Cornel West Selects Running Mate: What You Need To Know About The 'Farrakhan Cheerleader'

By Tommy Wilson | Friday, 12 April 2024 12:00 PM
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In a surprising turn of events, presidential candidate Cornel West has announced his vice-presidential running mate, Melina Abdullah.

A professor and co-founder of the Los Angeles chapter of Black Lives Matter, Abdullah has a rich political history. However, there are five aspects of her past that she may not readily discuss during her campaign.

In 2022, Abdullah was forcibly removed from a mayoral debate held on the campus of California State University LA. The incident occurred as she protested the limited audience allowed in the auditorium, which excluded students and faculty. Abdullah, who was a professor at Cal State LA at the time, clarified that she was only removed from the premises and not arrested.

"I should have been able to watch the mayoral debate that was happening on my own campus," Abdullah told the Los Angeles Times. She expressed her disappointment at the actions of Raphe Sonenshein, a co-sponsor of the debate and a long-time acquaintance, who called the police on her. She also expressed her hurt at the silence of Karen Bass and Kevin De León, two close associates of over 20 years, and other candidates present during the incident.

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Despite co-founding the Los Angeles chapter of Black Lives Matter, Abdullah has had her share of disagreements with the organization. In 2022, she sued Shalomyah Bowers, an executive at the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation (BLMGNF), accusing him of misusing the organization's funds.

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"The assets that we built, the financial resources, the social media platforms and the name ‘Black Lives Matter’ have been taken from us and are under the control of consultants," Abdullah stated at a press conference. The BLMGNF board of directors refuted these allegations, labeling them as "slanderous and devoid of reality." Ultimately, Abdullah's lawsuit was dismissed, and she was ordered to pay over $100,000 in legal fees to Bowers.

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Abdullah has been a vocal supporter of Minister Louis Farrakhan, despite his history of anti-American and antisemitic controversies. Her social media accounts reveal her admiration for the Nation of Islam leader, dating back to 2015. In 2019, she defended Farrakhan on social media following his ban from Instagram and Facebook.

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"We should all be outraged by the banning of Minister @LouisFarrakhan from Instagram and Facebook," she wrote, rejecting the notion that his advocacy for Black people and their freedom constituted 'Black supremacy.'

Abdullah has been a staunch advocate for police reform, particularly in Los Angeles, following the George Floyd protests in 2020. She has also vehemently opposed any increase in the police budget, as proposed in LA in 2023.

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"The overwhelming number of Angelenos want to divest from policing and parking enforcement, and invest in the things that actually keep communities safe," Abdullah told KCRW, criticizing the city's decision to increase the police budget by $384 million. She suggested that this decision was influenced by politicians' fear of retaliation from the city's police union.

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During the George Floyd protests in August 2020, the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) sent officers to Abdullah's home following a hoax phone call claiming hostages were being held there. The LAPD later confirmed the call was a hoax. Abdullah, however, rejected the police's explanation, claiming they were trying to disrupt her.

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"Dozens and dozens of police, LAPD and others, showed up at my house this morning, guns drawn, assault rifles drawn, really terrorizing me and my children. We're OK," Abdullah said at the time, expressing her distrust of the police's words.

As the presidential race heats up, these aspects of Abdullah's past may come under scrutiny, shaping the public's perception of her as a vice-presidential candidate.

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