A BLM executive is being accused of stealing over $10 million in funds from Black Lives Matter donors, according to a lawsuit filed by BLM Grassroots.
Shalomyah Bowers was hired in 2020 by the movement’s founders to help run the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation (GNF), the administrative organization meant to raise financial support for community-level BLM efforts. BLM Grassroots continued to do the “on-the-ground” work.
According to BLM co-founder Patrisse Cullors, the official plan from 2021 was to wind down GNF and fold the entire organization back into BLM Grassroots. Cullors, who is a major plaintiff in the lawsuit along with co-founder Melina Abdullah, claims that Bowers obstructed this after agreeing to the transition plan, while profiting over $2 million from GNF in under a year.
The suit alleges that in his position as BLM executive, Bowers ran several other advocates out of the organization by refusing to include them in financial and organizational information. “Through a series of misrepresentations and unauthorized backroom dealings, Mr. Bowers managed to steal control over GNF as the sole Board member and officer,” the suit reads. It also accuses Bowers of continuing to “fraudulently raise money” using the BLM brand without authorization.
Bowers has refuted the lawsuit’s claims publicly.
“BLM [Grassroots] and Melina Abdullah read a press statement claiming that Patrisse Cullors created a transition plan giving all of BLMGNF’s assets to BLM Grassroots. That is absolutely false,” Bowers said.
GNF’s response to the lawsuit, which may simply also be Bowers speaking, compares Cullors and Abdullah’s claims to white oppression, claiming that any use of the legal system at all is counter to the goals of BLM.
“But Melina Abdullah and BLMGR ignored or refused our offers [to meet and discuss policies],” said a statement from GNF. “To the contrary, they would rather take the same steps of our white oppressors and utilize the criminal legal system which is propped up by white supremacy (the same system they say they want to dismantle) to solve movement disputes.”