#ProtectBlackDissent: Campaign to End Surveillance of Black Activists

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From Ida B. Wells to W.E.B. Du Bois, from Dr. King and Malcolm X to today’s Black Lives Matter activists, law enforcement in the United States have a long history of improperly surveilling and targeting Black leaders and activists who dare to call for racial equality, liberation, and an end to violence against Black people. Our government’s shameful practice of using surveillance as a weapon against racial justice activism was wrong in the past, and has no place in our present. Yet, this targeting of Black leaders and activists continues today, with more advanced technology and updated methods.

That’s why the ACLU and MediaJustice filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the FBI, demanding that it turn over documents related to the modern-day surveillance of Black activists and Black-led organizations, including through the bureau’s fabrication of a “Black Identity Extremist” threat category that is based on racial stereotypes rather than evidence of a true security threat. The public deserves to know how the FBI is wasting valuable resources to target Black people who object to racism and injustice in America. And Black activists deserve to exercise their First Amendment rights without fear of being targeted.

Our FOIA litigation is part of a broader campaign by a coalition of racial justice and civil rights organizations to #ProtectBlackDissent by ending the unlawful surveillance and targeting of Black activists and organizations on the basis of race and First Amendment protected activities.

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