Non-profit

We the Protesters

Website:

www.wetheprotesters.org/

Location:

New York, NY

Tax ID:

81-3764408

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)

Budget (2017):

Revenue: $175,927
Expenses: $102,163
Assets: $172,213

Formation:

2014

Type:

Advocacy group

We the Protesters is a left-of-center policing policy organization that is closely associated with Black Lives Matter. Self-labeled as the first “digital civil rights movement,” We the Protesters mainly acts as a resource for online activists, providing them with statistics that it compiles on police violence. [1]

Its most well-known project is Campaign Zero, which went viral on social media in the wake of the police custody death of George Floyd for its “#8CantWait“ policy solutions infographic which demanded 8 left-wing policing changes. [2]

Founding and History

We the Protesters was founded by left-of-center activists Samuel Sinyangwe, DeRay Mckesson, and Johnetta Elzie in August 2014, in the aftermath of the controversial police-shooting death of Michael Brown. The organization first launched Campaign Zero and “Mapping Police Violence,” a data project to track all incidents of police violence. [3] In addition to curating a geographical map of the use of force by police in America, Mapping Police Violence also features the Police Accountability Tool, which narrows down incidents to specific policing jurisdictions and victims. Soon after, We the Protesters added a suite of other small projects to its website, including activist toolkits and easy means for people to contact their local and state legislators to advocate for left-of-center police reforms. [4]

In June 2020, following the police-custody death of George Floyd, We the Protesters launched the #8CantWait campaign. [5] #8CantWait picked up steam on social media but was critiqued harshly as performative activism. An article from the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review, noted that even before #8CantWait was created, police departments in major cities had already adopted most of its policy prescriptions. [6]

Activities

Aside from the tools that redirect users to different campaign websites – Campaign Zero, the Police Use of Force Project, and Mapping Police Violence — much of the We the Protesters website appears to be unchanged from early 2015. The activist toolkits, for example, only show footage and pictures from the 2014 Ferguson protests. Its “Executive Summary,” expressly intended to be “a living document… [that] will be updated on an on-going basis” had not been updated since 2014 as of early November 2020. [7]

We the Protesters’s flagship data project, Mapping Police Violence, has been criticized for distorting its data. Academic correspondences published by The Lancet, one of the oldest weekly peer-reviewed general medical journals, pointed out several major faults of the project. [8]

In the database, police incidents of violence that involve “citizens holding a toy weapon (eg, pellet gun, air rifle) or ‘alleged to be armed by the police, but multiple independent witnesses maintain the person was unarmed,’” are coded as incidents of police violence against unarmed civilians. The authors of the Lancet article noted that “toy guns are difficult to distinguish from real guns in a matter of split seconds, which is why databases compiled by The Guardian and The Washington Post label such cases as specifically involving toy guns.” The authors also checked the data in Mapping Police Violence against databases published by The Guardian and The Washington Post, and found that more than a third of its “unarmed black shootings… were, in fact, not unarmed according to the other databases.” [9]

Finances

We the Protesters’ most recent publicly available filings show total revenues of $242,357 and total expenses of $206,865.

Its only paid employee is Samuel Sinyangwe, who receives a salary of $16,500 for his role as treasurer.

Leadership

DeRay Mckesson is president of We the Protesters. Formerly a school administrator, Mckesson co-founded We the Protesters alongside Samuel Sinyangwe and Johnetta Elzie. Outside of We the Protesters, Mckesson made a failed run for Mayor of Baltimore as a Democrat in 2016 and was criticized by some for appearing to take advantage of the 2015 Charleston church shooting. [10]  He is also co-host of the Pod Save the People podcast hosted by Crooked Media. [11]

References

  1. Peters, A. (2016, October 03). Meet The Startup Building The Digital Civil Rights Movement. Retrieved November 03, 2020, from https://www.fastcompany.com/3064214/meet-the-startup-building-the-digital-civil-rights-movement ^
  2. Police Use of Force Project. (n.d.). Retrieved November 03, 2020, from http://useofforceproject.org/ ; Kreps, D. (2020, June 04). Campaign Zero’s ‘8 Can’t Wait’ Project Aims to Curtail Police Violence. Retrieved November 03, 2020, from https://www.rollingstone.com/culture/culture-news/campaign-zero-8-cant-wait-police-violence-1010013/ ^
  3. Marusic, K. (2015, April 15). This Map Of Police Violence Aims To Create A Path To Justice. Retrieved November 03, 2020, from http://www.mtv.com/news/2133351/map-police-violence/ ^
  4. Peters, A. (2016, October 03). Meet The Startup Building The Digital Civil Rights Movement. Retrieved November 03, 2020, from https://www.fastcompany.com/3064214/meet-the-startup-building-the-digital-civil-rights-movement ^
  5. Police Use of Force Project. (n.d.). Retrieved November 03, 2020, from http://useofforceproject.org/ ; Kreps, D. (2020, June 04). Campaign Zero’s ‘8 Can’t Wait’ Project Aims to Curtail Police Violence. Retrieved November 03, 2020, from https://www.rollingstone.com/culture/culture-news/campaign-zero-8-cant-wait-police-violence-1010013/ ^
  6. Murray, O. (2020, June 17). Why 8 Won’t Work: The Failings of the 8 Can’t Wait Campaign and the Obstacle Police Reform Efforts Pose to Police Abolition. Retrieved November 03, 2020, from https://harvardcrcl.org/why-8-wont-work/ ^
  7. Executive Summary and Overview. (n.d.). Retrieved November 03, 2020, from http://www.wetheprotesters.org/exe-sum-and-overview ^
  8. Lozada, M. J., & Nix, J. (2019). Validity of details in databases logging police killings. The Lancet, 393(10179), 1412-1413. doi:10.1016/s0140-6736(18)33043-5 ^
  9. Lozada, M. J., & Nix, J. (2019). Validity of details in databases logging police killings. The Lancet, 393(10179), 1412-1413. doi:10.1016/s0140-6736(18)33043-5 ^
  10. Fritze, J. (2016, Feb 17). DeRay Mckesson, civil rights leaders to meet with Obama. Retrieved November 03, 2020, from https://www.baltimoresun.com/politics/bal-deray-mckesson-civil-rights-leaders-to-meet-with-obama-20160217-story.html ; DeRay Mckesson at centre of #GoHomeDeray Twitter storm. (2015, June 21). Retrieved November 03, 2020, from https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/jun/21/deray-mckesson-twitter-charleston-gohomederay ^
  11. Fritze, J. (2016, Feb 17). DeRay Mckesson, civil rights leaders to meet with Obama. Retrieved November 03, 2020, from https://www.baltimoresun.com/politics/bal-deray-mckesson-civil-rights-leaders-to-meet-with-obama-20160217-story.html ; DeRay Mckesson at centre of #GoHomeDeray Twitter storm. (2015, June 21). Retrieved November 03, 2020, from https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/jun/21/deray-mckesson-twitter-charleston-gohomederay ^

Supported Movements

  1. Black Lives Matter
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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
    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

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    We the Protesters

    10 LIBERTY ST APT 38D
    New York, NY 10005-1554