Patrisse Cullors resigns: BLM co founder steps down from foundation executive director role as questions continue to surround her personal wealth and the financial matters of the racial rights foundation.
Patrisse Cullors the co-founder of Black Lives Matter on Thursday announced that she was resigning her post as the foundation’s executive director amid criticism over purported lavish lifestyle.
Cullors, 37, who owns various real estate property worth more than $3m, has been at the helm of the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation for nearly six years. The BLM co founder said she is leaving to focus on a book and TV deal.
Her last day with the foundation is Friday the nypost reported.
‘I’ve created the infrastructure and the support, and the necessary bones and foundation, so that I can leave,’ Cullors said in a video release. ‘It feels like the time is right.’
But her resignation comes amid controversy over the group’s finances in which the entity received over $90m in donations, despite being splintered by ongoing feuds about the lack of funding.
Victim of right wing attacks?
But what may have led to Cullors’ exit was the self described Marxist‘s seemingly inexplicable personal wealth — which according to past reports including an alleged real-estate buying spree in which she snagged four high-end homes for $3.2 million in the US.
Cullors nevertheless continues to insist her departure has been in the works and is not tied to recent ‘attacks.’
‘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.
The BLM foundation revealed in February that it took in just over $90 million last year, following the May 2020 murder of black man, George Floyd, who died at the hands of a white Minneapolis police officer who pinned him against his kneck with his knee for no less than minutes- inspiring protests globally – and a cache of funds for the cause.
The foundation which was created eight years ago was created as a vehicle to respond to injustice against Black Americans. While many support the foundation’s mission statement, questions remain as to how the foundation has used its funds and on whom.
The foundation said it ended 2020 with a balance of more than $60 million, after spending nearly a quarter of its assets on operating expenses, grants to Black-led organizations and other charitable giving.
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.
Using BLM to springboard into lucrative avenues
‘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.
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.
In April, the foundation stated Cullors was a volunteer executive director who, prior to 2019, had ‘received a total of $120,000 since the organization’s inception in 2013, for duties such as serving as spokesperson and engaging in political education work’.
‘As a registered 501c3 non-profit organization, [the foundation] cannot and did not commit any organizational resources toward the purchase of personal property by any employee or volunteer,’ the foundation said in a statement. ‘Any insinuation or assertion to the contrary is categorically false.’
In 2018, Cullors released, ‘When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir’, which became a New York Times bestseller. She has also consulted on a number of racial justice projects outside of BLM, taking compensation for that work in her personal capacity.