“Create Context for Us to Voice Struggle”: Hip-Hop Artist Talib Kweli, Judge LaDoris Cordell Talk Race and Justice

LaDoris Cordell, a judge and San Jose's Independent Police Auditor, teamed up with hip-hop artist and social justice activist Talib Kweli on Friday to discuss race and justice.

The pair were part of a forum at the Castro Theater in San Francisco that drew a crowd of hundreds.

"Of course all lives matter, but that's obvious," Kweli said. "It's not so obvious black lives matter and until black lives matter, all lives don't matter."

Friday's event comes at a time when the San Francisco Police Department is in the midst of its own crisis with the community -- racist text messages sent between convicted police Sgt. Ian Furminger and four other officers.

The FBI uncovered the rants and Furminger is behind bars. One of the accused officers resigned this week and three others are on desk duty as the investigation continues. And now sources said the investigation includes seven more officers.

"I'm saddened, but not surprised," Cordell said.

Cordell said those private text messages reflect how some police officers treat people of color.

"We now know there are some officers who have racist views," Cordell said. "How do you think they're behaving out in the community dealing with people of color? I can tell you I don't have to guess -- not very well."

San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr said it is likely the officers will be fired.

Cordell said it is time for all officers to wear body cameras.

While Cordell fights for change from the inside, Kweli said hip-hop can change its tune and be the voice of change. But he needs people to give him something to express.

"If we want to see entertainers voice the struggle more, we need to be more active in our struggles," Kweli said. "Create context for us to voice struggle."

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