The Struggle for No Police in the Los Angeles Schools: a Great Leap Forward and Victory is in Sight
On Tuesday, June 23, in Los Angeles, the decade’s long struggle for No Police in the Schools had a major breakthrough. Los Angeles School Board member Monica Garcia introduced the most structural and hopeful motion to make “defund the police” a reality. Her motion, expressing gratitude to the national Black uprising, called for cutting the $70 million budget of the Los Angeles School Police Department—with 350 armed officers—by 50% in 2021, 75% in 2022, and 90% in 2023—essentially phasing out the entire department. We think “50%, 75%, 90%” is a model for the “Defund the Police” movement nationally. Any movement that gets to 100% first wins. Her Civil Rights motion did not pass but neither did any of the toxic compromises. That “50/75/90%” motion is still the centerpiece of our movement going forward and we have every intention of bringing it into reality.
Outside the LAUSD building it was the Black-led movement that was the driving force in history. There were more than 3,000 of us encircling the entire block. There was a great sound truck led by Black Lives Matter Los Angeles and Students Deserve—a Black led student organization in the LAUSD schools. The program was a celebration of rage, creativity, rap, music, and the spoken word. Dr. Melina Abdullah, co-chair of Black Lives Matter L.A. spoke of how all three of her children suffered police abuse in the schools while her son’s first incident of anti-Black police brutality was at the age of six. She described in painful detail how every aspect of a Black child’s life is criminalized and why the demand for No Police in the Schools was a life and death issue for the Black community.