BLM Activist Was Jailed for Fundraiser Fraud Ordered to Pay Just £1

Source: Flickr/Anthony Quintano

Xahra Saleem, the Black Lives Matter activist involved in organizing the protest that led to the toppling of Edward Colston’s statue, has been sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison. Saleem was convicted of funneling tens of thousands of dollars in fundraising donations from her organization into her personal bank account. Reports indicate that Saleem used the money to fund a lavish lifestyle.

The Funds Were Meant for A Youth Charity

Saleem was one of the key organizers of a protest that happened in Bristol in response to 46-year-old George Floyd’s murder by the U.S. police on May 25, 2020.

Source: Pexels

It has been alleged that the surplus funds from the fundraiser were originally meant to be donated to a youth charity.

Scheduled to Be Sentenced On October 31

On September 19, Saleem pleaded guilty to one count of fraud at the Bristol Crown Court.

Source: Pexels/lalesh aldarwish

Saleem is scheduled to be sentences at the Bristol Crown Court on October 31. In 2020, the Edward Colston statue was toppled by protestors as part of a wave of protests that occurred across the United Kingdom.

Saleem Had Set Up The Fundraising Page

Saleem is 23 years old and hails from Romford. She was one of the five individuals associated with the All Black Lives Matter UK group that organized the June 2020 protest.

Source: Pexels

In the days preceding the protest, Saleem set up a fundraising page to gather funds for personal protective equipment to ensure that the march could proceed legally in the midst of the global Covid-19 pandemic.

Changing Your Mindset Ltd. Was Supposed to Receive the Surplus Funds

It was reportedly agreed that any surplus funds would go to a Bristol-based charity called Changing Your Mindset Ltd.


Bristol Magistrates’ Court found out in January that the fundraising page had amassed tens of thousands of pounds, but the aforementioned charity had not received any money.

Saleem Spent Nearly £30,000 On Uber Rides Alone

Saleem confessed using over £30,000 of donations money to fund her own lifestyle. This entire amount was supposed to go to Changing Your Mindset Ltd.

Source: Pexels/Craig Adderley

It was revealed that Saleem had spent nearly £6,000 on her Uber rides.

Changing Your Mindset Was Compelled to Shut Down

During the hearing at Bristol Crown Court, Changing Your Mindset’s directors revealed that that Saleem’s crime had forced the organization to close down.

Source: Pexels/lil artsy

They expressed that the community had suspected them of wrongdoing as a result of Saleem’s offense. They also told the court that if the charity had remained operational a young individual who had lost their life might have been saved.

Saleem Is a “Prominent Figure”

Alistair Haggerty, the prosecutor, described Saleem (formerly known as Yvonne Maina) as a “prominent figure” in Bristol who had been deeply involved in organizing the Black Lives Matter march that led to the toppling of the Edward Colston statue.

Source: Pexels/Jatman 0007

Immediately before the march, Saleem and a group of individuals working with young people in the St. Pauls area established Changing Your Mindset. Funds were meant to be raised through a GoFundMe page.

Saleem “Succumbed To Temptation”

The goal behind the GoFundMe page of Changing Your Mindset was to finance the weekly support sessions of the group along with an educational trip to Africa.

Source: Pexels

Haggerty stated that Saleem eventually “succumbed to temptation” and started using the money for her personal expenses. Over a 15-month period, she spent the fundraiser money on rent, an iMac, an iPhone, Amazon purchases, takeaways, hair/beauty appointments, and, of course, Uber rides.

Saleem Constantly Made False Excuses

Saleem constantly kept making false excuses as to why she was not handing over the money to charity. This included making the preposterous claim that Black Lives Matter had advised her against doing so.

Source: Pexels

In summer 2021, Saleem finally admitted that the money had been misappropriated.

Victim Impact Statement

In a victim impact statement, Rebecca Scott, who was awarded an MBE for her community services in 2021, stated that she had assisted Saleem in organizing the Black Lives Matter protest in Bristol and was satisfied with the results.

Source: Pexels/Sora Shimazaki

Scott admitted that she was thrilled by the significant amount of money that was raised afterward for Changing Your Mindset.

Scott Was Made to Feel “Complicit”

Scott stated they were all initially “blown away” by the amount of money that had been raised. Scott said, “This felt like our chance to really have an impact.”

Source: Pexels/Martin Lopez

Once it became clear that the money had disappeared, Scott and the other directors were made to feel “complicit” in the misappropriation. Scott mentioned that young people lost faith in them, hence, they had to make the decision to shut down.

Someone’s Life May Have Been Saved

Scott mentioned that a young individual who was being supported by the organization had passed away.

Source: Pexels/Mike Bird

She raised the question, “What if we could have intervened?”

A Total “Nightmare”

Jade Royal, another director of the organization, described the last two years as a “nightmare.”

Source: Pexels

Royal stated that one young person had died “needlessly.” She said, “We could have been the people who saved that young person’s life.”

Saleem Is “Extremely Sorry” For Her Misdeeds

Tom Edwards, representing Saleem, conveyed that she was “extremely sorry” and remorseful for her actions. Edwards acknowledged that Saleem’s actions constituted an abuse of her position but he also emphasized that Saleem was only 20 years old at the time she was entrusted with a substantial amount of money.

Source: Pexels/cottonbro

Edwards also went on to explain that the misappropriation of funds happened shortly after Saleem had started living in Bristol. It was her first experience living independently away from her family. Saleem was struggling with mental health challenges along with drugs and alcohol use. Her actions were impulsive and lacked foresight.

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Sally Reed

Written by Sally Reed

Sally, a dynamic and viral writer, has taken the literary world by storm with her exceptional storytelling prowess. With an uncanny ability to tap into the collective consciousness of her readers, she crafts narratives that resonate deeply and linger long after the last word is read.

Born with a creative spirit, Sally honed her writing skills from a young age, cultivating a unique voice that blends emotion, wit, and social insight. Her work spans a wide spectrum, from poignant short stories that tug at the heartstrings to thought-provoking essays that challenge conventional thinking.

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