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MORE WHITE LIES: A white BLM leader in Indiana apologizes for pretending to be black

A white self-proclaimed "Activist of Colour" in Indianapolis lied about being black and has since apologized for misleading the public.

Mia Cathell The Post Millennial
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A white self-proclaimed "Activist of Colour" in Indianapolis lied about being black and has since apologized for misleading the public.

Satchuel Cole, a vocal community leader with local BLM and Standing Up for Racial Injustice (SURJ) chapters, admitted to deceiving the advocacy groups in a Facebook post on Wednesday.

"I have taken up space as a Black person while knowing I am white. I have used Blackness when it was not mine to use. I have asked for support and energy as a Black person," Cole wrote on social media under the alias "Satch Paige."

The apology is the only public post on the page. The Indianapolis Star found that Cole used the burner account as an apartment manager.

Cole—whose gender-neutral pronouns are "they" and "them"—is also an active member of the LGBTQ+ movement. This year, Cole was named one of Indy Pride Parade 2020's Grand Marshals alongside newly-elected LGBTQ+ Indianapolis city-county councillors.

In 2018, Cole founded No Questions Asked Food Pantry, which partnered with Indy10 BLM, Indy Pride, Queering Indy, and Indy Feminists.

In May, the Central Indiana Community Foundation (CICF) awarded more than $1 million in responsive grants to several Marion County non-profit organisations amid the coronavirus pandemic, including Cole’s neighbourhood cupboard which received $35,000 to continue feeding families in need.

Pamela Ross, vice president of opportunity, equity and inclusion at CICF, called Cole’s actions unacceptable and disappointing, IndyStar reported.

“[W]e are disappointed that we have another instance of a white woman claiming to be a Black woman and it continues to perpetuate issues that we see in the community and it creates divisiveness," Ross stated.

CICF will continue to work towards rebuilding the community's trust and healing residents from the damage done by Cole's deceit, Rose continued.

“This situation has created a different level of conversation about telling the truth,” Ross said. “We are looking at leaders and at how many leaders of color actually are running these organizations. That does matter, but it does not matter in an application, it matters in the conversation because we want to influence more leaders of color."

Cole's rise as the city's progressive darling can be attributed to their appointment to vice president of the defunct Deconstructing Oppression Now Through Solidarity Liberation Equity Empowerment & Perseverance (DON'T SLEEP). As of Friday, they are not listed as a team member on the site.

The disgraced activists also acted as the spokesperson for the family of Aaron Bailey, an unarmed black motorist who was shot by two Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officers and fatally crashed his car into a tree following a late-night traffic stop and brief vehicle pursuit in June 2017.

Cole's confession came a day after a deep dive profile, entitled "Shocking Details Emerge on Indy Activist Who Faked Life as a Black Woman," exposing the Hooser's deception was published on BlackIndyLIVE.com.

Laron Anderson, the website's editor-in-chief, explained that the exposé encapsulated a culmination of long-standing questions he and others harboured about Cole's ethnicity.

A dossier obtained by the news outlet's cybersecurity team revealed "almost unbelievable details behind the Secret Life of Satchuel Cole."

"It contains very serious, personal, and shocking information, that is also available to the public. We have for the time removed some of the most egregious claims and information from this current story, until we can independently verify more of the facts—even though our team has found reason to believe all the information we were given is accurate and truthful," the compiled report prefaced.

According to a civil court docket, Cole was born "Jennifer Lynn Bento" and identified as a white female on paper before 2010 when they legally changed their name in Hamilton Circuit Court to "Satchuel Paigelyn Cole."

In 2010, Cole filed a name change petition in Hamilton Circuit Court | Photo: Court document

This new moniker was a mix of the names of iconic Negro League pitcher Leroy Robert “Satchel” Paige and Bento’s close friend, Chantelle-Owens-Cole.

Cole grew up in a suburban white family until their parents separated early in their childhood. Their father, John Oliver Benton, reportedly moved to Florida and was never seen again. Then in 1994, Cole's older sister, Melissa Benton, was convicted of brutally stabbing their mother, Rachel Irick Stimer, to death after Stimer remarried to the children's allegedly abusive stepfather.

Cole's parents pictured in the Arlington High School yearbook | Photos: Black Indy LIVE

During this time, Cole started self-identifying as a bi-racial black woman, purporting that they have a black father whom they learned about later in life but never met.

Freedom Indiana ran a feel good Father's Day story in 2017, interviewing Cole about their alleged long lost black father named “Lee Timeless Barnes.” The statewide grassroots campaign removed the blog post on Tuesday given the recent revelation.

Black Indy LIVE researchers were unable to confirm that this person exists and cannot state with accuracy that the individual was even aware of the photograph being used by Cole for this dishonest purpose.

The Father's Day piece included a picture of the man identified as “Lee Timeless Barnes” who Cole claimed was their long lost black father | Photo: Freedom Indiana

A Black Indy LIVE preliminary investigation unearthed over a dozen Indianapolis residents who identify as victims of various schemes orchestrated by Cole, ranging as far back as 2012 to as recent as several weeks ago.

The various alleged wrongdoings include identity misrepresentation, misappropriation of thousands of dollars of funding collected over time, “slum lord” accusations through Cole's work in property management with low income families, and threats of physical violence against families and even children attempting to oppose the black imposter.

At the article's conclusion, Black Indy LIVE encouraged "anyone who may have been a victim of Satchuel Cole" to contact the editorial team at info@blackindylive.com with their story.

Cole has not responded to The Post Millennial for comment by the time of publication.

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