At a recent event in Washington, Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors said that 990 tax forms required for charities are "triggering," and are being "weaponized" against organizations like hers.
According to the Washington Examiner, an IRS 990 form is a document charities are required to file yearly and provide to the public disclosing their financial activities.
"It is such a trip now to hear the term '990,'" Cullors said at the Friday event at the Vashon Center for the Arts. "I'm, like, ugh. It's, like, triggering."
"I actually did not know what 990s were before all of this happened," Cullors said, suggesting a reference to recent coverage of the controversy surrounding the organization’s handling of its finances and taxes, which lead to multiple states ordering the charity to cease funding until it discloses what they spent their $90 million raised in funds in 2020 on.
"This doesn't seem safe for us, this 990 structure — this nonprofit system structure," Cullors said. "This is, like, deeply unsafe. This is being literally weaponized against us, against the people we work with."
Cullors said that the requirement to publish these tax forms could put their activists at risk, adding that she has fielded comments from numerous activists that have expressed concerns about the potential of receiving requests to disclose their 990 forms, which is a requirement by law.
"People's morale in an organization is so important. But if their organization and the people in it are being attacked and scrutinized at everything they do, that leads to deep burnout. that leads to deep, like, resistance and trauma," Cullors said.
Cullors continued on to say that the media scrutiny of their organization is an "experiment," and if successful, will be used to take down other black-led activist groups.
"They know what they're doing: how to create the infighting, how to create the distrust," she said. "We have to stop it before they do it. We have to shut it down. We have to be showing up against it."
Cullors stepped down from the group in May of 2021 amid scrutiny of her personal finances, and the buying of multiple homes in the country.
The group has received more criticism recently surrounding the purchase of a nearly $6 million home with donated funds, which they have dubbed the "Creator’s House."
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