Dozens of current, former, and inactive members of Black Lives Matter’s Sacramento chapter have revolted against its lead organizer, demanding she “publicly resign,” relinquish control of the group’s social media accounts, and seek “intensive counseling.”
The drama unfolded last week when 29 activists co-signed a letter denouncing Tanya Faison, who founded BLM Sacramento in 2015. They alleged “patterns of abuse” and “wide-ranging harm and manipulation which has significantly and negatively impacted chapter and community members.”
“She has chosen to criticize and vilify people expressing concerns or dissent and to lay blame upon individuals who left the chapter over her irresponsible and authoritarian leadership,” the condemnation reads. “We will no longer be associated with Tanya Faison within the Sacramento Chapter of Black Lives Matter.”
“We remain committed to continuing the work of Black liberation and abolition of the oppressive systems in Sacramento, and we are dedicated to providing space for the community to express their grievances and heal in the upcoming weeks.”
The statement was first posted on the chapter’s official social media platforms on Wednesday morning but deleted about 30 minutes later. Faison is believed to now have full control of BLM Sacramento’s Facebook page and Twitter account, which vanished last week. Capital Public Radio reported: “Faison says she is still the leader of the group, and that she has blocked those who signed the letter from using its social media pages.”
“I don’t intend to resign or step down,” Faison told the Sacramento Bee. “I have not been abusive. I have hurt people’s feelings, and I am aware of that, and I am working on making that better…but it’s definitely not grounds for me to not be in the chapter. I’m the founder and I do all the work.”
The seditious contingent later accused Faison of “recent deeply traumatic behaviors,” issuing a list of demands for her to satisfy “in order for BLM Sacramento to continue,” including:
- “Publicly resign from her current position of leadership…”
- “Relinquish access” to the organization’s social media accounts.
- “Cease any further communications with family members of those murdered or terrorized by law enforcement…”
- “Commit to weekly intensive counseling for a minimum of 1 year.”
“If these demands are not met, there will be next steps to consider and the future of this chapter will be in jeopardy.”
They also called on Faison to end her employment with the Gender Health Center. According to the Sacramento Bee, “the group recently started receiving a two-year grant for $100,000 from the California Endowment to fund the salary of the ‘black liberation director’ – the position that Faison currently holds.”
The Bee went on to report: “The nonprofit is BLM Sacramento’s fiscal sponsor, meaning the grant money flows through it until BLM Sacramento achieves nonprofit status.”
For nearly four years, Faison has organized numerous Black Lives Matter protests, some of which generated national headlines drawing attention to officer-involved shootings and alleged police misconduct. She has led demonstrations targeting the Sacramento District Attorney and publicly feuded with the Sacramento County Sheriff. In March 2018, the Sacramento Kings NBA basketball team announced it had partnered with the chapter “to fundamentally transform Black communities” in the area.
“While great things have transpired under her leadership, it is not her alone that has made those things happen,” said Sonia Lewis, a current member of BLM Sacramento who has asked Faison to step aside. “She will always be the founder, and no one can negate the work she’s done.”
Follow Jeffrey Cawood on Twitter @JeffreyCawood.