BREAKING NEWS: BLM ED co-founder Patrisse Cullors QUITS
Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors is stepping down as executive director of the organization amid controversy over her $3 million property portfolio.
Cullors, who has been at the helm of the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation for nearly six years, announced the news on Thursday.
The 37-year-old activist told The Associated Press that she is leaving to focus on other projects, including the upcoming release of her second book and a multi-year TV development deal with Warner Bros.
‘I’ve created the infrastructure and the support, and the necessary bones and foundation, so that I can leave,’ Cullors stated. ‘It feels like the time is right.’
However, her departure comes after it was revealed last month that she has amassed a $3 million property portfolio in recent years.
Cullors faced fierce backlash over her personal wealth, with many questioning how she had amassed a fortune off the back off her social justice movement.
However, she insists her resignation has been in the works for more than a year and has nothing to do with the personal attacks she has faced.
‘Those were right-wing attacks that tried to discredit my character, and I don´t operate off of what the right thinks about me,’ Cullors said.
Critics of the foundation contend more of that money should have gone to the families of Black victims of police brutality who have been unable to access the resources needed to deal with their trauma and loss.
‘That is the most tragic aspect,’ said the Rev. T. Sheri Dickerson, president of an Oklahoma City BLM chapter and a representative of the #BLM10, a national group of organizers that has publicly criticized the foundation over funding and transparency.
‘I know some of (the families) are feeling exploited, their pain exploited, and that’s not something that I ever want to be affiliated with,’ Dickerson said.
Cullors and the foundation have said they do support families without making public announcements or disclosing dollar amounts.
Cullors, who has arguably been the most publicly visible of the co-founders, became the foundation´s full-time executive director last year purely out of necessity, she said.
‘We needed her,’ said Melina Abdullah, who leads BLM Grassroots and co-founded, with Cullors, BLM´s first-ever official chapter in Los Angeles.
‘George Floyd was killed and the whole world rose up,’ Abdullah told the AP. ‘I would like her to be there forever, but I also know that that´s not feasible. The real test of any organization is can it survive the departure of its founders. And I have no question that Black Lives Matter will survive and grow and evolve, even with the departure of our final co-founder in a formal role.’
On Oct. 5, St. Martin’s Press will release Cullors´ latest book, titled ‘An Abolitionists Handbook,’ which she says is her guide for activists on how to care for each other and resolve internal conflict while fighting to end systemic racism. Cullors is also developing and producing original cable and streaming TV content that centers on Black stories, under a multi-year deal with Warner Bros.
The first of her TV projects will debut in July, she said.
‘I think I will probably be less visible, because I won´t be at the helm of one of the largest, most controversial organizations right now in the history of our movement,’ Cullors said.
‘I´m aware that I´m a leader, and I don´t shy away from that. But no movement is one leader.’
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