Beyond the numbers: A look at where $50,000 for Black Lives Matter went

Monday, July 13, 2020

Beyond the numbers: A look at where $50,000 for Black Lives Matter went

By Christina Martinez, Raven Yamamoto

After the murder of George Floyd spurred protests nationwide against police brutality, LMU’s Brothers of Consciousness (BOC) presidents Christian Jackson and Dezmin Hemmans took to Instagram to announce a fundraising campaign that would enlist the support of fellow student organizations. 

To participate, all interested groups were to pick an organization or nonprofit to donate to that actively supported issues surrounding the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement. Members of these student organizations were encouraged to promote their cause of choice by posting “bingo cards” on social media that incentivized donations from their followers.

Jackson and Hemmans’s original goal was to raise $20,000. But after linking arms with over 40 student organizations and pushing hundreds of bingo cards in a time of civil unrest, they surpassed their goal two-fold, raising over $50,000 in just over two weeks. 

In addition to bringing student organizations together, Jackson and Hemmans drew national attention and formed the LMU Community Coalition— a forum for these student-led groups to stay in contact with each other and continue collaborating during the upcoming school year.

In total, 45 student organizations raised money for 42 different causes in support of Black lives. Agency reached out to some of the participants and asked them which causes they supported and why they chose them. The following are their statements.

While Jackson and Hemmans’s fundraising campaign has ended, all of these organizations and nonprofits are still accepting donations to sustain the work that they do. Each cause is linked throughout this article as well as in list form and we encourage readers to learn more about how they can continually support their missions.

“Because Agapé is focused on promoting mental health wellness, we wanted to support causes that make mental health resources accessible to Black people. [We] chose The Black Emotional and Mental Health Collective (BEAM), The Black Mental Health Alliance and CAHOOTS. We love the work BEAM and The Black Mental Health Alliance do to end the stigma against mental health in the Black community by opening up the dialogue about mental well-being and providing resources for Black individuals. We also raised money for CAHOOTS because we wanted to support an organization that responds to crisis situations [with] an alternative to policing. We chose CAHOOTS specifically because of their goal to put mental health professionals on each response team.” 

— Agapé Service Organization

“The brothers of Alpha Delta Gamma chose to support Campaign Zero because their mission is to end police violence/brutality. Their 10-step agenda to bring police brutality to an end struck a chord with us and we wanted to support an organization that is trying to end this with research-based policy solutions throughout the United States government, where the center of these systemic issues lies.”

— Alpha Delta Gamma

“We at Bali Club decided to send the proceeds to Grassroots Law Project. The organization is centered around the formation of a better future by reforming the crime and justice system and remedying problems such as unjust arrests or unlawful injury resulting from police brutality. [T]he organization advocates for the equal opportunities of all people, which is similar to the goal our club advocates for as well.”

 — Bali Club

“[I]t was important to us that we found a credible organization that was dedicated to the betterment of the Black community as well as other targeted groups. With that in mind, we decided to raise money to donate to the Southern Poverty Law Center alongside our own Belles on the Ground Fund. The Southern Poverty Law Center has been one of the most influential organizations in bringing about change from a local and legislative level. They focus on hate and extremism, children’s rights, immigrant justice, LGBTQ rights, economic rights, criminal justice reform and voting rights. [We also] decided to take 10% of the donations and put them towards supporting our Belles on the Ground Fund which was created to assist any Belles in their protesting efforts.” 

— Belles Service Organization

“Knowing that Black women continue to be underserved in our communities, we chose to support the California Black Women’s Health Project because it was a local initiative aimed at improving the health and well being of our Black community, more specifically Black women.” 

— Beta Theta Pi

“The Black Student Union wants to thank all who shared, supported and donated to The Community Coalition. We chose this South LA organization because we wanted to support a local organization that had the same beliefs that we try to encourage amongst the Black Student Union, the LMU community and the Black community.” 

— Black Student Union

“We chose the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund because of their mission to achieve racial justice and an inclusive society. We focus on human trafficking and environmental justice, and these are affected by racial injustices and the unequal structure of our society, so we wanted to support a cause that aims to transform that.” 

— Espérer Service Organization

“We supported #StudentsDeserve for the BLM fundraiser. Because our social justice focus is education, we want to make sure that we picked an org that works for underserved students in the L.A. area that we can continue to support even when momentum dies down.” 

— Gryphon Circle Service Organization

“As a group of strong women that believes in uplifting all women, Her Campus LMU decided we wanted to donate to an organization that empowers Black women and girls in support of BLM. We chose to raise money for Black Girls Code LA, an organization that works to teach Black girls computer programming, coding, and leadership skills in hopes to increase the number of Black women in STEM fields.” 

— Her Campus LMU

“[W]e raised funds for Black Trans Protestors Emergency Fund. We chose this because it wasn’t receiving as much attention as other organizations, as well as [because] it was the beginning of Pride Month and we wanted to highlight Black Trans individuals. For our [next] fundraiser, we are donating to the Loveland Foundation, which provides free therapy sessions for Black women and girls. We chose this because we know therapy is expensive and that the events occurring throughout the nation can have a huge effect on one’s mental health.” 

— Isang Bansa

“The cause we raised funds for was The Okra Project. We decided to support The Okra Project because we wanted to aid a smaller-sized organization that might have not been getting as much attention as larger groups. [Since] our organization specially addresses homelessness and education, we felt that The Okra Project was appropriate because they address a byproduct of these issues, the hunger crisis, especially among the Black Transgender community.” 

— MAGIS Service Organization

“We chose to donate to the National Bail Out because it is a Black-led and community-based organization. We found that this helps with accountability so that we know where the donation money is being allocated. The organization also focuses a lot on intersectionality which was another important factor in choosing to fundraise for them.” 

— On Another Note

“We decided to support the Homeless Black Trans Women Fund. We chose this cause to celebrate and honor Marsha P. Johnson, a Black trans woman who was an activist and one of the Trail Blazers at the stonewall which is now celebrated as Pride. We honor, respect, and are committed to supporting the LGBTQ+ community, [so] we felt as if donating to this cause would be a great way to continue this support.”

— Sisters in Solidarity

“Since one of the largest ways the Black community faces unfair treatment in America lies in the justice system, we chose [three] organizations to raise money for. Donations to the Center for Policing Equity aim to eliminate disparate policing, donations to Live Free will help address gun violence and mass incarceration, and donations to the Equal Justice Initiative give representation to prisoners that have been wrongfully accused of crimes.” 

— LMU Society for Women Engineers

“Sursum Corda donated to the National Black Food and Justice Alliance (NBFJA). [According to their website,] ‘NBFJA is a coalition of Black-led organizations working towards cultivating and advancing Black leadership, building Black self-determination, Black institution building and organizing for food sovereignty, land and justice.’ It seemed like a good choice to support the alliance to support multiple organizations and their work, [since] Sursum officially made our focus food justice during the Spring 2019 semester.”

 — Sursum Corda Service Organization

Some statements have been condensed for clarity.

Below is a full list of the organizations that were supported through the fundraiser, including links to their sites to learn more about them and to donate.

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