Today is #GivingTuesday, the day you can join with people across the country to support the causes that matter to you. All of the causes you hear from today rely on a strong civil society to do their work, in which our rights to speak up, organize, and protest are protected. At BORDC/DDF we work tirelessly to protect those rights.
Before you read this month’s Newsletter, we hope that you will support us by making a donation today.
Now keep reading for highlights of November 2015 at BORDC/DDF:
BORDC/DDF supports grassroots activism to protect and advance Constitutional rights. Join the movement! Please reach us at [email protected]. Here are some organizing highlights from around the country:
NYPD Demographics Unit: Breaching Civil Liberties on College Campuses
CUNY Law School Student Government passed a resolution demanding answers about NYPD surveillance of student groups, highlighting surveillance of environmental and human rights organizations, and surveillance and infiltration of the Occupy Wall Street and Black Lives Matters movements, in addition to long-running infiltration of Muslim communities.
Rasmea Odeh Named December 2015 Patriot Award Winner
We are honored to present the December 2015 Patriot Award to Rasmea Odeh. Rasmea is being recognized for her work organizing immigrant women with the Arab Women’s Committee of the Arab American Action Network.
Anti-Muslim Rallies Met with Protest at UNC Chapel Hill
Pro-Confederate groups organized two concurrent rallies on University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill’s campus in October. A counter-protest was organized by students, staff and faculty of UNC, which was joined by the Movement to End Racism and Islamophobia and Jewish Voice for Peace.
MCCRC supports “Freedom2Boycott” campaign at Maryland legislative priorities hearing
Maryland partners Montgomery County Civil Rights Coalition (MCCRC) urged legislators to keep Maryland’s hands off the “BDS” (boycott, divestment, sanction) movement against Israeli policies — and protect all nonviolent boycott movements like it.
Challenging Government Surveillance at SOAWatch
BORDC/DDF National Field Organizer George Friday ran a workshop at the annual School of the Americas Watch. The workshop, focused on the abuse of government power to silence dissent, took on a whole new meaning after learning on November 12 that the FBI had been monitoring SOAWatch for a decade, despite its reputation for non-violence.
“Refugees Are Welcome Here” – Local Resolutions Fight Islamophobia
Most of us responded to the twin horrors of the terrorist attack in Paris and the ongoing Syrian refugee crisis with expressions of grief and solidarity. However a handful of politicians have instead shamelessly exploited these situations to promote a range of racist and anti-civil libertarian policies, including obstruction of refugee resettlement programs.
Urban Warfare and Surveillance in Berkeley
Tonight, the Berkeley City Council will decide whether to approve secret agreements between BPD and external law enforcement agencies including the NCRIC (Northern California Regional Intelligence Center) and UASI (Urban Areas Security Initiative). The City Council should refuse.
BORDC/DDF is your voice in the Nation’s Capitol. We advocate and agitate in Congress and with the Executive branch. Here are just a few of the issues we raised last month:
Take Hoover Off the Headquarters
We applaud Congressman Steve Cohen’s proposal to wipe J. Edgar Hoover’s name off the agency’s headquarters. As Cohen explains, “the civil rights we enjoy today are in spite of J. Edgar Hoover, not because of him.”
The FBI’s “Going Dark” Problem: What You Need To Know
FBI Director James Comey was in New York last week, seeking to exploit the tragic attacks in Paris to further his campaign to force Apple, Google, Facebook, and others to hand over the keys to their encryption technology. He claims law enforcement is “going dark” because the “bad guys” are using encryption. Read our rebuttal and four reasons why encryption backdoors make no sense.
North Carolina’s Mean-Spirited Law
Sometimes, laws are downright mean-spirited. Many people have used that word to describe HB 318, a North Carolina law signed by Governor Pat McCrory at the end of October that forbids immigrants from using non-U.S. identification, promotes E-Verify, and bans Sanctuary Cities.
“Don’t Be a Puppet”: New FBI CVE Tool Targets Young People
A new, interactive game developed by the FBI is designed to help teachers and students “identify types of social media activities that should raise alarm,” in an effort to prevent radicalization online.
Current Body Camera Guidelines for Police Insufficient
Police body worn cameras (BWCs) are perceived to deter police misconduct and force departments to be more transparent. Unfortunately, while police BWCs may have their uses, they are also tools that expand the reach of the surveillance state. BORDC/DDF is working to highlight these concerns, and ensure comprehensive guidelines are in place to prtect civil liberties wherever body cameras are in use.
Take Action: Don’t Let Fear Turn Into Hate and Repression
Last week we asked you to contact your members of Congress to let them know that exploiting the Paris attacks to push for increased surveillance and government-sanctioned Islamophobia is unacceptable. If you haven’t written yet, now’s your chance.
Stingray Devices Under Increasing Scrutiny
Activists’ long-held skepticism of law enforcement’s assertion that Stingray devices cannot intercept the content of voice calls and text messages has been vindicated, with recently released documents revealing that cell-site simulators are in fact able to record calls and capture texts. This demonstrates that government agencies have deliberately and systematically deceived both courts and the public about the true nature of stingrays.
Exposed: FBI Surveillance of School of the Americas Watch
For a decade, the FBI flagrantly abused its counter-terrorism authority to conduct a widespread surveillance and monitoring operation of School of the Americas Watch (SOAW), a nonviolent activist organization founded by pacifists with the aim of closing the U.S. Army’s School of the Americas (now renamed to Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation) and ending the U.S. role in the militarization of Latin America.
Resisting HUAC – A Grassroots Success Story
Trumbo, a film which deserves to be seen, depicts the particularly insidious role the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) played in contributing to the Hollywood blacklist. It is a great movie, but it is just one piece of the larger story of HUAC that describes a coordinated government crackdown on ascendant progressive movements and a powerful grassroots movement that defeated it from below.
“War on Police” Hearing Devolves into War on Reality
Read our report from Sen. Ted Cruz’s hearing addressing the “War on Police,” a narrative rejected by police chiefs across the country. Legal Fellow Chip Gibbons concludes that rather than a war on police, the hearing illustrated a war on reality, waged by politicians looking for any chance to bloviate before the C-SPAN cameras, as well as by those who wish to discredit the Black Lives Matter movement.
To help encourage outreach, public education, and grassroots mobilization, BORDC/DDF provides microgrants to grassroots coalitions pursuing local campaigns to advance civil rights and civil liberties.
Grants up to $500 are available to help active coalitions expand their local visibility and/or host events. Click here to learn more and apply.