In Downtown LA, Black Lives Matter

Every Tuesday morning at 9:30, the Board of Police Commissioners meets at LAPD Headquarters. Black Lives Matter organizers regularly attend these meetings and make public comments demanding justice for people including Wakiesha Wilson, Redel Jones, Keith Bursey and Brother Africa, who died in LAPD custody or were murdered by officers. After last week’s prominent murders in Louisiana and Minnesota, BLMLA made yesterday’s meeting an all-out action, and thousands gathered to show their support, chant and listen to speakers like Skid Row Church Without Walls’ Pastor Cue and BLMLA organizers Jasmine Richards and Melina Abdullah. The space was useful not only for showing my opposition to LAPD’s refusal to take responsibility for its actions, but also for having conversations with friends and strangers alike about what we can do to divest from a murderous police system. BLM organizers maintain that LAPD officers do not take them seriously in meetings, regularly forcing out family members of murdered citizens and lacking respect for protesters in attendance. Having a crowd of people to back them up may help BLM get through to LAPD at these meetings, or at least force LAPD to listen. It’s an accessible way for Downtowners to help out the movement and utilize public space to have productive conversations and actions. I hope that the park behind LAPD HQ (2nd St between Main St and Spring St) is filled with a crowd every Tuesday morning. Check @BLMLA to find out about ongoing demonstrations Downtown in addition to the Tuesday meeting.

- Phoebe Ünter