Muslims are at the center of so many global political realities including the creeping surveillance state, the time to be brave and face down our fears is now. If we don't stand up who will? Join us next Tuesday for the Stop the Oakland Spy Center - All Out for March 4th Vote on DAC
After a strong community presence from the Lighthouse Mosque, and local privacy activists the City of Oakland put the breaks on the approval of the "Domain Awareness Center" (DAC) an $11 Million dollar Department of Homeland center that would set an unprecedented standard for spying on a city wide level.
While many of the city council members were ready to vote down the DAC, asking if Oakland was ready to bring the type of surveillance to the city which had tyrannized the Muslim community over the last 12 years, Oakland Mayor Jean Quan pushed back the vote to Tuesday March 4th at 5:30pm. We need city wide, interfaith and regional support to stop the DAC.
Join us for the March 4th Vote at Oakland City Hall - 5:30pm - 1 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza Oakland, CA.
Events Leading up to March 4th Vote:
March 3rd - Monday -8-10pm - Spokesperson Training at the Lighthouse Mosque - 4646 MLK - Want to speak at the Oakland City Hall Meeting on DAC but don't know what to say we will prep the community on key talking points and telling the story of surveillance in the Muslim and any other community (all are welcome)
March 4th - Tuesday - 5:15 - 5:30pm - Lighthouse Mosque press conference in front of city hall
March 4th - 5:30pm - City Council DAC vote
More Background on DAC and Muslim community organizing to stop the DAC:
The city of Oakland received an $11 Million dollar grant from the Department of Homeland Security to build a Domain Awareness Center (DAC) in 2009, DHS has given these types of grants to other ports, but what is different about Oakland is that the city decided last year to make the surveillance center reach across the entire city - connecting over 1,000 surveillance cameras, watching social media feeds of all Oakland citizens and connecting local NSA style meta-data to on the ground policing.
For more on the DAC see this comic overview - https://medium.com/the-nib/db4f129a7177
and Dustin Craun's article about spying against Muslims and the DAC - https://medium.com/news-and-politics/46451caaf425
The city was ready to pass the city wide DAC and move forward despite the protests of the ACLU, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and many local activists, we turned out a large group of leaders from Lighthouse last night (between 20-30) many whom spoke at the City Council meeting and we were one of the largest groups there. Imam Zaid Shakir was also the only clergy to speak, video here: http://tinyurl.com/lj44xo4
After hearing from 7-8 Muslim speakers a local Yemini-American leader we work with Mokhtar Alkhansali really moved the council with his speech stating: "You don't see that many Muslims here today, even though this is one of the greatest civil rights issues of our generation. What happens today will be echoed throughout the legacy of this city and throughout the country. I don't want drones to be in my neighborhood here or in my neighborhood back in Yemen. I don't want people to be able to record my conversations with my wife, we have curtains in our living room for a reason. We have the right to privacy, it is sacred, and if you vote tonight to take away that basic right you will take away our freedoms, our liberty and our essential existence as dignified humans. So I urge you today on behalf of my family, my community, and the human community as a whole to get away from these practices. We urge you to vote against this because our community, we want to be here, we want to be present and voice our concerns but we can't when we know that voicing our concerns will lead to our mass incarceration and the targeting of our community." Full Video: http://tinyurl.com/laaenxu
This work is foundational to any long term Muslim organizing work that we could possibly build The building of this surveillance center in Oakland would only lead to greater fear and isolation for the large Muslim population in Oakland and in the Bay Area at large, while also playing a destructive role that acts against a civil and just society for all people. The case of the NYPD is instructive in what a surveillance state means for the spied upon population as one 20 year old Muslim from Queens stated after growing up with spies all around him, “I don’t want any new friends. If I don’t know you and your family, or know that you have a family that I can check you back to, I don’t want to know you.” It is also instructive in the type of grassroots organizing it took, led by African American’s, Latino’s, and Muslim’s working together to end stop and frisk, spying on Muslim communities in New York and to vote in a new progressive mayor.