LOS ANGELES - From local politicians to civil rights leaders, social justice activists, police officers, and the journalists who covered 2020's social justice movement, find out who's who in the Rising Up documentary.
The California native is a fearless leader and is the co-founder of the Los Angeles chapter of Black Lives Matter. She is also a Professor and former Chair of Pan-African Studies at Cal State LA. She earned her B.A. in African American Studies from Howard University and earned her Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of California. Dr. Abdullah has earned several awards for her community service and has authored numerous articles and book chapters.
As the Roy P. Crocker Professor of Law at the University of Southern California, some of Jody Armour’s areas of expertise include racial justice and criminal justice. He also serves as a Soros Justice Senior Fellow of the Open Society Institute’s Center on Crime, Communities and Culture. Armour completed his undergraduate studies at the prestigious Harvard University where he earned his AB degree in Sociology before earning his JD degree with honors from the Boalt Hall Law School at UC Berkeley. He has been a faculty member at USC since 1995.
SFC Rickey Ashton Jr.
Sergeant First Class Rickey Ashton Jr. serves in the National Guard. He is a Black man who supported the protests and loves his country. He was called to help patrol the streets as protests erupted in Los Angeles and said he had to reconcile both aspects of his life. "I have a story the nation needs to hear," he said.
In the tense moments of police standoffs with protesters following the George Floyd protests last summer, Laura opened up her Hollywood apartment to peaceful Black Lives Matter protesters to shield them from potentially getting arrested for breaking curfew. Later that evening, the group gathered on the roof of the building and formed BLM with their bodies in a powerful moment as the building was surrounded by police. Auer described the incident as "traumatizing."
Congresswoman Karen Bass
Rep. Karen Bass is proud to represent the 37th Congressional District of California where she grew up. The district encompasses numerous neighborhoods throughout the City of Los Angeles including Baldwin Hills, South Los Angeles, Crenshaw, Miracle Mile and Culver City. Overall, the district is 39% Latinx, 25% Black, 25% White and 8% Asian. In 2019 and 2020, Rep. Bass served as the Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus and introduced the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. She completed her undergraduate studies at Cal State Dominguez Hills and completed the University of Southern California’s School of Medicine Physician Assistant Program, as well as the USC Master’s Program in Social Work.
Since 2004, Bob DeCastro has covered some of the biggest stories impacting Southern California. He anchors the FOX 11 News at Noon and delivers reports every weekday morning on Good Day LA. Before pursuing a journalism career, he served as a Lieutenant on a U.S. Navy Destroyer based in San Diego. He earned his B.S. in Broadcast Journalism from Boston University.
Christine Devine is an Evening Anchor at FOX 11. From the 1992 LA riots to the death of George Floyd and beyond, the Emmy Award-winning anchor has been gracing television screens across Los Angeles for decades. She has a passion for telling stories in underserved communities, often giving a voice to the voiceless. She graduated from Arizona State University.
Christina Gonzalez says her main love is field reporting and has mastered the art of storytelling. She has been with FOX 11 for more than three decades and has garnered over a dozen Emmy nominations, having won many of them for reporting, writing and producing. She graduated Cum Laude from the University of Miami and is currently completing her Master's in Journalism from Cal State Northridge.
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A peaceful protester, Zeeshan and his friend Natali did not back down as protests grew intense in Los Angeles following the death of George Floyd. The two were seen on video that has been viewed worldwide as they turned tables in an amazing display of bravery and stood guard defending stores from looters.
Romeo Mastin is the weekday morning show co-host with Cece Valencia on the iconic Los Angeles radio station 93.5 KDAY from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. The dynamic duo also hosts "The Black Report" on FOX Soul. The pair are equally passionate about all things music and pop culture as they are for social justice. The proud father was born in St. Louis but has deep roots in Los Angeles. He grew up in the music business and has sung the National Anthem for multiple Los Angeles sports teams including the Lakers and Dodgers.
Lora King was only 7 years old when her father, Rodney King, was brutally beaten by Los Angeles Police Department officers in 1992. The violent incident was caught on camera and was seen worldwide and was a key moment that led up to the 1992 Los Angeles riots. The four officers who were involved were later acquitted. King says she has hope for the future of race relations in the nation. However, she believes very little, if any, progress has been made from her father’s beating to the death of George Floyd. Rodney King died in 2012 and she keeps his legacy alive through the Rodney King Foundation, which gives out scholarships to fathers so they can spend time with their kids.
Koco McAboy is an Emmy-Award journalist who started at FOX 11 in March 2020 at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic and months before the social justice movement. She came to the City of Angels from the Motor City where she covered crime and wrongful convictions. The bilingual storyteller, who used her Spanish-speaking skills to tell stories of undocumented immigrants, attended Central Michigan University.
Tony McEwing’s velvety voice and charismatic personality can be seen weekdays on Good Day LA from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. As one of the most trusted and recognizable journalists in Los Angeles, he recently received the Lifetime Achievement Award for the RTNA of Southern California. McEwing earned a Master’s degree in editorial broadcasting from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, having also attended law school and earning a Bachelor of Science in Education.
Justin McWashington was one of the peaceful BLM protesters who took to the streets after George Floyd’s murder in June 2020. Laura Auer courageously let the group into her Hollywood apartment building so the group would not get arrested for breaking curfew. Later that evening, the group gathered on the roof of the building and formed BLM with their bodies in a powerful moment as the building was surrounded by police. "I think back to when the BLM protest was going on and I had more bruises than I had skin. I’m still dealing with it all mentally, but as Black people, we don’t have time to stop or feel sorry for ourselves," he said.
Before he became a national correspondent for FOX News, Bill Melugin’s investigative reports uncovered some of the biggest stories in Southern California in recent years. He has won two Emmys, three Edward Murrow Awards and three RTNA Golden Mike awards. The Southern California native earned his B.A. in Broadcast Journalism from Arizona State University, where he also minored in Spanish Linguistics.
The Los Angeles native is an Evening Anchor for FOX 11 and the host of California’s only statewide political show "The Issue Is." Every night, the Emmy award-winner informs viewers how politics shape their everyday lives. He double-majored at the University of Southern California in Broadcast Journalism and Political Science, successfully graduating Summa Cum Laude.
Los Angeles Police Department Chief Michel Moore
Los Angeles Police Department Chief Michel Moore has been with the department for four decades. He held various positions from police officer to First Assistant Chief before he was officially sworn in as Chief of Police of the City of Los Angeles by LA Mayor Eric Garcetti in 2018. He earned his undergraduate degree in Business and Management and his Masters of Business Administration from the University of Redlands. Following the protests across LA in 2020, Chief Moore faced scrutiny for how LAPD officers treated BLM demonstrators.
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Michaela Pereira is the host of Good Day LA. The native Canadian calls Southern California her adopted home and is active in several organizations. She’s been honored with several awards including the Genii Award for Excellence in Broadcasting from the Alliance for Women in Media, the Hollywood Community Leadership Award from The Hollywood Police Activities League and the Celebrity Philanthropist Award from the Association of Fundraising Professionals Michaela is a proud member of the National Association of Black Journalists.
Reverend Al Sharpton
The Reverend Al Sharpton is the Founder and President of the National Action Network that is one of the leading civil rights organizations in the US. Inspired by Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Sharpton has been at the forefront of the modern civil rights movement for nearly half of a century. He also hosts "Politics Nation" on MSNBC, nationally syndicated radio show "Keepin it Real" and on Sundays, he hosts "The Hour of Power." The proud father and grandfather has written three books. The New York native attended Brooklyn College and holds honorary degrees from Medgar Evers College, Fisk University, Tennessee State University, Bethune-Cookman University, Virginia Union University and Voorhees College.
Phil Shuman is a veteran anchor and reporter for FOX 11, having reported in Southern California for 40 years. In his long career, Shuman has covered some of the biggest stories in Southern California and the country, such as the O.J. Simpson case and the Rodney King beating. He graduated with a B.A. in Economics from Williams College in Massachusetts.
Leo Terrell is a Civil Rights Attorney known for his hot takes as a frequent contributor on FOX News. Terrell has a passion for education as a former school teacher and is also an author and podcast host.
Corporal Ryan Tillman is the founder of "Breaking Barriers United," where its mission aims to repair the bond between law enforcement and the community. The loving husband and father serves as a community officer for Chino PD, and mentors children, teens and young adults.
Known as "Cece the Mambacita," Cece Valencia the weekday morning show co-host with Romeo on the iconic Los Angeles radio station 93.5 KDAY from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. The dynamic duo also hosts "The Black Report" on FOX Soul. The pair are equally passionate about all things music and pop culture as they are for social justice. She also hosts KDAY's Midday Ride from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Monette Watley was one of the good Samaritans protecting a store from looters in the Van Nuys neighborhood of Los Angeles when she was mistakenly detained by responding LAPD in a tense confrontation seen live across the world in an exclusive FOX 11 video. They were protecting the store because the owner was a beloved member of the community. In "Rising Up," she shares her story for the first time.