Updated Apr 10, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Cornel West announces Melina Abdullah as VP pick

Melina Abdullah speaks

Melina Abdullah speaks at the 10th anniversary Black Lives Matter Festival on July 15, 2023, in Los Angeles, California. Photo: Jason Armond Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Long-shot presidential candidate Cornel West said Wednesday that he is selecting Melina Abdullah, a professor and one of the co-founders of Black Lives Matter, as his running mate for his independent bid.

Why it matters: West's announcement allows him to increase his ballot access efforts in a number of states that require third-party candidates to choose their vice presidential pick.

  • Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who is also mounting an independent presidential bid, announced his running mate, Nicole Shanahan, last month.

What he's saying: West announced his choice on The Tavis Smiley Show, saying he wanted a running mate whose "heart, mind and soul is committed to the empowerment of poor and working peoples of all colors."

  • "She has a record of the commitment and investment in ensuring that poor and working people are at the center of her vision," he added.

Zoom in: Abdullah, a BLM organizer, is a professor of Pan-African Studies at California State University-Los Angeles and the department's former chair.

The big picture: West, a prominent progressive scholar and activist, entered the 2024 contest running with the People's Party, then switched to the Green Party. He announced in October that he was running as an independent.

  • West's campaign said he's on the ballot in Alaska, Oregon, South Carolina and Utah, ABC News reports.

Go deeper: Cornel West switches party to independent in 2024 presidential race

Editor's note: This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

Go deeper