Panel Discussion Tackles Surveillance of Communities of Color

Living under government surveillance is nothing new for communities of color.

In fact, surveillance of our communities has been a constant presence throughout our nation’s history, from the Japanese internment during World War II, to the FBI’s COINTELPRO program during the 1950s and ʼ60s, which sought to discredit and disrupt social justice movements led by people of color.

That shameful pattern continues today, from the New York City Police Department’s surveillance of the local Muslim community, to the Obama administration’s deportation of more than 2 million undocumented immigrants.

But the media’s coverage of the NSA’s spying programs rarely touches on surveillance of our communities. And many civil liberties activists have been unwilling or unable to make the connection.

This is why Free Press, the Center for Media Justice and Voices for Internet Freedom are hosting a panel discussion — Enemies of the State? Government Surveillance and Communities of Color — at Busboys and Poets in Washington, D.C., this evening.

The event will serve as the unofficial kickoff to this Saturday’s Rally Against Mass Surveillance in D.C., where more than 4,000 activists are expected to gather to protest NSA spying.

The panel features people of color who were either personally impacted by government surveillance or have worked with targeted communities. Panelists include Morgan State University Professor Jared Ball (moderator), Desis Rising Up and Moving Legal and Policy Director Fahd Ahmed, former political prisoner and Black Panther Party leader Dhoruba Bin-Wahad, May First/People Link founder Alfredo Lopez, the Bill of Rights Defense Committee’s Adwoa Masozi, and ACLU D.C. Program Director Seema Sadanandan

RSVP here to attend tonight’s event. We’ll post a broadcast of the discussion sometime in the next few days.