To the Federal Bureau of Investigation:

The FBI’s “Black Identity Extremist” classification is the government’s attempt to group peaceful protesters with domestic-terrorist threats reminiscent of the FBI’s targeting of Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil-rights activists under the COINTELPRO program in the 1950s and ’60s.

We urge the FBI to immediately drop the term “Black Identity Extremist” from its internal memos, trainings and communications. We also urge the FBI to end all surveillance of Black Lives Matter activists.

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    Tell the FBI to Drop its Racist "Black Identity Extremist" Classification

    The increase in digital-surveillance tools and the legalization of warrantless spying has put activists at risk. At the top of the list are Black Lives Matter activists, who the FBI is targeting with the fictitious “Black Identity Extremist” classification.

    Make no mistake, this new FBI classification is the government’s attempt to classify protests against police violence as a form of terrorism.

    “Black Identity Extremist” is a term the FBI is using to single out Black people who are protesting police brutality and campaigning for racial justice. This dangerous classification is yet another attempt to group peaceful protesters with domestic terrorist threats. It's also a chilling reminder of the FBI’s targeting of Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil-rights activists under the COINTELPRO program in the 1950s and ’60s.

    The “Black Identity Extremist” is a fictitious phenomenon the FBI created to destabilize a movement for racial justice and Black liberation. It creates a way for law enforcement to collect data on, monitor and deploy informants to keep tabs on individuals and groups it believes to be associated with the fight for racial justice.

    We live in a time when police are gunning down Black men, women and children with impunity. Black Lives Matter activists have succeeded in changing the narrative around police violence both online and offline.

    The “Black Identity Extremist” classification allows the FBI to target activists who have succeeded in putting a spotlight on law enforcement and the criminal-justice system as a whole to instill fear and systematically target leaders who are creating change in this country.

    This is an abuse of power and it cannot go on. Tell the FBI to drop its racist “Black Identity Extremist” classification and leave activists alone.

    Original image by Flickr user Johnny Silver Cloud