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Black Lives Matter Has Grown More Powerful, and More Divided

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Younger activists who criticized him several years ago for not being grass-roots enough have recently turned to him for advice as they wrestle with the type of scrutiny he has faced, he said.

“I think out of the tension, it will make us all settle and find more possible ways to work together,” he said. “I think that sometimes it’s uncomfortable, but it’ll bring us to a better place, I hope.”

For years, national leaders warned that the Black Lives Matter movement could fracture if internal concerns were voiced publicly, said YahNé Ndgo, who recently stepped back as a core organizer with one of the breakaway chapters, Black Lives Matter Philly. That prevented many chapters from speaking up, she said.

But when the national leaders spun off a new organization, BLM Grassroots, last year to act as an umbrella for all chapters, those with concerns had to speak up, Ms. Ndgo said. It felt like another attempt by the national organization to evade accountability, she said.

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“If a group is not acting in service to the movement,” she said, “then it has to be addressed.”

Amid questions from critics, the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation, which received tax-exempt status as a nonprofit organization last year, in February released its most complete accounting in its roughly six-year history. It reported receiving $90 million in donations last year, the most it had ever raised in a year. A majority of the funds were saved, the report said, with $8.4 million spent on operational expenses and $21.7 million distributed to local aid organizations and chapters.

The report caught the attention of Mr. Brown, who has at times seen the foundation he established after his son’s killing struggle to get resources, he said. In a video posted to social media, he stood alongside a local activist, who demanded that Black Lives Matter contribute $20 million to local organizers.





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