Black Lives Matter leaders condemn allegations of mismanaged funds

Leaders of the Black Lives Matter motion are dismissing  allegations that they mismanaged thousands and thousands of {dollars} after a scathing New York Magazine report revealed that that they had bought a $6 million residence in Southern California with donated funds. 

Patrisse Cullors, co-founder and former govt director of the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation, and Melina Abdullah, co-founder of BLM Los Angeles and co-director of BLM Grassroots, spoke to reporters Monday throughout a closed roundtable dialogue, dismissing latest articles concerning the group’s funds as media assaults and “misinformation and disinformation,” and claiming that any lack of transparency concerning the multimillion greenback property was out of concern for the leaders’ security.

“Almost immediately upon closing, the attacks on me, and BLM, which also means Melina and others, escalated,” Cullors mentioned, including that she stayed on the residence for 4 nights whereas the FBI investigated a loss of life risk towards her. “So we did use the campus as a haven, as a safe place. That derailed an announcement strategy. Conditions changed, and that’s it.” 

Cullors was named govt director of the worldwide community basis in July 2020 and left the group final spring. 

The dialogue got here every week after the New York Magazine report by Sean Campbell renewed questions concerning the group’s use of donations. The report revealed that the group secretly purchased the 6,500-square-foot home in October 2020 as a hub and headquarters for its members to create content material selling social justice. 

The report solely fueled questions concerning the group’s funds, only a 12 months after the inspiration revealed an in depth take a look at its funds for the primary time. The Associated Press reported then that the inspiration mentioned it had taken in simply over $90 million in 2020 and dedicated $21.7 million in grant funding to each official and unofficial BLM chapters, together with 30 different Black-led grassroots organizations. The basis put its working price range at $8.4 million.

The BLM Movement was born in 2013, after George Zimmerman was acquitted of homicide within the killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin; the worldwide community was created shortly after and, at this time, has greater than 40 chapters world wide, according to the BLM LA web site. The motion has labored to advocate for victims of police violence and educate the general public about systemic points plaguing Black communities.

Along with questions concerning the the rest of the $90 million, leaders from native chapters who mentioned they’ve acquired little to no funding from the group mentioned they’ve questioned the place cash raised earlier than 2020 has gone. Cullors mentioned the group didn’t obtain a lot cash till 2020 and denied any claims on the contrary. 

“It just isn’t true. Our largest donor base, previous to me resigning, was always small dollar donors,” Cullors mentioned. “It’s just not true that millions were poured in. At most, our budget was at $1.4” million.

Chelsea Fuller, a spokesperson for Cullors and Abdullah, informed reporters that present leaders of the inspiration declined to be half of the dialogue on Monday. A spokesperson for the group mentioned that “the Foundation intends to do its own media in the near future” and directed NBC News to a press release the group shared Monday on Twitter. The assertion highlights that the inspiration has donated some $3 million to households affected by Covid and greater than $25 million to “Black-led front-line” organizations world wide. 

“We are embracing this moment as an opportunity for accountability, healing, truth-telling, and transparency,” the assertion reads. “We understand the necessity of working intentionally to rebuild trust so we can continue forging a new path that sustains Black people for generations.”

NBCBLK beforehand reported on the stress between the nationwide group and its native chapters. In an try to disperse some of the 2020 funds, the inspiration launched BLM Grassroots, a $6.5 million fund through which native chapters might apply for grants of as much as $500,000. Local organizers mentioned then that that they had no information that such a fund was being created, and that they weren’t requested for enter concerning the appointment of Cullors as govt director of the community. This, they mentioned then, was simply one other instance of the group’s lack of transparency.

“This is not a new conversation we’re having. It’s one that keeps coming up,” Ariel Lipscomb, an organizer with BLM Denver, mentioned in 2020. “We’ve consistently asked for accountability. We’ve consistently asked for transparency. We’ve consistently asked for shared power and for the actions of BLMGNF to reflect the work that we do.”

The famend scholar, author and activist Angela Davis joined the dialogue Monday and admitted that she was “not aware of all of the details” concerning allegations of mismanaged funds. Still, she equated the most recent controversy with “attacks to discredit the movement” which have traditionally plagued Black actions. 

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