WASHINGTON (TND) – Activists say it was a creation born from many lifetimes of frustration.
In 2013, after George Zimmerman was acquitted in the killing of Trayvon Martin, that creation known as "Black Lives Matter" became a movement.
"I wanted to change the culture that looked at Black people as second-class citizens," said Patrisse Cullors, one of the original founders of the movement, in a video she released last year.
As years passed and acts of violence against unarmed Black men were captured on camera – sometimes involving police officers, like the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis – the movement became a revolution.
But now, some serious questions are now being raised about the group's finances, especially after $90 million was brought in in 2020, with many local groups saying they haven’t seen a penny.
In a video produced in Minneapolis by the Capital Research Center, a conservative group that studies non-profits, local community members are speaking out about what they call a "shakedown" by BLM.
“Right now they have absolutely no impact in what’s going on in the decimation of our community," said Rev. Jerry McAfee, a pastor at New Salem Missionary Baptist Church.
"They collected some $30 million off of the death of George Floyd, a Black man killed by police. And they’ve put not one dollar in our community," he said in the video posted online.
"These are local leaders who really are trying to help people’s lives. They are furious that tens of millions of dollars have gone to this national group which has completely ignored them in every possible way," said Scott Walter, President of Capital Research Center, in an interview Monday.
The Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation’s 2020 impact report stated it gave 23% of its $90 million to charity – three times the industry norm.
But questions remain about the rest of the money, including from mothers whose sons have been killed.
"They never came in here for the death of our children; they had a hidden agenda," said Lisa Simpson in an interview with BNC News in April 2021.
Her son Richard Risher was fatally shot by a police officer in July of 2016.
"I'm a mother that lost my 18-year-old son that took 35 shots. Y'all getting all of these donations, but where is the money going?" Simpson said.
That question is raising many others after the group's founder stepped down in May 2021 following allegations she bought multiple properties worth millions of dollars, though there is no evidence that money was taken improperly.
Still, the fallout continues. In the last week, the Amazon Smile program, which lets people donate to charity every time they make a purchase, has reportedly taken BLM off its site.
This comes as legal action in Washington state and California has also halted online fundraising activity in those states.
Sinclair asked Black Lives Matter for a statement and have not heard back.