Billionaire George Soros spurred the Ferguson protest movement through years of funding and mobilizing groups across the U.S., including grass-roots coalitions on the ground backed by a nationwide online and social media campaign, The Washington Times said.
Ferguson, Missouri became the focal point of a national debate on race relations after a white police officer shot dead an unarmed black teenager in August. A grand jury’s decision not to charge the officer sparked violence and looting in Ferguson as well as protests across the country.
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In an exhaustive account, the Times reported Soros’ millions helped pay for travel expenses and signs for groups such as Advancement Project and Center for Community Change, based out of Washington, DC and Equal Justice USA seen in Ferguson and New York, Bizpacreview.com said.
Those groups represented causes ranging from pushing communism to fighting the racial ties of the war on drugs, the website said.
Kenneth Zimmerman, director of another Soros-financed group called Open Society Foundation, told the Times the purposes of such movements are easily explained. “Our DNA includes a belief that having more people participate in government is indispensable to living a more just, inclusive and democratic society, ” he said.
“Helping groups combine policy, research and data collection with community organizing feels very much the way our society becomes more accountable.”
During 2014, through charitable foundations he funded, Soros gave over $5.4 million to Ferguson and New York groups to “further police reform, accountability and public transparency” according to the Open Secrets Foundation website.
Soros also gave money to groups tied to #BlackLivesMatter, which was created just after the Trayvon Martin shooting in Florida, , Bizpacreview.com said.
Online media outlets such as Colorlines also received Soros funding in order to publicize protests and promote the hash tag in social media until it became a national movement, the Times said.
The Hands Up Coalition started by liberal group Dream Defenders also received funding from Soros. The coalition is responsible for the now infamous “hands up don’t shoot” movement which even members of Congress participated in the gesture, putting their hands up over the heads on the House and Senate floor.