January 12, 2023

By Patrisse Cullors and Michael Brignac

Contributing Writers


On January 3, 2023 our family member Keenan Anderson was killed by LAPD during a traffic stop in Venice, CA. Keenan was an active father, an educator and loved his family. He had several degrees and worked to be the best man he could be.

No family should ever have to plan funeral services for someone who was killed at the hands of the police. But thousands of families have, and will continue to unless law enforcement and the system that lifts it up is completely overhauled. For the last 10 years there has been a movement dedicated to ending the terrorizing of Black communities, and yet despite all of its efforts police continue to attack our communities. 

Our family is a big family. Our grandmothers migrated from Louisiana a couple of decades ago to ensure their children and children’s children had a better life. One that was full of possibilities, one that would distance them from the pangs of the racist south. When you come from a big family you feel so much love for each and every member. Our family isn’t perfect, because no family is. But we try hardest to take care of each other. 

Keenan took care of his family and now he is unable to because he was stolen from us by law enforcement. It’s only been nine days into the New Year and LAPD has killed three people. This city and county continues to threaten Black communities on a daily basis. Our lives are forever changed by the carelessness of a system that too often dehumanizes us, kills us, and then blames us for our death. 

Nobody should be killed for driving while Black. LAPD should not be involved in traffic stops. In fact, the work of local grassroots groups like BLMLA has been calling for the discontinuation of law enforcement during traffic stops. This policy, if implemented before Keenan’s death, could've saved his life. Now is the time for us to remind ourselves why the fight for Black lives is so critical. Why the work that many of us have been doing for decades is work that is about saving lives. Keenan deserves to be alive. He deserves to be teaching his students. He deserves to be with his child. He deserves to be breathing, and being free. But, that is not the case, and now our family fights to get him justice.

Michael Brignac is the uncle of Keenan Anderson and the owner of Lee Esther’s restaurant in Lancaster, Ca.

Patrisse Cullors is an artist, an abolitionist and co-founder of Black Lives Matter.

Category: Opinion