Black Lives Matter giving COVID relief to Black families through 'Survival Fund'
SOUTH BEND, Ind. - Black Lives Matter said it's taking pandemic relief into its own hands with what it called the "Survival Fund," a fund the national organization is using to give black families some fiscal relief from the pandemic. Black Lives Matter (BLM) South Bend said it wanted to use the funds to help those impacted by police misconduct, families who had a loved one incarcerated, or African-American trans women because according to BLM South Bend, they not only have been adversely impacted by the pandemic but also impacted by society as a whole.
"This is really born out of a long history, a radical black tradition," said BLM South Bend Member Jorden Giger.
Giger said one of the families in South Bend to get a grant from the fund was the family of Eric Logan, the car break-in suspect who was killed by a South Bend police officer. Giger said he had spoken with Logan's family after they got their grant.
"They're extremely happy," Giger said. "It was totally unexpected, and they're appreciative of the work that we've done in making sure Eric Logan's name is still uplifted in the media and also in the conversation around police reform."
Black Lives Matter said it planned to give out the grants from the survival fund on an application basis but got so many applications, it reached its goal of helping 3,000 families in 12 hours. As a result, the national organization had to close its application process and released a statement which read:
“The need is so great that the BLM Survival Fund met its goal of providing direct support to nearly 3,000 Black people and their families within 12 hours of launching.
This demand speaks to how severe the economic crisis still is for millions of Black people across the country and how more needs to be done. We call on corporations and foundations to help sustain the BLM Survival Fund so we can support more people affected by the pandemic.
Until corporations and organizations increase the fund’s capacity, we are unable to accept additional applications for grants at this time. We received 9,000 applications in such a short time because our people are suffering. We need everyone, every corporation, every elected official who said Black Lives Matter during last summer’s uprisings to.
The need will not go down until Congress steps up and provides monthly survival checks for our communities. Delays are only contributing to people’s hardship, and because of Congress’ failure, we are challenged to provide as much mutual aid as possible.”
Local elected leaders like South Bend Common Councilman Henry Davis, Jr. said this kind of community outreach could inspire more pandemic relief.
"They are calling people to task by their efforts," Davis said. "They're showing their worth, and I think by them showing their worth it will pull other people in, other factions, other organizations, and most certainly, the city government needs to participate at a higher level as well."
Both the local and national Black Lives Matter organizations said they wanted to keep this fund going to continue to help those in need from the pandemic. In this first effort, the national organization raised and distributed three million dollars.