Portland Dispatch February 9: Wall of Grift

In the heat of Portland’s 2020 summer of rioting a local activist named Bev Barnum, out of outrage or ambition or both, created the “Wall of Moms”, and the press gushed

In the flurry of videos and social media posts that have emerged from the protests in Portland, Ore., activist moms are everywhere. They sing lullabies. They link arm–in–arm, forming a human barricade between protesters and federal agents. Some wear respirators, gas masks and helmets. Some hand out sunflowers…

The “Wall of Moms,” as the group calls itself, formed after Beverley Barnum, who goes by “Bev,” 35, a mother of two in Portland, scrolled through social media posts one night in bed and saw videos of federal agents placing protesters in unmarked vehicles. Through a Facebook group, she rallied a few dozen moms who then showed up at a demonstration on the night of July 18.

Since then, the Wall of Moms has continued to protest nightly in Portland, with hundreds of women dressed in yellow to identify themselves as participants turning out. A Wall of Dads has also joined the front lines of the protests, many carrying leaf blowers to redirect the tear gas that federal agents have deployed.

With the national attention other local groups took notice.

Fourteen? What are these words?

The Local BLM subsidiary Don’t Shoot PDX led the charge against the white moms and by the end of July had taken over the enterprise in name.

“When it first started we just thought—we didn’t know it was gonna get so big and everyone overwhelmed us with volunteerism,” says Jaclyn Pritchard, who is listed as secretary on the Wall of Moms legal paperwork. “So Bev and I just gave everyone who wanted to work on Facebook [admin] rights. And that was a huge mistake.” 

At first, though, it seemed as if Barnum and her team could manage the backlash: they released a sunny statement to their 24.8k Instagram followers on July 24, announcing that Don’t Shoot was taking over leadership and organization of the group.  

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Matter protesters near the fence in front of the federal courthouse, announced Friday that its white leadership had rescinded their positions to allow women of color to be in charge.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.

Then Barnum registered the group as a nonprofit in late July, setting off a new program of recrimination. Their black allies moved to wrest the organization entirely.

Don’t Shoot PDX

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 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.

Yesterday the scheme’s originator took to Twitter to say she’s being threatened by local blacks and is threatening to spill the beans.

Will somebody in the media contact this woman please?

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