EL SERENO- Melina Abdullah has taught for more than a decade at Cal State L.A. in the Pan-African Studies Department, which she now oversees as chair. But in recent months, Abdullah has become better known as the most visible and vocal leader of the Black Lives Matter chapter in Los Angeles, which was involved in a tense confrontation with Mayor Eric Garcetti last week. On Tuesday, Abudullah will deliver a lecture about Black Lives Matter at Occidental College in Eagle Rock.
The educator, activist and author (Abudllah is currently working on a book on “Hip Hop and political mobilization”) has been quoted widely. “The mayor has neglected, disrespected and abused the black community for far too long,” Abudullah told the L.A. Times following what was described as a hostile demonstration at Garcetti’s appearance at a South L.A. Church. Black Lives Matter, she told The Guardian, is about “recognizing that we have targets on our backs and the state has targeted us for killing – that we must take on the work of liberating ourselves.”
A quick Google search found few revealing profiles of Abdullah, who serves on on the Los Angeles County Human Relations Commission and co-hosts and co-produces a weekly radio program on KPFK. Abdullah earned her Political Science Ph.D. from the USC and her B.A. from Howard University in African-American Studies. She lives in the Mid-City area with her three children, according to several website profiles. Her Cal State L.A. bio describes her as a “soccer mama.”
Earlier this year, Abdullah and her family had joined others who camped outside of the LAPD headquarters in an effort to have the officers involved in the fatal shooting of Ezell Ford fired from the department. “I’m here because I’m a mother,” she told L.A. Times columnist Sandy Banks. Banks wrote:
She remembers growing up in Oakland at a time when every mom on the block looked out for everyone else’s children. “There was a shared sense of responsibility to protect them. We need that now,” she said.