Portland Wall of Moms group accused of ‘anti-blackness’ by other advocates

The group of moms that’s acted as a buffer for protesters in Portland is being accused of “anti-blackness” by another advocacy group in the city.

Don’t Shoot PDX posted a lengthy message on Instagram urging people to stop supporting Portland Wall of Moms, the crew of mothers in yellow shirts who’ve stood between protesters and federal agents in recent weeks.

“The lies are finally clear and we are sad but ultimately not surprised that anti-Blackness showed it’s ugly face with Wall of Moms,” the black-led Don’t Shoot PDX wrote in the post on Wednesday.

The nonprofit accuses Wall of Moms — which announced Friday that its white members were stepping down as administrators — of filing for business registrations with the state behind the backs of the newly installed black leadership.

There are also “safety concerns” that came to light within the past 24 hours, Don’t Shoot PDX alleged.

“Black women started saying they were not protected by WOM leadership,” the group wrote. “Too frequently would be in communication for safety, transport etc and when the time came, there would be zero response and no leadership to rely on. It’s put many on the ground in direct danger.”

Wall of Moms founder Bev Barnum appeared to file for three registrations, including one to make the group a nonprofit, the Oregonian reported.

But Don’t Shoot PDX said that move made it clear Wall of Moms was “not started for BLM, but to get the feds out of PDX [Portland].”

“Combined with a lack of care for and disregard of Black women, we were used to further an agenda unrelated to BLM,” wrote Don’t Shoot, which had previously partnered with Wall of Moms. “Please do not support this organization anymore. We need everyone to show up against racism, but it’s even more crucial to prioritize transparency and accountability.”

On Twitter, Wall of Moms told a follower that its founder “went rogue” and also tweeted, “Wall of Moms started with a social contract: Defer to BLACK voices. Shield BLACK bodies. The people who joined this movement of mothers did so under that understanding. The founder, Bev Barnum, decided to BREAK that social contract.”

Barnum, meanwhile, defended herself on the private Wall of Moms Facebook group, according to the Oregonian.

“The announcement of the 501c3 really hurt some of you,” she wrote. “That was never my intention. In fact, it was just the opposite. WOM will be led by a BIPOC board and BIPOC advisor committee. WOM is a group that supports BLM, not a BLM group. If that is not good enough for you, please feel free to leave this group. And if you currently volunteer your time, please feel free to leave your positions.”

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