Who had this grift on their 2021 bingo card? The father of Michael Brown is seeking $20M from Black Lives Matter, along with other activists in Ferguson, Missouri. The Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation released an impact report to the Associated Press last week which shows a whopping $90M raised last year. Brown would like his piece of the pie now.
The deaths of Trayvon Martin in Florida in 2012 and Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri in 2014 were catalysts for the creation of Black Lives Matter. The Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation is seen as a steward of the movement. Tens of millions of dollars were raised in 2020, helped tremendously by the protests and marches by BLM, especially during the Summer of Love, after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Celebrities and public figures fell all over themselves to jump on the bandwagon. Now that the movement has found such success, the founders – all self-proclaimed Marxists – want to do more than organize and instigate protest marches that lead to riots. They want to “uplift black joy and liberation.”
“We want to uplift Black joy and liberation, not just Black death. We want to see Black communities thriving, not just surviving,” reads an impact report the foundation shared with the AP before releasing it.
The foundation said it committed $21.7 million in grant funding to official and unofficial BLM chapters, as well as 30 Black-led local organizations. It ended 2020 with a balance of more than $60 million, after spending nearly a quarter of its assets on the grant funds and other charitable giving.
In its report, the BLM foundation said individual donations via its main fundraising platform averaged $30.76. More than 10% of the donations were recurring. The report does not state who gave the money in 2020, and leaders declined to name prominent donors.
Last year, the foundation’s expenses were approximately $8.4 million — that includes staffing, operating and administrative costs, along with activities such as civic engagement, rapid response and crisis intervention.
This financial statement is the first that the organization has released. There has been tension between its grassroots leaders and national leadership, mostly over transparency and accountability. Now Mr. Brown is stepping up and asking, “Where is all that money going?” He is joined by the International Black Freedom Alliance. They want $20M to fund activists in Ferguson, reasoning they are entitled to money because they are in a community where the movement began. “How could you leave the families who are helping the community without any funding?”
“We’re not asking for a handout, but for the funding to keep the movement strong where it began,” said Tory Russell, a Ferguson activist and co-founder of the International Black Freedom Alliance.
The funds in Ferguson would be used in part to build a community center in honor of Michael Brown, the press release said.
Economic justice is the focus for 2021, especially how it relates to the impact of COVID-19 on black communities.
The racial justice movement had a broad impact on philanthropic giving last year. According to an upcoming report by Candid and the Center for Disaster Philanthropy, 35% of the $20.2 billion in U.S. funding dollars from corporations, foundations, public charities and high-net-worth individuals to address COVID-19 was explicitly designated for communities of color.
Michael Brown, Sr. claims to have only received $500.00 from BLM since his son’s death. Tory Russell is holding the organization accountable.
According to the Twitter thread, Brown Sr. has only received $500 from any BLM affiliated group since his son’s 2014 killing, despite being a community figure who organizes and supports other families in healing and empowerment.
Russell, who co-founded the International Black Freedom Alliance appeared next to Brown Sr. in a video expanding on their official statement. The IBFA released a series of images and videos via Twitter that clarifies their mission and their reasoning for asking BLM to provide the money.
“On behalf of many activists in the St. Louis area, I’m joined by Mike Brown Sr., the father of Mike Brown Jr. Today, we hold Black Lives Matter accountable,” Russell announced in the video.
Today our co-founder, #Ferguson frontline organizer @VanguardTNT alongside #MikeBrown's father demands 20 million from #BlackLivesMatter in order to continue the work they and other have been doing since the uprising since 2014. pic.twitter.com/4rDA28ZKnB
— TheIBFA (@THEIBFA) March 2, 2021
There is something unseemly about parents of dead children cashing in. We saw it after the death of Trayvon Martin. His parents sold t-shirts and other items with his image on them and created almost a cottage industry. The same has happened with others. Now it looks as though the elder Brown’s demand of such a large amount of money is a grift. He has the name recognition and support of the Ferguson community – why hasn’t he raised money for the community center or whatever it is he wants to be dedicated to his son’s memory? If BLM is funding efforts across the country it seems Brown and Russell could have worked with the BLM Foundation instead of doing it through social media.
Michael Brown is the young black man killed by a white cop after lunging at a police officer’s gun. He was being stopped and questioned about shoplifting. The narrative began that Brown was shot though his arms were held up in the air. That has long been debunked yet the chant “Hands up, don’t shoot” continues today. In other words, Michael Brown was no angelic victim. His own actions led to a tragic ending. So far, the $20M demand has not been met.
We await the response from #BlackLivesMatter with the releasing of the funds that #Ferguson is demanding. Until then we will continue the work. If you wanna see the work and #TapIn go here ——> https://t.co/UE8SfkJ2o9
— TheIBFA (@THEIBFA) March 4, 2021