- The Washington Times - Monday, May 31, 2021

A founder of the Black Lives Matter chapter in St. Paul says he resigned over what he described as the organization’s lack of interest in supporting Black families and opposition to school choice, calling it “the ugly truth.”

“I was an insider in Black Lives Matter. And I learned the ugly truth,” Rashad Turner said in a video posted Thursday on YouTube by TakeCharge Minnesota.

Mr. Turner, a Minneapolis native who now serves as executive director of the Minnesota Parent Union, said he was the first person in his family to graduate from college. He then earned a master’s degree in education from St. Mary’s University in Winona, Minnesota.

“I am living proof that no matter your start in life, quality education is a pathway to success,” he said. “I want the same success for our children in our communities. That’s why in 2015, I was a founder of Black Lives Matter in St. Paul. I believed the organization stood for exactly what the name implies: Black lives do matter.”

“However, after a year on the inside, I learned they had little concern for rebuilding Black families, and they cared even less about improving the quality of education for students in Minneapolis,” he said.

He cited the 2016 platform by the Movement for Black Lives, a network that includes Black Lives Matter, which called for a moratorium on charter schools, siding with national teachers’ unions despite support within the Black community for options to traditional public schools.

“The moratorium on charter schools does not support rebuilding the Black family. But it does create barriers to a better education for Black children,” Mr. Turner said. “I resigned from Black Lives Matter after a year and a half. But I didn’t quit working to improve black lives and access to a great education.”

His video, which was picked up by the Daily Wire and other conservative publications, drew a brief comment from Black Lives Matter St. Paul on its Facebook page.

After being asked Sunday if BLM-St. Paul had an official response, the page administrator replied, “That mfer is a weirdo.”

The administrator later said: “Don’t believe sh** he say.”

The page does not mention Mr. Turner by name, but National Public Radio profiled him in June 2020, saying he initially wanted to be a police officer but “decided instead to help his community by becoming an activist,” and that he “founded a chapter of Black Lives Matter in St. Paul.”

The Black Lives Matter Global Network has come under criticism for its left-wing stances, including its now-deleted “What We Believe” statement that declared “we disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement by supporting each other as extended families and ‘villages’ that collectively care for one another, especially our children.”

In the video, Mr. Turner said that his father was shot and killed when he was two, and that he was raised by his grandparents. He earned his college degree from Hamline University in St. Paul.

He said the Minnesota Parent Union, which advocates for school choice, is “up against forces that don’t want us to succeed.”

“But success is possible,” he said. “Just look at me and the hundreds of children and families we’ve helped to pursue a great education, break the chains of poverty, and lead a life of success.”

• Valerie Richardson can be reached at vrichardson@washingtontimes.com.

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