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What Racial Justice Protests Have Achieved, And What Activists And City Leaders Plan For The Future




Black Lives Matter-Los Angeles supporters protest outside the Unified School District headquarters calling on the board of education to defund school police on June 23, 2020 in Los Angeles, California.
Black Lives Matter-Los Angeles supporters protest outside the Unified School District headquarters calling on the board of education to defund school police on June 23, 2020 in Los Angeles, California.
Mario Tama/Getty Images

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The killing of George Floyd on May 25, 2020 sparked nationwide protests decrying racism and police brutality against Black people.

It’s been nearly two months and protests are still happening all over the country, including in Southern California, Portland, Chicago, Oakland and other cities. In Los Angeles, community demands have spurred the city council to approve a $150 million cut in LAPD funding and inspired reductions to the county Sheriff’s department budget. Activists are eager to secure concrete policy changes -- like proposals to create a crisis response plan to respond to some 911 calls with mental health professionals or social workers instead of armed LAPD officers, and develop alternatives for enforcing traffic laws.

On Thursday, AirTalk convened a discussion about Los Angeles activists' goals, policy changes already achieved at the city level, what reimagining community safety looks like and where L.A.'s Defund the Police movement goes from here. 

With guest host Libby Denkmann

Guests:

Herb Wesson, Los Angeles City Councilmember representing the 10th Council District, which includes the West Los Angeles neighborhoods of Koreatown, Mid City, Leimert Park, Crenshaw Manor and Baldwin Village; he tweets @HerbJWesson

Melina Abdullah, professor of Pan-African studies at Cal State LA and co-founder of the Los Angeles chapter of Black Lives Matter; she tweets @DocMellyMel

Pete White, founder and executive director of the Los Angeles Community Action Network (LA CAN),  a community organization that works on anti-poverty issues

Alex Vitale, professor of sociology and coordinator of the Policing and Social Justice Project at Brooklyn College, part of the City University of New York system (CUNY), and author of several books, his latest is “The End of Policing” (Verso, October 2017); he tweets @avitale