A video from 2015 is being circulated online of Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors — a self-described “queer,” artist, author, organizer and college professor who founded the organization with another lesbian and a self-described feminist — acknowledging that the group is led by “trained Marxists.” The group’s website also outlines that it seeks to “dismantle cisgender privilege and uplift Black trans folk,” as well as to “foster a queer‐affirming network” and “build a space” that is “free from sexism, misogyny, and environments in which men are centered.”
“It was important for us as Black women, two of which are queer, to actually talk about the totality of Black life,” she said during the interview with Jared Ball of “I Mix What I Like” on Real News Network. “And that Black cis[gender] men are not the sum of Black people, but rather all Black people being the totality of Black people …”
Cullors added that the group’s definition of totality would include “Black trans[gender] folk,” those who have been incarcerated or are currently behind bars, and those with disabilities.
“We wanted to call a new Black liberation movement that centered those most at the margin as a part of a political frame to challenge the current system that we live in,” she explained.
Black Lives Matter was formed by Cullors, Alicia Garza and Opal Tometi in 2013 in response to the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of teenager Trayvon Martin.
“While the tragic deaths of Trayvon Martin and Mike Brown were catalysts for the emergence of the BLM movement,” the bio for Garza, a lesbian, states, “in order to truly understand how devastating and widespread this type of violence is in Black America, we must view this epidemic through a lens of race, gender, sexual orientation, and gender identity.”
“We make space for transgender brothers and sisters to participate and lead,” the site’s “What We Believe” page also outlines. “We are self-reflexive and do the work required to dismantle cisgender privilege and uplift Black trans folk, especially Black trans women who continue to be disproportionately impacted by trans-antagonistic violence.”
“We build a space that affirms Black women and is free from sexism, misogyny, and environments in which men are centered,” it continues. “We foster a queer‐affirming network. When we gather, we do so with the intention of freeing ourselves from the tight grip of heteronormative thinking, or rather, the belief that all in the world are heterosexual (unless s/he or they disclose otherwise).”
During the interview with Ball, when presented with a concern about the group’s perceived “lack of ideological direction,” Cullors sought to explain that she does believe the group has an organized ideology.
“We … do have an ideological frame. Myself, and Alicia in particular, are trained organizers. We are trained Marxists,” she said. “We are super versed on ideological theories, and I think that what we really try to do is build a movement that can be utilized by many, many Black folk.”
But she advised that the organization didn’t want to necessarily be the vanguard for society.
Cullors, an adjunct professor at Prescott College in Arizona, has a Bachelors of Arts degree in Religion and Philosophy from UCLA and a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Southern California’s Roski School of Art and Design.
“Her thesis performance [at USC], ‘Respite, Reprieve, and Healing: An Evening of Cleansing,’ explored themes such as exhaustion, restoration, and queer world building through ritual Black hair washing and procession movements,” the faculty page for Cullors shares.
“Most recently, Cullors performed ‘[Expletive] White Supremacy, Let’s Get Free’ (FWSLGF) at Frieze Los Angeles 2020 and at LTD Los Angeles,” it states. “Her piece ‘Prayer to the Iyami’ took a deep dive into the intersections of incarceration, mental illness and resilience.”
Cullors’ course at Prescott College is part of the school’s “Social Justice and Community Organizing (SJCO)” Master’s degree program, “which combines a unique focus on critical race theory, anti-colonial theory, feminist and queer theory, critical political economy, and third world liberation theory,” according to her website.
She has delivered keynote addresses at American University, The University of Notre Dame, the University of Pennsylvania and Cornell University, and she and her organization have won numerous accolades, such as the Sydney Peace Prize, Glamour’s Justice Seekers Award and the Justice Award from the National Center for Lesbian Rights.
Cullors’ biography says that she is a “self-described wife of Harriet Tubman” and notes that when “Patrisse was 16-years-old she came out as queer and moved out of her home in the Valley. She formed close connections with other young queer woman who were dealing with the challenges of poverty and being Black and Brown in the USA.”
In an article published this month by the Washington Times, Everett Piper, the former president of Oklahoma Wesleyan University, scolded Christians — or more specifically, “woke evangelical pastors” — who support the organization.
“How in the name of all that is right and holy could you possibly now march with an organization that laughs in the face of all that Jesus taught and died for? How could you be so ignorant? How could you be so arrogant? How could you be so wrong?” he wrote.
“Have you not taken the time to do a 30-second Google search of the mission statement of the organization with which you now align?”
“The broken ideas of BLM are not godly, and they are not Christian, and any pastor suggesting otherwise diminishes the imago Dei to little more than a hyphenated construct of division rather than unity,” Piper opined.
He asked pastors why they are not rather teaching that all are the same — as all have sinned and are in need of the Savior.
“Why aren’t you telling your followers that to be a Christian is to be born again, not born that way, that we have died to self, that we are new creations, that we are neither ‘Jew nor Greek,’ and that we are all one Body in Christ?” Piper asked. “Why aren’t you preaching that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God — not just whites and not just blacks — but all?”
“Why aren’t you telling people that the only solution to this mess is personal repentance rather than casting blame?”
Ephesians 5:11 teaches, “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness but rather reprove them.”