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“BlM Los Angeles Co - Founder: all Meetings and Protests Begin With the Pouring of Libation.”
by Christian News Network   
September 15th, 2020

BLM Los Angeles Co-Founder: ‘All Meetings and Protests Begin With the Pouring of Libation

LOS ANGELES — In a recent interview with a local radio station, Black Lives Matter (BLM) Los Angeles chapter co-founder Melina Abdullah explained that “meetings and protests begin with the pouring of libation” and the utterance of the names of the dead. She said that the practices are generally not allowed to be filmed in part due to the “demonization of the way in which we acknowledge spiritual energy.”

During the interview with KCRW, which was posted online on June 25, Abdullah, who also works as a professor of Pan-African Studies at California State University, was asked about the spiritual element of the movement.

She explained that spirituality “was always foundational to who we were,” and that on the first night they gathered, BLM participants summoned their ancestors as they stood in a circle under the moon.

“[T]here was always some component of spirituality,” Abdullah replied. “I think about the first night that we gathered and the summoning of ancestors to space and the very palpable spiritual energy that circulated through the group as we stood in a circle at St. Elmo Village, which is probably one of the most spiritual spaces in the city. … [W]e stood under the moon and pledged to build a movement.”

She outlined that as time went on, BLM began to be more purposeful about their organizing efforts, and as they

would “go pour libation at the ocean, we began to recognize the importance of spiritual energy and the fact that it had always been there, but we didn’t always recognize it collectively.”

Libation is an act that is defined as “a ritual pouring of a liquid as an offering to a god or spirit, or in memory of those who have ‘passed on.’”

“In certain African cultures, the ritual of pouring libation is an essential ceremonial tradition and a way of paying homage to the ancestors,” explains the site Powerful Black Stories. “Ancestors are not only respected in such cultures but also invited to participate in all public functions, as are also the gods. A prayer is offered in the form of libations, calling the ancestors to attend with an elder generally performing the ritual.”

As previously reported, in 2018, Abdullah poured libation and summoned the spirits of a number of deceased African American leaders during an event at Hollywood United Methodist Church. She instructed those gathered to declare “ashe” as she made declarations and poured bottled water into a plant.

Abullah was asked during the recent interview, for those who have not attended a BLM demonstration, to describe the opening of each protest. She stated that “[a]ll Black Lives Matter meetings and protests begin with the pouring of libation.”

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