Cornel West, Dr. Melina Abdullah, Running Mate, First All Black Presidential Ticket

Cornel West Selects Dr. Melina Abdullah As Running Mate For First-Ever All Black Presidential Ticket

Who's excited for this presidential ticket?

Independent presidential candidate Cornel West has selected Black Lives Matter activist and professor Dr. Melina Abdullah as his running mate. 

West made the announcement on The Tavis Smiley Radio Show on Apr. 11. labeling the partnership “a significant milestone in the campaign’s commitment to fighting for a society and world based on justice, equality, and the empowerment of poor and working class people of all colors.”

“I wanted somebody whose heart, mind, and soul is committed to the empowerment of poor and working peoples of all colors,” West said. “Melina has a history of longevity of putting her heart, mind and soul in the struggle.”

Abdullah is a Professor of Pan-African Studies at California State University in Los Angeles, a founding member of the Black Lives Matter movement, and the Director of Black Lives Matter Grassroots. As an advocate for systemic change, the 51-year-old woman is a highly recognized community organizer with a focus on education and political organization.  

She celebrated her new title as vice presidential candidate on Twitter, saying her “spirit is soaring.” “It’s me!!!!! “My spirit is soaring!!!!!,” Abdullah wrote. “I’m so deeply honored to be @CornelWest’s Vice Presidential running mate. Let’s do it!!!!!”

The professor joined Smiley in the studio as the announcement was underway and said she considers Dr. West “one of the most brilliant people to walk this earth.

“I’ve been following him and have been really enthusiastic about his candidacy,” she said. “He and his wife, Annahita, asked, and immediately, my heart just soared. I said ‘yes’ immediately. Like, shouted ‘yes.’”

During the segment, Abdullah reminisced about meeting West as an undergraduate student at Howard University, before reconnecting with him at a BLM event. In a press release on Dr. West’s campaign website, the activist said she is “deeply honored and humbled” to work with West and described the campaign as offering “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.” 

Outside of her work, Abdullah uses her platform to strongly criticize cultural aspects like the American Flag and controversial organizations, including the New York Police Department. 

According to Fox News, she once compared the NYPD to the KKK, saying, “The KKK, the police, and government officials are one in the same.” 

She also blasted Beyoncé’s recent Cowboy Carter album cover, where the singer is seen holding the flag and wearing red, white and blue. 

Abdullah touched on her depiction of the flag’s symbolization – “the genocide of Indigenous people, the theft of their land, the enslavement, dehumanization, and exploitation of Black people, and settler colonialism.”

However, she explained that she didn’t want the critique to be looked at as hate. “Critique around @Beyonce’s artistic choice is important and healthy, not hate.”