Civil rights attorney and Minneapolis mayoral candidate Nekima Levy-Pounds gave birth to her fourth child on Friday, a healthy baby girl.
Assata Joy Armstrong arrived a few weeks early — just like her older siblings. She weighs 5 pounds 9 ounces and is 19 inches long, Levy-Pounds said.
In a statement read by supporters Friday, Levy-Pounds, 41, announced Assata’s birth and dubbed her “a future freedom fighter.”
As former head of the Minneapolis NAACP, Levy-Pounds established herself as one of the most vocal advocates for police reform in the Twin Cities. Her platform has taken center stage at rallies and marches demanding justice for those who have died at the hands of police, including Jamar Clark, Philando Castile and, most recently, Justine Damond.
Damond, an Australian woman, was fatally shot late last Saturday by Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor, who was responding to a 911 call she’d made to report a possible sexual assault near her house in the Fulton neighborhood.
At a Friday evening solidarity rally for Damond in Loring Park, fellow activist Chauntyll Allen read a note from Levy-Pounds explaining her absence. The crowd cheered after hearing the news.
Levy-Pounds urged those in attendance to keep fighting for citizens “unjustly killed by police in Minneapolis, in this state and across the nation.”
“Justine Damond’s tragic death has brought people together across racial and socioeconomic lines, and has opened up the eyes of many white Minnesotans. If it can happen to her, it can happen to anyone,” the statement read, in part.
Levy-Pounds went on to say that the community must work with urgency to overhaul the current system of policing.
“We should not all be afraid to call 911,” she wrote. “The police work for the people — not the other way around.”
Less than 24 hours before the birth, Levy-Pounds acted as one of the keynote speakers at another rally for Damond in the south Minneapolis neighborhood where she lived and died. At that event, she demanded the resignation of Police Chief Janeé Harteau. As criticism mounted Friday, Harteau stepped down at the request of Mayor Betsy Hodges.
Assata is Levy-Pounds’ first child with husband Marques Armstrong, an entrepreneur. Her other children are 20, 17 and 12 years old.