Tell the FBI: Drop the racist Black Identity Extremist classification
There is no room for people who fight for racial justice under Donald Trump's white supremacist regime. His deportation force is targeting Latinx organizers. He demonizes NFL players who protest police violence against Black people. And his FBI, under the leadership of bigoted Attorney General Jeff Sessions, has created a category of domestic threat, Black Identity Extremist (BIE), specifically to undermine the Black Lives Matter movement.
BIE is a dangerous classification that the agency invented to paint activists who are exposing state sanctioned violence against Black communities as violent terrorists.1 It opens the door for the FBI to use a range of tactics to surveil people or groups it believes fits its own phony classification.
We cannot sit by while the FBI tries to undermine a movement for racial justice and violate Black activists' First Amendment rights by positioning them as enemies of the state. Speak out now to demand that the FBI drop the racist BIE classification.
Tell the FBI: Stop targeting Black activists. Drop the racist Black Identity Extremist classification immediately.
Despite the civil rights gains of the last century, we live in a time when police can terrorize, assault and murder Black people with impunity. In 2014, a St. Louis grand jury filed no criminal charges against the police officer who murdered Mike Brown.2 In 2017, a Minnesota jury acquitted the police officer who shot and killed Philando Castile.3 This year, Louisiana's attorney general announced that the state would not charge the two police officers who brutally murdered Alton Sterling with any crimes.4 There are countless more examples of this kind of injustice. Black Lives Matter activists have succeeded in bringing global attention to these racist police killings and the broken criminal justice system that allows these murderers to walk free, which is exactly why the racist Trump administration is trying to stop them.
The FBI's BIE classification is similar to destabilization tactics that the agency has used before. Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X and members of the Black Panther Party were surveilled and harassed by the FBI through its covert COINTELPRO program designed to infiltrate, discredit and break apart Black liberation movements in the 1950s, '60s and '70s.5 Now, the FBI is using the same old dirty tricks to subvert the Black Lives Matter movement. Recent reports even indicate that a Texas activist, Rakem Balogun, who was monitored, jailed for five months and then released, may have been the first person publicly targeted under the BIE designation.6
We cannot let Trump's white supremacist regime attack Black activists. Can you add your name today to tell the FBI to drop the racist Black Identity Extremist classification and stop targeting and surveilling Black activists now?
Thank you for everything you do.
- Khaled A. Beydoun and Justin Hansford, "The F.B.I.’s Dangerous Crackdown on 'Black Identity Extremists,'" The New York Times, Nov. 15, 2017.
- Monica Davey and Julie Bosman, "Protests Flare After Ferguson Police Officer Is Not Indicted," Nov. 24, 2014.
- Mitch Smith, "Minnesota Officer Acquitted in Killing of Philando Castile," The New York Times, June 16, 2017.
- Jason Hanna, "No charges against officers in Alton Sterling death; other videos are coming," CNN, March 27, 2018.
- Democracy Now, "The New COINTELPRO? Meet the Activist the FBI Labeled a “Black Identity Extremist” & Jailed 5 Months," May 23, 2018.
- Sam Levin, "Black activist jailed for his Facebook posts speaks out about secret FBI surveillance," The Guardian, May 11, 2018.