So: how powerful it was to witness a historic moment of Interfaith Dialogue and prayer today, organized by the local chapter of BlackLivesMatter, as Muslims, Buddhists, Jews, and Christians came together (probably with other groups, but I only heard prayers from these folks) to pray for the immediate release of Jasmine Abdullah. A group of about 30 students from Fuller walked over from campus to the courthouse early this morning, which was also a huge day in California with our primaries! Jasmine had been charged with "felony lynching," and, from what I've learned, is the only black person to ever have this conviction. Originally, the law was designed to protect African-Americans when they were arrested from angry White mobs who were known to yank them out of the back of police cars and take them out to the back woods for a hanging. How preposterous, then, that Pasadena charged Jasmine with this, when she was attempting to stop the police from arresting her friend during a #BlackLivesMatter demonstration. In other words, she was charged with the attempt to take her friend from police custody so that she might go and kill her, I guess, in the mountains north of Pasadena?! Ridiculous, and I don't mean that in the "cool," or "sick," way. Read more about this historic case here.
Meanwhile, in matters reeking of Whiteousness, Brock Turner, the Stanford swimmer convicted of raping an unconscious 23 year old woman, has only been sentenced with 6 months (though he could have been given 14 years.) Here is a letter written by the woman he raped.
Okay, so catch it. A young man who actually caused deep physical, emotional, and spiritual harm to one of his peers is given far more leniency and grace than a woman who was trying to protect a friend of hers while standing up for the rights of marginalized individuals. Yes.
This Is The Insidious Injustice Of White Supremacy.
|An entire family in support of Jasmine. Photo by Marvin Wadlow|
And prayer was powerful, when it came alongside the deep and committed work of Jasmine's attorney, Nana Gyamfi. Jasmine faced 4 years in prison, and her sentence was dropped to 90 days. Amen. Of course, we were protesting and demonstrating, peacefully, that she might have zero days, or, only the days she'd already been detained. But this was deemed, by most of us standing there, as a victory. Watch this video of Nana explaining the situation, punctuated by Jasmine herself calling in!
Dear Governor Brown:
I am writing you to ask that you pardon Black Lives Matter activist, Jasmine 'Abdullah' Richards.
On Tuesday, Judge Elaine Lu sentenced Jasmine “Abdullah” Richards to 90 days in jail and 3 years probation following her prosecution by L.A. District Attorney Jackie Lacey and the Pasadena Police Department on attempted lynching charges. L.A. District Attorney Jackie Lacey and the Pasadena Police Department have trivialized an anti-lynching law meant to protect Black communities and, now, Judge Lu validated that persecution by allowing them to use her courtroom as a tool to silence Richards and intimidate other Black activists.
You have the executive power to right Judge Lu and District Attorney Lacey's wrongdoing. We are asking that put justice ahead of politics and pardon Jasmine “Abdullah” Richards.
Peace by peace,