Way back when, after the death of George Floyd, the Black Lives Matter hashtag blew up. Everyone was keenly aware of the need to declare that Black Lives Matter. And to be clear, of course they do, but what was new is that everyone was declaring it – and giving money to support these declarations – through a non-profit organization that no one had ever heard about up until that point. But hey– with a name like “Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation,” which is what I call “Black Lives Matter™,” how bad could it be?
Well, on the side of “helping fight against racism,” the answer is “not very good.” As this New York Magazine article declared in January 2022:
BLMGNF said it had raised more than $90 million in 2020. It incurred $8.4 million in operating expenses, distributed $21.7 million in grants to more than 30 organizations, and retained some $60 million in its coffers. But if the disclosures were intended to quiet dissent, they didn’t succeed. After the report was published, two activists in Ferguson, Missouri — Tory Russell and Michael Brown Sr., whose son was killed by a police officer there in 2014 — posted a video demanding $20 million for local programs and organizers. “The movement that has been catapulted into the limelight has forgotten about Ferguson and the freedom fighters [who] have literally given their lives to the struggle,” Russell said. A few weeks later, in March 2021, two mothers of victims of police violence, Lisa Simpson and Samaria Rice, released a statement calling for BLMGNF and others to stop capitalizing on their suffering. “We don’t want or need y’all parading in the streets accumulating donations, platforms, movie deals, etc. off the death of our loved ones, while the families and communities are left clueless and broken,” they wrote. “Don’t say our loved ones’ names period! That’s our truth!”
The millions raised, coupled with confusion about how money is collected and spent, has created a rift among organizers. Many want better visibility into Black Lives Matter’s finances, even as they fear that right-wing groups will seize on even the appearance of mismanagement to discredit their work. Despite the risks, some figures in the movement are beginning to speak out about the disconnect between local activists doing the day-to-day labor of supporting families, opposing unjust politicians, and coordinating protests and the public’s perception of a monolithic movement.
As such, people may be wondering what is REALLY going on here with Black Lives Matter™. You see, there is a good question about “their work.” That’s because things at Black Lives Matter™ were getting bad even as far back as December of 2020. That’s when Politico reported about internal revolts over money and organizational control and other stuff. As such, the founder of Black Lives Matter resigned. And as this story from USA Today stated back in May of 2021,
Last month, Cullors was targeted by several conservative-leaning publications that falsely alleged she took a large annual salary from the foundation, affording her recent purchase of a southern California home.
Ends up, that wasn’t actually true. The organization did not give her a “large annual salary” that allowed her to AFFORD the mansion. No, no. That would definitely be shady but also definitely legal. Non-profit organizations are allowed to pay their employees salaries.
Instead, things were much worse, because as confirmed by New York Magazine two weeks ago, the Intelligencer just reported that rather than have a “salary” that could afford a $6 Million mansion, instead BLACK LIVES MATTERS™ SECRETLY BOUGHT THE DANG HOUSE STRAIGHT UP FOR $6 MILLION.
That is both shady AND legally questionable.
The story was that they were going to use it as a “studio” to support black artists for “the cause” or something.
But, not surprisingly for those of us who saw this coming from a mile away, there has been very little “art” produced from this location.
BUT TO BE FAIR, Black Lives Matter™ DID use it as a backdrop for the following video, marking the one-year anniversary of the Freedom Summer:
Which raises its own question. Like…. Why is THIS is the image that put forward to mark the anniversary of THE DEATH OF GEORGE FLOYD and say “THERE IS STILL SO MUCH WORK TO DO”:
Now, I’m no PR expert, but it seems strange. Maybe there is some questionable judgment in the video-production department. I mean, why not just rent out a nice space to film a short video, rather than BUY THE ENTIRE FREAKING MANSION.
So, without all of the understanding of their PR strategy, maybe this can be justified if their underlying beliefs and their “cause” actually has merit. We can forgive some minor foibles like financial mismanagement, dissent within the organization, and accidentally buying a $6 Million mansion when renting a filming location would have been good enough?
I guess the rubber meets the road when we look at what these founders ACTUALLY BELIEVE. If only there was someone who knows what Black Lives Matter™ founders and movement leaders actually believe in their own words?
What Black Lives Matter™ Really Believes
Way back a long time ago, I wrote about how scary Black Lives Matter’s beliefs were. Many other were doing this, too. For example, here is the Heritage Foundation noting how scary the beliefs of Black Lives Matter™ actually are. The problem is that since the time Black Lives Matter™ was getting all the positive attention, they have since DELETED the “What We Believe” section from the website. As such, those who are critical of it cannot actually look at the words themselves.
Instead, all we have in the record are vague clips without specifics where Terry Crews has to REALLY WORK HARD to say that MAYBE this organization isn’t 100% on the up and up:
Crews: Look, it’s a great mantra. It’s a true mantra. But when you’re talking about an organization. You’re talking about the leaders. You’re talking about But when you look at the organization, police brutality is not the only thing they’re talking about the people who are responsible for putting these things together. Those are two different things.
But GOOD NEWS! People. You see, way back when I wrote about it, unlike everyone else (who didn’t think that people would hide their tracks), rather that talk ABOUT what Black Lives Matter™ believes, I WENT TO THE WEBSITE AND COPY-PASTED THE TEXT OF WHAT THEY BELIEVE ONTO MY OWN WEBSITE.
As such, I think I am THE ONLY PERSON who has the ACTUAL WORDS of what those people in that $6 Million mansion (for “artists” allegedly) ACTUALLY BELIEVE.
And therefore, without further ado, I give you Black Lives Matter™ in their own words:
WHAT WE BELIEVE
Four years ago, what is now known as the Black Lives Matter Global Network began to organize. It started out as a chapter-based, member-led organization whose mission was to build local power and to intervene when violence was inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes.
In the years since, we’ve committed to struggling together and to imagining and creating a world free of anti-Blackness, where every Black person has the social, economic, and political power to thrive.
Black Lives Matter began as a call to action in response to state-sanctioned violence and anti-Black racism. Our intention from the very beginning was to connect Black people from all over the world who have a shared desire for justice to act together in their communities. The impetus for that commitment was, and still is, the rampant and deliberate violence inflicted on us by the state.
Enraged by the death of Trayvon Martin and the subsequent acquittal of his killer, George Zimmerman, and inspired by the 31-day takeover of the Florida State Capitol by POWER U and the Dream Defenders, we took to the streets. A year later, we set out together on the Black Lives Matter Freedom Ride to Ferguson, in search of justice for Mike Brown and all of those who have been torn apart by state-sanctioned violence and anti-Black racism. Forever changed, we returned home and began building the infrastructure for the Black Lives Matter Global Network, which, even in its infancy, has become a political home for many.
Ferguson helped to catalyze a movement to which we’ve all helped give life. Organizers who call this network home have ousted anti-Black politicians, won critical legislation to benefit Black lives, and changed the terms of the debate on Blackness around the world. Through movement and relationship building, we have also helped catalyze other movements and shifted culture with an eye toward the dangerous impacts of anti-Blackness.
These are the results of our collective efforts.
The Black Lives Matter Global Network is as powerful as it is because of our membership, our partners, our supporters, our staff, and you. Our continued commitment to liberation for all Black people means we are continuing the work of our ancestors and fighting for our collective freedom because it is our duty.
Every day, we recommit to healing ourselves and each other, and to co-creating alongside comrades, allies, and family a culture where each person feels seen, heard, and supported.
We acknowledge, respect, and celebrate differences and commonalities.
We work vigorously for freedom and justice for Black people and, by extension, all people.
We intentionally build and nurture a beloved community that is bonded together through a beautiful struggle that is restorative, not depleting.
We are unapologetically Black in our positioning. In affirming that Black Lives Matter, we need not qualify our position. To love and desire freedom and justice for ourselves is a prerequisite for wanting the same for others.
We see ourselves as part of the global Black family, and we are aware of the different ways we are impacted or privileged as Black people who exist in different parts of the world.
We are guided by the fact that all Black lives matter, regardless of actual or perceived sexual identity, gender identity, gender expression, economic status, ability, disability, religious beliefs or disbeliefs, immigration status, or location.
We make space for transgender brothers and sisters to participate and lead.
We are self-reflexive and do the work required to dismantle cisgender privilege and uplift Black trans folk, especially Black trans women who continue to be disproportionately impacted by trans-antagonistic violence.
We build a space that affirms Black women and is free from sexism, misogyny, and environments in which men are centered.
We practice empathy. We engage comrades with the intent to learn about and connect with their contexts.
We make our spaces family-friendly and enable parents to fully participate with their children. We dismantle the patriarchal practice that requires mothers to work “double shifts” so that they can mother in private even as they participate in public justice work.
We disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement by supporting each other as extended families and “villages” that collectively care for one another, especially our children, to the degree that mothers, parents, and children are comfortable.
We foster a queer‐affirming network. When we gather, we do so with the intention of freeing ourselves from the tight grip of heteronormative thinking, or rather, the belief that all in the world are heterosexual (unless s/he or they disclose otherwise).
We cultivate an intergenerational and communal network free from ageism. We believe that all people, regardless of age, show up with the capacity to lead and learn.
We embody and practice justice, liberation, and peace in our engagements with one another.
Therefore, if anyone was SPECULATING that these Black Lives Matter™ people were crazy extremists, I think I can remove all such speculation. Hopefully, that will clear up the issue.