Cornel West chooses LA professor and activist Melina Abdullah as his running mate for the presidential elections

(Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times)

Cornel West chooses LA professor and activist Melina Abdullah as her running mate for the presidential elections

California Politics, 2024 Elections, Kamala Harris, LA Politics, Homepage News

Benjamin Oresces
Matt Hamilton

April 10, 2024

Independent presidential candidate Cornel West

on Wednesday

appointed professor at Cal State Los Angeles Melina Abdullah as his running mate

on Wednesday

saying that her commitment to social justice and


Prioritizing the needs of poor Americans embodied the values ​​of his candidacy.

I wanted to run with someone who would put a smile on my face [civil rights activist] Fannie Lou Hamer and Martin Luther King Jr. from the grave, West said on Tavis Smiley’s radio program in Los Angeles.

Abdullah is a well-known figure in local political circles

: She who

co-founded the Los Angeles chapter of Black Lives Matter and has been a fixture at protests and in recent years

deeds of

civil disobedience in areas including police funding and the war in the country





West’s choice means


at least three women from California

it will be

run for vice president

in 2024

Abdullah, Vice President Kamala Harris and Nicole Shanahan, selected by independent


candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. (Former President Trump has not announced his choice for running mate.) The three candidates reflect the broad spectrum of backgrounds the state has to offer, with Harris running afoul


collapse of Bay Area politics, Shanahan steeped in Silicon Valley and Abdullah representing the left

and progressive




“It’s striking. But that’s about all we have in common,” Abdullah said when Smiley noted that she and Harris had Bay Area roots and both attended Howard University.

During the broadcast, Abdullah recalled first meeting West when she was a student at Howard


and said she revered his influence on American political thought.

She added that he called her last week and


It felt like God was speaking to me


and I said yes

. ,

she said she received his call last week.

She commented

that’s this

was the first presidential ticket

in the U.S

to include a Muslim, and Smiley

pointed out

it was the first all-black ticket.

“We both want to disrupt the narrative that you only have two choices,” Abdullah, 52, said

to Trump and

President Biden

and former President Trump, the presumptive major party nominees


“The world is trying to tell us that we are bound to certain ideas that we don’t need to be bound to. We can be expansive and imaginative.”

West, an academic, author and activist, said alternative voices


necessary to represent the anger of Americans frustrated by wars abroad and a lack of investment in communities at home. Lacking the infrastructure of a mainstream political party, West is collecting signatures to appear on ballots across the country. According to his website, yes


on the ballot


only in Alaska, Oregon, South Carolina and Utah.

Selecting a vice

presidential candidate is an important part of

the This


of creating the mood

in many states



Trump is leading the country towards a second civil war. Biden is leading the world towards World War III,” West told Smiley, with whom he co-hosted a radio program ten years ago.

‘You have that choice if you are only bound to the duopoly. That’s what it comes down to. We provide an alternative. … We’re not on nobody’s plantation.”

In recent years, Abdullah has spoken out against police shootings and increases in the Los Angeles Police Department’s budget. She


appeared regularly at Police Commission meetings, and as The Times wrote in 2015:


turned “normally dry public hearings into hours-long confrontations, with officers often clearing protesters from the room.”

She has long pushed for the abolition of the police




and was a powerful opponent in 2020

Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Jackie Lacey’s re

election campaign, etc


supporter of the current Dist. Atty. George Gascn.

During that race, Lacey’s husband, David, was charged with assault after he

was of suspect waving allegedly waved

pointed a gun at Abdullah and other protesters as they showed up outside the couple’s Granada Hills home early one morning. (The case was dismissed after he completed a diversion program.)

In 2022, Abdullah was forcibly removed from a mayoral debate on the Cal State LA campus. She and


Karen Bass

who has been mayor of Los Angeles since those elections,

to have


decades-long relationship.

In 2020, after the


murder of George Floyd

in Minneapolis

Abdullah was a central figure in organizing large rallies in Los Angeles.

More than ten years ago,


together with Patrisse Cullors and others,


built what would become the Black Lives Matter movement and later the nonprofit Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation.

Abdullah is also the founder of Black Lives Matter Grassroots Inc., which made waves in 2022 by accusing the foundation and one of its executives, Shalomyah Bowers, of “fraudulent conduct.” [raising] money from unsuspecting donors” and divert

it’s the money

taking advantage


Bowers and his consulting firm.

Bowers and the foundation vehemently denied the allegations and sought

the dismissal of a suit dismissing the suit, which

demanded $10 million in damages. LA Supreme Court Justice Stephanie Bowick agreed

thrown and thrown

from the lawsuit in June 2023.

In her ruling, Bowick wrote that some of the lawsuit’s allegations are “so confusing and incomprehensible that it cannot even be determined what”

what is

it is claimed.

The judge earlier this year ordered Abdullah’s group to pay more than $374,000 in legal fees to the foundation, Bowers and his advisory group.


Smiley asked about these legal battles


and Abdullah




if not

profits, the various chapters of Black Lives Matter Grassroots would not support anyone in the 2024 race.

“Some people might see it as baggage, but I actually see the work and the experience of organizing and the kind of authenticity of our work as something that actually fuels this campaign,” she said.

“I know that as we move forward, organizing is key.”

Last month, Abdullah was sued by Dr. Lawson Bush V, a fellow in the Pan African Studies department at Cal State LA, who accused Abdullah of defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Bush said Abdullah characterized him as a “hideous oppressive, vindictive, misogynist,” a “polygamist.” and “a voodoo practitioner,” and that her “defamatory statements” scuttled Bush’s appointment as interim dean of the College of Ethnic Studies, according to the lawsuit filed in LA Superior Court. In the lawsuit, Bush claims that Abdullah has been campaigning for years to become dean, including with the hashtag #DrAbdullah4Dean, and that she promised to “make everything public” if Bush was appointed. Dr. Abdullah has the knowledge and understanding of how her accusations negatively impact Dr. Bush as an African American man,” said the lawsuit, which also accuses the university and its administrators of harassment, retaliation and failure to prevent discrimination. Neither Abdullah nor her lawyers responded in court.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here


Hot Topics

Related Articles