However, at least one self-described “trained Marxist” founded the organization behind the , and that organization also has called for dismantling the nuclear family—something that likely extends beyond the goals of many supporters.
“This hardcore cadre, they are parasitic on genuine outrage and genuine injustice,” Scott Walter, president of the Capital Research Center, an investigative think tank, told The Daily Signal in a phone interview.
“I don’t know anyone on the planet who doesn’t think the death was an injustice,” Walter said. “That’s why it was against the law. That’s why they [the four Minneapolis police officers involved] are being prosecuted. Most of the people out protesting are going to be moved by the outrage of the moment. The problem is that you have this cadre.”
Walter was referring primarily to the three founders of Black Lives Matter as well as a board member with Thousand Currents, the leading funder of the group.
Here are four things to know about the founders and organization behind Black Lives Matter.
The Black Lives Matter movement after the 2013 shooting death of Trayvon Martin, 17, in Sanford, Florida, and picked up after the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown, 18, in 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri.
“The first thing, I think, is that we actually do have an ideological frame,” Khan-Cullors said in a with Real News Network. “Myself and Alicia in particular are trained organizers. We are trained Marxists.”
We are super-versed on, sort of, ideological theories. And I think that what we really tried to do is build a movement that could be utilized by many, many black folk. We don’t necessarily want to be the vanguard of this movement. I think we’ve tried to put out a political frame that’s about centering who we think are the most vulnerable amongst the black community, to really fight for all of our lives.
Khan-Cullors, who serves as strategic adviser to the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation, is an artist and organizer from Los Angeles, according to the group’s website.
Khan-Cullors, 36, is also the founder of Dignity and Power Now, a group that advocates for incarcerated people and their families. A Fulbright scholar, she is the New York Times best-selling author of the book “.”
Garza, an organizer in Oakland, California, is also special projects director for the National Domestic Workers Alliance, an advocacy group for domestic workers.
Garza, 39, was named to The Root’s 2016 list of 100 African American achievers and influencers and is the recipient of the 2016 Glamour Women of the Year Award and the 2016 Marie Claire New Guard Award. She was recognized as a Community Change Agent at the BET’s 2016 Black Girls Rock Awards.
While two founders of Black Lives Matter are on the West Coast, Tometi works out of New York. The group’s website describes her as a “Nigerian-American writer, strategist, and community organizer” and a “transnational feminist.”
Tometi, 35, created online platforms and social media strategy during the early days of the movement.
She also is executive director of the Black Alliance for Just Immigration and, according to the website, is featured at the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington.
According to the group’s website, the organization has a national network of about 40 chapters.
The Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation didn’t respond directly to questions from The Daily Signal. After two days of inquiries, spokesman Jordan Jackson said in an email that the organization was “inundated” with media requests.
“Should someone be available to fulfill this request,” Jackson wrote, “I will circle back here as soon as possible.”
In 2016, the left-leaning grantmaker Thousand Currents, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit group, became the financial sponsor of the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation.
“Thousand Currents has been a fiscal sponsor of BLM since 2016, and serves as the back office support, including finance, accounting, grants management, insurance, human resources, legal and compliance. Donations to BLM are restricted donations to support the activities of BLM,” Thousand Currents said in an email to The Daily Signal.
It deferred other questions to the BLM Global Network Foundation.
This second organization, according to BuzzFeed, is a separate from the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation. After Floyd’s death, the foundation in Santa Clarita raked in $4.3 million in donations, BuzzFeed reported.
More recently, several major corporations announced they were donating to Black Lives Matter.
Amazon it would give $10 million to 12 groups, including BLM Global Network Foundation, while Microsoft $250,000 to it. Airbnb announced it is giving a total of to the NAACP and the BLM Global Network Foundation.
The George Soros-backed Open Society Foundations reportedly contributed about $33 million to groups associated with the Black Lives Matter movement. However, it isn’t clear whether that money made it to the BLM Global Network Foundation, according to Capital Research Center.
“We disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement by supporting each other as extended families and ‘villages’ that collectively care for one another, especially our children, to the degree that mothers, parents, and children are comfortable,” the organization says on its website.
The website uses the word “comrades” several times, in one instance to say: “We practice empathy. We engage comrades with the intent to learn about and connect with their contexts.”
Although the organization states that “We are unapologetically Black in our positioning,” it focuses heavily on something that traditionally has not been part of African American activism—sexual orientation and gender identity:
We make space for transgender brothers and sisters to participate and lead. … We are self-reflexive and do the work required to dismantle cisgender privilege and uplift Black trans folk, especially Black trans women who continue to be disproportionately impacted by trans-antagonistic violence. …
We build a space that affirms Black women and is free from sexism, misogyny, and environments in which men are centered.
Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation says it is a “queer-affirming network.”
“When we gather, we do so with the intention of freeing ourselves from the tight grip of heteronormative thinking, or rather, the belief that all in the world are heterosexual (unless s/he or they disclose otherwise),” it says.
It also fights age discrimination, stating: “We cultivate an intergenerational and communal network free from ageism.”
Thousand Currents, which underwrites the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation, describes itself as an organization that “envisions a world where humanity thrives as a creative force that is in reciprocal [sic] and interdependent with nature, and creates loving, equitable and just societies.”
In an email Wednesday, The Daily Signal asked Thousand Currents about Rosenberg’s position on the board of directors. That morning, the organization’s webpage about the board included a short bio of Rosenberg. By late afternoon, that page no longer was available and a message said: “Ooops. Sorry. This page doesn’t exist.”
“One of the biggest bombs they had went off in the U.S. Capitol and tore up that fine Democratic slave owner John C. Calhoun’s portrait,” Capital Research Center’s Walter said of Rosenberg and M19. “The Weather Underground wasn’t really radical enough for her. Some of those people ended up wimping out and going off to be stock brokers and whatever. That wasn’t good enough for her and she stayed radical.”
M19’s bombings were for the sake of causing enough disruption to prevent President Ronald Reagan’s reelection in 1984. Rosenberg was a member of the Weather Underground in the 1960s. President Bill Clinton commuted her 58-year sentence on his last day in office in January 2001.
Donors include the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the NoVo Foundation, and the Libra Foundation. It had annual revenue of $6.8 million in 2018.
Fred Lucas is the White House correspondent for The Daily Signal and co-host of podcast. Lucas is also the author of .