With nearly $100 million raised last year alone, some left-wing activists are asking the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation to give some of that money back to the individuals who say they made the movement possible.
In a Tuesday press release, Michael Brown Sr, the father of the 18-year-old shot and killed by a Ferguson, Missouri, police officer in 2014, asked Black Lives Matter, “Where is all that money going?”
“Who are they giving [the money] to, and what are they doing with it?” Brown asked. “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?”
Brown, as well as a collective of black activists called the International Black Freedom Alliance, are demanding Black Lives Matter give them $20 million “in order to continue the work they started.”
“The group of Ferguson activists alongside Mike Brown Sr. and many other families say they will utilize this funding for multiple years to re-establish community efforts, provide mutual aid and programs for the Black community as well as establish a community center in honor of Mike Brown Jr. to serve the community,” a statement from the IBFA reads.
Outrage from Brown and other activists in the Ferguson area stems from a recent report showing the national Black Lives Matter organization raised over $90 million in 2020.
The surge of funding came during a summer of unrest as activists took to the streets for months in protest against alleged police brutality. Many demonstrations over the death of George Floyd quickly turned violent, leading to an estimated hundreds of millions of dollars in property damage nationwide.
“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,” Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors said in an interview last month.
Some of the country’s largest corporations and wealthiest individuals flooded Black Lives Matter with donations. Billions of dollars donated to COVID-19 relief were specifically earmarked for minority communities, with donors citing the Black Lives Matter movement as a rationale.
But where the money specifically donated to Black Lives Matter has been allocated remains a bit of a mystery, particularly as the group begins letting the public peek into its financials.
Of the over $90 million raised last year, $8.4 million was spent on expenses. Another $21.7 million has been allocated for grants to left-wing activist and local Black Lives Matter groups. The group said it used nearly $2 million for its get-out-the-vote campaign for the presidential and Georgia special elections.
By the end of the year, Black Lives Matter sat on more than $60 million in unspent money.
“Our plans, strategies and infrastructure had to catch up to the speed of funding that suddenly increased exponentially in several months,” the BLM report said. “Now, we are suddenly at liberty to do #SoMuchMore than we had ever imagined.”
That large pool of resources has created tension within the activist community. Black Lives Matter branches in Washington, D.C., Chicago, Oklahoma City, New Jersey, San Diego, Philadelphia, Indianapolis, Denver, the Hudson Valley, and Vancouver, Washington, sent a letter in December of last year demanding more transparency from national leadership.
“For years there has been inquiry regarding the financial operations of BLMGN and no acceptable process of either public or internal transparency about the unknown millions of dollars donated to BLMGN, which has certainly increased during this time of pandemic and rebellion,” the local BLM chapters wrote. “To the best of our knowledge, most chapters have received little to no financial support from BLMGN since the launch in 2013. 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.”
The Black Lives Matter movement began in 2013 following the acquittal of George Zimmerman on murder charges after he shot and killed teenager Trayvon Martin in Florida.
Since then, scrutiny over police practices has led to calls for dramatic changes in the criminal justice department. Far-Left district attorney candidates with campaigns funded by billionaires such as George Soros have won races in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and St. Louis, with platforms based on restorative justice initiatives and eliminating cash bail.
On Wednesday, the House passed the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which establishes stringent requirements for law enforcement officers to undergo implicit bias training and wear body cameras. The bill passed 220-212, with only one Republican mistakenly voting in its favor.
“I accidentally pressed the wrong voting button and realized it too late,” Texas Rep. Lance Gooden wrote in a now-deleted tweet. “I have changed the official record to reflect my opposition to the partisan George Floyd Policing Act.”