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Almost $10,000 of Miscalculated Funds: What Happened to the Money Raised During the Blackburn Takeover? 

Photo courtesy of Jon Musselwhite.

Leftover funds raised during the Blackburn Takeover student occupation were distributed from The Live Movement to a now disbanded student organization: Blackburn Student Alliance (BSA). 

It has now been revealed by former members of BSA that a miscalculation of funds led to their organization receiving approximately $10,000 less than expected.

According to BSA, The Live Movement allegedly garnered over $21,000 in donations, however BSA only received $12,000.

Madiana Myrtil, the financial chairman of BSA, says The Live Movement voted to give all remaining funds to BSA. When Myrtil collected the funds, Deja Redding, a George Mason graduate who managed donations during the protest, stated there was an alleged miscalculation therefore, BSA would only receive $12,000 rather than the initial $21,000. 

Myril said she doesn’t know “how [$10,000] got miscalculated, but that is what [Redding] let us know.” 

Both Deja Redding and The Live Movement declined to comment on the exact amount of funds raised during the protest or how a miscalculation took place.

During the protest, funds were collected by The Live Movement. Aniyah Vines, the organization’s leader and a Howard alumna, declined to comment on how much The Live Movement raised during the protest.

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“Though we have all of our finances documented and certified by a credentialed accountant, no one is entitled to financial information of a non-profit organization outside of the national [The Live Movement] and the IRS,” Vines said.

According to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), there are no tax filings from the organization.

Makailiah Gause, co-founder of B.E.S.T You Programming, a non-profit organization based in Washington, D.C, says it’s normal for organizations making below $10,000 to not be obligated to submit tax filings. Non-profit organizations like B.E.S.T You Programming submit bank statements to the IRS.

“At the end of each year, you have to send a bank statement to the IRS. It basically has to show that every single amount of money that you’ve, you know, gotten in [has] gone back out operation costs for the nonprofit,” Gause said.

Since the protest, BSA has dissolved the organization.

“BSA no longer had a large enough organizing base due to members’ other priorities to effectively organize. It was then decided that after the distribution of BSA funds, we would disband indefinitely,” Nikkya Taliaferro, a representative for the organization, said. 

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BSA donated approximately $10,800 to other organizations before disbanding.

“Each awarded organization is met with to discuss disbursement, receipts and communication. Most disbursements are placed directly in the Cash App of each organization with a one-time or monthly disbursement.” Taliaferro added.

BSA made three $500 payments each to Ujima 1st Food Pantry on May 28, July 1 and Aug. 26, totalling $1,500. Once the organization disbanded, BSA donated an additional $3,300 to the pantry in the form of monthly installments.

BSA also donated $3,000 to the Claudia Jones School of Political Education, $1,500 to Youth Justice Advocates and $1,500 to Howard alumni in support of the ongoing lawsuit against the university. These organizations have begun receiving funds, according to Myrtil.

Eli Breiford, who operates the Ujima First Pantry, is pleased with the alliance’s willingness to donate funds to help with local organizations. Breiford said, “I’m really glad… they were able to give us the funding and so right now we’re still running off of that money.” 

While The Live Movement oversaw a majority of the funds raised, another organization was used to collect funds for the protest as well.

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Howard University’s chapter of Young Democratic Socialists of America (HUYDSA), another major organization within the Blackburn Takeover, received separate donations that totaled over $3,000. 

Erica England, the former president of the organization stated that the money was used on supplies for the protest and the remaining amount was used for “political education for [the] group.” 

“We would host different events educating folks on democratic socialism and attended the YDSA conference in Chicago this past spring,” England said. 

 Copy edited by Chanice McClover-Lee

***Correction: The Hilltop previously reported that Deja Redding was a Howard Alumna, which was incorrect. Redding is a graduate of George Mason University.***

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