A group of Black Lives Matter activists who staged a mutiny to oust the leader of the Sacramento chapter have formed their own organization, claiming to be the city’s only “official” affiliate sanctioned by the greater Black Lives Matter governing body.
According to FOX 40 News, national Black Lives Matter leaders recently ordered Tanya Faison to relinquish her leadership role with Black Lives Matter Sacramento after several current and former members alleged “an addiction to the power she was given,” along with “patterns of abuse.” In May, the seditious faction had asked Faison to “publicly resign” and seek “intensive counseling.”
Faison, who founded BLM Sacramento in 2015, has refused to step down. She is the only individual with access to the organization’s Facebook and Twitter accounts and continues to post from them, resulting in her detractors being forced to establish a separate activist group.
“Unfortunately, there’s one person who has control over Black Lives Matter Sacramento platforms, web pages, finances and things of that nature,” explained Sonia Lewis, an organizer with the newly formed Sacramento for Black Lives, which describes itself as “Sacramento’s official Black Lives Matter chapter.”
FOX 40 obtained a letter that instructs Faison to “cease speaking on behalf of and/or representing Black Lives Matter Foundation, Inc. and Black Lives Matter Network, Inc. through social media or any other means.” The directive came from the BLM Global Network, a syndicate of activist groups operating under the BLM brand that serves as the parent organization to official chapters in several cities, including Chicago, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Toronto and the District of Columbia.
Last Friday, Faison and her allies used the Black Lives Matter Sacramento digital platforms to announce the organization she heads was no longer aligned with the BLM Global Network.
“They’ve told us not to speak on behalf of the national organization, and so we’ve made it very well known that we’re not speaking on behalf of the national organization,” Faison told FOX 40 on Monday afternoon. Faison has tweeted some heated rhetoric about abolishing the police in Sacramento here.
It is unclear whether Faison’s group will eventually change its name or continue organizing as BLM Sacramento. Some activist groups that identify themselves as “Black Lives Matter” are unaffiliated with the BLM Global Network, frequently creating confusion for those unfamiliar with the black power movement while sparking condemnation from members representing official, certified BLM chapters.
According to Faison, the uprising against her began about two months ago, shortly after she started receiving compensation as BLM Sacramento’s only paid employee. The funding came from a private health foundation called the California Endowment, which bankrolls several progressive causes throughout the state. Money trickled down to Faison through a local nonprofit, where she held the title of black liberation director.
The Sacramento Bee reports that the rebellion resulted in Faison losing that financial backing:
The new group’s board voted to terminate Faison from her position as "black liberation director,’" and she received her last check from the California Endowment…said Ben Hudson Jr., executive director of the Sacramento-based Gender Health Center. The nonprofit is the organization’s fiscal sponsor, meaning the grant money flows through it until the organization achieves nonprofit status, Hudson has said.
The two-year grant for $100,000 from the California Endowment, which was awarded recently, will continue to flow to Sacramento for Black Lives, not Faison’s group, Hudson said.
For nearly four years, Faison has been the public face of Black Lives Matter in Sacramento. She organized numerous protests that generated national publicity around officer-involved shootings, most notably the death of Stephon Clark. Faison led demonstrations against the district attorney, feuded with the county sheriff, and partnered with the Sacramento Kings NBA basketball team “to fundamentally transform Black communities” in the region.
“#TanyaFaison has definitely contributed to the beautiful body of work that is #BLMSacramento,” Lewis tweeted last month after the formation of Sacramento for Black Lives. “This shift isn’t about silencing/erasing her.”
“As the majority group we would hope and wish her well in healing,” Lewis went on to tell ABC 10. “Eventually the community will tire of two groups, and hopefully other folks will encourage that much-needed rest that we think that she needs.”
Follow Jeffrey Cawood on Twitter @JeffreyCawood.