It sure does pay to sow racial division in this country. Just ask Black Lives Matter (BLM) co-founder Patrisse Cullors, but don’t criticize her alleged financial mismanagement and questionable spending decisions while you’re at it.
At an event in Washington state last week, as part of a week-long residency with the Vashon Center for the Arts, Cullors made clear that if you criticize her or the movement, you’re a racist standing in the way of black women organizers. The comments were captured on an exclusive video posted below.
“We didn’t figure out how to protect ourselves. And what’s true often, especially for black women is we don’t protect ourselves first,” Cullors complained in what she described as “straight-up attacks” in the controversy over BLM finances.
The comments came days after a bombshell report that Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation donations were used to purchase a 6,500-square-foot, nearly $6 million mansion in southern California.
According to New York Magazine, the home was secretly acquired by a shell company in October 2020 when Cullors served as executive director for BLM. It makes sense why they’d want to keep it secret: Marxists are not supposed to be swimming in dough, and contributions were supposed to go to helping the BLM cause.
This type of purchase wasn’t new for Cullors: she started spending a fortune back in 2016, three years after she co-founded BLM. As her movement’s evangelists claimed police were murdering innocent black people, she was on a real estate shopping spree, buying up four opulent digs for a reported total of $3.2 million.
One of the secluded homes was purchased in early April 2021, according to the New York Post. The self-proclaimed Marxist ended up resigning from her post a month later, amidst reports on the controversial spending habits.
Cullors may want to abolish police and prisons, but certainly not the wealth built on the backs of a divisive movement that demonizes police and white people. And when she’s called out, she leans into a strategy of demonizing her critics as racist.
It’s unclear how much Cullors was paid for the residency at the Vashon Center for the Arts on Vashon Island, Washington, as the center’s executive director tells me she doesn’t disclose artists’ fees. But the Vashon School District confirmed it offered $4,000 from an anonymous donation made to Vashon Schools Foundation. The King County government offered another $3,000 grant towards the residency.
The residency included an art installation, Q&A with students at the local high school, and a one-on-one on-stage conversation with radical abolitionist and two-time failed Seattle political candidate Nikkita Oliver.
The event, held on April 8, was a masterclass in grievances and identity politics, told to a mostly affluent white audience — BLM’s core demographic of supporters in the Pacific Northwest. There, according to newly obtained video, Cullors complained about the criticisms against her:
[My legal team] said to me when I got attacked last year, they said they had never seen that level of attack towards anyone except for a presidential candidate. And that, clearly, the right was polling me and trying to see ‘Okay, what’s going to be the pressure point for this movement?’ And that was very hard for me to understand. I’m literally just thinking I’m still like, a young, you know, organizer from the valley, with a target on my chest. I’m like, ‘Why do you care about me?’
The idea of financial transparency is a new concept and unduly burdensome to black women, Oliver claimed.
“What does it look like to set a standard for accountability and transparency that’s maybe not existed before, and it’s probably unfairly placed upon us. But it is still an opportunity to do something different,” Oliver said.
She questioned why anyone would look at BLM’s IRS Form 990, but not that of the American Civil Liberties Union or United Way. This document allows the IRS to ensure compliance with tax law requirements for exempt nonprofits. It was lost on Oliver that both the ACLU and United Way post their 990 forms online, unlike BLM.
Cullors admitted to not knowing what a 990 was, even though it’s a standard document for nonprofits. She claimed it’s “being weaponized against” black women because “many people don’t even know and honestly don’t care about” the form.
It appears Cullors doesn’t believe any of the criticism is legitimate and that her work is more important than following basic rules governing nonprofits. Her goal is to abolish police and prisons, so she should be able to operate as she sees fit. She seems to view any rules that she doesn’t like (or claims to never have heard of) as an undue burden only experienced by black women.
After Cullors complained about the “attacks” against BLM as a nonprofit entity, Oliver said the criticism is “why so many folks avoid the nonprofit industrial complex.” Cullors agreed.
“This 990 structure, this nonprofit system structure, this is like, deeply unsafe,” Cullors said. “Like this is being literally weaponized against us, against the people we work with. I can’t tell you how many people are like, ‘Am I next? Like, are they going to do this to me?’”
If other nonprofit leaders mishandle millions in funds, it likely would happen to them.
The WA Secretary of State Corporations and Charities Division warned BLM to cease fundraising efforts in the state because the nonprofit had not submitted its registration or renewal paperwork. Even after the warning, BLM continued to fundraise in Washington, according to a February 2022 Washington Examiner report. At the time, they noted BLM was out of compliance in Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina, and Virginia.
Despite the ongoing claims of BLM financial mismanagement, Cullors argues there is a “right-wing” attack that she labels “a misinformation and disinformation effort to not just challenge Black Lives Matter and the organization,” but all black organizers.
“But it’s an experiment. If they win, then it’s the next black-led organization. And then there’s the next black-led organization, and it’s the next black person who’s leading that. And so it’s so important that we pay attention to what’s happening,” Cullors warned.
But all that’s happening is Cullors working to carve out a new class of privileges. And when things don’t go as planned, she has an audience happy to support her claims of victimhood.
Given that victimhood is a core tenet of race hustlers — Didn’t get that job or raise? Stuck in poverty? Grades not where they should be? Institutionalized racism! — her position makes sense.