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The 10th anniversary Black Lives Matter Festival

Dr. Melina Abdullah, one of the founders of BLM, speaks at the 10th anniversary Black Lives Matter Festival in Leimert Park on Saturday, July 15, 2023 in Los Angeles, CA. | Source: Jason Armond / Getty

Independent presidential candidate Cornel West looked to his familiar worlds of academia and activism when he named his vice presidential running mate candidate on Wednesday.

Using a virtual press event moderated by pundit Tavis Smiley, West revealed that he had selected noted scholar and original Black Lives Matter (BLM) leader Dr. Melina Abdullah to join him on what is now the first-ever all-Black presidential ticket.

West called Abdullah — a co-founder of BLM Los Angeles who is also a professor and former chair of Pan-African Studies at California State University, Los Angeles — “one of the great freedom fighters of her generation.”

Presidential candidate Dr. Cornel West Speaks At Church

Presidential candidate Dr. Cornel West speaks to the community and congregation at Second Baptist Church in Santa Ana on March 29, 2024. | Source: MediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty Images / Getty

Abdullah, 51, said her candidacy with West, 70, also made for the first presidential ticket to include a Muslim and credited “divine timing” for her selection as West’s running mate.

Referencing her faith, Abdullah noted that Wednesday is Eid, “the holiest day for Muslims.”

West, a faculty member at Union Theological Seminary, is a noted Christian.

Watch the press event below.

Abdullah described West’s phone call asking her to be his running mate as being completely unexpected and “the furthest thing from my mind.”

Abdullah’s candidacy was celebrated in prepared statements posted to West’s campaign website.

“At this historic and pivotal moment, it is my profound honor to stand alongside my dear sister, Dr. Melina Abdullah, a fierce and tireless advocate for truth, justice, and transformative change,” West said. “Sister Melina’s incredible courage, keen intellect, and deep vision have greatly served the cause of liberation in education, worker rights, and both racial and gender justice. Her unique Black analysis and witness helps us confront our crumbling era of empire, white supremacy, and patriarchy. I look forward to working with her as we strengthen our commitment in our campaign for truth, justice and love!”

Abdullah expressed the urgency of her candidacy with West.

“I am deeply honored and humbled to join Dr. Cornel West as his Vice Presidential candidate at this critical moment as we work together for transformative change. This campaign offers a real vision for the world that stands in opposition to oppressive forces and holds fast to the universal principles of truth, justice, and love,” Abdullah said. “As we work arm-in-arm with justice-loving people everywhere, we reimagine and work to build a world that chooses goodwill over greed, courage over cowardice, and liberation over exploitation. Together, we are igniting a movement to not only dismantle harmful systems, but establish the firm foundations of a just, nurturing, and free world.”

This is a developing story that will be updated.


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