In late September, the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation Inc. held a dinner party for 150 guests at their Los Angeles-area compound, the same $6 million property that the organization faced scrutiny for purchasing in 2020.
According to the Associated Press, families impacted by police brutality and violence were invited to the intimate dinner party and given a tour of the sprawling 6,500 square-foot property that was created as a hub for Black filmmakers, musicians and artists to come together and “foster creativity.”
“It was laid out, it was beautiful, it was welcoming,” Beatrice X Johnson, co-founder of Families United 4 Justice Network told the Associated Press of the event, which reportedly took place Sept. 28 to Oct. 1. Johnson helped to organize the gathering.
In 2020, prominent leaders behind the Black Lives Matter (BLM) organization were slammed with backlash after a New York Magazine article claimed the group used donations from supporters to purchase the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation’s home based in Southern California.
The article accused BLM figureheads, Patrisse Cullors, Alicia Garza and Melina Abdullah, of buying the lavish property for personal use. According to reports, the massive compound has more than a half dozen bedrooms and bathrooms, a soundstage, a private pool and several fireplaces.
Johnson is the aunt of the late Oscar Grant, the 22-year-old Black man who was shot in the back and killed by a Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) police officer in 2009. The social justice activist said she was skeptical of BLM’s intentions after they purchased the massive property in 2020.
“There’s been a lot of controversy around this spot, even with families,” she added. “The families wanted to see this place. That’s a no-brainer. And who else would be invited to dinner there, if not the families impacted by police?”
Cullors, who no longer works with the social movement, vehemently denied the allegations when the New York Magazine article flooded the media.
“I have never misappropriated funds, and it pains me that so many people have accepted that narrative without the presence of tangible truth or facts,” she penned in a since-deleted Instagram post.
BLM member Shalomyah Bowers is doing her part to restore the image of the foundation’s massive Los Angeles compound and to build trust with the community.
Shalomyah Bowers, a BLM foundation board member, says the massive home will serve as a place of unity and warmth for families grieving loved ones killed by police violence as the holiday season approaches. It was also a creative hub for members of their Black artist fellowship.
“I personally call it a home for freedom, because it is where Black people’s gifts and talents can be nurtured in order to flourish,” Bowers added. “It’s where we’ve kept our activists and organizers safe. It’s where we plan and organize outside of the confines of white supremacy. And it’s where healing happens.”
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