Black Lives Matter activists in Canada are furious over the group’s recent $8.1 million cash purchase of a mansion in downtown Toronto that once served as the headquarters of the Communist Party of Canada.
The U.S. based organization that was only recently granted non-profit status provided the bulk of the funding for the purchase of the 10,000-square-foot property in July according to the Washington Examiner.
“For BLM Canada to take money from BLM Global Network [Foundation] for a building without consulting the community was unethical,” Canadian BLM activists Sarah Jama and Sahra Soudi said in a recent statement. “For BLM Canada to refuse to answer questions from young Black organizers goes against the spirit of movement-building.”
Here is our statement on why we left BLMTO, @bolshevikbaddie "After over a year of struggling within @BLM_TO to improve internal processes, we left the group when, like many other people, we found out about @blmcanada_ $8 million dollar purchase of the @WildseedCentre_ " pic.twitter.com/p6ayoSztLY
— Sarah (slamma bamma) Jama (@SarahJama_) January 19, 2022
Jama and Soudi said they resigned from the steering committee of BLM’s Toronto chapter after the leaders of BLM Canada refused to answer any questions about the purchase and tried to get them to sign exploitative nondisclosure agreements.
BLM Canada said the Toronto property, which they dubbed the Wildseed Centre for Art and Activism, would serve as a “vessel that seeks to nurture Black radical creation in Toronto and beyond.”
Real estate records obtained by the Washington Examiner show that BLM Canada, which also goes by M4BJ, purchased the property for $8.1 million on July 13, 2021. The purchase came just weeks after the group’s co-founder, Patrisse Cullors, resigned amid scrutiny of her own personal real estate purchases across the United States.
BLM Canada co-founder Rodney Diverlus said that BLM Canada purchased the property “outright.”
BLM Canada’s chairwoman, Sandy Hudson, said in an op-ed that the property came with a “history of resistance,” having previously housed the Communist Party of Canada for over 30 years.
Canadian news outlets and activist groups reported in July that BLM’s national arm, which appears to have been leaderless since Cullors stepped down in May, provided the bulk of the funding for BLM Canada’s purchase of the Wildseed Center.