search
Sections List
American Journal News

BLM launches Survival Fund as Americans wait for COVID-19 relief

‘I believe that when you have resources, to hoard them is a disservice to the people who deserve them,’ said Patrisse Cullors, a Black Lives Matter cofounder.

By Associated Press - February 27, 2021
Share
Black Lives Matter march in Philadelphia

The Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation is formally expanding a $3 million financial relief fund that it quietly launched earlier this month, to help people struggling to make ends meet during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The foundation, which grew out of the creation of the Black Lives Matter movement nearly eight years ago, said Thursday that it plans to make up to 3,000 microgrants of $1,000 each to people who it believes need it most. The BLM foundation has already begun asking recipients to apply for the Survival Fund grants as it builds out its philanthropic arm.

If approved, the money is deposited directly into recipients’ bank accounts or made available on prepaid debit cards, the foundation said — no strings attached.

“This came from a collective conversation with BLM leadership that Black folks are being hurt the most financially during the pandemic,” BLM co-founder Patrisse Cullors told the Associated Press.

“I believe that when you have resources, to hoard them is a disservice to the people who deserve them,” she said.

Cullors, the foundation’s executive director, said that so far the Survival Fund’s first recipients have included the families of people killed by police or who died while incarcerated, grassroots community organizers, people who identify as transgender, single parents, and formerly incarcerated individuals.

Before Thursday, at least 300 people had been approved for grants. The fund is being administered through UpTogether, a project of the Family Independence Initiative, which works to disrupt the cycle of poverty through direct investment to low-income families and budding entrepreneurs.

One Survival Fund recipient, Kusema Thomas, said he has been earning $1,500 less in monthly income since the start of the pandemic. The 45-year-old Los Angeles resident and father of 11-year-old and 4-year-old sons had been working as a community organizer and mental health specialist at a shelter for youth victims of domestic violence. His hours were cut back due to the pandemic.

Thomas, who was also formerly incarcerated, said that when he was asked to apply for BLM’s Survival Fund, he thought he was being pranked. But when the $1,000 grant showed up, he said it reminded him of the value of communities collectively pooling resources to bring relief and aid to their own.

“It reinforces some of the things that have just been natural to us as a community,” Thomas told the AP. “It’s a point of pride, that’s connected to our history of being able to support each other. It’s how we show love.”

Thomas said he is using the money to teach his sons how to begin saving, something that he wasn’t taught as a child.

The Survival Fund is part of the foundation’s 2021 focus on economic justice, particularly as it relates to the ongoing socioeconomic impact of COVID-19 on Black communities. On Tuesday, the BLM foundation revealed that it had raised $90 million last year, much of it after the May 2020 death of George Floyd, a Black man whose last breaths under the knee of a white Minneapolis police officer sparked protests across the United States and around the world.

And it comes as the nation waits for Congress to take action on a nearly $2 trillion relief package that includes $1,400 direct stimulus payments to individuals who earn less than $75,000 in annual income. The House of Representatives was expected to approve the package this week and send it over to the Senate, which is narrowly controlled by Democrats.

President Joe Biden has pledged to pass a new round of COVID-19 relief legislation within the first 100 days of his administration. He’s about 35 days in.

Still, Cullors criticized the effort, saying it was “unacceptable” that moving relief dollars into Americans’ hands was not the first thing the Biden administration did when it took over.

However, passage of the aid bill, expected next month, is happening far faster than earlier relief efforts during the Trump administration, which languished for months as Republicans and Democrats failed to reach agreement.

During that time, mutual aid and direct assistance programs like BLM’s Survival Fund have increased in popularity. According to the nonprofit Town Hall Project, which created the Mutual Aid Hub to track various collective efforts last March, the number of mutual aid groups in the United States grew from 50 to more than 800 in 48 states by last May.

Black mutual aid efforts, in particular, date back to the 1700s, when enslaved Americans pooled their money to buy each other’s freedom from bondage. In the late 1960s, the Black Panther Party for Self Defense created survival programs in which members provided groceries and breakfasts to the elderly and schoolchildren, as well as health care screenings through community clinics.

Cullors said the Survival Fund is a tribute to that legacy.


Read More
Biden calls for expanded child tax credit, taxes on wealthy in $7.2 trillion budget plan

Biden calls for expanded child tax credit, taxes on wealthy in $7.2 trillion budget plan

By Jennifer Shutt, States Newsroom - March 11, 2024
December jobs report: Wages up, hiring steady as job market ends year strong

December jobs report: Wages up, hiring steady as job market ends year strong

By Casey Quinlan - January 05, 2024
Biden’s infrastructure law is boosting Nevada’s economy. Sam Brown opposed it.

Biden’s infrastructure law is boosting Nevada’s economy. Sam Brown opposed it.

By Jesse Valentine - November 15, 2023
Biden infrastructure law helps Pennsylvania’s small manufacturers

Biden infrastructure law helps Pennsylvania’s small manufacturers

By Oliver Willis - October 20, 2023
GOP senators try to stop EPA rule projected to save consumers millions of dollars

GOP senators try to stop EPA rule projected to save consumers millions of dollars

By Oliver Willis - October 20, 2023
Democratic bill would increase housing access for formerly incarcerated Michigan residents

Democratic bill would increase housing access for formerly incarcerated Michigan residents

By Alyssa Burr - October 18, 2023
AJ News
Latest
Ted Cruz leverages Trump conviction on podcast for own personal gain

Ted Cruz leverages Trump conviction on podcast for own personal gain

By Jesse Valentine - June 11, 2024
Arizona Republican Kari Lake proposes massive cuts to Medicaid and Medicare

Arizona Republican Kari Lake proposes massive cuts to Medicaid and Medicare

By Jesse Valentine - June 10, 2024
Virginia U.S. Senate candidate Hung Cao says workplace diversity is ‘Marxism’

Virginia U.S. Senate candidate Hung Cao says workplace diversity is ‘Marxism’

By Jesse Valentine - June 06, 2024
Republican Bernie Moreno’s rags-to-riches story exposed as a lie

Republican Bernie Moreno’s rags-to-riches story exposed as a lie

By Jesse Valentine - May 24, 2024
What happens to clinics after a state bans abortion? They fight to survive.

What happens to clinics after a state bans abortion? They fight to survive.

By Chabeli Carrazana and Shefali Luthra - May 22, 2024
Former Sen. Kelly Ayotte took job at Caterpillar after tax fraud probe

Former Sen. Kelly Ayotte took job at Caterpillar after tax fraud probe

By Jesse Valentine - May 21, 2024
Alabama OB-GYN residencies dropped over 20% after Dobbs, state abortion ban, says analysis

Alabama OB-GYN residencies dropped over 20% after Dobbs, state abortion ban, says analysis

By Alander Rocha, Alabama Reflector - May 21, 2024
House GOP celebrates National Police Week while pushing to defund local law enforcement

House GOP celebrates National Police Week while pushing to defund local law enforcement

By Jesse Valentine - May 16, 2024
Evolution denier Mark Robinson could reshape North Carolina’s education system

Evolution denier Mark Robinson could reshape North Carolina’s education system

By Jesse Valentine - May 16, 2024
Republican Jay Ashcroft backs anti-abortion clinics that push lies and disinformation

Republican Jay Ashcroft backs anti-abortion clinics that push lies and disinformation

By Jesse Valentine - May 14, 2024
Republican Sam Brown’s assault on teacher unions could backfire

Republican Sam Brown’s assault on teacher unions could backfire

By Jesse Valentine - May 09, 2024
Florida abortion ban puts GOP Rep. Anna Paulina Luna’s anti-choice views in spotlight

Florida abortion ban puts GOP Rep. Anna Paulina Luna’s anti-choice views in spotlight

By Jesse Valentine - May 07, 2024
Trump leaves door open to banning medication abortion nationwide

Trump leaves door open to banning medication abortion nationwide

By Jennifer Shutt, States Newsroom - April 30, 2024
Republican Caroleene Dobson wants Alabama abortion ban to go nationwide

Republican Caroleene Dobson wants Alabama abortion ban to go nationwide

By Jesse Valentine - April 30, 2024
Ohio Gov. DeWine said he didn’t know of millions in FirstEnergy support. Is it plausible?

Ohio Gov. DeWine said he didn’t know of millions in FirstEnergy support. Is it plausible?

By Marty Schladen, Ohio Capital Journal - April 29, 2024
GOP Rep. Zach Nunn suggests laws against hate crime aren’t needed

GOP Rep. Zach Nunn suggests laws against hate crime aren’t needed

By Jesse Valentine - April 15, 2024
GOP Senate candidate Hung Cao blames racial equity for Baltimore bridge tragedy

GOP Senate candidate Hung Cao blames racial equity for Baltimore bridge tragedy

By Jesse Valentine - March 29, 2024
GOP Rep. Jennifer Kiggans donates thousands to far-right extremists

GOP Rep. Jennifer Kiggans donates thousands to far-right extremists

By Jesse Valentine - March 08, 2024
Ohio senate candidate Bernie Moreno: “Absolute pro-life no exceptions.”

Ohio senate candidate Bernie Moreno: “Absolute pro-life no exceptions.”

By Jesse Valentine - March 07, 2024
Anti-China Republicans pocket thousands from Chinese owned conglomerate

Anti-China Republicans pocket thousands from Chinese owned conglomerate

By Jesse Valentine - March 04, 2024
Republican Eric Hovde makes inconsistent statements about family history

Republican Eric Hovde makes inconsistent statements about family history

By Jesse Valentine - February 26, 2024
Republican David McCormick invests millions in website that platforms Holocaust denial

Republican David McCormick invests millions in website that platforms Holocaust denial

By Jesse Valentine - February 09, 2024
Lawmakers will again take up bills expanding, tightening gun laws

Lawmakers will again take up bills expanding, tightening gun laws

By Annmarie Timmins, New Hampshire Bulletin - January 31, 2024
UAW delivers rousing presidential endorsement for Biden over ‘scab’ Trump

UAW delivers rousing presidential endorsement for Biden over ‘scab’ Trump

By Ashley Murray, States Newsroom - January 24, 2024
Republicans Sam Brown and Jeff Gunter sling mud in Nevada senate primary

Republicans Sam Brown and Jeff Gunter sling mud in Nevada senate primary

By Jesse Valentine - January 17, 2024
A Young Texas Woman Almost Died Due To The Texas Abortion Bans – Now She’s Battling To Save Other Women

A Young Texas Woman Almost Died Due To The Texas Abortion Bans – Now She’s Battling To Save Other Women

By Bonnie Fuller - January 10, 2024
Health care legislation preview: Maryland advocates want to focus on access, patients in 2024 session

Health care legislation preview: Maryland advocates want to focus on access, patients in 2024 session

By Danielle J. Brown, Maryland Matters - January 08, 2024
How GOP senate hopefuls try to excuse the  January 6 insurrection

How GOP senate hopefuls try to excuse the  January 6 insurrection

By Jesse Valentine - January 05, 2024
NH lawmakers will be taking up major voting bills this year. Here are some to watch for.

NH lawmakers will be taking up major voting bills this year. Here are some to watch for.

By Ethan DeWitt, New Hampshire Bulletin - January 04, 2024
Republican US Senate candidates want to make Trump’s tax cuts permanent 

Republican US Senate candidates want to make Trump’s tax cuts permanent 

By Jesse Valentine - December 22, 2023
Rand Paul went all in on the Kentucky governor’s race. It didn’t work.

Rand Paul went all in on the Kentucky governor’s race. It didn’t work.

By - December 15, 2023
Texas governor and attorney general do little to curb state’s chemical plant crisis

Texas governor and attorney general do little to curb state’s chemical plant crisis

By Jesse Valentine - December 08, 2023
Likely GOP Senate candidate Eric Hovde proposed tax hike for poorer workers and retirees

Likely GOP Senate candidate Eric Hovde proposed tax hike for poorer workers and retirees

By Jesse Valentine - December 07, 2023
Whitmer signs specific criminal penalties for assaulting health care workers into law

Whitmer signs specific criminal penalties for assaulting health care workers into law

By Anna Liz Nichols, Michigan Advance - December 06, 2023
105 Republicans voted to expel Santos for things Trump has also done

105 Republicans voted to expel Santos for things Trump has also done

By Jesse Valentine - December 05, 2023
For Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, another Trump term is another chance to kill Obamacare

For Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, another Trump term is another chance to kill Obamacare

By Jesse Valentine - December 04, 2023
Florida Sen. Rick Scott backs Donald Trump in revived push to repeal Obamacare

Florida Sen. Rick Scott backs Donald Trump in revived push to repeal Obamacare

By Jesse Valentine - November 30, 2023
Tate Reeves took donations from power company that hiked customer rates

Tate Reeves took donations from power company that hiked customer rates

By Jesse Valentine - November 06, 2023
Daniel Cameron ran on depoliticizing the Kentucky AG’s office. He made it more political.

Daniel Cameron ran on depoliticizing the Kentucky AG’s office. He made it more political.

By Jesse Valentine - November 03, 2023
Republican operatives sound every alarm on current trajectory of 2023 governor’s race

Republican operatives sound every alarm on current trajectory of 2023 governor’s race

By Adam Ganucheau, Mississippi Today - October 24, 2023
U.S. Supreme Court overturns ban on bump stocks used in Las Vegas mass shooting

U.S. Supreme Court overturns ban on bump stocks used in Las Vegas mass shooting

By Ariana Figueroa, Pennsylvania Capital Star - June 14, 2024
As a Texas city debates an abortion “travel ban,” maternal care is scarce in nearby rural counties

As a Texas city debates an abortion “travel ban,” maternal care is scarce in nearby rural counties

By Jayme Lozano Carver, The Texas Tribune - June 14, 2024
Lt. Gov. Robinson touts end of DEI as LGBTQ+ advocates seek protections, equity

Lt. Gov. Robinson touts end of DEI as LGBTQ+ advocates seek protections, equity

By Ahmed Jallow, NC Newsline - June 13, 2024
U.S. Supreme Court allows access to abortion pill, unanimously rejecting Texas challenge

U.S. Supreme Court allows access to abortion pill, unanimously rejecting Texas challenge

By Eleanor Klibanoff, Texas Tribune and Karen Brooks Harper, The Texas Tribune - June 13, 2024
Judge strikes down Florida gender-affirming care restrictions for minors and adults

Judge strikes down Florida gender-affirming care restrictions for minors and adults

By Orion Rummler, Louisiana Illuminator - June 12, 2024