Minnesota Freedom Fund Fails Richard Pryor Challenge, Can’t Spend $30 Million In 30 Days

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The Minnesota Freedom Fund has contributed more than $200,000 so far to bail payments for protesters arrested while exercising their constitutional rights. This helped ensure people didn't have to rot in jail while awaiting trial, which happens far too often.

Rightwingers were originally pissed that the Minnesota Freedom Fund was bailing out people at all. Trump claimed the organization was aiding anarchists, and local racist crackpot Tucker Carlson accused celebrity donors of funding “chaos" and inciting riots. That was a couple weeks ago. Now critics argue the Minnesota Freedom Fund hasn't bailed out enough antifa agents and is hoarding the money it's raised.

It's always something.


Yes, Mr. Internet Troll, the Minnesota Freedom Fund has raised more than $30 million dollars since the protests began after police killed George Floyd. Do these fools assume the organization would spend every dime it earned in less than two weeks like a common Johnny Depp? Nonprofit organizations aren't required to burn through $30 million in 30 days like Richard Pryor in Brewster's Millions.


Brewster's Millions (3/13) Movie CLIP - Thirty Million in Thirty Days (1985) HD www.youtube.com

The Minnesota Freedom Fund doesn't regularly manage tens of millions in donations. It raised just $110,000 for all of 2018. Administratively, an organization would need time to hire the staff required to appropriately allocate the funds. The Minnesota Freedom Fund had only one full-time employee earlier this month, and they'd wind up with carpal tunnel writing all those checks. The organization was so overwhelmed it literally asked people to stop donating after a point. Most con artists aren't into sportsmanship.

But why think this through for five minutes when you can just cynically accuse people of corruption and malfeasance on Twitter?


As the rapper Noname observed, prisons and the cash bail required to leave them aren't going away immediately. Neither will the need to protest police brutality. It's better to “spend the funds strategically" than go all "MTV Cribs." Earlier this year, the Minnesota Freedom Fund was actively working to raise bail for people jailed during the COVID-19 outbreak. It didn't just Music Man its way into town during the protests so it could scam people.

People have also noticed that the Minnesota Freedom Fund's board is predominately white. I personally don't have an issue with this, and it's a little insulting that anyone would think the organization's mission is an inherently Black one. It's not the NAACP.

The Minnesota Freedom Fund's only full-time employee is Executive Director Tonja Honsey, who is currently in arbitration with the board because of anonymous accusations that she misrepresented herself as an Indigenous woman. Honsey denies this, but even if it's true, it wouldn't have anything to do with the organization's mission or the intentions of its donors, which are just. Don't feed the trolls or immediately believe the worst in people.

[New York Times]

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Stephen Robinson

Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He's on the board of the Portland Playhouse theater and writes for the immersive theater Cafe Nordo in Seattle. Tickets are on sale now for his latest Nordo collaboration, "Curiouser and Curiouser," an adaptation of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass." It promises to feel like an actual evening with SER (for good or for ill).

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