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BLM Co-Founder, LA Chapter Leader Discuss Group’s Occultic Practices of ‘Invoking Spirits,’ African ‘Ancestral Worship’

BLM Co-Founder, LA Chapter Leader Discuss Group’s Occultic Practices of ‘Invoking Spirits,’ African ‘Ancestral Worship’

In an interview posted to social media, Black Lives Matter (BLM) Co-Founder Patrisse Cullors, along with BLM Los Angeles Co-Founder Melina Abdullah, discussed the “spiritual” component of the movement, explaining the practices and “rituals” performed to remember and “invoke” the spirits of deceased African Americans.

“We speak their names … [and] you kind of invoke that spirit, and then their spirits actually become present with you,” Abdullah, a professor at California State University, stated during the discussion hosted by Fowler Museum at UCLA.

Cullors outlined that she was raised Jehovah’s Witness, and “ancestral worship became really important” as she got older. She said that she felt a responsibility to honor the deceased politically and spiritually.

“In my tradition, you offer things that your loved one who passed away would want, whether it’s honey or tobacco or things like that,” she said, referring to the creation of an “ancestor altar,” which is sometimes practiced in African cultures. “It’s so important, not just for us to be in direct relationship to our people who’ve passed but also for them to know we’ve remembered them. I believe so many of them work through us.”

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