In a shocking move, the University of California Los Angeles Luskin School of Public Affairs invited Black Lives Matter (BLM) co-founder Patrisse Cullors to be this year’s keynote speaker at their commencement ceremony.
After facing backlash over the controversial choice, the school is defending her speech citing the need for “diversity of opinion.”
Cullors stepped down from her role as the executive director of the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation last month when her multi-million dollar real estate shopping spree was made public, seemingly contradicting the Marxist political ideology that she promotes.
After almost 8 years, we say see you later to the last of our founders, Patrisse Cullors, who’s served BLM whole-heartedly. We reflect on the impact Patrisse had on BLM, & we are in deep gratitude.
— Black Lives Matter (@Blklivesmatter) May 27, 2021
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The far-left activist also made headlines when a video resurfaced of her calling for the “end” of Israel while speaking at Harvard University in 2015. The speech came a few months after Cullors and several other representatives of Black Lives Matter travelled to Palestine for ten days.
BLM co-founder Patrisse Cullors calls to “end the imperialist project that’s called Israel.” pic.twitter.com/0PgEtPMpVx
— The Post Millennial (@TPostMillennial) May 28, 2021
“Palestine is our generation’s South Africa, and if we don’t step up boldly and courageously to end the imperialist project that’s called Israel, we’re doomed,” Cullors said.
The video prompted an outcry from Jewish groups and organizations who insisted she retract, which she has not.
When confronted by the Jewish Journal requesting that they ask her to retract the statements, UCLA defended their decision citing “respect for diversity of opinion.”
“Respect for diversity of opinion on matters of public concern is a key tenet of the educational philosophy of the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs, and it’s important to remember that an invitation to speak does not represent an endorsement of all past or future statements by a given speaker. We do not condone racism, sexism, anti-Semitism or any form of bias,” Professor Gary Segura, UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs Dean, said in response.
Segura’s statement continued on to say that “the prerecorded commencement message from Patrisse Cullors is one of unity, tolerance and forgiveness. She suggests that a cooperative spirit can help heal old wounds and advance new solutions. I am confident that our graduating students will appreciate her perspective and find inspiration in her call to look forward without judgment in pursuit of a happier, more equitable society.”
The Post Millennial reports that “as co-founder of the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation (BLMGNF), Cullors accomplishments included: launching a political action committee for BLM, a grassroots ‘sister organization’ to BLMGNF, and donating $25 million to ‘Black-led organizations and Black families around the country’.”