Patrisse Cullors Stepping Down As Executive Director Of Black Lives Matter
The move ushers in a new era for The Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation; none of the movement's original founders will be actively involved in the foundation.
May 27, 2021 at 9:01 pm
In correspondence with Blavity, Cullors revealed she'll be transitioning out of the role and instead, focusing on abolition and uplifting artists who center Black lives in their work.
Makani Themba, a strategic communications consultant currently working at Higher Ground Change Strategies, and Monifa Bandele, Chief Operating Officer at Time’s Up Foundation, will be taking over as interim senior executives. Bandele also serves as a senior leader on the policy table of the Movement for Black Lives.
“With smart, experienced and committed people supporting the organization during this transition, I know that BLMGNF is in good hands,” the 37-year-old said in a press release sent to Blavity. “The foundation’s agenda remains the same -- eradicate white supremacy and build life-affirming institutions. Between the two Senior Executives and BLM Grassroots Co-Director Melina Abdullah, who is an original member of BLM and co-founder of its first chapter in Los Angeles, their immense talent will build a future where Black lives do more than matter -- they will truly thrive.”
Under Cullors' leadership, the BLMGNF was able to financially empower Black communities by donating $25 million to Black families as well as other Black organizations, create the Black Lives Matter Political Action Committee and donate money to victims of police brutality according to the statement.
In April, speculation fueled by right-wing media surrounded Cullors about a home she purchased in Los Angeles. The BLMGNF said in a statement that the story was drummed up by conservative-leaning non-profit group, the National Legal and Policy Center. But controversy aside, Cullors said she'd already begun quietly transitioning out of the organization in December of 2019 as she focused on spearheading a Los Angeles County ballot measure.
In 2013, Cullors co-founded Black Lives Matter along with Alicia Garza and Opal Tometi. Garza now oversees the Black Futures Lab and recently released a book while Tometi has been working with Diaspora Rising, a media and advocacy hub she founded. Neither are actively working with BLMGNF.
With Cullors' departure, none of the advocacy organization's three founders will have an active role in the BLMGNF. Such implied evolution is, in a way, exactly how Cullors and the BLMGNF say it should be. The organization is a fan of Ella Baker's group-centered leadership philosophy.
"It is not one person, it is not two people, it is not three people," the pro-Black advocate said of change-inducing movements. "It is millions and millions of leaders both outside of this country and inside of this country."
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