Other Group

Black Lives Matter Canada (BLMC)

Website:

www.blacklivesmatter.ca/

Location:

Toronto, ON

Founded:

2017

Co-Founder:

Janaya Khan

Executive Director:

Jessica Kirk

Black Lives Matter Canada (BLMC) is the Canadian affiliate of the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation (BLM Global Network Foundation), the primary organizational outgrowth of the Black Lives Matter movement.

BLMC aims to “defund the police” by reallocating funding to “rid Black and Indigenous communities of a serious threat to our safety.” It also states that police officers should be disarmed, drugs should be decriminalized, and calls for the defunding of prisons, immigration detention centers, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), and the Canada Border Service Agency (CBSA). [1]

In 2021, BLMC purchased a 10,000 square foot mansion in downtown Toronto that formerly served as the headquarters of the Communist Party of Canada for around $8.1 million (approximately $6.3 million in U.S. dollars) that was mostly paid for by the BLM Global Network Foundation in the form of a “restricted capital grant.” [2]

Background

Black Lives Matter Canada began in 2017 when the BLM Global Network Foundation requested that the Toronto chapter of Black Lives Matter create a national organization in Canada. BLMC was created in November 2018 as the Movement for Black Justice (M4BJ), a non-profit organization created by the co-founder of BLMC, Janaya Khan, and other activists. M4BJ has since filed an “Operating As” designation with Corporations Canada using the name Black Lives Matter Canada. [3]

Activities

One of the main goals of Black Lives Matter Canada is to “defund the police.” BLMC claims that “taxpayers spend over $41 million per day collectively” on police services in Canada. BLMC states that this funding “is not creating safer, more secure communities” and should be reallocated to “rid Black and Indigenous communities of a serious threat to our safety.” [4]

Some of the goals that “defund the police” aims to achieve include the disarmament of police officers, the creation of an emergency service for “mental distress,” and the decriminalization of drug use. BLMC also states that it is not just “working toward the abolition of the police,” but also seeks to “defund jails, prisons, immigration detention centers, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), and the Canada Border Service Agency (CBSA).” [5]

Headquarters Purchase

In 2021, Black Lives Matter Canada purchased a 10,000 square foot mansion in downtown Toronto. The bulk of its $8.1 million (approximately US$6.3 million) purchase price came via a “restricted capital grant” provided by the BLM Global Network Foundation. The building, named the Wildseed Centre for Art and Activism, was formerly the headquarters of the Canadian Communist Party and “is a transfeminist, queer affirming space politically aligned with supporting Black liberation work across Canada.” [6] [7] [8]

The purchase was made weeks after BLM Global Network Foundation executive director Patrisse Cullors resigned amid scrutiny of her personal real estate transactions, including the purchase of four high-end homes for $3.2 million in the United States. Janaya Khan, a co-founder of BLMC, is married to Cullors. Khan also resigned from her position as a director at Black Lives Matter Canada in 2021. [9] [10]

Two senior members of the organization, Sarah Jama and Sahra Soudi, criticized the purchase, stating BLMC was “unethical” as it did not consult community members before the purchase. Jama and Soudi also resigned from Black Lives Matter Toronto after BLMC leaders refused to answer questions surrounding the acquisition of the building and attempted to force the activists to sign a non-disclosure agreement. According to Jama, the non-disclosure agreement was a way for BLMC to hold a “constant threat of legal action” against her and Soudi. [11] [12]

References

  1. “Black Lives Matter Canada.” Accessed February 21, 2022. www.blacklivesmatter.ca/. ^
  2. Vincent, Isabel. “Black Lives Matter sent millions to Canada charity to buy mansion.” New York Post. January 29, 2022. Accessed February 21, 2022. nypost.com/2022/01/29/black-lives-matter-sent-millions-to-canada-charity-m4bj-for-mansion/. ^
  3. “2020-2021 Annual Report.” Black Lives Matter Canada. Accessed February 21, 2022. https://uploads-ssl.webflow.com/601ac5ea102ff500af777a9d/620d59f39b9474e5b1816587_Black%20Lives%20Matter%20Canada_20202021%20Annual%20Report-compressed_1.pdf. ^
  4. “Black Lives Matter Canada.” Accessed February 21, 2022. www.blacklivesmatter.ca/. ^
  5. “Black Lives Matter Canada.” Accessed February 21, 2022. www.blacklivesmatter.ca/. ^
  6. Vincent, Isabel. “Black Lives Matter sent millions to Canada charity to buy mansion.” January 29, 2022. New York Post. Accessed February 21, 2022. nypost.com/2022/01/29/black-lives-matter-sent-millions-to-canada-charity-m4bj-for-mansion/. ^
  7. Kerr, Andrew. “Anger over BLM’s purchase of $8.1 million Toronto mansion grows as group’s finances scrutinized.” Washington Examiner. January 28, 2022. Accessed February 21, 2022. www.washingtonexaminer.com/restoring-america/fairness-justice/anger-over-blms-purchase-of-8-1-million-toronto-mansion-grows-as-groups-finances-scrutinized. ^
  8. “About Wildseed Centre for Art & Activism.” Accessed February 21, 2022. wildseedcentre.com/about/. ^
  9. Vincent, Isabel. “Black Lives Matter sent millions to Canada charity to buy mansion.” New York Post. January 29, 2022. Accessed February 21, 2022. nypost.com/2022/01/29/black-lives-matter-sent-millions-to-canada-charity-m4bj-for-mansion/. ^
  10. Vincent, Isabel. “Inside BLM co-founder Patrisse Khan-Cullors million-dollar real estate buying binge.” New York Post. April 10, 2021. Accessed February 21, 2022. nypost.com/2021/04/10/inside-blm-co-founder-patrisse-khan-cullors-real-estate-buying-binge/. ^
  11. Vincent, Isabel. “Black Lives Matter sent millions to Canada charity to buy mansion.” New York Post. January 29, 2022. Accessed February 21, 2022. nypost.com/2022/01/29/black-lives-matter-sent-millions-to-canada-charity-m4bj-for-mansion/. ^
  12. Kerr, Andrew. “Anger over BLM’s purchase of $8.1 million Toronto mansion grows as group’s finances scrutinized.” Washington Examiner. January 28, 2022. Accessed February 21, 2022. www.washingtonexaminer.com/restoring-america/fairness-justice/anger-over-blms-purchase-of-8-1-million-toronto-mansion-grows-as-groups-finances-scrutinized. ^
  See an error? Let us know!

Black Lives Matter Canada (BLMC)

24 Cecil Street
Toronto, ON