A woman who helped organise the Black Lives Matter protest that toppled the statue of the slave trader Edward Colston has admitted fraud after £30,000 donated by the public went missing. The Times has more.
Xahra Saleem, 23, pleaded guilty to one count of fraud by abuse of position after an investigation into a fundraiser linked to the BLM movement. Saleem, who describes herself as a screenwriter, was a co-founder of the All Black Lives Bristol group. She was named one of the 30 most influential under-30s in Bristol by Rife Magazine, a now-defunct youth publication.
Saleem, then aged 20 and known as Yvonne Maina, was one of five young people who got together to organise a protest on June 7th 2020, in Bristol city centre, in response to the murder of George Floyd by police officers in the U.S.
In the days before that march, she started an online fundraiser in the group’s name, with the aim of raising a few hundred pounds to cover the costs of the demonstration and pay for PPE to be handed out to protesters amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Organisers agreed before the event to give any money left over from this to a Bristol youth group called Changing Your Mindset, which planned to use it to fund a life-changing trip to Africa for young people in the deprived St. Pauls area of the city.
Avon and Somerset police investigated the GoFundMe page called BristBLM after the donation money disappeared.
During the summer and autumn of 2020, the youth group attempted to get the money transferred from the fundraiser but eventually called the police.
Changing Your Mindset closed down as a group during the investigation after the parents running it became disillusioned and exhausted by what had happened.
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