Najee Ali wants you to know L.A. activists support Sebastian Ridley-Thomas for State Assembly

untitledAs the race for the 54th State Assembly seat enters its final week frontrunner Sebastian Ridley-Thomas and his family continues to be the target of smear campaigns by the opposing candidate in this race Chris Armenta and his surrogates.
Sebastian, to his credit, has taken the high road and honored a pledge he signed to adhere to the California law that includes a code of fair campaign practices (EC 20440), which includes a pledge to not use “any appeal to negatively prejudice a candidate’s actual perceived race, religious creed, color, or national origin” or libel, slander or scurrilous attacks. Armenta, on the other hand, has violated this code and continues to campaign on a bed full of tricks, deceit, and lies.
The latest lie by the Armenta campaign and surrogates was the straw that finally broke the camel’s back for every major civil rights leader in our community. It was told by Lynn Dymally, whose father Mervyn Dymally, was a former elected official and a mentor of mine.
Lynn Dymally, in a campaign flyer being distributed, states
Los Angeles civil rights and coalition leaders say vote for Armenta
I’m not sure who these leaders are? Because they’re not named on the flyer.  Lynn we know that you have a political beef with Sebastian’s father ( Supervisor Ridley-Thomas ) but if you and others don’t want to support Sebastian for whatever reason that’s your choice but don’t use the Los Angeles civil rights community in your campaign against him. Your stepping into my arena.
The facts are Sebastian has been endorsed by every major civil rights and religious leader in South L.A. These leaders include Marqueece Harris Dawson, director of the Community Coalition, Rev.K.W. Tulloss President of the National Action Network, Pastor William Smart, President of the S.C.L.C. Paulette Simpson Gipson of the NAACP and Donald Bakeer of Project Islamic Hope.
These leaders are backing the Ridley-Thomas campaign as individuals, being that organizations are forbidden from endorsing candidates, because they hold non-profit tax exempt status. There is no question all of our leadership realizes that Sebastian is one of us. He was born and raised in the civil rights movement. It’s our respective civil rights organizations which has been at the forefront in the fight against racial profiling, job and housing discrimination, criminal justice disparities, health care, discriminatory lending and police abuse.
We represent part of the tried and tested civil rights leadership of our community. So for Lynn Dymally or anyone else to suggest that civil rights leaders from our community are not supporting Sebastian is a lie that everyone in our community should challenge.
Mervyn Dymally, may he rest in peace, was a man of integrity and honor. He would never stoop so low to just flat-out and lie.  Lynn you’re dishonoring your father’s legacy by doing so.  If Mr.Dymally was alive I believe firmly in my heart that he would support Sebastian’s campaign. He believed in mentoring and supporting the next generation of leadership.
For our community that’s what Sebastian represents. He had to work hard for everything he achieved. His father (Supervisor Ridley-Thomas) didn’t give him a job. Sebastian went out made his own way and found his own jobs. He graduated from Morehouse College returned home and went on to establish himself successfully as a political activist in his own right.
Sebastian did everything the right way, which is why we have to stop and stand up to the handful of critics and naysayers filled with self –hate. The Kennedy’s, Bush’s, Hahn’s and Clinton families, to name a few political families, have had several members of their respective family’s run for elected office. If you didn’t open your mouth and complain them, why are some of you complaining now? Sebastian has paid his dues and has a right to run for elected office also.
With his experience he’s clearly the most qualified for this Assembly seat. Whatever political feud you may have with Supervisor Ridley-Thomas it makes you look extremely small to punish Sebastian, because of your political beef with Supervisor Ridley Thomas.
It’s well known that Supervisor Ridley Thomas and I haven’t always agreed on issues that impact South L.A. Our latest public disagreement was just a few months ago when we chose to support different candidates in the Mayoral election, but I’m mature enough not to hold Sebastian accountable for a political feud I had with his father. I’m in full support of the Sebastian Ridley-Thomas’ campaign for Assembly. My question to some in our community and Lynn Dymally is, are you?
Najee Ali Activist and Author of “Raising Hell

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About Najee Ali

Najee Ali is a social and political activist. Najee was selected as one of the Los Angeles Wave newspapers "100 Most Influential" and is the author of Raising Hell: A Life of Activism. He is a proud alumni of the University of Southern California #FightOn

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