The national arm of Black Lives Matter may have attracted a fresh wave of high-profile attention in the months since the death of George Floyd, prompting glitzy, woke capitalist fundraising drives, but it does not appear that much of this money is making its way into the hands of those committed to seeing out the group’s mission on the ground.
Ten local chapters of Black Lives Matter, including Denver, Chicago, Indianapolis, San Diego, and Washington, D.C., issued a statement this week which condemned the national Black Lives Matter Global Network (BLMGN).
They accuse the foundation of having initiated significant action without input from local chapter leaders and, until recently, refraining from distributing millions of dollars in donations to grassroots efforts, The Daily Wire reports.
“Since the establishment of BLMGN, our chapters have consistently raised concerns about financial transparency, decision making, and accountability,” the statement reads.
“Despite years of effort, no acceptable internal process of accountability has ever been produced by BLMGN and these recent events have undermined the efforts of chapters seeking to democratize its processes and resources.”
One of the chapter leaders’ grievances with BLMGN is their placement of Patrisse Khan-Cullors, one of the co-founders of the group and its sole board member, as executive director of the national organization “against the will of most chapters and without their knowledge,” the local chapters say.
The statement also claims that BLM Grassroots was created to assist local chapters without the input of local chapters, or notifying them of its inception.
“The formation of BLM Grassroots effectively separated the majority of chapters from BLMGN without their consent and interrupted the active process of accountability that was being established by those chapters,” it reads.
Along with accusing BLMGN of failing to work with local leaders towards a shared vision the chapters accuse the national arm of a lack of transparency in donations received and also failing to distribute said funds to the grassroots efforts.
“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 statement says.
“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,” the statement continues. “This is not the equity and financial accountability we deserve.”
As we’ve previously reported, Black Lives Matter Global Network was found to have spent $4.5 million on consultants, travel, and staff compensation between the summers of 2017 and 2019 and just $328,000 to the local chapters.