Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors, a self-described “trained Marxist,” is drawing ire once more after installing a fence with an electric gate around her million-dollar home in Los Angeles.
The new scrutiny on Cullors comes amid infighting within the wider BLM organization that is nearing a critical mass as chapter affiliates and others demand more “accountability” from leaders like her.
Cullors made headlines after closing on the $1.4 million, 2,380 square-foot, three-bedroom, three-bath property in March on her way to amassing $3 million worth of properties as part of a luxury buying spree. She stepped away from her role as head of the global BLM organization as questions about her finances began to proliferate, though she has since said that had nothing to do with her decision.
The BLM organization rapidly came back into prominence last year following the highly publicized murder of George Floyd at the hands of police in Minneapolis. The group featured prominently in protests and riots that spread from that city throughout the United States and lasted for months, during which time the national organization reportedly collected some $90 million from corporations and other donors.
According to the New York Post, Cullors bought four homes in all, collectively worth $3.2 million. They include a $415,000 home outside of Atlanta in 2020; a three-bedroom home in Inglewood, Calif., for $510,000 in 2016; and in 2018, a four-bedroom home in South Los Angeles for $590,000. Values on the properties have since appreciated and, in most cases dramatically, as the housing market heated up over the past several months.
But the amassing of wealth and property led to criticisms and questions from outside the group as well as from those associated with BLM. Hawk Newsome, who leads the Black Lives Matter of Greater New York City organization, has sought an “independent investigation” into BLM’s finances, even though the two groups are not affiliated.
Cullors has pushed back on allegations that she used the organization and her position to enrich herself despite her penchant for Marxism, charges she has said are “categorically untrue.” She said her income was derived not from taking a salary, but rather from book sales and a deal with YouTube.
According to the Daily Mail, a neighbor said the mostly wooden fencing around Cullors’ L.A. home, as well as other exterior improvements, cost somewhere in the “$35,000 range.”
“It will have an electronic gate at the driveway portion, a walk-up door, and call box, and other safety measures, cameras – you know, to keep the riff-raff out,” the neighbor told the paper.
As Cullors spends, however, leaders of the original 10 BLM chapters are demanding more answers in the form of transparency and accountability, Fox News reported Friday. And her stepping away from the organization’s leadership isn’t mollifying the so-called members of the “BLM 10 Plus,” a modified group that grew from the original “BLM 10.”
“The number of chapters that have aligned in support of our statement has nearly doubled,” a statement released by the BLM 10 Plus said. “Some of these chapters have made their own statements echoing not only our call to accountability but also our experiences as we sought transparency, democracy, and internal transformation for years.
“The BLM 10 Plus continues the call for transparency and most importantly, for principled accountability in movement infrastructures,” the statement continued. “The issues we’ve highlighted within the Black Lives Matter movement are not unique to this group or to people of color.
“Grassroots movements have been co-opted across the globe and it is our intention to be a part of the collective creating processes based on integrity so that we, nor any other activist or advocate, encounters these avoidable issues in the future,” the statement added.
In November, criticism from some BLM 10 members of the way in which the national organization was being run led to the names of those chapters being removed from the BLM Global Network website.