Patrisse Cullors is stepping down as executive director of the Black Lives Matter Foundation., six years after co-founding the human rights movement that shares the same name.
“I’ve created the infrastructure and the support, and the necessary bones and foundation, so that I can leave. It feels like the time is right, ” she told The Associated Press, noting that her decision was not due to accusations she was profiting from the Black Lives Matter Foundation. “Those were right-wing attacks that tried to discredit my character, and I don’t operate off of what the right thinks about me.”
In April, the New York Post published property records showing Cullors’ real estate holdings, including three homes in Southern California and a ranch in Georgia. The findings spread like wildfire among conservative news outlets, many of which insinuated Cullors had been profiting from the organization, which raised $90 million last year.
According to the AP, Cullors was the target of attack from right wing publications that falsely reported she was taking a large salary from the BLM Foundation and had purchased a large home in California.
An April 13 statement from Black Lives Matter’s official Twitter account read, “Patrisse Cullors is the Executive Director of Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation (BLMGNF). She serves in this role in a volunteer capacity and does not receive a salary or benefits,” BLM stated via it’s official Twitter handle. “Patrisse has 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. Patrisse did not receive any compensation after 2019.”
The statement continued, “To be abundantly clear, as a registered 501(c)(3), BLMGNF cannot and did not commit any organizational resources toward the purchase of personal property by any employee or volunteer. Any insinuation or assertion to the contrary is categorically false.”
Cullors, 37, also said that she does not receive a salary or benefits from Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation, and that her revenue stems from teaching, speaking engagements and artistic endeavors outside of BLM.
Her departure comes at a time when the BLM movement has garnered global support in the wake of the killings of George Floyd, Breanna Taylor, Rayshard Brooks and other Black people who died at the hands of police or because of vigilantism. She co-founded the movement along with Alicia Garza and Opal Tometi after the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the killing of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin.
Cullors stated the interim senior executives will be Monifa Bandele, a BLM organizer and founder of the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement in New York City, and Makani Themba, a longtime supporter of the BLM movement and chief strategist at Higher Ground Change Strategies in Jackson, Mississippi.