The Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation’s executive director has accused some of her critics in the black community of amplifying “right-wing propaganda.”
Patrisse Cullors, a co-founder of the BLM Global Network, recently took to social media to express her displeasure. While she did not mention names, Cullors is widely believed to be referencing recent questions from other black liberation activists about whether the foundation ethically manages its donations, which reportedly topped $90 million in 2020.
“Last week I was lied on by my own community,” Cullors posted on Instagram on Friday. “I cried and I hurt and I confronted folks. The media, especially Black media reported on lies. The media especially Black media decided to advance slander against me and my organization. No body (sic) investigated or asked questions. Instead we lifted up right wing propaganda about BLM.”
So basically, Patrice Cullors got caught with her hands in the goddamn cookie jar.
Your "organization" (a mostly faceless entity, with a vague at best financial infrastructure) takes in over $90M, but you only disburse BARELY $3M to your local chapters??
Something stinks. https://t.co/1a874mMv0x
— Isaiah L. Carter (@IsaiahLCarter) March 6, 2021
“It’s easier not to believe Black women,” wrote Cullors. “My practice in abolition teaches me compassion, boundaries, forgiveness and to lean towards healing. So, I am doing just that.”
“So much of what you all see is a sliver of what’s happening behind the scenes,” Cullors continued. “I will continue to fight for Black lives even when Black people treat me like dirt. That work is bigger than me and us.”
An activist group called the International Black Freedom Alliance (IBFA) published a video last week demanding financial support from Black Lives Matter. It featured black liberation organizer Tory Russell standing next to Michael Brown, Sr., who remains silent during the message.
Even before the article that @aaronlmorrison came out #Ferguson Mike Brown Sr. and many Black community members have had questions about the money #BlackLivesMatter was raising. Here is their statement pic.twitter.com/ykpGZ5Z4KJ
— TheIBFA (@THEIBFA) March 2, 2021
Russell said he spoke “on the behalf of many activists in the St. Louis area,” claiming BLM “has forgotten about Ferguson,” “thousands of protesters,” and the “freedom fighters” associated with the 2014 uprisings. He vowed to “hold Black Lives Matter accountable.”
“We ask that Black Lives Matter leadership fund $20 million for Ferguson organizers, organizations, and community foundations to do the work,” Russell said in the video. “We’re not begging for a handout. We’re coming for what we deserve.”
The video was inspired by a recent exclusive report by the Associated Press revealing Black Lives Matter’s fundraising success.
An IBFA press release said the article “was jaw dropping to the father of slain teen Michael Brown, Jr. who was killed by Ferguson officer Darren Wilson in 2014.” The release goes on to note, “his son’s death and the unrest that followed brought global attention to the police brutality issue that has plagued the US for over a century.”
According to the IBFA, Brown Sr. “was left with more questions than answers about the group’s funding,” such as: “Where is all that money going?” “Who are they giving it to and what are they doing with it?” And “Why hasn’t my family’s foundation received any assistance from the movement.” “How could you leave the families who are helping the community without any funding?”
The #BlackLivesMatter movement is under attack by capitalists, homophobic patriarchs, white supremacists & sadly, by reactionary Black folk.
Thank you, kindred. ❤️
— malkia devich-cyril (@culturejedi) March 6, 2021
More from the IBFA press release:
Many in the so-called Black Lives Matter movement are asking the same questions but coming to quicker and much more demoralizing answers. When Ferguson activists and organizers began to talk locally, they soon found out that none of them had received anything either.
They believe the momentum from the 2014 unrest and the subsequent protest that local activists organized for several months after were the catalyst for the group being propelled into the position to receive the 90 million. Now they demand funding from the group to the tune of 20 million in order to continue the work they started.
Russell alleged in the video that Black Lives Matter had not taken care of the families of some Ferguson activists who had “literally given their lives to the struggle,” including two men connected to the protests who later died of apparent suicides and another found dead inside a torched car, his body riddled with bullets.
“Brother Ali, Joshua Williams, and many other political prisoners from the Ferguson movement are incarcerated, or have been, and still have received no assistance from Black Lives Matter,” Russell went on to claim.
Olajuwon Ali Davis (a.k.a. Brother Ali) was sentenced to 7 years in prison in 2015 on charges that included planning and conspiring to ignite explosives during the unrest. The Department of Justice described him as a member of the New Black Panther Party.
Joshua Williams, another well-known Ferguson activist, is serving an eight-year sentence for setting a convenience store afire after protesting another police killing in 2014 in nearby Berkeley. He was 19 years old at the time.
The IBFA said if the BLM Global Network meets its demand, the Ferguson activists would utilize the $20 million “for multiple years to re-establish community efforts,” “provide mutual aid and programs for the Black community,” and “establish a community center in honor of Mike Brown Jr.”
“The center will be a hub for where activism and community empowerment merge for the greater food of the St. Louis area,” an IBFA statement says. “Money will be given to families affected by police brutality like slain activist Darren Seals and Josh Williams who is currently incarcerated on what they believe are trumped up charges.”
Russell elaborated in the video, adding that the money would also be used for “annual commemoration around Mike Brown Jr.’s life, mutual aid programs” and “Black Panther-style programs and services to meet the needs of the people.”
Cullors will be featured on the next episode of ABC’s new “Soul of a Nation” on Tuesday night. The new series describes itself as “a show by Black people, for all people, about the Black experience in America.”