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Color of Surveillance: Government Monitoring of Religious Minorities

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Georgetown University Law Center

600 New Jersey Avenue Northwest

Hart Auditorium

Washington, DC 20001

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Across our country’s history – from the surveillance of the Separatists we now know as Pilgrims in 16th and 17th century England, to federal house raids and interrogations of early Mormons in the Utah Territory in the 19th century, to the 20th century surveillance of Jewish, Muslim, Quaker, and Sikh communities, to modern post-9/11 surveillance systems government monitoring has long had a deep and disparate impact on American religious minorities.

The Color of Surveillance: Government Monitoring of American Religious Minorities will trace that history, and ask hard questions about what it means: Is modern surveillance consistent with the intentions of the American founders – or, for that matter, the events that precipitated the migration of English Separatists to the New World on the Mayflower? Do modern counterterrorism initiatives appropriately protect civil rights and civil liberties? How are local communities, advocates, and artists responding to these challenges?

Now in its third year, The Color of Surveillance, organized by the Center on Privacy & Technology at Georgetown Law, convenes academic, policy and government experts alongside local and community activists and artists. Prior speakers have included the Pulitzer-winning biographers of Martin Luther King, Jr. and W.E.B. DuBois, Guggenheim award-winning artists, and the general counsel of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Confirmed speakers include:

  • Fahd Ahmed of Desis Rising Up and Moving, a grassroots organizer on the issues of racial profiling, immigrant justice, and police accountability

  • Professor Brooke Allen of Bennington College, author of Moral Minority: Our Skeptical Founding Fathers, a New York Times notable book

  • Poet Fatimah Asghar, author of If They Come For Us & co-creator of the Emmy-nominated web series Brown Girls

  • William Braniff of the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START), studies CVE and alternative counterterrorism approaches

  • Filmmaker Assia Boundaoui, director of The Feeling of Being Watched, a “riveting” account (New York Times) of surveillance of a suburban Muslim community in the 1990s

  • Professor John Coffey of the University of Leicester, a scholar of Tudor and Stuart-era surveillance of the Puritans we now know as Pilgrims

  • Brandi Collins-Dexter of Color Of Change, a civil rights advocate on media, environmental justice, and economic issues

  • Ayaan Dahir of the Minneapolis Young Muslims Collective, a Somali American youth leader and civil liberties advocate

  • Asad Dandia, M.A. candidate in Middle Eastern Studies at New York University and plaintiff in the Raza v. NYPD case

  • Natasha Duarte of the Center for Democracy & Technology, author of Mixed Messages: The Limits of Automated Social Media Analysis

  • Professor Spencer Fluhman of Brigham Young University, author of “An ‘American Mahomet’: Joseph Smith, Mohammad, and the Problem of Prophets in Antebellum America”

  • Artist Adam Harvey, creator of Stealth Wear, a clothing collection “inspired by traditional Islamic dress… reimagined in the context of drone warfare”

  • Syed Farhaj Hassan, a Sergeant in the U.S. Army Reserve and lead plaintiff in the Hassan v. City of New York case

  • Brian Hofer of Oakland Privacy and the Privacy Advisory Commission of the City of Oakland, an advocate for local anti-surveillance legislation

  • Professor Sylvester Johnson of Virginia Tech’s Center for the Humanities, co-editor of The FBI and Religion: Faith and National Security before and after 9/11

  • Rachel Levinson-Waldman of the Brennan Center for Justice, co-coordinator of the Immigrant Surveillance Working Group

  • Professor Lerone Martin of the John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics, a scholar on the FBI’s mobilization of African American clergy to discredit Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

  • Michelle Miller of coworker.org, leading facilitator of tech sector employee activism and mobilization

  • Faiza Patel of the Brennan Center for Justice, author of an in-depth critique of federal CVE programs

  • Steven Renderos of the Center for Media Justice, co-organizer of a grassroots petition to IBM opposing the company’s interest in ICE’s “Digital Muslim Ban”

  • Yolanda Rondon of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, a civil rights attorney critical of DHS surveillance initiatives

  • Eric Rosand of the Prevention Project: Organizing Against Violent Extremism, a non-resident Senior Fellow at Brookings, and a former State Department senior CVE official

  • Hina Shamsi of the American Civil Liberties Union, which is challenging watchlists as unfair and discriminatory

The conference will be followed by a reception.

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Georgetown University Law Center

600 New Jersey Avenue Northwest

Hart Auditorium

Washington, DC 20001

View Map

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