Minneapolis-based Blexit threatens trademark infringement, legal action against Candace Owens

(Left to right) Me’Lea Conelly, Jonathan Banks and Malcolm Wells in the hall of the Association for Black Economic Power office. 

Candace Owens, a conservative pundit, launched a “Blexit” campaign where she calls for Black people to leave the Democratic party.

Problem is, Blexit already exist and it has nothing to do with President Trump or the Republican Party. And the founders of the true Blexit say Owens, who’s been an avid Trump supporter, has collaborated with right-wing conservatives in their efforts to support Trump’s ideology masked as “free-thinking.” And they say her approach is antithetical to the real Blexit organization. The Minneapolis based non-profit formed in 2016 has served Owens with a cease and desist letter.

“Me’lea Conley came up with the term, Blexit, which is a play off of Brexit,” said Jonathan Banks, a co-founder of Blexit. “It was about Blacks needing to exit the financial system, which is part of the system of oppression. It’s about starting to build a system that can support us and be a healing institution for this country.

Since its formation, which came after, and as a result of, the police killing of Philando Castile in Falcon Heights, Blexit’s national reach has shown up through work like the Black Transfer Challenge (2016), participation the 50th Anniversary of Southern Cooperatives (2017) and chartering a credit union, Village Financial Cooperative – a proposed Black-led credit union on the Northside of Minneapolis. Blexit has a membership that spans the United States, with members in almost every state and some international.

Conley said the true Blexit is a national movement addressing racial disparity and oppression through economic activism. It was galvanized to deploy economic campaigns resulting in community-owned financial institutions, equitable lending and an increase of investment in Black-owned banks and credit unions in 2016. She said the movement is crucial to the future of Black Americans who are expected to have a net worth of $0 by 2053.

“The attempt to co-opt the name, Blexit, by political right-wing activists is a direct attack against the hard work being done to combat economic injustices in the state with the second worst racial disparities in the nation,” said Connelly in a statement. “#ReclaimBlexit is a direct response to the attempted co-opting of the true Blexit movement. It confronts the false narrative of Black political conversion and asserts Black economic power as the foundation of the Blexit creed. Blexit in its nature is not a political agenda that upholds division but a theory of change to collectively build new systems that benefit Black Americans.”

Village Financial is set to launch sometime next year at 227 Colfax Ave. N., Minneapolis

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