• Channing Martinez

I'm Fighting for the Black community and I need your help

My name is Channing Martinez and I’m running for the Los Angeles City Council in District 10—one of the last districts with Black elected officials so far. I'm a Black, queer, Garifuna revolutionary whose family is from Belize so I am very Third World identified. I’m an organizer with the Labor/Community Strategy Center so I’ve been trained in their theory of Transformative Organizing—that we appeal to people’s highest aspirations. I’m fighting for the rights of the Black Nation as part of a broader anti-racist, anti-colonial, climate justice united front. My T-shirts say, Build a Black/Latinx/Third World Alliance. I respect the insurgency of Bernie Sanders and have great respect for The Squad—Alexandria Occasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rahida Tlaib, and Ayanna Pressley. I hope you would support me in a critical city council in race Los Angeles, a mega-city of 4 million people, where I am fighting for the most progressive and revolutionary program.

  • Free Public Transportation—No Fares and No Fare Evasion Tickets

  • Cut the LAPD budget by 50%, 

  • 50% of all public and private sector jobs must go to Black applicants

  • 50% of all new units reserved for very low income housing 

  • Open Borders and Amnesty for all Immigrants

  •  Kick ICE out of LA

  • Full reproductive rights for all Women Full LGBTQ+ rights, 

  • Stop Us Intervention in the internal affairs of Third World nations—US out of Venezuela, Iraq, and Afghanistan, stop U.S. attacks on Iran, Russia and China 

Right now I have $10,000 in the bank. Mark Ridley Thomas, a long-time incumbent from the political establishment has more than $500,000 I urgently need contributions of up to the $800 limit for the last 6 weeks of the campaign. Please give generously.

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I hope you would allow me to continue the conversation with you.

My history and qualifications

My family is from Belize. I was born in the Black community of South Central Los Angeles one of the most beautiful communities under constant siege. I went to Audubon Middle School, Crenshaw High School and graduated from Otis College of Art and Design where I majored in fine arts photography. I became active with a Strategy Center influenced Coalition for Educational Justice and soon joined the Bus Riders Union and Strategy Center as a volunteer when I was 18. Here is one of the earliest photos of me in a role play with Sanyika Bryant, my friend who went on to be trained at the Strategy Center’s National School for Strategic Organizing and now works for Cause Justa in Oakland. We are doing role plays to canvass to defeat Proposition 54 which would have prevented California and all local municipalities from collecting demographics on race, ethnicity, color, or national origin.

Today, at the age of 32 I am a lead organizer with the Strategy Center, manager of the Strategy and Soul Movement Center at the historic corner of King and Crenshaw in South L.A. and the producer of KPFK/Pacifica’s Voices from the Frontlines (90.7 FM every Tuesday at 3 where I work with host and Strategy Center director Eric Mann.          I have worked with the Strategy Center and BRU to fight for free public transportation only to have the MTA board including Mayor Garcetti and Supervisor Mark Ridley Thomas, one of the other candidates in the city council district 10 race, raise the bus fare from $42 a month to $75 a month to $100 a month and now give tickets and arrests to people who cannot afford the fares and create the non-existent violation of “fare evasion.” And yes, more than 50% of the people receiving their tickets are Black.  After 10 years of calling on elected officials to cut police funding, stop arresting Black homeless people, to ask the U.S. government to stop its wars of aggression a group of us realized that we needed to have movement people to run for office. I am growing as a candidate and    push myself not out of ego but out of love for the people.

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My growing adherence to revolutionary Black nationalism to help build a larger multi-racial, multi-national, international movement. 

I believe that Gentrification is Genocide

According to the United Nations statutes, one of the five definitions of genocide is: “Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about is physical destruction in whole or in part.”

Professor Cynthia Hamilton, one of the founders of the Strategy Center, published Apartheid in An American City: A Case Study of South Central Los Angeles in 1989 where she observed that from the point of view of the ruling elites in L.A. “the land in South Central is valuable but the people are not.”

In 1970 the population of L.A. was 3 million people, the Black community comprised 750,000, 25% of the population. Today, the population of L.A. has grown to 4 million people but the Black community has declined precipitously down to 350,000 people and only 9% of the total population. That was a product of public and racist policy. Mass arrests and imprisonment.  In 1970 the prison population in in the entire US was 338,029, now its 2.5 million, 1 million of whom are Black. Black people have been hunted down, criminalized, occupied as the war on drugs, war on gangs, and war on the Black Panthers was an effort to round up and imprison young, angry Black youth.

The country and L.A. carried out a “kick Black people out of the job market” in which subcontractors using Latino labor were brought in to displace Blacks from janitorial, industrial, domestic, and every other form of employment.  Employers spread the word that Black people were not “loyal” or “subordinate” employees.

In LA Black people are 50% of the homeless population, and more than 50% of tickets and arrests on public transportation. Every nee construction project like the MTA Crenshaw Subway plans to gentrify the neighborhood so that even in the 10th district where Black people were once the overwhelming majority they are now only 25 percent. My campaign is not to just fight for Black people but from that perspective to build a powerful multi-racial coalition that will fight for Black rights as part of a larger political program.

The efforts of members of the Democratic Party and the Black establishment to get “our fair share of the pie” have been disastrous as some elements of our community have become narrowly self-interested, frightened, isolated from a broader vision and sadly, profoundly self-defeating.

There are more than 44,000 homeless people in LA. There needs to be a real effort to bring everyone in from the rain and harsh weather. As a city council member I want the city to focus on the lowest income and no income people for housing priority. I also want every new development to reserve half of its units for low income housing. The only way we can do this is to cut the current tactics used to solve homelessness and move those resources to real solutions. That is Cut the Police and open new emergency shelters now and fast tract the homes slated to be built via HHH.

I recognize that there is a particular crisis in the city against Black people and I think we need to look at the revolutionary history of Black nationalism in order to use its success to rebuild a Black movement.

Martin Delany, the father of Black Nationalism in his book The Condition, Elevation, Emigration, and Destiny of the Colored People of the United States, coined the phrase "Nation within a Nation" when describing Black people as an oppressed nation within the US. Ironically, during the Great 1960s, Black leaders like Malcolm and Martin Luther King and Fannie Lou Hamer brought Black leadership to a radical and revolutionary program for everyone—leading the fight against what King called “racism, poverty, and militarism” I am trying to be in those traditions.

My campaign has carried out a miracle. We got on the ballot. When I went to my first candidate’s debate before it was time to gather valid signatures there were 10 people participating. After the deadline for getting at least 500 valid signatures there are only five of us on the ballot. This is an exciting campaign for peace activists, women’s liberation advocates, environmental and climate justice workers, Democratic Party reformers, Greens, and anyone who cares about building a real movement. Please join me and us. We urgently need your help.

In Solidarity, Channing

Channing Martinez, Organizer Candidate, Los Angeles City Council District 10

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