Los Angeles, CA– Los Angeles career politician Mark Ridley-Thomas and former USC Dean Marilyn Louise Flynn, were indicted today on federal corruption charges and honestly, I am not surprised.
The 20-count indictment stems from a quid pro quo relationship that MRT developed with Fylnn, while she served as Dean of USC’s School of Social Work.
Instead of using his time to address the fact that Black people continue to be buried and marginalized in L.A due to institutional racism, Ridley-Thomas was more concerned with legacy and nepotism.
The same drive that has made families like the Garcetti’s a staple in L.A’s political history. It also drove Hollywood actors into a bribery scheme, to get their below average kid admitted into one of the country’s top universities.
“The 20-count indictment alleges that Ridley-Thomas, now a member of the Los Angeles City Council, conspired with Marilyn Louise Flynn, formerly a tenured professor and the dean of the university’s School of Social Work, who agreed to provide the Ridley-Thomas relative with graduate school admission, a full-tuition scholarship, a paid professorship, and a mechanism to funnel Ridley-Thomas campaign funds through the university to a non-profit to be operated by the relative,” the indictment reads.
As an African-American woman born and raised in the City of Los Angeles, most importantly a “throw away section” that neighbors USC, I want to be the first to say that I am absolutely disgusted by this.
The name Mark Ridley-Thomas is a familiar read as you drive through his district in the city. Politicians love to plaster their names on buildings, I guess as a way to mark their territories and feel good about delivering the bare minimum to their constituents.
Since returning home from college I have been very disappointed in the few Black city council members we have sitting in those political seats.
None of them, in my opinion, are moving with the sense of urgency needed to address our most pressing issues.
Since Black politicians have to rely on a diverse group outside of just the Black community to secure votes–it waters down the commitment to their own community. The closer Black people are to the white power structure, the further they are from the true reality of Black people in this country.
This is the reason why Black people have very little faith in politics. Many will argue that you need to participate in the system of government, if we really want things to change in our country and especially our communities. Indictments like these, of longtime politicians, show that it is far too easy to become compromised, than it is to actually use the system to “change” things for African-Americans.
Prior to the death of George Floyd by Minneapolis Police last year and the subsequent protests that followed, many Black people were scared to even say the word “Black” and address our specific issues in the presence of their white peers and bosses.
It is disappointing to see Black politicians never directly addressing issues plaguing Black L.A, until the conversation of racism against Black people became an “acceptable” topic for the masses.
After the death of George Floyd, Mark Ridley-Thomas and Black politicians finally had the gall to erect a billboard in the Crenshaw district declaring racism a “public health crisis.”
For one, we are barely represented in the workplace. Everywhere I went in L.A, I found myself asking to speak to the managers and inquiring on the lack of Black people in a business of 15+ In addition, the disproportionate number of Black faces on skid row was too hard to ignore.
In 2018, the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (which after millions thrown at the the organization it has now been deemed “ineffective”) released their report on Black homelessness in Los Angeles.
What they found, was that institutional racism was aiding in the disproportionate rates of homeless Black people in the city–from employment, to housing.
The committee included recommendations but I never heard Black politicians, (or any of them for that matter) even mention this report and their commitment to bridging these alarming gaps for Black people in L.A.
This city is anti-Black as hell.
If Mark Ridley-Thomas and other Black politicians in seats of power were focused on the Black community the same way they were focused on their faux “legacies,” we would be at a much better standing in this city.
Read Full Indictment Here: https://www.justice.gov/usao-cdca/press-release/file/1441826/download