BLACK LIVES MATTER: NOT WHAT YOU THINK
By Cara Cranford
Have you ever wondered how Black Lives Matter got its start as an activist organization?
Looking into the history of Black Lives Matter, the organization claims that it is a loosely put together group of people who have come together to help better the lives of African American communities and to stamp out systemic racism in the United States. United News Channel has found, however, that the BLM movement actually has its foundation grounded in the BDS Palestinian movement, a movement closely allied with the terrorist organization Hamas. Furthermore, two of the founders of Black Lives Matter movement are self-proclaimed trained Marxists.
Black Lives Matter was founded by Alicia Garza, Opal Tometi and Patrisse Cullors when Garza created the hashtag on social media after the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the Trayvon Martin case in 2013. The movement gained further momentum in 2014 with the Ferguson riots. Ferguson, Missouri exploded after Michael Brown was shot and killed by police officer Darren Wilson in August 2014. What happened in Missouri was a precursor to the riots we are seeing erupt across the country today.
Garza and Cullors met at an activist conference and have known each other for over 10 years. Tometi saw their hashtag on social media and reached out to Garza to get involved. Tometi is a Nigerian-American activist who has spent her career working in human rights, and has served as the executive director of BAJA, the Black Alliance for Just Immigration. Cullors said she got involved after her brother was abused in prison.
The three founders state the organization was created in order to change the very fiber of the dysfunction in America’s society and to call attention to the systemic racism and police brutality nationwide. However, the organization has a deep, disturbing history.
After the riots in Ferguson catapulted the Black Lives Matter movement into the mainstream, it was endorsed by President Obama, Beyoncé and scores of celebrities and athletes in a manner which seems outwardly legitimate.
So how did a movement that was supposedly grassroots take off like wildfire?
In examining Cullors’ background more closely, the reasoning for the formation of Black Lives Matter becomes more revealing. She grew up in a low-income community in the San Fernando Valley. Her family were devout Jehovah’s Witnesses and she was forced out of her home at age 16 after coming out to her parents as gay. She soon developed an interest in the Nigerian religion, Ifa which bases its teachings on a type of divination in which the Grand Priest prophesizes about the future. Ifa is a practice also found in the Caribbean Voodoo religion. Cullors has incorporated her religious practice into her political activism.
On June 2, 2020 Black Lives Matter activists performed an Ifa ceremony outside Los Angeles Mayor, Eric Garccetti’s home. According to an article in JSTOR, the Ifa preacher was able to conjure up the spirit of Ezell Ford, the mentally ill black man killed by the LA police, and transfer it to the group. Cullors talks about this ceremony in an article for Religious News.
In another article at JSTOR the ceremony was described as:
“We did an Ifa ceremony in front of his house,” DPN organizer Evan Bunch recalled later. “The preacher…was able to conjure up Ezell Ford’s spirit and kind of transfer it to the group. And it was evident through the participants that they were feeling something that was not of the temporal world.”
Cullors became an activist early on when she joined the Bus Riders Union as a teenager. She majored in religion and philosophy at UCLA. She also is a performance artist. In 2012 she founded the nonprofit Dignity and Power Now which organizes to end sheriff violence and stop jail construction in Los Angeles. She currently teaches Masters Art in Social Justice and Community Organizing at Prescott College.
In an interview with Real News about Black Lives Matter, Cullors told Jared Ball that she and Garza were trained Marxists.
Patrisse Cullors states (from the show transcript): “The first thing, I think, is that we actually do have an ideological frame. Myself and Alicia in particular are trained organizers. We are trained Marxists. We are super-versed on, sort of, ideological theories. And I think that what we really tried to do is build a movement that could be utilized by many, many black folk. We don't necessarily want to be the vanguard of this movement. I think we've tried to put out a political frame that's about centering who we think are the most vulnerable amongst the black community, to really fight for all of our lives.”
In an interview with Laura Flanders, Cullors talked about her trip to Palestine in support and solidarity of the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions). BDS likens their cause to that of Apartheid, in that their mission is to fight against military’s abuse of the Palestinians and to pressure Israel to relinquish control of Palestinian land.
Cullors also served on the board of the Ella Baker Center, an organization co-founded by CNN contributor Van Jones. Politically, Cullors threw her support behind Democratic candidates Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, both lost to 2020 presumptive nominee Joe Biden.
Is there an agenda behind the Black Lives Matter Movement, other than what is apparent? United News Channel will continue to investigate this story.
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