Non-profit

We the Protesters

Website:

www.wetheprotesters.org

Location:

NEW YORK, NY

Tax ID:

81-3764408

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)

Budget (2019):

Revenue: $108,897
Expenses: $303,894
Assets: $12,708

Type:

Law Enforcement Reform Activist Organization

Formation:

2014

President/CEO:

Deray McKesson

We The Protesters (WTP) is a far-left law enforcement policy organization associated with the Black Lives Matter movement. [1] WTP was founded in 2014 following the police-involved shooting death of Michael Brown and associated violent protests in Ferguson, Missouri. [2] Prominent activist DeRay Mckesson is the president and co-founder of We the Protesters. [3]

WTP’s founders call it the first “digital civil rights movement” [4] with a goal of creating a new political community in the United States focused on black struggle due to perceived systemic, structural, and continuous pattern of “police brutality.” [5] WTP threatens to protest “until black lives are valued,” [6] and believes it has the chance to eradicate racism and its impacts within 30 years because by then “people of color will be the majority in America.” [7] It also holds an “affirmative vision of equity and justice,” and is ready to mobilize and organize for “social justice, centered on black struggle and rooted in justice.” [8]

WTP’s online resources and activist content includes the tracking incidents of police use of force across the United States, [9] an interactive map with these incidents which uses vague definitions, [10] [11] police union contract analysis, [12] and a list of far-left demands from student organizations across the United States. [13]

WTP was a part of fashion brand Glossier’s pledge to donate $500,000 to various organizations in 2020 [14] and received a $5,000 grant from the left-of-center Marguerite Casey Foundation in 2019. [15] In 2018, WTP reported $242,333 of contributions and grants. [16] WTP is associated with other left-wing activist organizations Campaign Zero [17] and StayWoke. [18]

History and Leadership

We The Protesters began after the violent protests in response to the police-involved shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014. [19] According to an organizational open letter, WTP was summoned by “Mike Brown’s blood and the gas-fueled tears in Ferguson” and “affirms the fundamental humanity of blackness.” [20]

DeRay Mckesson is the president and co-founder of We the Protesters. [21] Mckesson was the center of social media controversy surrounding his actions after the 2015 Charleston church shooting, [22] is a Teach for America alum, the founder and co-editor of the Ferguson Protester Newsletter, [23] and was identified by MSNBC as a “co-founder and arguably best-known member of the Black Lives Matter movement.” [24]

Mckesson has been involved in Democratic Party political circles since WTP’s founding. He was a part of public listening sessions for President Obama’s policing taskforce; [25] met with unsuccessful Democratic Party presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in 2015; [26] ran an unsuccessful mayoral campaign in Baltimore, Maryland, in 2016 that called for a repeal the law enforcement officers’ bill of rights; [27] [28] and met with then-President Obama in 2016 alongside political activist Al Sharpton, NAACP president Cornell Brooks, then-Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), and Attorney General Loretta Lynch to discuss civil rights concerns. [29]

Mckesson co-founded WTP and far-left activist organization Campaign Zero with Samuel Sinyangwe [30] and Johnetta Elzie. [31] Sinyangwe is highly active in the Black Lives Matter movement and is the driving force behind WTP’s Mapping Police Violence project. [32] He previously worked at left-of-center PolicyLink. [33] Elzie is active in the left-wing Black Lives Matter movement. She previously worked as a field organizer for Amnesty International. [34]

Activities

WTP’s mission is to create a new political community in the United States focused on Black struggle and rooted in justice due to a perceived systemic, structural, and continuous pattern of “police brutality.” [35] Its founders call it the first “digital civil rights movement” and the key to the next generation of digital tools for the Black Lives Matter movement. [36]

WTP threatens to protest “until black lives are valued” [37] and believes it has the chance to eradicate racism and its impacts within 30 years because by then “people of color will be the majority in America.” [38] WTP holds an “affirmative vision of equity and justice” and is ready to mobilize and organize for “social justice, centered on black struggle and rooted in justice.” [39]

Police Use of Force Project

One of WTP’s main online projects is the Police Use of Force Project, which addresses whether police officers are required to warn suspects prior to using their firearm. [40] This program rates police forces on their respective use of force policies and lists “failures” to limit police use of force. Their list includes: lack of a requirement to de-escalate, allowing officers to “choke or strangle” civilians, lack of requirement for officers to intervene in situations involving other officers, lack of a ban for shooting at moving vehicles, lack of a verbal warning requirement for officers to discharge their firearm, and a lack of a requirement to report each use or threatened use of force. [41]

Mapping Police Violence

One of WTP’s first projects was the “Mapping Police Violence Project,” [42] which uses interactive graphs and charts to track police-involved deaths and violent incidents across the United States. [43] This map, which focuses on the deaths of African Americans during interactions with police but also includes information about other races when available, is controversial because it incorporates data outside of official Federal Bureau of Investigations and Centers for Disease Control information. [44] The project’s mapping uses different data sets than the Washington Post’s police shootings database and relies heavily on crowdsourced data. The map also includes death via chokehold, baton, taser, or other means in its count. [45]

Mapping Police Violence’s vague definition of “unarmed” potentially skews its data set and results. Their definition of “unarmed” includes holding toy weapons (including BB guns, pellet guns, air rifles, and toy swords); holding other personal items not used to attack others; and individuals killed as a result of being intentionally hit by a police car or as a result of police stop sticks in a traffic pursuit. [46]

Police Union Contract Project

WTP’s website hosts links to the Police Union Contract Project, which analyzes police union contracts in over 80 metropolitan areas and identifies the ways in which activists believe police union contracts in these areas “make it difficult to hold police accountable for misconduct.” [47] This portal also identifies perceived police union political influence in California. [48]

“The Demands”

WTP’s website hosts a list of nationwide far-left demands from student organizations on 80 different university campuses to serve as a resource for activists called “The Demands.” [49] Black Liberation Collective’s national demands are a part of this list and include free tuition for African American and Native American students, divestment from prisons, and proportional representation for African American students and staff that is equivalent to the demographic makeup of the country. [50]

Protest Signs

WTP’s website hosts a page showcasing images of protesters holding signs at various protests around the United States. Featured signs on this page include messages such as: “Cops Kill Kids,” “Stop Huntin My People,” You don’t need a license to kill. You just need a badge,” “Out of the streets fascist police,” “lock up kkkiller cops,” “white silence is violence,” “season’s bleedings,” “the system is guilty,” and “unf**k America.” [51]

Funding

In 2020, WTP received an undisclosed amount of money from fashion brand Glossier as a part of Glossier’s pledge to donate $500,000 to Black Lives Matter, the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, Equal Justice Initiative, the Marsha P Johnson Institute, and We the Protesters. [52] That same year, WTP was one of 1,096 organizations to receive a grant from the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Hartford. [53]

In 2019, WTP received a $5,000 grant from the left-of-center Marguerite Casey Foundation  [54] and $18,000 from MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger. [55]

In 2018, WTP reported $242,333 of contributions and grants. [56] WTP reported receiving grants totaling $175,927 in 2017 and $241,809 in 2016, respectively. [57] [58]

Associated Organizations

Campaign Zero, a policing policy activist movement associated with the broader Black Lives Matter movement, is a project of We the Protesters. [59]

In its tax filings, WTP identifies left-wing digital accelerator and Black Lives Matter movement-affiliated Staywoke as a related organization. [60]

References

  1. Peters, Adele. “Meet The Startup Building The Digital Civil Rights Movement.” Fast Company. October 3, 2016. https://www.fastcompany.com/3064214/meet-the-startup-building-the-digital-civil-rights-movement. ^
  2. “Executive Summary.” We The Protesters. January 15, 2014. Accessed July 17, 2021. https://www.wetheprotesters.org/exe-sum-and-overview. ^
  3. “We The Protesters Inc.” Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax. (Form 990.) 2018. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/display_990/813764408/02_2020_prefixes_81-82%2F813764408_201812_990_2020020817128164. ^
  4. Peters, Adele. “Meet The Startup Building The Digital Civil Rights Movement.” Fast Company. October 3, 2016. https://www.fastcompany.com/3064214/meet-the-startup-building-the-digital-civil-rights-movement. ^
  5. “Executive Summary.” We The Protesters. January 15, 2014. Accessed July 17, 2021. https://www.wetheprotesters.org/exe-sum-and-overview. ^
  6. “WTP Open Letter.” We The Protesters. January 15, 2015. Accessed July 17, 2021. https://www.wetheprotesters.org/exe-sum-and-overview. ^
  7. “Executive Summary.” We The Protesters. January 15, 2014. Accessed July 17, 2021. https://www.wetheprotesters.org/exe-sum-and-overview. ^
  8. “Executive Summary.” We The Protesters. January 15, 2014. Accessed July 17, 2021. https://www.wetheprotesters.org/exe-sum-and-overview. ^
  9. Peters, Adele. “Meet The Startup Building The Digital Civil Rights Movement.” Fast Company. October 3, 2016. https://www.fastcompany.com/3064214/meet-the-startup-building-the-digital-civil-rights-movement. ^
  10. “About the Data.” Mapping Police Violence. Accessed July 17, 2021. https://mappingpoliceviolence.org/aboutthedata. ^
  11. Peters, Adele. “Meet The Startup Building The Digital Civil Rights Movement.” Fast Company. October 3, 2016. https://www.fastcompany.com/3064214/meet-the-startup-building-the-digital-civil-rights-movement. ^
  12. “Police Union Contract Project.” Check the Police. Accessed July 18, 2021. https://www.checkthepolice.org/#examples ^
  13.  “The Demands.” We The Protesters.” Compiled 2016. Accessed July 17, 2021. https://www.thedemands.org/. ^
  14. Gaskins, Ty. “These are the Fashion and Beauty Brands Supporting the Black Lives Matter Movement.” L’Officiel. June 4, 2020. Accessed July 17, 2021. https://www.lofficielusa.com/fashion/black-lives-matter-fashion-beauty-brand-donations-movement. ^
  15. “Marguerite Casey Foundation.” Return of Private Foundation. (Form 990-PF). 2019. https://assets.website-files.com/60aaba5834a8eaec5594efb8/60b0689c77e6d65a64992405_2019%20Form%20990.pdf. ^
  16. “We The Protesters Inc.” Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax. (Form 990.) 2018. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/display_990/813764408/02_2020_prefixes_81-82%2F813764408_201812_990_2020020817128164. ^
  17. “Vision.” Campaign Zero. Accessed July 16, 2021. https://www.campaignzero.org/#vision. ^
  18. “We The Protesters Inc.” Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax. (Form 990.) 2018. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/display_990/813764408/02_2020_prefixes_81-82%2F813764408_201812_990_2020020817128164. ^
  19. “Executive Summary.” We The Protesters. January 15, 2014. Accessed July 17, 2021. https://www.wetheprotesters.org/exe-sum-and-overview. ^
  20. “WTP Open Letter.” We The Protesters. January 15, 2015. Accessed July 17, 2021. https://www.wetheprotesters.org/exe-sum-and-overview. ^
  21. “We The Protesters Inc.” Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax. (Form 990.) 2018. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/display_990/813764408/02_2020_prefixes_81-82%2F813764408_201812_990_2020020817128164. ^
  22. Walters, Joanna. “DeRay Mckesson at centre of #GoHomeDeray Twitter storm.” The Guardian. June 21, 2015. Accessed July 16, 2021. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/jun/21/deray-mckesson-twitter-charleston-gohomederay. ^
  23. “About.” We the Protesters. Accessed July 18, 2021. https://www.wetheprotesters.org/about. ^
  24. “DeRay McKesson: We Shouldn’t Have to Protest | MSNBC.” MSNBC YouTube Channel. July 11, 2016. Accessed July 18, 2021. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g-_wVweATbk. ^
  25. President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing. 2015. “Final Report of The President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing.” Washington, D.C.: Office of Community Oriented Policing Services. Pg. 72. https://cops.usdoj.gov/pdf/taskforce/taskforce_finalreport.pdf. ^
  26. NPR Audio Transcript. “Hillary Clinton Holds ‘Tough, Candid’ Meeting With Black Lives Matter Activists. October 9, 2015. Accessed July 17, 2021. https://news.stlpublicradio.org/2015-10-09/hillary-clinton-holds-tough-candid-meeting-with-black-lives-matter-activists ^
  27. Woods, Baynard. “Baltimore mayoral candidate DeRay Mckesson releases plan for city.” The Guardian. February 12, 20216. Accessed July 17, 2021. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/feb/12/deray-mckesson-baltimore-mayor-proposals. ^
  28. Fritze, John. “DeRay Mckesson, civil rights leaders to meet with Obama.” Baltimore Sun. February 17, 2016. Accessed July 17, 2021. https://www.baltimoresun.com/politics/bal-deray-mckesson-civil-rights-leaders-to-meet-with-obama-20160217-story.html. ^
  29. Fritze, John. “DeRay Mckesson, civil rights leaders to meet with Obama.” Baltimore Sun. February 17, 2016. Accessed July 17, 2021. https://www.baltimoresun.com/politics/bal-deray-mckesson-civil-rights-leaders-to-meet-with-obama-20160217-story.html. ^
  30. “Sameul Sinyangwe.” Twitter Profile. Accessed July 16, 2021. https://twitter.com/samswey. ^
  31. “Johnetta Elzie.” Twitter Profile. Accessed July 16, 2021. https://twitter.com/nettaaaaaaaa ^
  32. “Mapping Police Violence | Samuel Sinyangwe | TEDxBrookings.” TEDx Talks YouTube Channel. November 28, 2017. Accessed July 18, 2021. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zVzGrj8HtcY. ^
  33. “The Planning Team.” We The Protesters. Accessed July 16, 2021. https://www.wetheprotesters.org/about. ^
  34. “The Planning Team.” We The Protesters. Accessed July 16, 2021. https://www.wetheprotesters.org/about. ^
  35. “Executive Summary.” We The Protesters. January 15, 2014. Accessed July 17, 2021. https://www.wetheprotesters.org/exe-sum-and-overview. ^
  36. Peters, Adele. “Meet The Startup Building The Digital Civil Rights Movement.” Fast Company. October 3, 2016. https://www.fastcompany.com/3064214/meet-the-startup-building-the-digital-civil-rights-movement. ^
  37. “WTP Open Letter.” We The Protesters. January 15, 2015. Accessed July 17, 2021. https://www.wetheprotesters.org/exe-sum-and-overview. ^
  38. “Executive Summary.” We The Protesters. January 15, 2014. Accessed July 17, 2021. https://www.wetheprotesters.org/exe-sum-and-overview. ^
  39.  “Executive Summary.” We The Protesters. January 15, 2014. Accessed July 17, 2021. https://www.wetheprotesters.org/exe-sum-and-overview. ^
  40. Peters, Adele. “Meet The Startup Building The Digital Civil Rights Movement.” Fast Company. October 3, 2016. https://www.fastcompany.com/3064214/meet-the-startup-building-the-digital-civil-rights-movement. ^
  41. “Police Use of Force Project.” Use of Force Project. Accessed July 18, 2021. https://useofforceproject.org/. ^
  42. Peters, Adele. “Meet The Startup Building The Digital Civil Rights Movement.” Fast Company. October 3, 2016. https://www.fastcompany.com/3064214/meet-the-startup-building-the-digital-civil-rights-movement. ^
  43. “About the Data.” Mapping Police Violence. Accessed July 17, 2021. https://mappingpoliceviolence.org/aboutthedata. ^
  44. Peters, Adele. “Meet The Startup Building The Digital Civil Rights Movement.” Fast Company. October 3, 2016. https://www.fastcompany.com/3064214/meet-the-startup-building-the-digital-civil-rights-movement. ^
  45. “About the Data.” Mapping Police Violence. Accessed July 17, 2021. https://mappingpoliceviolence.org/aboutthedata. ^
  46. “About the Data.” Mapping Police Violence. Accessed July 17, 2021. https://mappingpoliceviolence.org/aboutthedata. ^
  47. “Police Union Contract Project.” Check the Police. Accessed July 18, 2021. https://www.checkthepolice.org/#examples ^
  48. “California’s Police Lobby.” Check The Police California. Accessed July 18, 2021 https://www.checkthepolice.org/california. ^
  49. “The Demands.” We The Protesters.” Compiled 2016. Accessed July 17, 2021. https://www.thedemands.org/. ^
  50. “The Demands.” We The Protesters.” Compiled 2016. Accessed July 17, 2021. https://www.thedemands.org/. ^
  51. “Signs.” We the Protesters. Accessed July 18, 2021. https://www.wetheprotesters.org/signs. ^
  52. Gaskins, Ty. “These are the Fashion and Beauty Brands Supporting the Black Lives Matter Movement.” L’Officiel. June 4, 2020. Accessed July 17, 2021. https://www.lofficielusa.com/fashion/black-lives-matter-fashion-beauty-brand-donations-movement. ^
  53. “2020: Powerful and Resilient.” Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Hartford. 2020 Donation Report. https://jcfhartford.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/0915-2001-JCF-AR-v19-Complete-Single-Pages-PD_FINAL.pdf. ^
  54. “Marguerite Casey Foundation.” Return of Private Foundation. (Form 990-PF). 2019. https://assets.website-files.com/60aaba5834a8eaec5594efb8/60b0689c77e6d65a64992405_2019%20Form%20990.pdf. ^
  55. “Mazon: A Jewish Response to Hunger.” Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax. (Form 990). 2019. https://mazon.org/wp-content/uploads/Final-MAZON-Tax-Returns-FYE-6-30-20-Public-Disclosure-Copy.pdf. ^
  56. “We The Protesters Inc.” Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax. (Form 990.) 2018. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/display_990/813764408/02_2020_prefixes_81-82%2F813764408_201812_990_2020020817128164. ^
  57. “We The Protesters Inc.” Short Form Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax. (Form 990 EZ). 2017. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/display_990/813764408/09_2018_prefixes_81-82%2F813764408_201712_990EZ_2018091715695425. ^
  58. “We The Protesters Inc.” Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax. (From 990.) 2016. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/display_990/813764408/12_2017_prefixes_81-84%2F813764408_201612_990_2017120114994897. ^
  59. “Vision.” Campaign Zero. Accessed July 16, 2021. https://www.campaignzero.org/#vision. ^
  60. “We The Protesters Inc.” Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax. (Form 990.) 2018. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/display_990/813764408/02_2020_prefixes_81-82%2F813764408_201812_990_2020020817128164. ^

Child Organizations

  1. Campaign Zero (Non-profit)
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: December 1, 2016

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2019 Dec Form 990EZ $108,897 $303,894 $12,708 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2018 Dec Form 990 $242,357 $206,865 $207,705 $0 N $242,333 $0 $24 $16,500 PDF
    2017 Dec Form 990EZ $175,927 $102,163 $172,213 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2016 Dec Form 990 $241,809 $145,481 $98,449 $0 N $241,809 $0 $0 $93,573 PDF

    We the Protesters

    7 TIMES SQ
    NEW YORK, NY 10036-6524