Washington, DC – Ten local Black Lives Matter chapters have accused the national organization and co-founder of cutting them out of the process and failing to distribute millions of dollars in donations that were meant for local grassroots activism.
The chapters signed a statement that demanded financial transparency by Black Lives Matter Global Network (BLMGN), accountability by those running things at the top, and a voice in the decisions made about what to do with the contributions made to the organization, FOX News reported.
The signatories included Black Lives Matter groups from Philadelphia, DC, Chicago, Oklahoma City, San Diego, New Jersey, Denver, Indianapolis, the Hudson Valley, and Vancouver, Washington.
The statement alleged that the national organization co-founded by Patrice Cullors has taken in millions of dollars in contributions meant to be shared with local chapters, but claimed that the money has not made it back down to the grassroots level.
Cullors is the sole board member of Black Lives Matter Global Network, according to the statement.
The angry chapters asserted in their statement that Black Lives Matter Global Network, the national organization, recently announced the appointment of Cullors as its executive director and the creation of two new organizations without consulting local groups.
According to the chapters, the national network launched the Black Lives Matter Political Action Committee to deal with government affairs and Black Lives Matter Grassroots to support the organizational needs of chapters without getting any input from them.
The statement criticized Black Lives Matter Global Network’s lack of transparency and claimed the new organizational measures and the appointment of Cullors “occurred without democracy, and assert that it was without the knowledge of the majority of Black Lives Matters chapters across the country and world.”
The chapters explained in their statement that the national organization grew with their support under the understanding that the funds collected at the top level would be redistributed to local activist groups in the field.
They said that didn’t happen and accused Black Lives Matter Global Network of trying to undermine efforts of local chapters to democratize the national organization.
“In the spirit of transparency, accountability, and responsibility to our community, we believe public accountability has become necessary,” the statement declared.
Then it went on to clarify several points.
The chapters alleged in their statement that Cullors became executive director against the will of most chapters and without their knowledge.
It also claimed that the new Black Lives Matter Grassroots lacked the support of most local chapters because it effectively separated them and took them out of the accountability process they’d worked to create.
“In our experience, chapter organizers have been consistently prevented from establishing financial transparency, collective decision making, or collaboration on political analysis and vision within BLMGN,” the statement read.
It went on to accuse the national organization of hiding its financial operations and refusing to account for the “unknown millions of dollars” that have been contributed to the group.
“To the best of our knowledge, most chapters have received little to no financial support from BLMGN since the launch in 2013,” the statement read. “It was only in the last few months that selected chapters appear to have been invited to apply for a $500,000 grant created with resources generated because of the organizing labor of chapters. This is not the equity and financial accountability we deserve.”
Black Lives Matter isn’t a legal entity, instead donations are collected by other nonprofits who “gift” the money to the non-existent entity headed by Cullors to use however she wants.
The chapters wrote that they wouldn’t give up on transforming the national organization to make it accountable, but in the meantime, they have encouraged supporters to donate directly to their local chapters who have boots on the group on the front lines.
For years, Black Lives Matter Global Network (@Blklivesmatter) has undermined the work & integrity of local chapters — including BLM DC.
— Black Lives Matter DC (@DMVBlackLives) November 30, 2020
The angry statement from the local Black Lives Matter chapters came just two weeks after Cullors sent a letter to former Vice President Joe Biden and U.S. Senator Kamala Harris (D-California) demanding a seat at the table on their transition team, according to FOX News.
“Without the resounding support of black people, we would be saddled with a very different electoral outcome,” Cullors wrote.
“We want something for our vote,” she informed Biden and Harris in the letter. “We are requesting a meeting with you both to discuss the expectations that we have for your administration and the commitments that must be made to black people.”
“We want to be heard and our agenda to be prioritized,” the letter continued. “We issue these expectations not just because black people are the most consistent and reliable voters for Democrats, but also because black people are truly living in crisis in a nation that was built on our subjugation.”