Pasadena Black Lives Matter chapter leader Jasmine "Abdullah" Richards was just wrongfully convicted of "felony lynching," and faces up to four years in prison. This takes the targeting of BLM leaders to a whole new level.
On Tuesday, June 7, Judge Elaine Lu will determine Richards' sentencing. As Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, we need to make sure Judge Lu hears our demand to #FreeJasmine and stop the political persecution of Black Lives Matter activists.
Tell Judge Lu: AAPIs back the calls of ColorofChange.org and Black Lives Matter International Network and demand no jail time for Jasmine Richards.
Jasmine was arrested and charged for "lynching" last September after she attempted to shield a Black woman from what she deemed to be an unlawful detainment by Pasadena police after a Peace March she and the chapter organized. Although the peaceful march was made up of twenty-some children, mothers, and community members, the prosecutor claimed it was a "riot" in order to pursue the "lynching" charge.
The charge comes from the twisted misapplication of a 1933 California law created to stop lynch mobs from forcibly removing detainees from police custody and engaging in public murders of Black people. To convict Jasmine of "attempted lynching" is a willful misinterpretation of a law created to protect Black lives. There were no Black people on the jury that convicted Jasmine.
Los Angeles BLM chapter organizer Melina Abdullah stressed that Jasmine was targeted for her political activity and leadership in Pasadena: "Jasmine is a political prisoner and represents probably the hugest threat to the state, in that the folks at the bottom can recognize their own oppression and rise up against it."
As AAPIs committed to racial justice for all, we know our liberation is tied to the liberation of Black communities. From Ferguson to Baltimore to Staten Island, we've been showing up to demand an end to state violence and the crisis of police brutality that impacts all of us, but which disproportionately targets Black communities. That's why we're coming together with our partners at ColorOfChange.org to call on Judge Lu to see to it that Jasmine Richards receives no jail time for the ludicrous conviction of "attempted lynching."
Sign the letter to tell Judge Lu that AAPIs demand no jail time for BLM leader Jasmine Richards.
Here's the letter, authored by our friends at ColorofChange.org, that will be delivered to Judge Lu this Tuesday morning:
Dear Judge Lu,
I am writing you to ask that you not sentence Black Lives Matter activist, Jasmine 'Abdullah' Richards, to any jail time for the preposterous 'attempted lynching' she has been convicted of.
As you know, the law that Jasmine was convicted under was created to protect Black people from race-based mob violence at the height of America's lynching epidemic. It is incredibly insulting to Pasadena's Black communities and all people of conscience to use this law to incarcerate a non-violent Black political activist.
As a Judge, you are sworn to uphold the constitution including our rights to peaceful assembly and free speech. Regardless, of how you may feel about the cause of police accountability, imprisoning Jasmine for what happened at the Peace March she organized in 2015 would set a dangerous precedent and only exacerbate the lack of confidence Black communities have in the criminal justice system.
Please do not allow your courtroom to be used as a tool of intimidation and retaliation. Refuse to sentence Jasmine to jail time.
This post was originally published at 18 Million Rising. Sign the petition here.