We recently heard from Alicia Garza of ColorofChange:
Two years ago, my team and I created #BlackLivesMatter to address anti-Black racism and state sanctioned violence against our communities. It is an affirmation of the humanity of Black people and an homage to our resilience in the face of deadly oppression. Our movement is a fight for basic human rights, dignity and freedom. It is rooted in a deep and abiding love for Black people.
But when the US government looks at me and our movement, they see a terrorist threat.
The FBI, DHS and local police departments have been monitoring the social media accounts of activists like me, and have even tried to intimidate activists at public events. They say they use the information they get to develop “threat assessments” and provide “situational awareness” — but this is code for surveillance of lawful, First Amendment protected political speech.1
What we currently know about the government’s surveillance of the Black Lives Matter movement is just a small fraction of their actual surveillance. We are going to do everything we can to expose illegal surveillance tactics by the FBI, DHS and local police forces.
ColorOfChange will be filing FOIAs on my and others’ behalf to fully expose the government sanctioned surveillance of our movement — not just nationally, but locally in places like Ferguson, Chicago, Oakland and New York City.
Normally the FOIA process is relatively inexpensive but — perhaps unsurprisingly — many journalists and groups have hit major financial roadblocks when it comes to uncovering the truth about movement surveillance. Ferguson, for example, is charging nearly ‘nearly 10 times’ a government employee’s salary’ for FOIA requests.4 We need your help to offset costs so we can find out what they’re hiding.
Black people are dying in the streets daily while our federal government refuses to track police shootings and the group identified as the biggest terror threat to the United States: white extremists.5Instead of addressing police brutality, the FBI is monitoring and trying to intimidate Black activists. Instead of working to prevent the next Dylann Roof, the DHS is monitoring and trying to block justice movements.
We have too many fights to win and too much on the line to let our movement come under attack!
- “ At Last Night’s Solidarity March, the NYPD ‘Came Out Swinging’,” The Nation, 04-30-2015
Alicia Garza via ColorOfChange.org: firstname.lastname@example.org