October 24, 2019 

By Saybin Roberson 

Contributing Writer 


PUSH LA “Reimagine Protect & Serve,” a new social justice coalition made of 15 organizations across Los Angeles gathered to produce a letter of demands for Mayor Garcetti and Los Angeles Police Department Chief Michel Moore regarding police reform. Upon delivering the letter, a press conference was held in front of the Los Angeles Police Department Headquarters with speeches from organization leaders, community members and more.


PUSH LA, which stands for (P)romoting (U)nity (S)afety and (H)ealth is a cross-sector coalition of base building, advocacy, labor, interfaith organizations supporting Black and Brown people. Formed in 2019, after the LA Times published an article that revealed that the LAPD is searching Black and Latinx drivers at a ration of 4 to 1 and 3 to1 in comparison to white drivers. Also noticing, in these instances, they find less contraband when racially profiling and often leading simple traffic stops to violence and at times, death.


Wednesday, October 9, the coalition held the press conference beginning chanting, “Too Black, Too Strong. All Power To The People,” and “Stop the Stops.” The crowd, full of Black and Brown faces became extremely energized by the cause and the continuous fight against police brutality sported matching shirts and held signs that also read, “stop the stops.”


An introduction by President and CEO of Community Coalition, Alberto Retana set the press conference in motion.


“We are here today because we are outraged by the continued criminalization of Black and Brown people in Los Angeles,” he expressed. “We’ve been suffering this for decades, for generations!”


“Today we won’t the LAPD deny delay or look the other way,” he continues, referring to the police department denial of racially profiling and targeting Black and Latinx communities. 


The letter written to Mayor Garcetti and Chief Moore demands police end the stops, holding both accountable to publically and officially admit to racially profiling along with an apology to residents of South LA. The coalition also asks for reparations for unlawful stops and searches and disciplinary actions and removal of cops who abuse and overuse their power.


“These changes to Metro’s policing style in South Los Angeles vindicate what our community has been saying all along about the highly imbalanced use of pretextual stops on Black and Brown people,” Retana said in a statement. “We need to ensure that there’s proof that the stops by Metro are in fact ending, which means the LAPD must be transparent in its release of real data in regular reports.”


Along with an opening from Alberto Retana, speeches from David Turner, manager of Brothers, Sons, Selves, coalition of L.A., Melina Abdullah, Black Lives Matter Los Angeles, Mary Williams, grandmother of Keith Bursey who was killed by LAPD in 2016, Bryant Mangum, South LA resident, Adrienne Wong, staff attorney at ACLU of Southern California, April Verrett, President of SEIU Local 2015, and Reverend Edward Anderson, Regional Organizer at LA Voice.


David Turner began his speech with a memory from when he was just six-years-old, he watched and learned from the backseat to fear the police simply because he was Black. His revelation is a common story for many Black and Brown people, a revelation that Mary Williams, Bryant Mangum, and more persevere through every day.


Mangum shared several instances where he was harassed by police in front of his children and home. Each event he shared involved violence with the police and overuse of force and power, which increased his fear in those who are supposed to protect. He continues, “after these violent experiences, I feel less inhuman when dealing with police and LAPD. I feel like no one is policing the police, I feel like there's no justice and I don't feel safe driving at night anymore.”


Turner said during his speech, “my skin color has consequences,” and the article by LA Times proves this to be true. With the work done by PUSH LA changes are to come as the coalition has no intention of letting up until their demands are met.


“If you are tired of what’s happening, if you want to change things, you can do it. You don’t have to wait,” Turner said. “If you ever wanted to think about what it was like to be in the civil rights movement, you woke up today, you’re here now. You can do something about this.”


To learn more about PUSH LA and its mission visit https://pushla.org/.

Category: News