Portland Wall of Moms, a group formed in recent weeks and quickly recognized as a staple of nightly downtown protests, was accused publicly Wednesday of “anti-Blackness” by leaders of an existing, Black-led community group.
Wall of Moms, whose members said they aimed to support and protect other Black Lives Matter protesters near the fence in front of the federal courthouse, announced Friday that its white leadership had rescinded their positions to allow women of color to be in charge. New leaders announced Friday include Teressa Raiford, executive director of Don’t Shoot Portland, Demetria Hester and Danialle James.
But less than a week later, Don’t Shoot Portland took to Instagram to urge people against supporting the Wall of Moms, saying that it was no longer working with the moms group.
“The lies are finally clear and we are sad but ultimately not surprised that anti-Blackness showed its ugly head,” read the post published on Wednesday by Don’t Shoot Portland, a local Black Lives Matter and mutual aid group founded in 2014.
The Wednesday post alleges that Wall of Moms founder Bev Barnum filed for business registrations without consulting the newly instated Black leaders and that the safety of Black members at the nightly protests in downtown Portland was overlooked.
The post said that issues of Black mothers’ safety have only come to light in the past 24 hours.
Barnum appeared to file three business registrations on Tuesday including one that makes The Wall of Moms a 501c3 nonprofit. Don’t Shoot Portland interpreted the filings to mean that Wall of Moms goal was to get federal officers out of Portland — not to support Black Lives Matter, according to the Instagram post. The newly instated Black leaders were not told about the registrations, according to the post.
“None of the Black leadership WOM claimed to implement knew about this,” the Wednesday post reads. “Combined with the lack of care for Black women, we were used to further the agenda unrelated to BLM.”
Don’t Shoot Portland’s statement was retweeted on Twitter by the Wall of Moms’ official Twitter account.
The Wall of Moms answered a commenter’s question saying, “The founder went rogue. Many of us do not agree with her decisions. And she does not currently have access to this account.”
The Wall of Moms tweeted just before 1 p.m. that it’s trying to regroup and “do things the right way,” but that there were no official announcements.
In a comment Barnum posted on the private Wall of Moms Facebook group, she addressed the situation.
“The announcement of the 501c3 really hurt some of you,” she wrote. “That was never my intention. In fact, it was just the opposite. WOM will be led by a BIPOC board and BIPOC advisor committee. WOM is a group that supports BLM, not a BLM group. If that is not good enough for you, please feel free to leave this group. And if you currently volunteer your time, please feel free to leave your positions.”
A new Facebook group has formed called Moms United for Black Lives. A post from Faith Lightsy, a member of the group said she and others are in contact with Raiford, Hester and James to figure out what to do next.
“This group is only a few hours old with 3k members already…please be patient with us. I am in direct contact with Teressa and she has asked repeatedly this group be centered around Demetria and Danialle,” the post read.
Wall of Moms and Don’t Shoot Portland filed a joint federal lawsuit Monday against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The filing accused federal officers of violating their free speech and using excessive force.
–Alex Hardgrave | [email protected] | @a_hardgrave
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