities, you don't get to just go in quietly Brunch, right? You don't get to just go to Disneyland or go to the Grove. We liked disrupting the grove. Home or you know, have your meal quietly and say. I'm not responsible because. You are responsible, and you know part of what they're experiencing. Is a white privilege that just comes from Whiteness. Even if you didn't ask for it right and so it becomes your responsibility. I think who said. WHO said that Jill Libra right. When she said. It's white people and specifically. She talked about white suburban MOMS right. To It's not just black people's responsibility to handle racism Ryan. It's your responsibility. You built this racist system right and if you didn't personally so what you're still benefiting from it, and I think that the benefit and this idea that you can divest from what's personal, and what isn't especially for white people is. Dangerous and needs to be analyzed. Because I loved what Gillibrand said, she just got frank, and she said look I'm not saying you're lives haven't been hard. If you live in one of those rural communities that has lost its hospital, whose jobs have shutdown whether it's the steel plant or the coal, mine or whatever those people are struggling, no question in need help. But none of their struggle is because of the color of their skin right, it is not one of the things that has made their life harder. It is not one of the things that makes mom's afraid to send their sons to school. It is not one of the things that means that a black boy buying a BB gun at Walmart gets shot in the back by police officer and a white boy with an. An assault rifle at Walmart. Who Murders Twenty people gets taken peacefully. This is this is crazy, and and these are just facts, and I think if we can start to look at the facts and not have this like weird base reaction of like a good person. I have nothing to do with that. It's like if your if that's your response. There's something in you that you're worried about, or you have some sort of. Fear that you are quote, unquote worse than you claim to be or whatever and one of the things when we talk about. The beneficiaries of the system that I would love to unpack with you is the generational inheritance system because I think and I blame the degradation of our education system for a lot of this you know while we were trying to make progress with civil rights and the women's rights movement and you know Gloria and Dorothy were like speaking and marching and doing all the things. The GOP has been going after the education system for a long time. They've taken civics out of schools. They've let schools become religious and teach you know sex ED. That isn't based on fact. I mean things that are dangerous to the public health of a population and we lose our history. We make the same mistakes and so. For me diving into what is historical inheritance look like what wealth was allowed to be created for white people as landowners people who were able to get mortgages. Where're mortgage lenders redlining? What communities couldn't be lent to? What after you know the great migration and the populace? The populations of black people moving further into the north where white people ignorantly think we'll. Then they were just free. It's like no, they weren't. They were pushed into ghettos. They were denied any sort of services and sort of healthcare, and he sort of safety long after what we consider freedom. To mean. And when you look at the generational denial of wealth versus the generational support of wealth creation, and when you look at that generational inheritance of the energy of the police system, which I've learned through conversation, most people who look like me don't know that the police system literally comes from the system of slave catchers. Right people don't know that slave catchers became police and that and that horrific part of American history laid the pattern for a modern system that people go well. That's not possible, but there's generational behavior in that system. It is proven I. don't care. What of the line you fall on here. The data proves it's dangerous for communities of color. Color to have interactions with the police right? In fact, the data says if you WANNA keep black people safe from police violence. The most important thing you can do is to limit the interactions. It's the number of interactions. It's not implicit bias training. It's not a community policing. It's not the diversity of the officers, and it's black. People just should not have interactions with the police, and that's that we stay safe from them, and it's interesting to me. The diversity of officers doesn't affect the outcomes for communities of color right even officers of color dangerous to communities of color. What do we do with all this? How do we unpack some of this generational? Reality. Educate people on how to change the modern day system right well. I think it's one really important that we have the conversation about. Generational inheritance right and. I always feel like so by training them a political scientists right, so Mike these debates and all this stuff is like great for me. I! Love Tuning into the stuff. But I'm having problems keeping up with twenty candidates right? And At first I was going. Get these people off the stage orders people right. But this is the first time ever that. I've had candidates who really inspired me right? I've had can't I've heard candidates who are talking about things that are really important right, not just the nuances of a healthcare system which I believe in Medicare for all right. But I don't want to spend all the time talking about how that's GonNa work right there. Also I think it's important that Marianne Williamson is on that stage, and that she was courageous enough to bring up what reparations look. She referred to it as a debt that is owed to black people debt that is owed, and she's not the first person who said this. My dissertation was almost on reparations, but if we think about organizations like Cobra and people like Randall. Robinson and I know more recently, people are looking at tiny. He see coaches work. You know they've been saying that. In fact, Randall. Robinson's book is called the debt right? I think it's really important that we have this conversation, and if we think about, it's not just individual, so this is where a Lotta White folks get nervous right because they think you gonna come, take my stuff and I. Don't know if you custom here, but I want to do all the talk out, so they think you. They say they're gonNA come take our shit. Right That's not what it's about right. It's not just about you as an individual. Although you do owe a did right individually right? You owe a debt, and so we always say in terms of the Black Freedom Movement. Everybody needs to be involved in. They need to be giving their voice their body in their resources. You do some resource right, and so there is an individual responsibility, but the bigger responsibility is that there are in tiger industries that are built on the backs of my ancestors. We think about the insurance industry right thing about. About why do you think companies are called state, farm and farmers right? What is that? They were ensuring slave owners for the runaways or deaths of their property, their chattel, right and so state farm I'll know what it's worth, but it's a multibillion dollar company. They owe us right. This country owes us. This country is built on stolen land of indigenous people in stolen Labor of black people. They Alwa- so when Marianne Williamson, says you know at least two hundred to five hundred billion dollars in the debt is really in the trillions, right? That's a conversation that we need to have and more than conversation. It's something that we need to be pushing for. Because it is like she said in like Randall Robinson, said before her a that's owed well, and and when you start to look at it as denial of equitable resource right, it would be the same as if. Today. I gotTa Job Same. Job Qualifications and amount of work as as this guy over here, so it's me and it's the guy in over the next twenty years. I'm held back. I'm denied raises denied promotions and denied the same health benefits, and this guy gets every single benefit promotion bigger package bonus and we've done. We've done this work yet. I'm here and he's advanced to here. And he's created wealth for his family and I've been unable to create any right, and it's that same spread in a much more horrifically. Traumatic Way and for generations four. Right the for these communities, and that is something that I think a lot of people have a hard time wrapping their heads around and people I hear 'cause you know i. read the good and the bad online because I need to understand where everyone's coming from as a bit of a mature social scientists. And people who don't get reparations conversation, say well we. We have nothing to do with what happened two hundred years ago and it's like you're missing the point that that there have been these bell curves that have come out of what happened, and we've all ignorantly or consciously supported them and supported the ramifications, and we've got to do something about it. We've gotta even out the system in some way to give people a fair shake a fighting chance and you know when Marianne says two to five hundred billion on Mike what we just gave a six hundred billion dollar surplus to the military right. So we have the money you're just telling me. We don't have it for people, or we don't have it for healthcare. We don't elect preschool. For communities are. We don't have it for you. We have it, it's it's about what we're investing in. And why aren't we investing any child other right well I think also that was a great explanation, especially as related to how defacto slavery continued after eighteen sixty five right, but if we think about from sixteen nineteen to eighteen, sixty five, and was happening with the wholesale theft of black labor, right and black people right and and. Human beings right, and what that means economically is. It's like you hook generations of wealth. It's like if you're a great. Let's say was your great great great great grandparents, right? They took my great great great great grandparents stuff. They came in and robbed their house. Right may took everything that they had. And, then they died, but they passed on everything that they hit to your great great great grandparents. And then they built the up, even more stole my great great great grandparents, and then they pass that on to your great great grandparents. Yes, and then eventually you inherited. And you say I had nothing to do with it. No, but you still got my staff right and how it plays out now. And this is how we can get to the gentrification P. Right is so I have I I live in the crenshaw district, which at the time I moved into my neighborhood was. About eighty to eighty five percent. My neighborhood is now about. Sixty percent black. And so. These white folks moving in our home prices now I'm telling way too much of my business, but when I bought it I was married at the time. Two of us with college degrees and fairly good jobs were spent every penny we had to buy the House that was at the time three hundred thousand dollars, right. That's all we got. We can't spend more than three hundred thousand dollars, but we're relatively middle class black people who did that and bought this house for three hundred thousand dollars. The houses in my neighborhood are now going from million and a half. And I'm going. There is no way even if I were still married I would not be able to buy this house right. But the white people who were moving in and everybody who's moving in white. They're not rich white people so like we got a social worker and a teacher who just moved in down the street Ryan. How did you get that house? Right and I don't ask them that way right, but as our children play together, there's conversations about. The father gets A. He gets an actual allowance. He's in his forties. He gets allowance from his father. A bunch of these folks are getting these you know help with a down payment. Right a thousand dollars a month from some relatives. Somebody died and left them something. My family doesn't have that. And so this is how we see kind of this wealth disparity. Play out the theft of black wealth. Play out in terms of Gentrification, and I think so many people when they think about wealth or inherited wealth assume that you have to be a rockefeller to be inheriting wealth, and it's like that isn't what the conversation is what you're talking about when a family can offer downpayment support to their kids who are in their thirties or forties. That is afforded by this generational experience that was offered to one community and stolen from another absolutely, and we're not saying that you shouldn't take down payment. Help from your. No, but it's it should have been Fairness is that we all have what our for families earned. Yes and I think it's really important to de. Personalize the reality of it in a way. Because I. Don't get offended. I don't feel attacked that two plus two equals four. I'm not like well, said to who you know, and and so many people who look like me in this conversation are like that, but that just this is. They get so upset and it's like. Don't be upset. Learn. We have to learn our history. The good, the bad and the ugly, and we have to figure out how to build a better system, because by the way the system that has better for you is also going. Going to be better for me, episode white supremacy doesn't have anything for me. Ether It has nothing for me. I watched sixty three percent of white women in America vote for Donald Trump and I was like you just voted for the husband. You hate for the Guy, who raped you in college for the guy who assaulted you in the workplace for that piece of Shit that you go to work with every day? Who Says Disgusting Shit You about your ass? You just voted for a man who you hate. Because he feels familiar to you, For what to uphold the the reality of your dad or some other guy in your life. Who told you he'd take care of you or that? You deserved something, or I don't understand like you voted so deeply against your own interests, and look I know that there was help I know that there was. Bought Farms running and Russian interference and stoking of division, and you know now we have the data that proves that that the. The people stoking that division online we're doing so from the extremes of both sides. They were playing super, conservative and Super Liberal, just trying to pull us all apart. So when I come from my highest self, I'm like I really feel for people and I want them to do better and when I'm like in the trenches, I'm just like. Thinking right, you know and and I. Really think it's important for us for white people for White women especially. To not feel attacked when asked to look in the mirror, but to go. That's really interesting. I can see this thing. I can see regardless of how complicated my life is. What I've been through trauma. I carry the assault I survived that whatever 'cause everybody's had at heart and to say, and they're still all this stuff that exists in society. That has my back. In a way that other people aren't held, but what quote? Unquote has back actually still aiming to destroy me. Yeah, and if we go back to like the system, Chattel Slavery, the challenge I think it's being issued is don't be the mistress. Don't be the mistress of the house right so like a lot of white women WANNA again this its proximity to power right say. I'm better off being my husband's wife Ryan, and so I'm not gonNA, dismantle systems of oppression. But you're also being oppressed. And so in order to ever be free, you know. Maybe you get to wear the fancy dressing. You don't have to be the one to pick the cut right. But you're not free now. You're not free until you get up from the pedestal. And say I'm disrupting I'm turning over this whole shit, and so that's what we want. White women do I also think that point about. White supremacy having nothing for you. I think that's right like. So what freedom looks like, and I'm not a white woman, so I can't really say. But what I imagined. Freedom looks like for white women now is. Not Having to I think part of that kind of white people in white women working themselves up into kind of this. Guilt Laden. Protective space right where they're saying well. It wasn't me right. is about not being able to imagine more right so Tony Morrison past this morning, right? And my favorite thing that she said is dream before you think. Dream before you think. And I think that as we. Freedom has to be an imagining. It has to be a dream right and we have to think about our dream of out right what it would feel like. To walk down the street. And not have people like me. Women like me. Looking at you! and. I'M GONNA. Be Straight up like the white women who are pushing a stroller walking their dogs in my neighborhood, I can't stand now personally. I might like them, but when I see them and I don't know them. I'm angry. Because with that comes phone calls on my kids with that comes police protection with that comes even you bring your dog and I? Like dogs, but I don't want your dog all up on my kids because your dog is not a person, right? Your dog doesn't get to take up more space on the sidewalk than my children and you were assuring me trying to shore me. Oh, he's. He's a good dog. You don't get to do that and so I'm saying all that to say. I can guess. That freedom for white women. Means being able to walk through whatever neighborhood you moved to with your dog in your stroller, because there's another nothing fundamentally wrong with the dog and stroller. Right without me feeling like I wish you weren't invading my space I. Wish you weren't here, right? Not In the same way. Kelly Light Oh Hernandez I. Hope you've read her book but she. She has quotas her book convert people listening Oh city of inmates, but a lot of her work looks at the history of settler colonialism in this country and in city of an inmate's. She talks about and I feel like especially with these mass shootings, right? That's the book. Everyone needs to read because she talks about the strategy of elimination. Right white supremacist, patriarchal strategy of elimination colonial strategy of elimination. And so, when I say you know I, wish these white dog walkers weren't in my neighborhood. Right except the ones that are now my friends. But again ca I can just say that's the difference between a system in an individual right system you are witnessing. An encroachment in felt like a safe space, and that feels like a signification oppression is coming for you in your safe space, and every one of those women who you know you're like. Oh, she's cool right and that's the difference. Herlin coral, right, but I, you have. I don't. I don't not feel like we're cool or we're friends. When I talk about Whiteness, we have to be able to separate the two. You have to thank you for being vulnerable enough right now to say because a lot of people wouldn't say like. Yeah, this thing that's happening in my neighborhood bugs me. But I think it's so important to be able to say. This is the thing that is triggering, and this is what it leads to, and let's talk about what colonization has always looked, and also I really like my neighbors, both things can be true at the same time and I. Think people who are afraid of having these conversations think it's because they're gonNA. Have to pick a side, or it's going to turn into a war or they're gonNA feel attacked or like you said like you're coming for my shit or like. You're coming for me that, isn't it right? We have to almost academically be willing to look at the. We have to look at the social experiment. We have to look at the system and figure out how to make better so I really appreciate you sharing that. Thank you, thank you. Yeah! Yeah, and so yeah, that that sums it up, but that feeling sums it up and if I can offer something because as I'm hearing, you tell that story I'm going Oh right. What's interesting is I've never been in any neighborhood I've ever lived in whether. It's like all over Los Angeles whether it was living at down at USC and being down in you know off of crenshaw whether it was living in the south lived all I lived in North Carolina lived in Chicago. I've never been in a place where. I felt like somebody on the sidewalk. Wasn't safe, so I've always felt safe, so I've always been the one out walking the dog like what's up neighbor like 'cause. It's the neighborhood right, but that is where my privilege comes in where someone on the sidewalk has never posed a threat to me. Someone on the sidewalk has never been a person who's GonNa. Call the police on my for this. For the sake of this argument, my hypothetical children like. And so. That's not a thing I've ever had to think about right, but what I will say is since thirteen since these conversations have come to the forefront since I have tried to sit at the feet of women like you in my community and learn how to be a better. Community member. I'm very conscientious when I'm out on a walk when I'm out anywhere I am so conscious of what my interactions look like with people of Color in my community. I no longer have the privilege of being the aloof person who's like on my phone doesn't make eye contact with people. Because I now know from conversations like this. A girlfriend of mine lives in Venice and has lived there for ten years. We were talking about the way. Venice is really gentrified, and she said you know the difference in our experience is that you could walk down? Abbott Kennedy goes to Joe, Lena takeout and get a coffee in the morning, and if nobody looked at you, nobody would look at you and you'd be like. Everybody's tired. She's like, but if I walked Tanovic Kennedy, go to GTE to get a coffee and none of the twelve people I pass makes eye. Eye contact with me, I think is this because I'm tired or is this? Because I'm a black woman right? And when she said that's me. I was like Holy Shit right there are there are just circumstances the there are hoops you jump through in your body that I never will understand so it is my duty to learn, and to make sure that I'm very conscientious of WHO's around me, and how I am either ignorantly isolating or consciously welcoming. I keep playing with the idea, so one of my one of my best friends wait. One of my best friends, molly, we always play around about you know how to address things and the reason we're so tight is because I can just talk about you know Shit. And I say you know what we should write. I should write or I should break something about like. How to how to not be gentrifying right like just basic shit like? When I was walking with my kids the other day in the neighborhood there was this white guy this time. It was a white guy with a dog. And he looked me in the eye and said hey, how you doing. And me and my kids all went. Like it was I'm sure he heard. US Gasp and I'm like that's how to be a white. Not Gender Fire Right. I didn't win, but he saw us he he also pulled his dog off of the sidewalk, so it didn't take up space for my children and I thought that was like I'm like he teach class needs to teach a class. I think the point I was going to make hit lost track of where I was going with this gentrification piece his around the settler colonialism stuff that Kelly writes about in city of inmates right. That When I say I wish we just had our own space I I missed the eighty five percent black neighborhood, right? It's about establishing what you call it like an holding onto what you call safe-space right a space where I know none of my like a remember when I first moved in the teenagers across the street were happen the fence. And my natural instinct was to go. Hey, what you doing. Why are you happy offense, right? Somebody, else's instinct would be to call the police because young black men are probably breaking into a house, right. They turned out to be I. had just moved in didn't know the kids that live there. And they had locked themselves out right, so it feels safe to me because I know that my kids when they're happened the fence or going in the back door doing whatever the black neighbors are going to go. Do you live there and ninety nine point nine percent of the time? They know them, so they'll. Are you locked out? Want me to call your Mama. You know something like that so. That's what we're trying to establish but win. gentrify here's move into our neighborhood. I have one neighbor who I'm tight with now. WHO said I remember driving up here? And I drive down Washington and look down the street and I'd say. That's totally undiscovered neighborhood. Yet. And I'm just by WHO this. Yes, you Christopher, Columbus like what does that mean? We lived here? What are you talking about undiscovered? And so this whole idea of manifest destiny like contemporary manifest destiny? Gentrification is really like urban colonialism. Right is also entrenched in the settlers. Colonial idea that I think is tied back I'm a little disturbed about the conversations as they're unfolding, and I hope that we can disrupt them somehow. Around these mass murders, the acts of white supremacists, terrorism and them. Boiling it down two. Oh, it's just a overwhelming sense of hate. No they're not driven by hate. They're driven by greed and entitlement, and the idea that white people own this country. If you read what they're now calling the screed by the El Paso Murderer Ryan. He quotes trump over and over and over again he as trump over and over and over again, but he also says now I know you're going to say that. I'm hypocritical because when I talk about the invasion. What do native read the whole thing? What do native Americans would say that about Europeans, but I've learned my lesson from native Americans. You can allow an I. Don't WanNa be too much. But his whole idea, what he's driven by is articulated. As settlers colonial ideals. He's articulate. He's telling you. I have a settler colonial philosophy, and that's what drove him to murder. All of those twenty two people were now did right, and so it's really important that we understand that when we talk about white supremacy and white supremacist violence, it's not just a matter of thinking or feeling in. This is what you're kind of getting to. It's not just about the individual. It's about the system, so if we're in a system that's a settler colonial system. It's built on stolen stolen labor. It's about examining that system and figuring out how to transform things in such a way that fairness and safety and peace and love, and all of the things that we all want an there so. To I've goosebumps literally like running down my legs right now. And when we think about that settler, colonial mentality again, the Intrinsic Connection between the impression of people of Color, and how it was rooted in the oppression of indigenous people here in America by in the Columbus, era is so deeply tied to the oppression of women. You can read Columbus's writing. And he talks he talks openly about his shock that the native women worked willing to be taken as sex slaves. The idea that they have the rights to the bodies of humans and the rights to the bodies of women. You know the the reason that I think the scarcity mentality, and and the and the politics of that proximal power to supremacy really got to you, I mean look. Let's be roads gotten to white women for a long time, but really got to way. Women in the trump election is because he was praying on this notion that you're about to have less. You're about to lose your, and it's like well. We've always lost at the hands of those men. You are the you are the reason that one in four women is sexually assaulted by the time. She's twenty two I. Don't know a single woman who doesn't have a story I don't need not a single woman in my life is without a story of an assault. None and many too many to count. I can't name every and then what happens is we talk about it on a scale well? That guy wasn't so bad, but this one right and it's like no, it's all bad right you know, so. It used to be the norm to go to a party and get your ass grabbed. Yeah, that was like you knew you were going to get your ass quick. And you were told to take it as a compliment. And so. If we want to undo any oppression. We have to undo all oppression right one of the things that I have been so fascinated. By in our conversations is your. Educating me on the difference between investing in Police Services and investing in citywide policy reform, which would take funding. which is oddly given to the police to do things that aren't even their job, and that would give funding more to social workers more to social programs more more funding that would actually take the if we want to call it the the burden of too much work off of the police, force or just. Stop making them responsible for things they shouldn't be responsible for and actually get into community, safety and protection I would love you to speak to that a little bit because I think this stuff is really fascinating, and I think that the listeners would be really wowed by. So I think it's part of again dreaming before you think right, dreaming allows us to kind of. See a vision that's not tied to the what is, but what can be right and so. Everybody wants to live in a safe community. You know we've talked a lot about me. Being a mom, we wanna live in a safe community. We WanNA. Make sure our children can walk home safely, right. And as a black mother I know my children are less safe when there's police around. So, what does a system of public safety look like? And I remember when I first moved to Los Angeles. I lived in Lamar, Park area and I didn't know what was happening, but every morning the old people would come out and sit on the porch. And as I lived, there s started having conversations with them like I was like Oh. Everybody must be from Louisiana, 'cause, Louisiana and Texas right we all. My grandparents sat on the porch, but not that early. And as I was having conversations with folks, they had created a system in the neighborhood where they would come out from seven to eight to watch the children walk to school. And that's public safety, right? That's public safety in the sense that they knew the children right. If the children I remember, some of the kids getting told up getting called to the porch for cussing right as they were walking. I want that for my children. Would I don't want? Is Men with guns standing on corners right I? Want the GRANDMAS and grandpas on the porch. Watching my children to school safely and so if we think about what we've invested in. What, most major cities have invested in spent our tax dollars on their overspending on police Oh our city's general fund. We now spend fifty three percent of our city's General Fund on LAPD so all money in the General Fund in all of Los Angeles fifty three percent of mets, not including. You know that's not public safety overall. That's not fire, right. That's not. STRAIGHT UP LAPD fifty three percent, and it doesn't include the contracts. The LAPD gets with like the parks. Right? Who Give them a share of their budget to write? Fifty three percent. Why would we be spending fifty three percent of our city's General Fund on police? When we know that police actually don't make community safe, there are studies that say in fact. Let me give a real good example, so there was a brother named Gregorio Mack, who was killed on April tenth two, thousand eighteen. He was inside the Baldwin. Hills Crenshaw Ma. which is the Black Mall in La, right? In about five o'clock in the afternoon, he was seen inside the mall, talking to himself, and he had a kitchen knife which let me lift up for listeners. It is not illegal to have a kitchen knife. In fact, he was standing in front of Tj Max where they sell kitchen knives right and so it wasn't illegal to have the kitchen knife. He was standing there, clearly dealing with some kind of mental health issue, right? security who we've talked to in the mall said they didn't see him as dangerous. They just wanted him to leave the mall because people were uncomfortable with him there right, but he wasn't attacking anybody threatening anybody. Somebody called nine one one. The, police come back bounding up the escalators in. This is a quote from one of the patrons with every gun blazing. And they murder Gra Sharia in the middle of the mall. They! Don't even bother to clear the mall first. And, then after they shot him, and he was on the ground, they stood over him and shot him more. I'm lifting that up. Because someone who is having a mental health break. Should not have the police called on. If we thought about the best use of city resources. What if we had a mental health team? Were when somebody is having a mental health, it's a health issue. They could be dispatched. They could figure out. How do I talk him down right? They could figure out. What is he on medication? Did he take his medication? Who are his loved ones, right? Who can we call in to give him support right? And I think I know that there. Cities like Jackson Mississippi cities like Newark New Jersey. To explore reallocating public dollars to investing them in you know more mental health providers to investing them, and you know park dolny police in the parks. They need more youth workers in the parks right. They're investing them in intervention prevention work, so even things that we think of traditionally is crime. Right doesn't have to be something that's addressed in the same kind of with the same kind of occupational style and style of confrontation. That police engaged that these are people with the mayor in Newark is done whereas Baraka is hire people. Many of them formerly incarcerated who are from the neighborhoods, and when something goes down in the neighborhood, they go and have conversations with people who respect that. And, so we need to be willing to engage in radical imaginings in dreaming before thinking and envisioning a world that actually creates safety, not just policing right. There's an interesting insight for me here because when I don't. Lump the people in with the system. And I have an interesting purview believe into policing because I worked. On a police show for almost five years of my life. You know I I. Spent a lot of time entrenched in that community and I asked the officers who I was close to and one of whom I am still close to who I talked to you about a lot of this stuff. We a lot of deep conversations about their opinions on this. And their willingness to say Oh, no, no, the system is broken We love our brothers. We love our community. We die for each other. But something is changing, and it's affecting everybody and when I ask. Why does this like I? Show a video of liquidity McDonald I show a video of any of these body cam footage dash cams that come out eventually, because of course they don't give them to us right away. And I say why does it become like this and they talk about the way they're. Training has become increasingly militarized and how they're not trained to defuse situations anymore. They're trained at the moment. A hand is raised and there's something in it. They're trained to shoot and you're trained to shoot to kill, not just you would. This is a problem. And they're not encouraged or required to go for mental health. CHECK INS or therapy you you are. You are effectively building a bomb. You are putting a person in a hyper realised state telling them that every single person who they encounter is going to try to kill them, and if they do, they have to try to them first. But what does it really mean to try to be killed like? The adrenaline is crazy. You can't hear it's hard to see. And if one of those officers discharges a weapon. And Kill someone. They have no mental health requirements to process what that means. It gets glazed over and then they. They're told they did a good job. And then we wonder why it happens again. And I. I have listened to some of these guys. Tell me what toll taken on them. Yet the system remains the same in the system is killing people, and it makes me feel the same way when I say like white supremacy has nothing for me as a white woman. I have seen. How the system doesn't have anything good for the people who are even a part of it and I see the devastation that it reeks across communities. Across the country. And so I hope. That being able to. Solely focus on the problem of the system. Can Inspire all of us to try to make it better can inspire us to say yeah I want more of my city dollars going to social work programs. Going to you know community uplift forces. Going it doesn't need to be this. Yeah and I think part of when we say this right when we say dream before you think are when we say radical imagination. People go. Yeah, but how do you get to that? And it feels like this big overwhelming task, right? But really all we're talking about is a budgeting process. Just move. Some money is not that hard to move some money, right? We have cities that are moving the money. Move some money. Also! You know I define myself as an abolitionist, right and people go. What does that mean? What are we this woman? But abolition ISM doesn't just mean tearing down systems that are oppressive right so most people associate abolitionists with the end of slavery, right abolishing slavery. I believe in the abolition of prisons and police. That doesn't mean I. Don't believe in public safety and it doesn't mean that you know I. Don't prioritize that, right. I just think it can look very different. And I think that also a lot of times as abolitionists, we only think about the tearing down our what's illuminated is tearing down right, so we highlight the protests and. We they wanna Polish the police, yes, and. We WanNA build. Community safety teams. We want to build the. Maybe you could be the grandma brigade, right. And it's not that hard to do, and so when you think about it like. Those, grandparents were doing it. That was abolitionist work, and you didn't have stuff happening in the neighborhood, and so the police weren't there. Well, they were, but they they were kind of kept it bay right, and so we can. It's not as overwhelming of task as it seems. It's totally doable, right? Mean if they did abolish slavery, slavery did Chattel Slavery came to an end? If the people before us were able to do that, then it should be a relatively easy feat to save policing as we know, it should no longer exist. Let's establish a system of public safety and work towards it and. See it. Come to fruition, not a hundred years from now I'm talking in the near future in my lifetime. Something I like to ask me pull at the beginning. We just went. Right in and I skipped one of my favorite questions, but it but I'm thinking about it now. Thinking historically. I. Sit across from so many people who I'm so in awe of and I'm so in awe of where you are in this moment in your life, and then i. go where you like this when you were little, I'm fascinating. People were as kids and and. who were you as a kid, were you? Were you always wise? Were you always? So sensitive where like who is little Malina so? Yes I was always like this. I don't know that I would call myself wise now I. I hear so. I was always like this always had a big mouth right I always taught by my mom and my grandpa specially that I could do anything you know. and. It's. Like I feel like we've spent a lot of time on the heaviness of this work and. But I always found. This like using my voice and speaking up for whatever fun like it's fun like I think so, too. It gives me life like. You don't have to sit there and listen to this full talking about crazy stuff on. How the Hell is Donald. Trump gone call Elijah Cummings racist right. How long and like we don't have to sit here and listen to it and like just hear it one. We need to talk about how ridiculous this shit is and I know that we shouldn't be laughing at it, but it's. It's like bizarro world now it's truly crazy. Yes, like a person looking at you and saying the sky is yellow and you're like the sky is blue and they go. Are you blind? It's yellow and you're like. What where where do where are we? Crazy to where you're like, hello. There are we in the same dimension like what's happening right right so I. Don't know I think I grew up. Just feeling like I could always use my voice. Always feeling like I was deeply loved, and sometimes I talk about mothering. and I remember talking with this group. Young MOMS. And I said in one of them came up to me recently and I said to them. None of this shit! Is that deep? And they were like what and I was like. Even that we're having having this forum on mothering and there was this one. I said I stress myself out because I sent my son to school, and he left his lunch bag in the car. And then he called me from school like Mama. Bring me, but I couldn't get back to the school to bring him his lunch, right. And, then I had to remember. School only goes from eight to three. You are not going to starve between three. When you get home. You can have a peanut butter and Jelly Sandwich right like. None of it's that deep right like. We take on a lot of responsibility and act like everything is so deep, but I think that how I was raised in how I try to live is just. Pouring love into what I care about firstly my children, but also my community, the world that I live in poor, the love in and Anna make mistakes like my son left his at inland. Look back to see. Did he get his lunch right? So part of it was on and not look back, but still what just keep it moving and you're gonNA make a MISSTEP, and sometimes people are GonNa get mad at you, but so so what just keep it moving and live in? Love and living your purpose and I, think my mom and my Grandpa taught me a lot about that, and was it like growing up with them because you were you were in east? Oakland in the seventies right? What's said I'm twenty nine. What's the? have been for long. What's the? What's the vibe like what what is community like? And what's your family like? my community was complicated, but my like the first word I wanted to use. Was it was? Magical an amazing and I'm saying that someone who witnessed. I don't even know how many of my friends get murdered. Right? WHO experienced like? We found the body in the dumpster. We're little kids right like. Grew up I came of age during the height of the crack cocaine epidemic in East Oakland where it was really hitting heart. And If I were to give the I word. It was magical. It was amazing it was. A community filled with love. My grandpa you stood like. Sit on the front porch all day long and we come home from school and sit with him on his front porch and eat watermelon. I know that's a terrible thing to say as a black person, but watermelon is delicious. I don't care if it's a stereotype, it's also. Like that's California, we're we have produce. We're very lucky, yes. would. Open a watermelon. And he's from Louisiana. So he would slice open a watermelon and we eat them. Like out of a it would be a bowl, right? You turn it into a bowl and you just. With. The whole, sit there and we. He would tell me stories, and it was amazing. My mother, who was a single mom and a teacher. She would always come home from school late and she had like old Volvo station wagon, and it hit the black, and you could hear it like a black away. And all the kids in the neighborhood we lived in a almost all black neighborhood would come running down the street and sit on our front porch. And they yell. It's time for school and my mom would sit on that porch with them until the sun went down and teach all the kids in the neighborhood to read and. My grandma who I don't give as much credit as I should taught me how to cook so every. Sunday on Never Miss Church right, so we go to church, and my kids think they're in church a long time when it's like two hours, but we'd be there from nine o'clock in the morning to about two o'clock in the afternoon. We have a breaking cook in the church basement. Right, so we have hamburgers and coffee remembered in seven up cake in a church basement, and then we go home after church service and I would be at my grandma's house and we would just cook and talk and look at JC. Penney's magazines catalogue. And it was just. Really beautiful and it was like the entire community took care of each other and everybody from you know my grandparents were there to my mom too I. Remember there was a sex worker is what we call them now right? who had a son that my brother was friends with? And she would come and teach us a lot like about being a woman and don't let these men do and it was. You know. She was eight. She helped raised me in a way. You know and it was just a really beautiful community and I think that. They talk about there's a author named Jones a Kundu food. WHO TALKS ABOUT? When ghettos become slums and that there's nothing wrong with the ghetto, and so I was raised in a ghetto and I was raised. Our neighborhood was called phone town, and it was what they call a gang neighborhood, but they were my family. And, so when I think about this now and I'm sorry for talking so long. It when I think about it now, and like the criminalization of the people who were killed by police and they go. Oh, he was a gang member so with I mean he was a gang member. Was He committing a crime? Right so I think about people like Ryan. Wyman who was twenty four years old, just killed last month by La County sheriff's. Twenty four sitting in his car in an apartment building that's considered has gang members in the apartment building, but he wasn't doing anything, but sitting in the car unarmed, they snatch in his bag door and kill him thirty four shots, and then go back to their cruiser. Get a an assault weapon and continue to kill him with salt weapon, right? And then what do what does the county sheriff do? They say basically. He deserved it because he was a gang member. I don't care that. He was a so called gang member when I was twenty four years old would have called me one because I lived in folktales right? It doesn't matter to me for me. That neighborhood was love. Right for me. That's where my first boyfriend almers. Jones was from right for me. It was where I got love and support, and was nurtured into becoming the woman that I am right even. I dropped out a traditional high school. But my neighborhood new, I shouldn't have dropped out. A traditional high school in everybody was like pushing me to go back in like when I come back now. There's a couple of people that I grew up with I'm friends with now you know still friends with, and they say things like you know weren't even supposed to be alive, you know. and. It was my neighborhood. That kept me alive, kicked my brother alive, and my brother was crazy, and you know was like the other boys in the neighborhood did stuff that would have gotten him imprisoned these days writing in the eighties and nineties. It didn't send him to prison. What does that mean? So I. Remember this one incident when my brother and a bunch of boys who were like probably preteens like about twelve, maybe eleven or twelve. Had Broken into an empty apartment unit in the housing projects that were across the street from our house. And they took some of the supplies and began to throw paint out the window. They were eleven and twelve. That was stupid and they should get a weapon. Right, 'cause my Momma whip them right. But, in, and what wound up happening is police did grab them and they put them in the back of the car. And they drove them home because they knew my Mama was gone weapon. If eleven twelve year olds. Break into an apartment now. And do what eleven and twelve year olds do, which is not easy, but it's not criminal, right? These kids would have been taken from their mothers. They would have been incarcerated and they'd have to live with that process of criminalization for the rest of their lives. We are now in a system that is completely unforgiving, you know. I've shoplifted before. I don't think I've ever said that publicly but I've shoplifted many times before. I've gone to jail before right, but all of those things where things that you know when I was arrested for the first time in Berkeley, California mom recently handed me like my arrest record from Berkeley and it said like if she doesn't do anything else for the next year, this record will be destroy right. That does a happen anymore. Right and so that's what I mean. When I say like the system was forgiving of my brother and me. But now we would have had a different fate while and there's such a rigidity now. And even when I when I hear you talk about you know the neighborhood in the boys in the neighborhood now they would have been described as gang members. I wonder about what that means when people hear the term because so much of what we know. When it hasn't been. Our life is what we see on TV. Right and we think gang member means murderer means someone who kills someone to get an a gang means someone who is a drug dealer means and that's. Much more often than not not the case, right? and. You know, people get identified as gang members I. Now know from my police experience. If, they're on the same block as a person who is confirmed in a gang. If they're seeing the same street corner than all those kids seen with that one kidder gang members association. That's how the police legally are allowed to identify you now. I know a kid who was just released from jail. WHO WENT TO JAIL? On an associate to murder. Charge because he was standing next to a guy who got shot in the butt in an altercation, right? And when people hear that they go, that's not. They can't do that to you, but they did this to this boy. And so I think. A. There has to be a reassessment with what we believe these definitions to mean and be. We also have to understand that nobody is. To be acquainted to the worst thing they've ever done. And Yes to all of that and I actually think kids who grow up in gang. neighborhoods aren't really doing things that are that bad. It's the. White affluent kids do much worse. And Bear not criminalized for that behavior. Right I think it's part of. You know it's the stomach. It's intentional manning marable talks about that right like these systems were intentionally designed to produce these outcomes, the criminalization of black people right even the killing of black people at the hands of police. It's not accidental the disparity in sentencing between cocaine and crack. Right right, so it's all intentional. And we have to remember. That children have the right to be children so like now that I've opened up the can of worms about shoplifting. I won't share this mom right to. The first time I shoplifted I was in the sixth grade, and I actually was in Berkeley, and my mom had moved me from my neighborhood elementary school to a white fry elementary school, in Berkeley, like the super. White Liberal Elementary School in all the kids were rich right and the only two black kids I remember black girls I remember were me and Whoopi Goldberg xxx go whoopie, Goldberg, daughter Alex. And so. These rich white girls air with some sleepover wanted to go steal some stuff from this toy store called Mr mops right. So, we went into Mr Robson. We've put a whole lot of shit in our backpacks. We got away with it and then this is how a sixth graders mind works. We decided we needed to go back. And in my mind, I'm thinking. Mr mops workers see thousands of people they'll never recognizes again because there's thousands of people because I'm ten or eleven years old and I don't know. They remembered that you just in here an hour ago. Right but I'm thinking Mr Matzos big toy store. Thousands of people come in and out, and so that's how we were grabbed because we were stupid enough to go back and believe right. Kids have the right to make those kinds of dumb mistakes. Right not just about that I could go back and get more. We could go back and get more right, but you know to take things that don't belong to you. You need to be corrected, but it shouldn't be a criminal justice system that does it and I think that this is the work of people like Brian Stevenson and others that is just incredible. If you look at what's happened since the height of kind of mass youth incarceration in the nineties with the passage of things like prop twenty one that gave discretion to the prosecutors, instead of judges about you know children and how they were charged. We've seen a dramatic decrease in the criminalization of children, especially in places like California in San Francisco There's virtually no children who are incarcerated right, and it's because people are starting to make choices and starting to recognize especially almost everybody is apparent right? Kids do dumb Shit you've. You did dumb shit right. So we shouldn't be losing lives and traumatizing further traumatizing these children for doing the dumb shit that they're supposed to do because their kids ride and really affords an opportunity to teach lessons. I remember member Kid I. Don't know. You're not really that old so when I was growing up. We have fights at school long. Time like we were always fighting and we thought we wouldn't get suspended if you waited till three o'clock. In fact, you wouldn't wait till three o'clock and fight off of school grounds. Then you could fight in. Somebody got beat up and then you go home, and if the school found out about it, you had to go in and write some shit. I will not fight anymore. You Know Oh my God lines you. When you had to write sentences on the board when you got in trouble. Yes, you know what fights are called at school now. Assault and battery. And I think that's absolutely ridiculous. Their kids their children, right? We've all had. Hit daymond skill learn in the nose in the first grade because he tried to kiss me I remember being in the fourth grade and I can't think of what the boy's name was. He was a sixth grader, and he hit my best friend Matt and I kicked the sixth grader in the nuts, greats like a swift kick to the nuts. He dropped then it was a whole thing where he was embarrassed because he got beat up by a girl, but I was like. You're bigger than my you know. Six and fourth grade like the boys are very differently developed, and I was just like you pick on kids, your own size, and the irony of like this tiny scrawny little girl. Sixth grader who was in the fetal position screaming at him, how you should pick on somebody as big as him, and I was like half the size of my friend Matt, but I mean he clocked him right, and none of us got in trouble, right? It was just like a playground thing, and that was over I got in trouble in fifth grade when I- stolen racer, and that's when I had to write sentences on the four. Kids! Take stuff, Redo stuff. Even think about you know you're talking about your brother and his friends like playing in a you know construction space throwing paint around like I'm an adult and sometimes i. go through construction sites I'm just really curious. Like I straight up, we'll pull over like in the neighborhood, and be like Whoo, and if a gates open I'll just go wander around I've never thought that I was going to get arrested for that right. And, you won't I read right. You won't right right and added in yard fight. Little white kids are not going to go to jail for the school yard fight, but my son will right. Well an interesting that the way that we are. Policing younger younger children is becoming more and more aggressive You know they wouldn't. They wouldn't have. I don't think schools were calling it a salt. No I was eight, but now that's the thing that's crazy, right? Well and is something that's interesting to me. Is the disparity in? Whether it's potential or actual punishment. because. When I think about the work you do today, and I think about the courage that it requires to step outside and do it. I think about the difference again. Let's say it's you and me at in protest. The difference in what happens to us because you were charged with assaulting police officer in a courtroom and the irony that you that the man. Man Here's this, so the story goes. He got grabbed on the arm while he was walking. You know somebody out of a courtroom so to be out of the police commission meeting right. WHO's a police commissioner and thank you so the I'm like? People grabbed me by the arm all the time like strangers on the street. Who are like? Hey, dave is I take. That assault! So this feels ridiculous to begin with that grabbing somebody by the arm and saying hey like. Go easy on this kid. could be assault, but what makes it even crazier to me? Is that a another woman said I'm the one who grabbed the officer by the arm, but she's a white woman, right? And yet. The LAPD charged you with. Assault And then they managed to drum up seven other charges large you with eight eight misdemeanors altogether, so this could have potentially carried a prison sentences of a year. And that's if they did them as concurrent. Consecutive consecutive would have been three and a half years well. And I guess what? What's interesting to me? Is that despite someone else saying no? I grabbed the COP and despite every witness in the courtroom. Saying we didn't see me to do that and you saying I absolutely did not do that. They were pressing you and it feels. To me as an observer like this is a policing of dissent. Policing of your voice. There are an in that in that article. That I got the scourge quote from I get real nerdy on my homework. They said something that I found really interesting that this has and to quote. This has far reaching implications for free speech in Los Angeles Los. Angeles is not the only city effort to silence activists. The city council also. Also recently created a new set of rules against public disruptions aimed at banning those who disrupt La. City, Council meetings from attending future meetings, which went into effect last January. Public Disruption time honored activist strategy to bring pressure to bear on government officials and your lawyers went on to say publicly that the city is treating legitimate forms of dissent as a crime. Yes and it is our right our constitutional right. To free speech and to protest. We are meant to hold our government accountable because it's meant to be government for us. So, what does it look like as an activist today? When when we think about. How kids are getting treated when we think of our activists are getting treated when we think about disparate punishment depending on what community you fall into. How do you how do you? How do you get up every morning? so that so I actually was tired of going to police commission meeting, but when they tried to ban me from it, and you know talk about all criminalized me for going on I'm never missing another police commission meeting. Right so that's part of how I get up because I actually get. Inspiration and feel like I'm living in my purpose by doing the right like I don't WanNa just sit home and watch TV or Play Games or whatever there's stuff that needs to be done and I enjoy it, I it's like artists in their art right like I, have to live in it ram so like. And there are. Yeah this is this is the thing that you make with that inner duty. It's my purpose, right. I believe it's my purpose. Right sacred duty, right. And what happened was absolutely the criminalization of black protests specific. Right. And so there were other people who've been arrested before I was arrested in other incidents. All of them black. White folks been arrested, but not charged. So you know there was one of the charges that they tacked on. was about an arrest when we did disruption after a brother named Carnell Snell was murdered, and they found his murder in policy. And we began to chant his name and I along with two of my white comrades. White women comrades who understand that their freedom is bound up with mine right? All got arrested together. and. You were the only one charged. I was the only one charge. And so they wouldn't. They didn't never charge. Her name is Gina. WHO said that she's the one that touched the officers arm I did not. Sitting here until I saw there was video evidence right until I saw the video in that I absolutely did not touch this officer, right? I'm sitting here racking my brain going. Did I brush him on the way out because what was happening is they were trying to escort out. The aunt of a woman named Joaquin Show Wilson who had been killed inside LAPD jail. and I wanted to make sure she was okay. Her name is Sheila. I want to make sure she was okay and then when I got arrested. Two. I'm going. What did I do you know? And so there is a deliberate effort. I believe to not just silence protests, but silence black protest. Because part of what happens when you say you know, why am I not following Black Women Is I think when black people engage in protest. We're less bound and tied to the system, and so our protests lot more radical. You know our protests. is much more far reaching in terms of what we want and so silence that. And I. Think People Looking at it from the outside are afraid of the energetic power of it, because whether they are consciously aware or not. In in my observation of the power of the protests of black women, it feels so big and to your point may be so radical because it carries the energy of life in-depth stakes. Right! and. I remember that guy who made the sign at the first women's March in DC. That was like. Oh, my goodness, y'all y'all nice white ladies at the next black lives matter protest which I thought was amazing. And and again just living in the relative privilege of this body I can go to the women's March and I can raise my voice, and I can be an activist, and I can show up in spaces and raise money for causes and. But I don't walk down the street. Feeling as though my life might be threatened. Very often late at night. I'm nervous I. Walk With My keys in my hand I. Like don't Parkinson Places. That's being a woman right but I don't have the same experience that you or my girlfriend who lives in Venice have on the sidewalk. and. So I wonder if. My. Sacred Rage when I'm out screaming or on a podium or Leading a protest. Doesn't feel as threatening because I am inherently not as threatened. Right I, also think that when you talk about. Kind of the. When we've talked about like the proximity to privilege, so when you talk about privilege in the proximity to privilege. Part of that privilege is a certain degree of protection of you by the system. Right so absolutely. There's the energy piece, but it's also. Like. Courtney and Danny who were the two white women who were arrested with me. You know we brought it up. We'll. Why are the two white women being charged? Not that we want them charge, but why are they not being charged? And it was really the system city attorney, right? Nodding and going out there. Okay, right? It's heart of this. There but their next to us. There are folks like these are with. These people are with me not with you. We did the exact same thing, right. Heart of them genus sitting up. Going I did I even at the time I was being arrested. She didn't touch. You touched you. You would think at least they grab her to right. Nope, never got grab never got charged years gone by, so they can't charge your now, but over and over and over again in the documents that were submitted everything she sang. She did it so I think it's part of the system saying. You know, you might not get all of the white supremacist patriarchal benefits, but you get some of the white supremacist benefits white woman. Right you still here right and I think that's part of what's happening as well as the energy. And I think that. What you are challenging in the system. is at the root of the system itself. You know you are talking about. The disparity in how the system is applied to people of Color, and you're doing that as a black woman. And your threat to the system is bigger. And you know the it is. It's not lost on me that historically there has been an attempt to separate. Women who are trying to make social change with meaning white women trying to make social right from communities of color, because all the people at the top WanNa do is bifurcated. The people upset with them so so I even wonder if it goes deeper in the court system where they're like well if we can make, the white ladies feel protected. Maybe they won't come to the next. Black lives matter protests. Maybe they won't be at the next white people for black lives event because we gave them a pass right, and whether that's a conscious choice or not, there is the insidious nature of let's separate right like look at women's suffrage. Let's separate right. Let you know. There has always been a desire by the powerful few to make sure that the more that the less powerful masses don't realize how much collective power they have a was together absolutely absolutely, and that's like that's where I think that the sacred. Your when you talk about being a woman nest being being here for like a truly intersectional community of women, we have to double down together. Yeah, because I'm like I'm not going to get duped I'm not GonNa do the thing. They did one hundred years ago. No, no, no, no, no, this is not going to happen. I think we need to lift up that there are Hella. White women doing it right like so. Danny and Courtney did go to jail with me. They did get arrested with me, right? Lena is say don arrest her taped me right, so there are women who were starting to see. Who See the rules right? WHO's no know how to spend their privilege? Exactly exactly and I always feel like as we talk about struggle, we always have to uplift the hope. Right that there's it's a you know. Dr, King Talks about the beautiful struggle, the beauty and the struggling right and So I talked about molly, but I don't think I've never had as many white. Friends as I have in the struggle like because these are white people who aren't perfect right. But who I trust right? I think that for black people. There's a massive distrust of white folks because it's. It's reasonable, right? It's logical, but there's a few we. In our meetings pour something called libation, which kind of honors our ancestors summons those spirits into the space and s for guidance, and we always you know this Sunday when we have, our meeting will absolutely call. Tony Morrison. Right. We'll call on those who help us move forward. And White people and sometimes we'll lift them up like on social media. Wherever white people are our ally? Group is called white people for black lives became been since they were founded in twenty fourteen. they'll hash tag. John Brown, Twenty Fourteen John Brown Twenty Fifteen John Brown twenty sixteen right. They're calling on for them the ancestor that. Shows them. How can white people really be down and we're not asking people to you know literally. Sacrifice, their lives, and the lives of their sons. That's what John Brown right. But that he was down like that like Mama Heriot's freedom means enough to him. That he would give up his life, and his sons life right in order for us to be free in order. He saw his freedom as bound up with ours, and in the midst of struggle right like really engaging in the struggle. That's one of the greatest beauties than. Racism isn't absent from the struggle. But I trust the white people in the struggle to a whole different degree than I trust you know the white gentrify. Right, who I don't trust it all right like the ones who were going to call the police on my kids. Right I'm able to see. White people differently as allies as accomplices right. Willing to disrupt a system that seemingly benefits them. and. It's such a relief, isn't it? Yeah, and I always tell my daughter, my middle daughter, who is my free spirit? Who I say is my greatest joy in my greatest frustration, right? That every moment is a new moment. Right so every moment is a moment to do something differently right so even if yesterday or this morning. You were something that you didn't like. You can change it now right and recognize that that's a process to write like change as much as you can know that also you get called out on your shit sometimes. Like you're not gonna see everything that I see because you don't know what it feels like right? Let me call you in. Call you right and know that it's not personal it's. I need you to be better right? I need you to be. We're not going to be able to take down all this shit by ourselves, right? We need you. We need you to step up. We need you to give your voice your body and your resources and move it so that we can all be free. And how lucky to be invited? I really think that when you shift when you look in the mirror. And choose to shift your perspective from feeling called out to fueling called in Let me tell you something like i. come from crazy Italian family. I have a whole thing where I'm like. Have you ever stabbed me in the back to eviscerate your existence like we're done I am I am ice cold? There's no. At least have the courage to like. Look me in the eye and. Give me. The knife in the stomach like Letaba was having an exchange. So. And it's like obviously that's on the extreme end of like going through the worst, the worst with people but I. Think there's a version of that when you get into. If you feel called out, you feel attacked. Stop looking at it like that when I stop calling you out, you like you're frozen, you're you're the person who stabbed me in the back of your over your never again? I think if we can shift this idea that the call out. If it's happening and you're aware of it. You're being called in right. You are being invited. You're being invited into a space to learn to do better to be better. Take it as a welcoming right. Right. Absolutely it is, it's funny. It's like I know there's people who are listening to that are like what a weird thing to say, but. I'm. I just I know it to be true and it and it feels like it exists on the same vibration. Is that feeling of like the activism is the joy that that's that's the purpose. That's the calling and. I know that anyone who comes into any of these spaces that we all work in. Leaves Feeling Fuller leaves feeling more connected to themselves and their purpose. Somehow it's it's the thing it's before that helps you. Stop trying to fill a whole, and that makes you the filler. Yeah. Yeah and it's a really special place to be and. I'm curious on that on that idea of activism, service, calling what do you? What do you think makes an effective activist? So I think activism is small right so I defined myself an organizer. I keep saying I define myself as I got many identities. And what that means for me is an activist is somebody who stands up in response to something, but I think we need to be more than that right, so an organizer is someone. who builds right builds organization. and also understands that this kind of messianic leadership model where you're going to be an activist and give a great speech and everything's GonNa Change is flawed by design. In order to get you to think that all we need is another Martin Luther King Right. The version of Martin Luther King that we were fed is wrong anyway, right? There were thousands of civil rights organizers, right? He just happened to be one of the best orators of all time right but Mama Baker was a far better organizers him right and so we need to understand that there were all of these people and so for me. I think what makes a good organizer is understanding. That were part of. You are not bigger than the movement right so one of my Baba's Hank Jones. Who was one of the San? Francisco aid of member of the Black Panther. Party, who was criminalised in incarcerated for? Being an active black man in the sixties right, and he always says in this movement. Our job is to kill the EGO right so. The greatest work we can do to kill the ego and I think that that's the greatest internal work that we can do right. A good organizer! Doesn't need to have their ego stroked never have to be thanked. They Nath never have to be received accolades for the work that they do because the work should be about the work right and so a good organizer recommend recognizes that the most impactful thing that you can do is to create more organizers right so. To empower people to not seek in Asymmetrical Messianic model of leadership that puts you at the top right leading everybody else behind you, but recognizes how strong we are, when we all march arm in arm and that you also don't know how to do every damn thing like. I can I'm a teacher. Right so I teach pretty well right I'm a good writer you know. I am not artistic I don't have artistic bone in my body and. have. Someone else in the movement Foamy Lola. WHO's a brilliant playwright and poet, right? Who if we didn't have that team? Are Arts and culture team? When I speak or write I feel like it can hit people the thinking part. But how do you get people to Dream I can't get people to dream. That's what the artists do right because they bypass the mine and get to the sole right, and then I can you know put in the thought sir? I can write. Likewise, and you needed me to draw a picture I'd be like here's a stick figure I'm so sorry. But you're an artist, writer and artist I'm a performer, but I can't paint. But somebody point like a good organizer. We need performance artists. We need painters. We need people who can speak. We need people who can mobilize. We got the sister in black lives matter named Jan who she can make friends. Would any damn body right like we'll be at a protest next thing you know. She got everybody's life story. She's telling us what they GONNA do. These people are at the next meeting because Jan? That's a gift. Yes, the able to commune with people like that and so good organizers recognize it you. Were you know one pain and a stained glass window you know. And it takes your job is to figure out how all these pieces fit together to form that glass to form that formation. That's going to get us to where we need to go. I love the and I. Think it also takes the pressure of participation off for people who are starting their journey of showing up speaking up standing up. because. Some people think that if they don't know how to do it, they shouldn't. They shouldn't or can't or don't have permission. And when you talk about organizing in the community and getting back to that village that we evolved in as people. It highlights the reality that activism and social change it's. This is a relay race. We run on teams. We pass the baton. That's the only way for us to sustain is to do it together. Yeah and it. People often defy describe it as a relay race. But. I think it's kind of a a modified really right, so I was talking to somebody about youth organizing and they were talking about this relay. People need to pass the baton. I think the baton needs to be passed, but you still gotta keep running. A. Picture is running in a pack right and you just past the thing around. Maybe I should say it feels more like I. Don't know one of those Olympic torch ceremonies where like everybody goes together. Certain people have the torch a different time right but. If! You're running alone. Then what's the point right not running with the torch, and then passing it and then stopping. No, we still gotta keep going and when we're all running. That's how we win I WANNA. just quickly. Address what you said about people thinking. They have to have something special. You do have something special. Right I. Don't know what it is. Maybe you get along well with children. Maybe you can cook. Maybe you can sing. All of those things are. That's what I mean by Mama Ella Baker calls. It Group Center Leadership Ryan. All of that stuff is valuable to the movement. Even if you just have good ham, writing national one claim to fame. Yuban enrolls what people writing on a damn. Put your paper and you can read what they wrote. We need you. Who has the good penmanship to be the scribe writing? Even if that's all you got, please bring it. Like just bring it an offer. It and it's going to be valuable. I love that because people don't realize that they are exceptional everyone sort of thinks like unless there I don't know the great. World Changer there may maybe not a value add in every single person is evaluated. Absolutely. You said that. Racism is not simply a matter of thinking or feeling is a social hierarchy imposed to afford. People with unearned material and Sakic beliefs and I feel like we've unpacked a lot of that pretty well. But. Here, we are with President. Who was quoted eight times in a mass murderers manifesto? Right. There is this assumption that the system policies the people who do wrong, but we are talking about very disparate. Punishment right now. What what do we do with this? What do we because I I I would wager that there's a lot of people listening who feel very traumatized by what trump is doing? And what he's bringing. into this country. His Dehumanisation of people and effect it's having. What do you think? People at home can do. How do how do they support? How do they? Fight back against it. How do they support? Making Society but are they support you I'm curious how we turn the tide on something. That is this insidious. Yeah, I mean we absolutely cannot tolerate him. We cannot tolerate him and you know he's dangerous in terms of his rhetoric. Policy. And I think that at the last week has shown us how he's spurred up white supremacist violence right. It doesn't mean that that was never part of this country. It's part of the founding of this country. But in my lifetime, we've always moved further and further away from it right. We've always seem to in. You talked about being pushed right, but it's really two steps forward. One step back rights. We've always moved forward. This is the first time I feel like. Massive. Push back right a mass like. Sister Soldier had a song slavery's back in a fit right and it sounded like the Super Far. Fetched Idea. But now when you look at what's happening right when you look at you know lacking children in cages right when you look at family separation, I think it's one of the reasons why you see black people so involved, and what's happening at the border is because like. There's a trans generational memory of our own family separation, right? It's just overwhelming. He has given. Complete permission. For White supremacists terrorists to do whatever they want. And it doesn't mean that they weren't there, but they were being. Put in check right And I think that even? racism is not just a matter of thinking and feeling, but I think. Part of that permission is for them to engage the lowest of themselves right to say that those kind of. Lower creature. Instincts of invasion of ownership of mine right can be meted out in the most violent ways right. When you think about these mass shooters right like. We've seen things when you go back historically, and you look at what they did to my people under Chattel. Slavery, or what they did to my people after reconstruction during the height of the lynching era. Right the ideas I don't even know how they. Brought themselves to mutilate us and torturous in the way that they did. But that's what's moving back around, right? That's what this back again right What is it great again? He says great. Any again. That's what he's Harkening to right. I've never seen this happen before and so I'm saying that to say I don't really have the answers. One super easy one is. He got it go right? He gotta go. It's not radical to say I'm not voting right so some people think Oh, well, you know I'm not voting. The Republicans and the Democrats are the same. No, they have they both are owned by Corporate America and we had this fool in office no more, so he gotta go gotTa. Go. Congress has to be courageous. Enough to drag is ask about their. We really can't afford to wait until twenty. Take Office again twenty twenty one. We can't afford to wait that long. So I think this whole idea of impeachment, icee dragging like somebody, somebody just needs to drag him like. You? Know I can't say too much, but he gotta go. You gotta go like I would like to see him go immediately. I think also, though as we talk about voting and one of my concerns around kind of the engagement with electoral politics which I think is important. Is that sometimes we allow systems to tell us. That's our only tool. And I believe in voting. But I believe in what I call voting plus right. Vote yes, and what else are you? GonNa do? I love that voting plus right. Because you can't just vote right, you must vote right. What is your responsibility once every four years for fifteen minutes. No, no, it's liberal election day. Yes. Local elections midterm elections every four years presidential, and who are you in your community everyday? Absolutely? Yeah, absolutely, so it's not okay. You don't get to sit by. And Watch injustices happen right. This is a burden that black people beer. All of the right when we talk about like everyday, racism. Every day we're experiencing something and I don't want to go on a whole diatribe about what I just experienced Costco, but I love Costco to. It's like one of my favorite places, but they hurt me because I went to buy some pizzas at Costco. I had on a black lives. Matter T shirt. The Guy Giving me my pieces. It was supposed to take fifteen minutes gay my pizzas away to these two white men walked up behind me knowing I was waiting. When confronted him? He takes even longer he decides. He's going to get a be out of the instance so stupid, but there was a be trapped in the screen. He's going to remove the beef from the screen and he can't Hammy my pizzas, because this is more important and like I felt dumb, having to call Costco and say I feel like this was Racsa. But I know it was racism, right I know it was. When you see that happening one, those two white men shouldn't have taken the damn pizzas. They knew I. was there before them right? But you don't get to just sit there and watch it happen, and so the everyday things aren't always big things like protesting at a police commission meeting or joining a march or forming March right? It's also the little things you know when you see. Why did the black boy get picked for the class for the advanced class? Right? Ask those questions from wherever you are whatever it is wherever you when people are on Internet talking about. You know. Don't get me. I was like what is wrong with you. Right like what is the matter with you? Give her the job I think about things from macro to micro and making sure you're making calls. Making sure you're donating what you can making sure. You're showing up where you can. If you're witnessing. Somebody getting pulled over or pulled aside by the police in public to stand there right I stand around now. Yeah, I stand around I, have my phone in my hand and I'm like if I need to record it, but I just want to be there energetically I just WANNA. Be there right and they hate it. The police heyday et, where you stand there. Yeah I've never had hop watched and the person didn't get sent home. Yeah, no, they don't love it. And it's interesting because I as I mentioned. You know to be frank like I'm still very close to my technical adviser that I worked with in Chicago and I tell him that and he's like good. You should good, and I'm like. I, like you I knew I liked to varies and like. You know I'm I'm Upfront Mike I love you enough to challenge you right here. We are I love this country enough to challenge her. James Baldwin Mike. Right I reserve the right to criticize her perpetually because I love her. Yes, it is so important. Yes, and I'm curious for anybody WHO's listening to us today. Who is in the La area and wants to show up? Wants to show up for black lives matter for a city council meeting for white people for black lives. Where do they start? So we have a website B. L., L. A. Dot Org and we have a website because there was a white ally who sit. We needed a website and she donated money for us to build a website. So that's a victory. Be La Dot Org on social media were be L. M.. Los Angeles on Instagram and B. L. MLA on twitter. And listening right now, so that will give you everything that we're doing right, so just follow our social media, but if you're listening right now, there's some things people can do right this minute. Right number one making join our monthly meetings, which are every second Sunday of the month. They can join our weekly protests with the families of those who were killed by police in front of Jackie. Lacey's office. Jackie Lacey is our district attorney. Five hundred forty people have been killed by police since she's been in office. She's been in office for six years and she is choosing not to prosecute those officers so every single. Wednesday, at four, o'clock were in front of her office. Here's a super easy. Easy One We try to give people sixty seconds for justice. Something Super Easy that folks can do I talked about the murder of Gregorio Mac inside of the Crenshaw Baldwin Hills Mall those officers were ruled out of policy by the police commission, and the chief of police is has decided so far that he is not going to fire or discipline, and so we want people to sign an online petition. To chief Moore to fire those officers in that S- in easy link. It's tiny. You are L. Dot. COM SLASH GRA. Sharia Gre C. H. A. R. I O. G.. R. E. C. H., A. R. I O. and just sign and share that link, and then you can always donate to black lives. Matter show up to police commission meetings. There's a lot that you can do our young people with Europe parents we have. Black Lives Matter Youth Vanguard who just want a tremendous victory for the last four years. They've been trying to end what they call the random searches and schools so in la USD. They had a policy of every single middle and high school. Every single day they would pull children out of schools, usually black children and physically searched them for contraband. You would think contraband is things like Gut, guns and drugs right in that time they found zero guns, but what they were putting children on lists for is for having contraband items like Hand Sanitizer highlight irs white out sharpies. What? Yes, it was terrible. And the children kept fighting. This was a completely student led movement supported by the teachers from Ucla who. I'm so indebted to our teachers. Telling incredible Oh my God. They went on strike, not for their own raises. Yes, they went on strike for the conditions of my children, and I tear up every time. I say it because my daughter's were searched, are searched and they went on strike to end those random searches to turn our schools into community schools to bring librarians and counselors into the schools. And we won and so starting this year, there was an end to random searches in schools and so I'm saying that to say. Bring your kids, yes. That's part of the beauty of the moon. People will win. Yeah and I mean kids like bring your four five year, olds. They have ideas like when we talk about dream before you think they are nothing but dreamers. And they fill us with so much life and imagination, and so those are things people can do I love that. Yeah, and that makes me feel hopeful. That makes me feel like on fire with potential. Okay, so my last question for you and I ask this everybody because I. I get to sit across from so many people who am in awe of and I think that very often. In an ever more digital world where we're looking at people through screens, we kind of feel like everybody else. Has It all figured out? Figured out how to lead out of parent has figured out how to whatever it is. They're doing better than we think we're doing. But in my experience, everybody's still feels like they're trying to figure it out. And so I'm curious. As the PODCAST is called work in progress. What in your life right now feels like in progress to you? Oh my God, like every. I have not conquered my battle with Food I. Love Food. I specifically I'm looking at these rings right here I'm like I. Want some of those so when we stop talking I'm eating some. I have not yet figured out how some people fine exercise. Fun I don't want to do that. Right? I like taking walks, but I don't want to go to the gym. It's nasty. I don't WanNa. Go to a gym I'm a terrible romantic partner. So I'm not in a relationship, and I've only been in like. Why was married to my children's father for ten years, but that ended seven years ago and Astrologer actually told me he said He asked me. Why are you divorced? And I said I think married, the I guess I, married the wrong person, and he said No. You marry the right person. That's why you're divorced. And he said. I'm not intended to be a term relationship. I'm intended to have like these sometimes a year sometimes three months. So I have not figured that out at all and I'm starting to figure out. Well. That's what it may be. Is He was right? There's so much I haven't figured out any of this shit. None of it like I. Don't know what freedom looks like I can't i. don't know what I'm supposed to be right in a book. I'm going on. Sabbatical haven't started. The dam would cause I start reading the book and then get lost in the reading. I haven't figured out how to make myself meditate when Oprah and Deepak don't have those twenty one day, it's extremely hard. Yeah, yeah, I mean I have to make myself because otherwise I'd lose my mind, but it's like work I. Haven't figured out how you be an activist and keep a clean house. So none of it. I have to say I get. I'm sitting here just going yes. Because everything you're saying makes me feel relieved. Me It's like. It's a very full plate. When you want to have a life and dedicate your life, and and you have kids like I. Have a dog and I don't know how to do. It I'm like who knows how to keep a thing alive i. what? This. Feels hard, and I feel like I'm always cleaning and there's always stuff and I just. I don't know the answers yet. But, yeah, the. The the practice of self care. Feels like work to me. Were caring for the world feels like joy absolute, because self care is selfish care, but it isn't. So Mir isn't selfish is if you don't adopt so I want you to hear what you said Karen for the world feels like Jordan. All we have to do is create a model where we reciprocate the care for the world right? Yeah, so the reason I say self-care is selfish cares for a couple of reasons one I. I feel like too many people use it as an excuse to shove this shit that they're supposed to be doing off onto my plate. Right saying that they need their meantime, or whatever will that work still has to be carried in. I feel like it's the black. Mamas wind up carrying it right. Black women being the mules of the world right Zora Neale Hurston right so I'm mad about that, but also the selfish care when people really need care. You can't just say you should take care of yourself right. We need to take care of yes, and so I. Believe in a model of community care I believe that there are times when we need care, and we should all be that care for each other. Yes, and I I WANNA clarify fully agree with what you're saying. And what I'm learning for me anyway. Is that personally I have? I think is so many women have been taught to prioritize everyone over my cell phone, and now I'm like. Oh, no, no, no self care I can't think that selfish of me to sleep right or to make time to meditate, or and by the way S I I meditate every day, but I'm trying to get at least two more days when I do them when I don't. and. I'm really in this sort of struggle with understanding that I deserve that because if I if the things I needed to do to be a healthy person I needed to do for my child. They would be done Renault question. And so I I'm I'm in this stage in the last year and change where I'm like. Oh, I have to require it for myself the way I would require it for my kid, and I think that even that is community care. Because why are you serving yourself like I can't die. Yes, I got kids in a movement, so you know I probably should scale back on the peach rings right like you know, we should do some level of care That's the other work in progress I never sleep like I sleep maybe three hours. And, so that's something I'm trying to work on. You know cases now I know you said work in progress, but here's a heck. I learned laugh for real everyday. Yes, laugh like my middle daughter. We be roll life. Like to the point where tears come out your rib start hurting like that kind of laughter every single day. Find something that makes you do it, and then all the other stuff doesn't really matter right, so Oh, well I love it. We got life ax we got we got some work to do. On word you think you've heard. This show is executive produced by me. Sophia Bush and Sims Arna. Our supervising producer is Alison Bresnik. Our associate producer is Caitlin Louis. This episode was edited by Matt Asaki. And Our music was written by Jack Garrett and produced by Mark Foster. The show is brought to you by cloud, ten and brilliant and Adamy powered by simple cast.

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