Black Lives Matter Grassroots (BLMGR) has filed a lawsuit against a prominent leader of the Black Lives Matter movement that expanded across America in the wake of the murder of George Floyd in May 2020.
The board member of the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation, Shalomyah Bowers, has been accused by the grassroots organization of using the group’s finances as a “personal piggy bank,” according to the lawsuit filed in Los Angeles on Thursday.
The Black Lives Matter movement received over $90 million in donations in 2020.
Although the lawsuit does not go into specifics about how Bowers allegedly stole money from the organization, it does illuminate how the Black Lives Matter movement is becoming divided among its own members and groups.
In response to the lawsuit, the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation denied the allegations against Bowers, calling them “harmful, divisive, and false.” The group even turned the point of attention back on the grassroots organization, which BLMGNF claimed has been lining its pockets with “$10,000 monthly stipends” instead of using that money in the local communities in which they serve.
Upon receiving donations from people looking to support the Black Lives Matter movement, the BLMGNF then distributes that money through Black Lives Matter Grassroots, which operates a number of chapters across the country.
Concerns over fiscal mismanagement at Black Lives Matter have been in the news for some time.
Leaders in the group have used donated funds to purchase a $6 million property in Los Angeles as well as a $6.3 million property in Toronto, Canada, that has more than 10,000 square feet of living space.
Bowers, the board member named in the lawsuit, was brought on in 2020 to help raise funds for the organization.
He was also in charge of overseeing the distribution of those funds. The lawsuit calls Bowers a “rogue administrator (and) a middleman turned usurper.”
His own consulting company was paid $2 million by BLMGNF in 2020.
“While BLM leaders and movement workers were on the street risking their lives, Mr. Bowers remained in his cushy offices devising a scheme of fraud and misrepresentation to break the implied-in-fact contract between donors and BLM,” the lawsuit states.
After the lawsuit was made public, BLMGR leader Melina Abdullah slammed BLMGNF and claimed the group had lost touch with the charity’s mission to help Black people.
“Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation has been taken away from the people who built it,” she said.
“Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation is now led by a highly paid consultant who paid himself upward of $2 million in a single year.”
BLMGNF replied with a statement that said Abdullah and BLMGR “would rather take the same steps of our white oppressors and utilize the criminal legal system which is propped up by white supremacy (the same system they say they want to dismantle) to solve movement disputes.”
What do you think about these fractures in the Black Lives Matter movement?