Within a span of six days, Melina Abdullah — Director of BLM Grassroots and co-founder of BLMLA, was targeted twice by LAPD in alleged swatting attempts. That makes THREE TIMES that our beloved Dr. Abdullah has been targeted in just over a year.
Swatting is a dangerous harassment tactic used to bring a large presence of armed police (often SWAT teams) that threaten a target and have even brought their death. The swatting of Dr. Abdullah doesn’t appear to be merely coincidental — on Thursday, September 23rd the targeting of her home occurred less than 24 hours after Melina and her attorneys announced a lawsuit against the LAPD for their violence and infliction of harm when she and her three children were swatted in August 2020. The most recent swatting, on Wednesday, September 29th, happened as Melina and hundreds of Black Lives Matter organizers and supporters were engaged in their weekly #EndPoliceAssociations protest in front of the Los Angeles Police Protective League. Police have yet to produce the alleged 911 tapes in the most recent incidents and are clearly complicit in the attempt to terrorize Melina and her children.
Melina is not the only one who’s been targeted either — and she certainly won’t be the last.
Look, we can’t afford to go backward here. Former “President” Trump needs to remain just that — a former President.
Retaliation by police against those who dare to challenge them is nothing new, nor is it a thing of the past. There is a long history of the state and its police coming after Black leaders…from the murders of abolitionists like Nat Turner, whose decapitated head was placed on a stake as a warning to other enslaved people not to rebel, to the targeting and murder of Black Civil Rights and Black Power leaders under COINTELPRO, to attempts physical threats, criminalization, and discreditation attempts against Black Lives Matter organizers. Whether it is white supremacists, police, other operatives, or an amalgamation of the three, abolition will not come without a fight.
There is one truism in all of this: #WeKeepUsSafe
It was the community and fellow organizers who have always protected our freedom fighters — from Harriet Tubman, to John Lewis, to Angela Davis, to our own Patrisse Cullors. It was her neighbors and comrades who shielded Melina and her children from harm and provided places of shelter and healing after all three attempts. This email is both a reminder and a call to action. Protect our freedom fighters. The movement takes all of us. Keep Melina and other freedom fighters safe by:
- Lending your BODY – Show up on the frontlines. The more of us that are in the trenches, the more difficult it is to target an individual.
- Offer your VOICE – Engage in virtual action. If you can’t be in the streets, you can still lend your voice. Sign our petitions. Hashtag #BlackLivesMatter. Participate in virtual civic and community meetings.
- Contribute your RESOURCES – Donate to Black Lives Matter and other radical organizations. Protection from state violence is costly. Necessary healing work is not free. Let’s make sure our folks are as protected and supported as possible.
Most importantly, #WeKeepUsSafe is the other side of abolition. It is the building of community that demonstrates love and care. It means connecting with neighbors, being a “hedge of protection” for each other. It means doing spiritual work and literally standing alongside one another. This, too, is the work of Black liberation.
In the words of Mama Assata Shakur: “We must love and protect one another.” Melina, and every freedom fighter around the world, we stand with you. #WeKeepUsSafe