The father of Mike Brown, a black man killed in a police-involved shooting in Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014, and the head of a Ferguson community support group, the International Black Freedom Alliance, are demanding the national Black Lives Matter organization cut them a check for $20 million after finding out BLM received more than $90 million in donations after the death of George Floyd.
“Mike Brown Sr. and local community organizer Tony Russell have demanded the Black Lives Matter organization provide $20M to continue their work in Ferguson, Missouri,” Yahoo News reported earlier this week.
Mike Brown was killed in an altercation with Ferguson, Missouri, police in August of 2014.
According to History.com:
Many details differ, but most accounts agree that [Officer Darren] Wilson saw Brown and [Dorian] Johnson walking in the street, demanded they get on the sidewalk, then stopped his police SUV in front of them in order to confront them. He and Brown had an altercation through the open window of the car, during which Wilson fired twice. Brown and Johnson tried to leave, Wilson exited his car to pursue them, and at some point Brown turned back around to face Wilson, who then fired 12 shots, six of which hit Brown.
Wilson claimed he shot Brown in self-defense. The confrontation sparked national media coverage and a series of protests — and riots — in Ferguson, Missouri.
Although Mike Brown’s death was among the first high-profile incidents to give rise to the national Black Lives Matter movement, Mike Brown’s father says the family has received nearly nothing from the national BLM organization, even after BLM’s profile — and coffers — grew significantly in 2020.
“According to the Twitter thread, Brown Sr. has only received $500 from any BLM affiliated group since his son’s 2014 killing, despite being a community figure who organizes and supports other families in healing and empowerment,” Yahoo notes. “The demand is in response to news of BLM receiving over $90M in response to the uprisings launched after the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and others.
Brown and Russell appear together in a social media video making the request.
“On behalf of many activists in the St. Louis area, I’m joined by Mike Brown Sr., the father of Mike Brown Jr. Today, we hold Black Lives Matter accountable,” Russell says.
According to Yahoo News, Brown, Sr., and Russell are not alone in wondering where money, which BLM had pledged to spend on minority communities experiencing racism, ended up — and BLM only started releasing information on its financials this year when they filed paperwork showing $60 million in assets.
“Several chapters of BLM across the country have expressed their desire for transparency regarding fundraising in the organization,” the outlet notes, but says that founder Patrisse Cullors responded that “things behind-the-scenes are not what people may assume,” despite BLM’s pledge to “reinvest” the money they received in donations.
“One of our biggest goals this year is taking the dollars we were able to raise in 2020 and building out the institution we’ve been trying to build for the last seven and a half years,” Cullors said in an interview earlier this year. “Because the BLM movement was larger than life — and it is larger than life — people made very huge assumptions about what our actual finances looked like. We were often scraping for money, and this year was the first year where we were resourced in the way we deserved to be.”
Russell and Brown, Sr., said on social media that they believe they deserve some of those resources. They “hope to use the money for the Chosen For Change Foundation, the Mike Brown Community Center, organizing grants for Ferguson protests and activists, various programs and services in the Black community, and the annual Aug. 9 commemorations of Brown’s death.”