Black Lives Matter is coming under fire for its lackluster response to the catastrophic Louisiana flooding less than a month after mobilizing crowds to protest the shooting of a black man in Baton Rouge.
In an online video going viral, Baton Rouge resident Jerry L. Washington asks, “Where are the Black Lives Matter and the Black Panthers?”
“Because I ain’t seen one Black Panther boat or one Black Lives Matter boat. All I see is our own people from our own city saving us,” Mr. Washington said.
Black Lives Matter drew an outraged response on Facebook last week after promoting a company offering free family photos to victims whose pictures were destroyed in the flooding.
“This is the most you have done after you [came] and raised hell and stirred up [a] mess … Where are the donations from your organization?” asked Manolo Espinal of Louisiana. “[B]oats to rescue people? Food for the hungry? Where are the marches and protests for the homeless and those who lost everything?”
Added Charlene Realegeno-Molina, “What is BLM doing for Louisiana? Y’all are good at getting together to protest, well why haven’t y’all gotten together to help out? I guess BLM only when convenient.”
Others argued that the movement is focused on police brutality and racism, not disaster relief.
“You want to know why they aren’t in Louisiana? It’s because that’s not part of their concept,” said Glory Ford on Facebook.
Said Marco Moretti: “What does the flood have to do with an organization whose goal is to stop police abuse?”
But American Conservative’s Rod Dreher pointed to the recently released Movement for Black Lives platform, which includes demands on a host of issues unrelated to police, including divestment from fossil fuels, voting rights for illegal immigrants, and an end to private and charter schools.
“I guess black lives only really matter to those activists when they’ve been taken by cops, not when they’ve been saved by cops. Which is happening every single day down here,” said Mr. Dreher, who lives in Louisiana. “White people and black people, including Baton Rouge police officers (half of whom lost their homes), working together to save white people and black people and all kinds of people.”
Black Lives Matter activists are suing Baton Rouge police and elected officials in federal court for “unlawful mass arrests” during last month’s protest over the shooting death of Alton Sterling, 37, who was killed by officers July 5 outside a convenience store in Baton Rouge.
Three Baton Rouge police officers were shot and killed July 17 by a gunman who had previously expressed support for the anti-police protests. About 185 people were arrested during the demonstrations, although most of those were not charged.
“All the drama that was going on with the Alton Sterling killing, they came out with guns ready to go to war,” said Mr. Washington in the video. “But here we go, all these people flooded out and truly in need of help and we can’t find not one of them.”
Thirteen people have died and more than 60,000 homes were damaged after thunderstorms and a low-pressure system that began Aug. 5 dropped nearly three feet of rain on the inland Baton Rouge and Lafayette area.
The Ford Foundation recently committed to working with other philanthropies to funnel $100 million to the Movement for Black Lives.
“Meanwhile, guess who IS there on the scene there? Oh yeah, the police—you know, the ones Black Lives Matter rails against?” said Michelle Jesse, associated editor of the conservative Allen B. West website.
Blacks make up more than 50 percent of the population of Baton Rouge, according to the 2010 U.S. Census.
FEMA has issued major disaster declarations for 20 parishes devastated by the flooding, described by the Red Cross as the worst natural disaster since Superstorm Sandy hit the Eastern seaboard in 2012.