Michael Brown Sr., whose son Michael Brown Jr. was fatally shot by a white Ferguson, Missouri, police officer in August 2014, is demanding financial support from the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation after the organization revealed last month that it raised more than $90 million in 2020.
“Where is all that money going?” Brown Sr. asked in a Tuesday press release shared by the International Black Freedom Alliance. Brown has collaborated with the IBFA to request $20 million from the organization The Associated Press described as “widely seen as a steward of the Black Lives Matter movement.”
“Who are they giving it to and what are they doing with it?” Brown asked.
In a video filmed Feb. 26, 2021, just three days after The Associated Press reported that Black Lives Matter raised over $90 million dollars last year in the wake of George Floyd’s death, Ferguson organizer Tory Russell and IBFA representative stood beside Michael Brown Sr. and accused the organization of forsaking activists who have “given their lives to the struggle” against racism and police brutality.
“Today, we hold Black Lives Matter accountable,” Russell said. “The movement that has catapulted into the limelight has forgotten about Ferguson and the freedom fighters.”
Russell said people who have sacrificed their lives for the movement are rarely spoken of, and their families are not taken care of. He added that “political prisoners” from the Ferguson movement remain incarcerated but have not received assistance from the organization.
After Michael Brown Jr., 18, was fatally shot by Ferguson officer Darren Wilson in 2014, major unrest in the city resulted in hundreds of arrests.
“What kind of movement are we building where we’re saying ‘Black lives matter’ but the freedom fighters and the families are being left behind?” Russell asked. He then demanded Black Lives Matter provide $20 million to fund local Ferguson organizations. “We’re coming for what we deserve,” he said.
The Black Lives Matter foundation ended 2020 with a balance of $60 million after spending about quarter of its assets on grants and charitable giving.
The organization committed $21.7 million in funding for official and unofficial chapters of Black Lives Matter. Thirty Black-led local organizations, 23 of which are led by Black LGBTQ people, have each received a six-figure grant from the foundation.
Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors told the AP, “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.”
Last year’s individual donations averaged $30 and 10 percent were recurring. Expenses for 2020 totaled about $8.4 million.
Russell and Brown said the $20 million they are requesting from the organization will go towards “annual commemoration around Mike Brown Jr.’s life, mutual aid programs” and “Black Panther-style programs and services to meet the needs of the people.”
Russell concluded, “This is what we started in Ferguson and this is what we will continue.”
Brown Sr. did not speak during the video. The Black Lives Matter organization has not publicly responded to the demand for financial support.