Local business owner and contractor Aaron Moore scored a private discussion during the final days of Black History Month at LA Lounge when the co-founder of Los Angeles Black Lives Matter Melina Abdullah visited the Inglewood cigar club.
“I started this business to bring professional to middle class to join this lounge that shared common beliefs and wanted to make a positive impact on our community and having person of this caliber come here to dialog about what she has accomplished is huge,” Moore explained to Inglewood Today.
Abdullah is Professor and former Chair of Pan-African Studies at California State University, Los Angeles and was appointed to the Los Angeles County Human Relations Commission in 2014 and is a recognized expert on race, gender, class, and social movements.
Her invitation was extended by LA Lounge member Tony Wafford who is President and CEO of I Choose Life Health and Wellness Center (ICL) an organization founded to address health inequities in the Black community.
During her more than two hours appearance, Abdullah spoke about many of the ongoing campaigns that she has implemented to identify Black businesses that we can patronize and build up.
“We come from an abolishment of strength and toppling white capitalism and recognizing that police are used by white capital interest who take our freedom and to put targets on the backs of Black people,” Abdullah said.
She pointed to the incident of the shooting of John Crawford III on August 5, 2014. Crawford was a 22-year-old African-American man shot and killed by a police officer in a Walmart store in Beavercreek, Ohio, near Dayton, while he was holding a BB gun that was for sale in the store.
“Walmart doesn’t need our money and we should not be giving them our money and white capitalist interest that don’t care about Black people,” she added.
She encouraged the group to help topple systems that harm Blacks and build new systems that serve us.
Originally from Beaumont, Texas who moved to Oakland before coming to Los Angeles, Abdullah highlighted her granddaughter who is a proud business owner.
Additionally, she hails from a family of business owners, her family owned a pharmacy in Beaumont where she remembers as a place where Black people gathered.
“I think of spaces like this that are safe places for Black people to go and be on que and on message.”
Abdullah blamed Walmart for putting targets on the back of Blacks and minorities and questioned where do we go to be ourselves and she says that it is absolutely spaces such as LA Lounge.