BLM-Where Did The Donations Go?

Black Lives Matters raised more than $90 billion dollars in 2020. But where is all of that money?

Where did the money go?

We lived through a time of fear. Of uncertainty as black women and men living in the United States. American felt a little less "home of the free".It is not an unfamiliar feeling unfortunately. The experience of 2020 was like living in deja vu, similar days to what our ancestors experienced. I have always read, watched, and studied the stories and incidents regarding the black community, the violence we have had to overcome and navigate.

I remember being in history classes as a child and hearing the general stories, and then going home and speaking to my parents and hearing things in more graphic details. I honestly never thought that it would be like this. That I would be watching people around me, both male and female die. Regardless of the situation at hand, lives were being lost, violently. I speak for myself and my close friends when I say that it was a time that we leaned on each other for support like never before. It was a time where we called and checked in with each other mentally and emotionally to make sure we were all feeling okay. 

2020 was full of confusion.

As I think back to those history classes, I remember my blood boiling. I took an African American Studies class in college and I could not help but have feelings of discontentment as I sat and watched people who looked like me; like my uncles and aunts; like my grandmother and grandfather and neighbors: hung, beaten, and killed because they were not liked. Respect is earned and not easily given in some cases. When I'm alone  and the silence surrounds me, I ask myself, "is lack of respect a cause to kill?" Not only kill, but seemingly get away with murder if your skin is a little bit lighter or you have a badge to hide behind. I never thought that in the year 2020 I would be watching these violent acts I once saw in my textbooks and in old black and white films no blasted in full color on Tv, Twitter, and Instagram feeds. No one could prepare me for the Facebook lives of the consistent killings of black lives. The age of social media is such a wild concept.

The idea that we can see everything and anything in real time and on full display. No filter, unedited, just raw, real, and live for the whole world to see on repeat. I don't think that humans were made to have so much access to everything. It comes with both its good and its bad. Some of the bad has kept me up at nights and have filled my eyes with tears. The idea of raising children in a climate that doesn't support their very existence makes me nervous, but I hope that I continue to educate myself and the people around me. I hope that I will partner with my future husband and our families to build up fearlessly strong and capable black little boy and little girls. The Black Lives Matter movement wasn't all sadness, there was much to celebrate in those moments of 2020 too.

Donations, Donations, Donations.

Being able to witness people coming from all walks of life, whether that be age, gender, or race marching and spreading love, acceptance, resources, and awareness made me and the people I love feel like we were a part of something amazing. Something bigger than ourselves. Actually witnessing change and love for humanity as a whole in real time has been such a beautiful thing. The idea of knowing in the mist of chaos and confusion that there is hope to be had. That humanitarian acts are not silenced in dark times, but yell louder with great passion. I'm sure like most American's when we watched and participated in the marches and protests we also spent our times making donations and having deeper conversations and connections.

The Black Lives Matters movement has had so many outlets for people to contribute. But do we really know what we were making contributions too and where our donations actually went? Since the whirlwind has died down, and we have all went back to our lives, I contemplate the questions over and over again. "Where did all that money go"? BLM has raised over 10 billion American dollars and yet and still I have not seen one BLM school opened. I have yet to see any incentive programs pop up for children to win scholarships for college. I haven't even seen a check cut and split to the millions of Black Americans.

Despite what you may have seen in viral social media posts, the BLM organization wants to make it clear that none of the money is going to the Democratic National Committee. Some people are skeptical regarding this, because of their use of the platform ActBlue to process donations. It is said that  ActBlue is popular amongst the Democratic politicians and progressive nonprofits, and similar services like WinRed which is normally used by Republicans. The thing about both of these platforms is that no one party has control over how funds are distributed or allocated. So what does this mean? It still doesn't answer the looming questions I have.

The light at the end of the tunnel.

If we have raised so much money, why haven't we seen a turn around in the way that money is being used and allocated? Why haven't our politicians taken more of an initiative to make sure that the people affected by such tragedy are taken care of? Some activists have raised concerns because of the lack of specifics about how the funds of the countless donations are being spent. Even though daily the BLM organizations are still receiving many donations, they are still receiving a lot of backlash from the skeptics.

The BLM Global Network Foundation announced last week it is creating a $6.5 million fund to support grassroots work by affiliated groups. Thankfully starting July 1st of 2021, affiliates can apply for up to $500,000 in multi-year grants. This organizations goal is to step up an education platform this year and beyond to develop a curriculum that devoted to more resources to Arts and Cultural programs. Patrisse Cullors, co-founder and chair of this organization said in a statement, "In the upcoming year, we will provide resources to those new to the movement and interested in Black Liberation strategies by developing curriculum. In this stunning moment in American history, we will honor those lost, and those who have come before us in the fight for Black Liberation." In the mist of all the overflowing information I received and digested as I researched the answer to my many questions, I was beginning to see change and a hopeful light at the end of what was seemingly a dark tunnel. We are making amazing progress so that we can continue to hold people we vote in to power accountable for our wellbeing.

Although the research will never be done and our answers will not always have outcomes right away, I am confident that with time, we will see a brighter tomorrow. A world where children feel safe and grow up to be adults who feel protected in America. Black Lives will always matter, and it is our job to make sure we continue to raise awareness. Please never stop asking the important questions, and being prepared to bring your own advice, insight, and resolutions to problem you do not agree with. The world can only run in unity, when those who disagree, can at least listen and instead of arguing about whose right; collaborate on how WE can make things better for all.

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