Black Lives Matter: The Fight for Liberty, Justice, And Freedom

July 13, 2020

Black Lives Matter is more than a slogan. It is a movement of people fighting for liberty, justice, and freedom. Black Lives Matter Long Beach is, as they describe, “…a local organizing effort … in solidarity with the national, U.S.-based, #BlackLivesMatter movement.” The organizers are clear about their goals and mission as a Black-led organization that is “…queer, women, and working-class affirming and seeks Black liberation, and accordingly liberation for all people.”

Melissa Morgan, the founder of, interviewed for two of the founders of Black Lives Matter Long Beach, Dawn Modkins, and Audrena Redmond.

Dawn Modkins is a mom of Black boys, business owner, Co-Founder of Black Lives Matter Long Beach Chapter and Original National Organizing Director of the BLM Global Network. Audrena Redmond, M.A., is Program Director for anti-racism social justice work with the California Faculty Association (CFA).

More on Dawn Modkins

“Her life’s work has been grounded in fighting for working class people. Her career began as a union steward with Communication workers of America CWA.  She helped fight for and win the very first union contract for security workers at LAX and other airports with Service Employees International Union SEIU. She’s been a national teaching fellow introducing college students to organizing with the American Federation of Labor. She’s led civic engagement campaigns including re-election efforts of President Barack Obama as the organizing director at Strategic concepts in organizing and policy education SCOPE LA.”

More on Audrena Redmond, M.A.

“Her work includes identifying policy and practice changes, developing and facilitates anti-racism workshops, the biennial equity conference, and hosting a podcast, Radio Free CSU. For many years she also organized the annual Leadership Institute for newly elected officers and member activists.

For nearly a decade, Audrena has been a member of the Beautiful Struggle Live radio show collective. The show airs at 7 PM Tuesday nights on 90.7 FM KPFK Los Angeles and discusses social, political and economic issues, history, thought, inspiration, art, and resistance issues of importance to African Americans. Her work as a member of the radio show collective made her a natural fit to host the CFA’s Radio Free CSU podcast available on SoundCloud and at”

More on Melissa Morgan

“Melissa has a rich history of work in education, diversity and inclusion, civil rights, and youth-serving nonprofits. She is a relationship builder and solution seeker who values working closely with community leaders and institutions, businesses, philanthropists, grassroots groups, faith leaders, youth, and people of many backgrounds to find common ground and collaborative opportunities for the common good.

Morgan is dedicated to the betterment of our communities through the delivery of engaging leadership training, interactive strategic planning, dialogue-based human relations programming and community service projects. Inspired by the values of compassion, equity, inclusion, restorative justice, respect and dignity — she aspires to bridge understanding between people in workplaces, schools and communities.”

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A Decade of Watching Black People Die

Code Switch® | May 31, 2020

The rate at which black Americans are killed by police is more than twice as high as the rate for white Americans. This is a non-comprehensive list of deaths at the hands of police in the U.S. since Eric Garner’s death in July 2014.
LA Johnson/NPR

Listen to Podcast Episode


The last few weeks have been filled with devastating news — stories about the police killing black people. At this point, these calamities feel familiar — so familiar, in fact, that their details have begun to echo each other.

In July 2014, a cellphone video captured some of Eric Garner’s final words as New York City police officers sat on his head and pinned him to the ground on a sidewalk: “I can’t breathe.” On May 25 of this year, the same words were spoken by George Floyd, who pleaded for release as an officer knelt on his neck and pinned him to the ground on a Minneapolis street.

We’re at the point where the very words people use to plead for their lives can be repurposed as shorthand for completely separate tragedies.

Part of our job here at Code Switch is to contextualize and make sense of news like this. But it’s hard to come up with something new to say. We covered the events in Ferguson, Mo., in August 2014 after Michael Brown was killed by the police, and we were in Baltimore after Freddie Gray’s death in 2015. We covered the deaths of Eric Garner, Philando Castile, Alton Sterling, Delrawn Small.

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