Update: Tanya Faison says she will not be stepping down from the Black Lives Matter Sacramento chapter following discussions with current and former leadership. She posted her statement on the BLM Sacramento Facebook page, which reads in part:
I do not plan on stepping down from this chapter. This work, the families, and the greater Black Sacramento community is my first priority. I will continue to keep fighting for justice in our city. I’m glad these issues have been brought to my attention; it allows me to make positive changes within myself so that I can do this work more effectively.
SACRAMENTO — Current and former members of the Sacramento chapter of Black Lives Matter are calling on the group’s founder, Tanya Faison, to step down from any leadership role.
“The movement is not Tanya Faison. BLM Sac was never Tanya Faison and that’s what it was made to be,” said former BLM Sacramento member Adrianne Pennington.
This all comes after the number of group members has diminished and questions surrounding financial documents and leadership structures have gone unanswered.
“She denied Stephon Clark’s family food to eat and that was the day I decided to leave,” said former member Stephanie Young.
They described Faison running the group like a dictator and using it for her own personal gain.
“Personally, I prefer a village mindset rather than a dictatorship and I think most in the community would agree with that,” said former BLM Sacramento member Ayotunde Ikuku.
On Wednesday, current BLM Sacramento member Sonia Lewis posted a letter signed by her and a dozen other current and former members to the group’s social media pages calling for Faison to step down.
“It’s come to a point where there are too many traumatic and hurtful things that have transpired within our chapter, as well as the community,” Lewis said.
Lewis said at one point the Sacramento chapter had around 30 members, with hundreds more coming out to protests and demonstrations in the wake of Clark’s shooting death. Now, she says there are fewer than six members.
The letter also demands Faison relinquish all access to digital and physical resources, cease contact with victim’s families and the media, commit to counseling and turn over financial documents.
“There has been lots of money that has been spent on this community. But there has been lots of money also spent on taking care of Tanya’s needs,” Lewis told FOX40.
“That’s not accurate as well,” Faison said. “They’ve been given all the financial information.”
Faison told FOX40 she has no plans to walk away from BLM and said many of the allegations against her are untrue. She added she’s spent no money for her personal gain.
“We have a fiscal sponsor. I can’t do that,” she explained.
Faison said BLM Sacramento is in the process of setting up a board of directors. Now, she believes the letter will hurt the group’s cause.
“They’re trying to hurt me and that’s fine, I can take it. To be honest, I’ve been through a lot. But I really worry about how it’s going to hurt the community,” Faison said.
FOX40 was told that BLM members did try to handle the situation in private. However, members FOX40 spoke with on Wednesday said Faison was not cooperating.
BLM is a grassroots organization, so it’s unclear how new leadership will be decided. Faison said there will be a press conference later this week to announce who will sit on the board of directors.
Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones questioned Faison’s leadership in 2017, which led to a public feud between the two.