Black Lives Matter cofounder stepping down from organization

Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors announced Thursday that she is stepping down from her role as executive director of the organization. 

“With smart, experienced and committed people supporting the organization during this transition, I know that BLMGNF is in good hands,” Cullors said in a statement Thursday. “The foundation’s agenda remains the same — eradicate white supremacy and build life-affirming institutions. 

Cullors helped form the organization in 2013, after Florida teen Trayvon Martin was shot to death and the gunman, George Zimmerman, was aquitted. It then expanded to a global foundation called Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation (BLMGNF) with a mission is “to build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes.” 

During her time at the BLMGNF, Cullors was responsible for forming the political action committee to help voter participation, helping the organization donate almost $25 million to Black-led groups and advocating for federal legislation in line with the divestment of the police department. 

After her last day on Friday, Cullors’ role will be taken over by Makan Themba and Monifa Bandele, two senior executives who will serve in the interim until BLMGNF fnds a permanent team for the roles. “Their immense talent will build a future where Black lives do more than matter — they will truly thrive,” Cullors added.

She said she will be focusing on the upcoming release of her second book and a multi-year TV development deal with Warner Bros, according to The Associated Press. She told the AP her departure has been in the works for more than a year, and not related to recent right-wing attacks against her and the organization’s finances. 

Cullors is the last of the original founders to leave the organization. 

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