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“I’ve created the infrastructure and the support, and the necessary bones and foundation, so that I can leave,” Cullors said in an interview with the Associated Press. “It feels like the time is right.”
The move comes after a controversy arose concerning Ms. Cullors’ lifestyle while serving as executive director, focusing on decisions made to make multiple costly real estate purchases. One decision that drew the most scrutiny from a slew of conservative websites and pundits was her purchase of a home worth $1 million dollars in the Topanga Canyon area of southern California. In her defense, Cullors stated that this resignation was in the works for a year. “Those were right-wing attacks that tried to discredit my character, and I don’t operate off of what the right thinks about me,” Cullors said in response to questions about the timing of her decision.
Criticism of Cullors along with fellow founders Opal Tometi and Alicia Garza have been constant since the trio began their work, but have ramped up as details of the finances of the Black Lives Matter Global Foundation came to light last year. The group raised $90 million in 2020, and closed out the year with a balance of $60 million. Some figures have questioned how the funds are being distributed and utilized, from those working with the organization to celebrities.
Cullors will focus on her upcoming book release in October, and has television projects focusing on Black stories in the works. Monifa Bandele, founder of the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement and Makani Themba, an organizer with Black Lives Matter from Jackson, Mississippi will step into the vacated leadership role.