Hollywood, CA— The Los Angeles chapter of Black Lives Matter held their annual mass rally for justice Sunday afternoon, at the CNN headquarters on Sunset and Vine in Hollywood.
This is the fourth year BLMLA has held the event which allows space for the families of those killed by police to share their grievances and their demand for justice.
Over 20 families of those killed by police in Los Angeles County were present. One by one, they shared powerful messages and testimonies about the pain they are suffering from not only losing their child to the law, but the lack of justice that followed.
Over 42 people have been killed by the police in L.A County this year alone. Over the last five year period, there have been over 432 people killed by police in L.A County.
“We are here at CNN because do you remember how abruptly in 2016, they stopped covering Black Lives Matter and they stopped covering the deaths of our people? They pretended like the police had stopped killing us but the police did not stop killing us,” said Melina Abdullah, an organizer with BLMLA and chair of the African-American studies Department at Cal State University, Los Angeles.
She called attention the fact that although the rally was happening in front of CNN headquarters, who prided themselves on being a stellar news service, no CNN cameras were present.
This called into question the media black out of major news corporations on the deaths of Black and Brown bodies at the hands of police.
“We are more than just a news cycle.”
There were various Spanish-only speaking mothers so a translator was needed. Although there was a language barrier, the pain and messages were all the same.
“They killed my only child. I want justice….”
After families shared their testimonies, the group marched one block to the 24-hour Fitness where Albert Ramon Dorsey was killed by police last month.
According to police, Dorsey was homeless at the time and was involved in an argument with a 24-Hour Fitness employee. Police were called to the gym and confronted Dorsey, who was naked, in the shower area. A male and a female cop attempted to detain Dorsey. During this time their body cameras somehow flew off and Dorsey was shot and killed.
Dorsey’s sister traveled from Washington D.C to join the rally. She relayed that she always wanted to come to Los Angeles but never would she have imagined it would be under these circumstances.
As the group approached the 24-Hour-Fitness area, she became visibly upset and shaken knowing this was the last place her brother was alive. According to his sister, Dorsey recently moved to Los Angeles to pursue a music career.
After a demonstration near the 24-Hour Fitness, and a call to boycott the corporations who are complicit in the death of Black and Brown bodies, the group marched one Block to Walgreens where 21-year-old Jonathan ‘Sky” Jackson was killed by a armed security after a shoplifting dispute.
Groups of police stood outside Walgreens and a group of police swarmed inside with riot gear along with tear-gas/rubber bullet guns.
Mothers and families stood in the middle of Walgreens and continued to share their heartbreaking testimonies about losing children to the hands of police. At some point, the group of police retreated to the rear of the store but police were still present both inside and outside Walgreens.
Black Lives Matter Los Angeles understands the connection between corporations, police and the criminalization of Black and Brown bodies. They are asking the people to boycott corporations like Walgreens and 24-hour Fitness who are complicit and have the blood of the people on their hands.
In addition, the murders of people like Jonathan Jackson, Ramon Dorsey and Christopher Mitchell (killed by Torrance police in a Ralphs parking lot Dec 9), illustrate the profiling of homeless Black men and the disregard for their lives at the hands of law enforcement.
In addition, there was a strong cry for L.A’s District Attorney Jackie Lacey to prosecute killer cops or vacate her seat.