Michael Brown Sr., whose 18-year-old son was shot and killed by police in Ferguson, Missouri, has joined growing calls to know what the Black Lives Matter (BLM) $90 million in funds have been used for.
Brown Sr., has joined BLM10Plus, a group consisting of the original 10 BLM chapters. The group is seeking additional transparency and accountability from the BLM organization on how its funds are being used.
The situation stems from former BLM co-founder Patrice Cullors, who resigned last month after her $3.2 million property portfolio was revealed. It has since been determined that Cullors’ properties were bought with funds she received from public speaking engagements and books she’s written.
According to the Daily Mail, BLM received $90 million last year and has a balance sheet of $60 million by the end of the year. About $8 million has been spent on staffing and another $20 million have been donated to local BLM chapters and nonprofits.
The surplus of money along with the news of Cullors’ property portfolio has led to complaints concerning a lack of transparency from the families of victims who previously supported the organization.
Brown Sr. is the most notable name to join the new organization. His son was shot and killed by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in 2014.
In addition to Brown, other parents whose children were killed by police also joined the BLM10Plus group, including Samaria Rice, mother of Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old boy who was killed by police in Cleveland in 2014. Lisa Simpson, whose son Richard Risher was killed by LA police in 2016, also added her name.
In a statement, BLM10Plus calls on the BLM organization to disclose how many chapters there are, how the various legal entities under the Global Network are related to each other, the salaries of staff members and the founders, deals with contractors, and more.
“Black Liberation must be about more than protecting the few of us that are doing well. It must be about building a movement that will ensure all of us get free,” the statement says. “Because successful movements are collective, not individual, they must be rooted in accountability that protects all of our people. Our love for the people means we have a duty to prioritize this principled accountability for each other, our communities, and the struggle for Black Liberation.”
Michael Brown Jr.’s death led to protests, former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick kneeling during the National Anthem and a Justice Department investigation into the Ferguson Police Department, which uncovered the department was unnecessarily violent, violated civil rights, and helped city officials to leech off the Black community through quickly escalating fines and penalties including jail time.
The BLM movement hit a resurgence last summer after the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. Protests took place all over the U.S. but also in Germany, South Korea, Scotland, Canada, France, and Spain. Additionally, large national and U.S.-based corporations made commitments to racial justice and equity, and police budgets were cut to put money back into social services such as drug treatment, homelessness, and education.