On June 2, 2016, Jasmine Abdullah, founder of the Black Lives Matter Pasadena Chapter, was convicted of a lynching charge and is facing a maximum of four years imprisonment as a result. Jasmine was accosted as she was trying to protect a fellow community member from being held within police custody. BYP100’s national membership of young Black activists dedicated to freedom and justice for all Black people supports Jasmine, her family, and the Black Lives Matter Network as they fight for her immediate release.
The naming of her charge as “lynching” is as her attorney, Nana Gyamfi, puts it, “is more than ironic, it’s disgusting.” Her charge, her conviction, and her sentencing are the real lynching here. Dating back to 1933, this early 20th century law was put into place to convict mobs of bigoted white folks who would snatch Black people from police custody with the intention to torture, lynch, and kill. While the naming of the charge as “lynching” was removed in 2015, two months before Jasmine was charged, the substance of the charge has remained intact. To utilize this against another Black person as though she is meant to induce harm and ignore the fact that we must be protected from harm is criminal.
We are committed to fighting for a world without police and prisons and this circumstance is representative of the harm that our current policing system can inflict on our community, especially as the most marginal Black folk build power. The purpose of leaving burning bodies hanging from a tree during lynchings was and continues to be a form of social control of the Black community, working to intimidate the rest of the Black community from rising up against their oppression.
Targeting a lead organizer like Jasmine seeks to send a message to our people, that any form of action or resistance against the police – even in times of harm and violence – can result in our imprisonment. We see the message but we are not convinced by any fears induced by a system of violent anti-Blackness. We are driven by the fires of unapologetic truth and resistance that Jasmine embodies and we send a message back to the system: we will continue to organize and fight for our political prisoners and to disrupt the criminalization of all Black people until we gain full rights to a life of freedom and self-determination. We do so out of a spirit of radical Black love that is brave and unconquerable.
Jasmine’s sentencing date, June 7, is the same day that District Attorney Jackie Lacey will run for her second term with no opposition. Her silence on this case and her neutrality and historical lack of leadership regarding state sanctioned violence are not lost here. We demand that the charges against Jasmine be dropped and she is released from police custody immediately!
We encourage everyone to sign the petition calling on Jasmine’s immediate release today: http://act.colorofchange.org/sign/freejasmine-no-jail-time-black-lives-matter-activist-accused-lynching.
In Black Love and Black Struggle,
BYP100 is an activist member-based organization of Black 18-35 year olds, dedicated to creating justice and freedom for all Black people. We operate through a Black queer feminist lens.
www.byp100.org | @BYP_100 | www.facebook.com/BYP100