We’re the ACLU and ThisistheMovement.org’s DeRay McKesson and Johnetta Elzie. One year after Ferguson, what's happened? Not much, and government surveillance of Blacklivesmatter activists is a major step back. AUA
AMA starts at 11amET.
Over the past year, we've seen the #BlackLivesMatter movement establish itself as an outcry against abusive police practices that have plagued communities of color for far too long. The U.S. government has taken some steps in the right direction, including decreased militarization of the police, DOJ establishing mandatory reporting for some police interactions, in addition to the White House push on criminal justice reform. At the same time, abusive police interactions continue to be reported.
We’ve also noted an alarming trend where the activists behind #BlackLivesMatter are being monitored by DHS. To boot, cybersecurity companies like Zero Fox are doing the same to receive contracts from local governments -- harkening back to the surveillance of civil rights activists in the 60's and 70's.
Activists have a right to express themselves openly and freely and without fear of retribution. Coincidentally, many of our most famous civil rights leaders were once considered threats to national security by the U.S. government. As incidents involving excessive use of force and communities of color continue to make headlines, the pressure is on for law enforcement and those in power to retreat from surveilling the activists and refocus on the culture of policing that has contributed to the current climate.
This AMA will focus on what's happened over the past year in policing in America, how to shift the status quo, and how today's surveillance of BLM activists will impact the movement.
Sign our petition: Tell DHS and DOJ to stop surveillance of Black Lives Matter activists: www.aclu.org/blmsurveilRD
Proof that we are who say we are:
DeRay McKesson, BlackLivesMatter organizer: https://twitter.com/deray/status/628709801086853120
Johnetta Elzie: BlackLivesMatter organizer: https://twitter.com/Nettaaaaaaaa/status/628703280504438784
ACLU’s Nusrat Jahan Choudhury, attorney for ACLU’s Racial Justice Program: https://twitter.com/NusratJahanC/status/628617188857901056
Resources: Check out www.Thisisthemovement.org
NY Times feature on Deray and Netta: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/10/magazine/our-demand-is-simple-stop-killing-us.html?_r=0
Nus’ Blog: The Government Is Watching #BlackLivesMatter, And It’s Not Okay: https://www.aclu.org/blog/speak-freely/government-watching-blacklivesmatter-and-its-not-okay
The Intercept on DHS surveillance of BLM activists: https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2015/07/24/documents-show-department-homeland-security-monitoring-black-lives-matter-since-ferguson
Mother Jones on BlackLivesMatter activists Netta and Deray labeled as threats: http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/07/zerofox-report-baltimore-black-lives-matter
ACLU response to Ferguson: https://www.aclu.org/feature/aclu-response-ferguson
Update 12:56pm: Thanks to everyone who participated. Such a productive conversation. We're wrapping up, but please continue the conversation.