Patrisse Cullors has stepped down from her position as executive director of the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation. In her departure, Cullors explained that recent criticism about her business endeavors did not influence her decision. Rather, she told the Associated Press that the infrastructure of the foundation is in such a place that she can step aside with the confidence that the foundation will run smoothly.
“I’ve created the infrastructure and the support, and the necessary bones and foundation, so that I can leave,” Cullors explained.
“It feels like the time is right.”
Cullors co-founded the Black Lives Matter movement following the death of Trayvon Martin. Alongside Alicia Garza and Opal Tometi, Cullors has worked to expand the movement into dozens of chapters around the world. In the past year, the foundation has raised millions of dollars due to the string of protests that occurred last summer.
Following a rise in donations, Cullors has faced scrutiny for business endeavors she's embarked on in her personal life. She has landed a multi-year deal with Warner Bros. and is preparing to publish her second book. Also, she caught flack for buying a $1.4 million home in Los Angeles.
“Those were right-wing attacks that tried to discredit my character, and I don’t operate off of what the right thinks about me,” she added.
In the wake of her departure, Monifa Bandele and Makani Themba will step in as interim executive directors. Both Bandele and Themba have extensive experience as organizers across the east coast. Bandele has worked as an organizer and the founder of the Malcolm X Grassroots Project in New York. Meanwhile, Themba has served as the chief strategist at Higher Ground Strategies.
“I think both of them come with not only a wealth of movement experience, but also a wealth of executive experience,” Cullors said.
Having left the foundation in the hands of Bandele and Themba, Cullors will now focus on the release of her second book, An Abolitionist's Handbook, in October.