Nearly eight years ago, she co-founded the organization named for arguably the largest modern civil rights movement the nation and world have ever seen. Now, Patrisse Cullors is stepping down from the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation to focus on other aspects of the career and platform she has built for herself over the years.
“I’ve created the infrastructure and the support, and the necessary bones and foundation, so that I can leave,” Cullors told the Associated Press. “It feels like the time is right.”
Of course, people are going to speculate that Cullors’ exit from the BLMGNF is connected to recent drama in the activist world, such as the letter sent by 10 BLM chapters claiming that she and the global network have been less than transparent with how the organization operates and how raised funds are distributed. There’s also the fact that she was called out along with other prominent activists by mothers of victims of police violence and accused of clout chasing on the names of the fallen. Finally, there’s the controversy largely sparked by pocket-watching right-wingers regarding Cullors buying luxury homes, which many speculated without evidence that she bought with BLM donations.
But Cullors said none of that has anything to do with her decision to leave the organization—and, in fact, her departure from BLMGNF has been in the works for more than a year.
“Those were right-wing attacks that tried to discredit my character, and I don’t operate off of what the right thinks about me,” Cullors said, which is understandable because there’s literally no reason to give a shit what white teary-ass conservatives have to say about any part of the BLM movement.
Instead, Cullors—who was a 2015, 2017 and 2020 honoree of The Root 100—said she’s leaving because she has other projects to focus on including a second book titled An Abolitionists Handbook that is set to release on Oct. 5, and a TV development deal with Warner Bros.
Fortunately, Cullors feels she’s leaving the organization in good hands.
As she departs, the foundation is bringing aboard two new interim senior executives to help steer it in the immediate future: Monifa Bandele, a longtime BLM organizer and founder of the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement in New York City, and Makani Themba, an early backer of the BLM movement and chief strategist at Higher Ground Change Strategies in Jackson, Mississippi.
“I think both of them come with not only a wealth of movement experience, but also a wealth of executive experience,” Cullors said.
Despite her Warner Bros. TV projects, the first of which is set to drop in July, Cullors told AP that she will likely not be in the public eye as much as she was leading the BLMGNF.
“I think I will probably be less visible because I won’t be at the helm of one of the largest, most controversial organizations right now in the history of our movement,” she said. “I’m aware that I’m a leader, and I don’t shy away from that. But no movement is one leader.”