Local Black Lives Matter chapters express concerns with global network in joint message after recent moves

Local Black Lives Matter chapters express concerns with global network in joint message after recent moves
© Getty Images

Local chapters of the Black Lives Matter Global Network (BLMGN) signed a joint message this week demanding transparency and accountability following recent moves made by the organization.

In the message — which included signatures from chapters in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Chicago and San Diego, among others — the chapters started off by pointing to the recent appointment of Patrisse Cullors to serve as executive director of the network, as well as the formation of the Black Lives Matter Political Action Committee and BLM Grassroots.

The chapters said they believe each of the moves “occurred without democracy, and assert that it was without the knowledge of the majority of Black Lives Matters chapters across the country and world.”

ADVERTISEMENT

They also pointed in the message to past concerns they’ve raised “about financial transparency, decision making, and accountability” since the network’s establishment years back.

“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,” they said. 

“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,” they said.

“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,” they continued.

The chapters also said that 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 message states.

The chapters appeared to be referring to when a foundation within the larger network, dubbed the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation, announced in July that it was dedicating more than $12 million toward groups committed to fighting racial injustice. At the time, the organization also said affiliated chapters could apply for up to $500,000 in funding from multiyear grants.

“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 message also states.

The Hill reached out to the BLMGN for a response to the message on Thursday morning. 

Ten chapters have signed on to the message, which also invites other chapters to sign, so far. According to a Medium post penned by Cullors in 2016, there were more than 30 regional chapters affiliated with the network at the time.