December 08, 2022
LAWT News Service
In a move to correct a previous wrong, the Los Angeles City Council today, voted to re-instate the salary and benefits of suspended Councilmember Mark Ridley-Thomas.
While Ridley-Thomas will remain suspended, the council has always stated that withholding of his salary and benefits was never part of the motion and that the withholding of his pay and benefits was the actions of the Los Angeles City Controller Ron Galperin alone.
“Today’s decision by the Los Angeles City Council to reinstate the salary and benefits for Councilmember Mark Ridley-Thomas that the City Controller unilaterally revoked in 2021 corrects an action that should have never been allowed to happen in the first place.
This Past August, Council President Paul Krekorian and I introduced two motions asking the City Attorney to determine whether the City Controller had the legal authority to withhold Councilmember Ridley Thomas” pay and benefits under the City Charter.
It is clear the City Controller made a rush to judgment without merit and I am pleased by the Council’s decision to resolve this matter fairly. Councilmember Ridley-Thomas has a right to due process and that should take place in the court of law,” stated Los Angeles City Councilmember Curren Price.
December 01, 2022
By Betti Halsell
Assistant Managing Editor
On Tuesday, Nov. 29, local pillars of the community and selected guests were invited to a virtual discussion about the recent murder of 15-year-old Jaheim McMillan. His life was taken by the police force in Gulfport, Mississippi last month.
The victim’s family expressed their journey through this experience, highlighting the lack of justice for their loved one. They join noted economist, Dr. Julianne Malveaux, in illuminating the demand for a cultural shift around police interaction with the Black community.
Reports state that police answered a 911 call on Oct. 6, concerning “multiple people in a vehicle brandishing firearms,” according to CNN. When police arrived, the group of people allegedly attempted to flee from the area, an officer fired at the presumed armed suspect, who they claim pointed the weapon in their direction. The suspect was identified as McMillan.
McMillan was shot in the head and later died after being taken off life support, according to a news release that the previous listed source obtained from civil rights attorney, Ben Crump. Crump is lobbying for the release of the footage of the incident.
The purpose of the meeting was to uplift McMillan’s story and make sure his name is recognized. KBLA media personality, Danny Morrison, moderated the meeting along with Black Lives Matter co-founder of Los Angeles chapter, Melina Abdullah. Discussion members included KBLA media personality, Dominque DiPrima, Baba Akili, and many others joined McMillan’s aunt, Natasha Boyd.
There is both written and physical protests heading directly to the city council in Gulfport. During the meeting, there was a call to boycott Family Dollar; the victim’s family has felt as though Family Dollar drew a line in the sand and sided with the police—McMillan family expressed that there was a lack of support from the Family Dollar store that they often visited and had rapport with.
December 01, 2022
By Angela Birdsong
CBM Contributing Writer
About 200 protesters gathered on Nov. 24 at wholesale cash and carry food service supplier Restaurant Depot/Jetro in Culver City to demand justice for Passion Schoolfield, a single Black mother who was fired for expressing an opinion about Ye, the rapper also known as Kanye West.
According to Schoolfield, she was speaking with a customer in her cashier’s line about celebrities they like and was overheard by another customer when she said, “I like Ye. He keeps it real.”
Then, she says, a customer, a White male, got out of the check-out line, got in her face, and questioned her, “You like Ye?” After repeating this several times, he walked off and spoke with a manager. Moments later, she was suspended and the next day she was fired.
“This protest was a community effort to get justice for Passion, and what this focuses on is what we believe was anti-Black aggression against her for a basically ridiculous firing because she said she liked Kanye West. We really wanted to get that message out that there’s a line that was crossed,” stated Ludlow Cleary, II., Schoolfield’s attorney.
Schoolfield did not speak during the press conference. However, she told California Black Media that retail has been her career since she was 18, and while working at Restaurant Depot, she loved the customers and the people.
The protest was called by the newly-formed, faith-based Grassroots Community Coalition Against Anti-Blackness (GCCAA). For now, they are demanding compensation for stress caused to Schoolfield and her children, particularly her two autistic sons, “Blackness Sensitivity” training - not diversity training -- they emphasized and revising the company’s employment policy.
“Black Jobs Matter and no one will be able to get in here to buy (nothing) from Jetro Restaurant Depot until my sister gets justice, until Passion gets her job back. She has the right to her job to take care of her family,” stated Nation of Islam Western Region Representative Abdul Malik Sayyid Muhammad (formerly known as Tony Muhammad).
“She poses no threat to anybody. We in the Nation of Islam believe that a nation can rise no higher than its woman and that when you attack a woman, you attack a nation,” he stated.
Muhammad, who is also the student minister of Muhammad Mosque #27, issued the GCCAA’s 48-hour demand for a response during the press conference and protest.
“This is a Rosa Parks moment. We’re living in a cancel culture, but it looks like that cancel culture is directed at Black people with consciousness,” he stated. “And any of us who desire to stand up and be conscious and support one another, there seems to be a system in place that’s telling us we can’t do that,” he said.
Ralph Vasquez, manager of the Restaurant Depot Store, gave no comment when asked about Schoolfield’s termination and the protest. No response has been received yet from Restaurant Depot’s corporate and West Coast regional offices.
“There are people in our world that have done worse things than Kanye, that get voted into office, and people never lose their job for supporting them,” said Ryan Sims, pastor of Revelation Church of God in Christ.
As a father, Sims said, no one would want their child, wife, aunt, mother, or even their cousin, to go through what Schoolfield has endured. As a community, big brothers and sisters, they are standing with her, he said.
“If someone in our community likes someone in our community, it’s not a violation. It’s not against humanity. It’s not against the law. It’s simply self-love, and if that’s a crime, then lock us all up,” continued Pastor Sims.
Schoolfield is that kind and engaging worker behind the counter that’s attentive to their customers, said Anthony “Shep” Crawford, senior pastor of the Experience Christian Ministries Church.
“And in that conversation, someone overhears it, gets offended, tries to bully her … and once she answers the questions, he asks her again. I do not like that. We do not like that, but she stood her ground,” he stated.
Her mistreatment is about a corrupt system, not a rogue manager, he said, pointing to the store’s entrance. “We will not have it. We will not stand for it. You have here, present today, Muslims, Christians, Baptists, Church of God in Christ, community mothers…even law enforcement, here to stand,” said Crawford.
Many who turned out to support Schoolfield felt she was unjustly fired. Some offered donations for the young mother of three who is now unemployed and may be unable to apply for unemployment benefits.
“We’re standing here for Passion because what took place here at Restaurant Depot is unjust,” stated Reverend K.W. Tulloss, president of the Baptist Minister’s Conference of Los Angeles and member of the National Action Network. “What Jetro did was wrong! And we want to make this wrong a right,” he said.
The GCCAA has set up a GoFundMe page, which so far has raised $2,000 to help Schoolfield pay rent and feed her children.
They intend to interrupt the economy of Restaurant Depot/Jetro, said Bishop Craig Worsham, founder and senior pastor of the Agape Church of Los Angeles.
He challenged all present at the protest to stand united in that cause until Restaurant Depot comes to the table with a reasonable resolution.
“There are African American-owned restaurants, catering companies, churches that dump hundreds of thousands up to millions of dollars into this establishment, so if you are anti-Black Passion, then you are anti-Black our dollars,” stated Worsham.
Other organizations present were Asians with Attitude and Second Call Gang Intervention and Prevention. She has a right to express her opinion about a public figure, they said.
You can follow this movement on Instagram @_gccaa and #WeStandWithPassion.
December 01, 2022
LAWT News Service
As she prepares to take Los Angeles in a new direction, L.A. Mayor-elect Karen Bass today announced she will appoint Chris Thompson to be her mayoral Chief of Staff and guide her transition starting Monday, December 5.
The appointment comes during an unprecedented three-week transition, during which Mayor-elect Bass is assembling a team to lead Los Angeles with a focus on urgently bringing unhoused Angelenos inside and making our city safer and more affordable for all.
"My number one priority is assembling a team that will be ready on day one to move our city forward. With his vast leadership experience and shared vision for our city, Chris is the right person to serve as my Chief of Staff and work with me to lead our agenda for Los Angeles’ future,” said Mayor-elect Bass. “Though this is an unprecedented three-week transition, make no mistake – change is coming and we will hit the ground running.”
“The people of this city spoke loud and clear when they delivered a decisive victory for Mayor-elect Bass," said Thompson. "She has laid out a clear vision and plan to confront the crisis of homelessness and to make our city safer and more affordable for all. I look forward to helping her execute that vision.”
A seasoned leader in both the private and public sectors, Thompson will bring a fresh perspective and new direction to the mayor’s office and City Hall.
Thompson currently serves as Senior Vice President of Government Relations for the LA28 Olympic and Paralympic Games working with local, state and federal officials and agencies to ensure a successful 2028 Summer Games in Los Angeles. He served as Chief of Staff to Senator Dianne Feinstein from 2008 until 2013, after first joining her office in 2003.
He also served as an aide to Congressman Julian C. Dixon, who represented parts of Los Angeles. Thompson’s private sector experience includes serving as a Vice President for Southern California Edison/Edison International and serving on the Board of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce.
In addition, he was appointed to the Board of the California Privacy Protection Agency by Governor Gavin Newsom and serves on the boards of the PBS SoCal/Public Media Group of Southern California, the California Science Center Foundation and on the Public Policy Institute of California’s Statewide Leadership Council. Thompson holds a BA in Political Science from UC Santa Barbara.