One of the co-founders of the Black Lives Matter movement, who once admitted that she had been “trained” to be a Marxist organizer, has officially been appointed to the Los Angeles County Arts Commission.
The founder in question, Patrisse Cullors, finally unveiled the move as part of a newsletter to her hoards of supporters and was titled “The Abolitionist’s Update on Art and Activism.” In it, she stated that she “came back and hit the ground running” in the wake of “some much needed time of rest.” This past May, Cullors walked away from a position as the executive director of the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation after an ordeal surrounding her property purchases.
“I’m thrilled to continue to weave my roles as artist and organizer, where I can continue to support Black creatives,” wrote Cullors as part of the update sent out this past week. “I have a ton of to-do’s on my list. I won’t share them now. Just stay put and watch as they unfold.”
“I truly believe Black creatives are the backbone of our society and community,” she went on. “We are often underrepresented and under-resourced. But I plan on advocating for the full support of Black creatives across my beautiful ass city!”
Cullors received her appointment to the commission by Holly J. Mitchell, the L.A. County Supervisor and a Democrat. The group acts as an advisory body to the extremely powerful L.A. County Board of Supervisors, which is the ruling body of the most populated county in the country. As stated in a press release put forth by Mitchell’s office, “Cullors will serve on behalf of the 2 million residents of the Second District,” which is currently represented by Mitchell, and also includes areas such as Watts, Compton, Inglewood, and Koreatown.
“Art is a powerful tool in helping to connect, envision and create a better world,” stated Sup. Mitchell. “Patrisse has demonstrated her understanding of this and has experience using various mediums of art and community engagement to inspire and create change. Patrisse shares my commitment to equity and justice and will use her creativity to make arts and culture more accessible for the residents throughout the Second District.”
As reported by Mitchell’s office, “There are over 107 arts organizations that primarily serve Second District residents and are using a wide range of artistic mediums to address key social justice challenges that include: anti-recidivism, healing trauma, and dismantling systemic racism.”
We have seen Cullors making art in order to acknowledge her grassroots activism for the past seven years at this point. Throughout this time, she has cropped up as one of the most prominent organizers throughout Southern California and has been the face of a large number of movements and organizations seeking to demand systemic change. The inaugural meeting of what would come to be known as the Black Lives Matter Global Network happened at an L.A. art center called St. Elmo’s Village, which is a very well-known community for black artists.
“Artists and cultural workers historically and presently play a significant role in shaping movements,” stated Cullors back in 2018 in the wake of her joining the faculty of the Social Justice and Community Organizing program at Arizona’s Prescott College. She saw to the creation of a course that looked at how cultural work, social practice, and art have an impact on community organizing.
Cullors recently took a stance with the co-founding of “a reimagined art gallery and studio located in the Second District that is dedicated to shifting the trauma-induced conditions of poverty and economic injustice through the lens of Inglewood and its community,” as reported to Mitchell’s office.
“We can create meaningful change by investing in our imaginations and collective skills, give dollars towards beautifying our communities with art that is for us and by us, and continue to educate and amplify what justice can look like if we first invest in ourselves,” stated Cullors. “All of these areas of work are areas that the Department of Arts and Culture is also committed to, and I am very excited to join this collaboration as an Arts Commissioner.”