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Founding Member Of Black Lives Matter Begs Julián Castro To Stay In Dem Presidential Race
Julian Castro, former secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, speaks during the Second Step Presidential Justice Forum at Benedict College in Columbia, South Carolina, U.S., on Sunday, Oct. 27, 2019. The forum asked Democratic presidential candidates to present their criminal justice reform platforms now that the First Step Act has been passed.
Photo by Logan Cyrus/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Dr. Melina Abdullah, a professor at Cal State L.A., who is also a founding member of Black Lives Matter, recently implored Democratic presidential candidate Julián Castro to stay in the race, citing his advocacy on behalf of marginalized groups.

On Wednesday, Abdullah tweeted: “Don’t drop out @JulianCastro!!!” We need you in this race!!! I almost never donate to candidates, but sending in my $100 right now. We so appreciate the unapologetic, powerful way that you’ve been speaking up for Black people specifically and POC (people of color), poor & oppressed folks overall.”

Castro, a former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under President Barack Obama,  threatened to suspend his campaign unless he could raise $800,000 by Halloween. According to Time Magazine, the drive “had raised close to 90 percent of its fundraising goal” by the morning of October 31, adding, “although Castro’s long-term prospects as the top of the ticket remain dim.”

More from Time Magazine:

As the only Latino running for president in a period when the community has been the target of White House insults and an uptick in hate crimes, Castro has made a place for himself by advocating for issues affecting minority groups and by consistently pushing his fellow candidates to take a stand, even on tricky political topics…

On the debate stage in June, Castro catapulted into headlines after speaking eloquently about the plight of migrant children and challenging his fellow candidates to decriminalize illegal immigration. And in October, he earned plaudits from progressives for linking gun violence and police brutality in communities of color…

Throughout his campaign, Castro has embraced his role as a voice for a minority community while running on a platform intended to appeal to a broader electorate. On the trail, he has traveled with mariachi bands, played Selena Quintanilla’s “Baila Esta Cumbia” as his go-to walkout song at events, and pointedly kept the accent over his first name on campaign signs. And when the mass shooter targeted Latinos at a Walmart in El Paso, Castro gave voice to fury. In an ad that played on Fox, he looked into the camera and addressed Trump directly, his voice calm but seething: “Innocent people were shot down because they look different from you. Because they look like me. They look like my family.”

Castro, 45, has struggled to attract substantial donations since entering the race in January. His largest fundraising quarter was from July through September when the campaign generated $3.5 million. However, he ended September with less than $700,000 cash on hand, according to Politico.

Sawyer Hackett, Castro’s press secretary, said the campaign organized a nationwide call-a-thon on Wednesday night. Supporters made more than 10,000 calls soliciting donations within two hours.

The campaign told the San Antonio Express-News earlier this week that Castro needs more contributions to compete in early voting states such as Iowa, where a recent poll showed him at 0 percent among likely caucus-goers.

The Black Lives Matter network of activist groups did not endorse a presidential candidate in the 2016 election and probably won’t this cycle either. Leaders have traditionally depended on their own organizing efforts and institution-building strategies to force change rather than politicians.

“It would’ve looked very different under Hillary Clinton,” Dr. Abdullah previously told Rolling Stone, “but it wouldn’t have been any kind of ushering in of black liberation under her either. You can’t rely on those in elected office to move us toward where we need to be. We choose to exercise a muscle that says our power and our liberation relies on us.”

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