Mike Brown Sr. and Tory Russell, co-founder of the International Black Freedom Alliance, are requesting funds from Black Lives Matter to be transferred to their community. They want $20 million to continue their work in Ferguson, Missouri.
Via Twitter, the IBFA released a series of images and videos that clarify their mission and the reason they’re asking for BLM to provide the money. The two men appeared together in a video expanding on their official statement:
Today our co-founder, #Ferguson frontline organizer @VanguardTNT alongside #MikeBrown's father demands 20 million from #BlackLivesMatter in order to continue the work they and other have been doing since the uprising since 2014. pic.twitter.com/4rDA28ZKnB— TheIBFA (@THEIBFA) March 2, 2021
Brown Sr. says, in spite of becoming a community figure who organizes and supports families in Ferguson, he’s only received $500 from any group affiliated with Black Lives Matter. BLM was founded after his son was killed in 2014.
“On behalf of many activists in the St. Louis area, I’m joined by Mike Brown Sr., the father of Mike Brown Jr. Today, we hold Black Lives Matter accountable,” Russell announced in the video.
TheGrio reports that Black Lives Matter concluded 2020 with more than $60 million in the bank. Patrisse Cullors, the organization’s co-founder, said their goal is to reinvest the money.
“One of our biggest goals this year is taking the dollars we were able to raise in 2020 and building out the institution we’ve been trying to build for the last seven and a half years,” she said, according to the report.
Several local chapters of BLM across nationwide have expressed a desire for transparency regarding fundraising in the organization. Cullors has since responded, saying things behind the scenes are not what people may assume.
“Because the BLM movement was larger than life — and it is larger than life — people made very huge assumptions about what our actual finances looked like,” Cullors said according to theGrio. “We were often scraping for money, and this year was the first year where we were resourced in the way we deserved to be.”
With the use of social media, BLM has created broad awareness of the Black human rights struggle. Its Instagram following is now at 4.3 million, Twitter at 1 million, and Facebook at 750,000. It also launched a digital ad campaign on multiple platforms that had more than 51 million total impressions -- or the number of times a user sees an ad.
As the movement and the organization grow, its leadership says it will remain focused on political action, working for realistic answers to police violence. This includes the prosecution of officers responsible for Black people's deaths, legislative advocacy like divesting funds from policing systems, and reimagining public safety. The group says it will push for the BREATHE Act's federal passage, which could facilitate these things.
Photo: Mindy Best/Getty Images for SXSW