This afternoon (Tuesday) from 4 to 6 p.m., activists will meet at the Peace & Justice Center office inside First Congregational Church to fill out Freedom of Information Act requests to submit to the FBI. They're hoping the FOIA requests will compel the federal government to release any information it may have on potential spying subjects.
“I used to think the FBI protected us. But after learning about how they spied on Dr. King [through Ernest Withers] and the attacks on anti-war activists today, I’m starting to wonder if it's the FBI that is the threat,” said Jeffery Lichtenstein a member of the University of Memphis Progressive Student Alliance.
The discussion will run from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., and attendees will be briefed on the state of youth violence in Memphis and Shelby County. They also will break into smaller groups to brainstorm solutions. Their suggestions will be presented at the Youth Violence Summit in Washington, D.C., in the spring.
In October, Memphis and five other U.S. cities were chosen to participate in President Barack Obama’s National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention, which is being conducted by the U.S. Departments of Justice and Education.
Since then, the city has formed the Memphis Youth Violence Prevention Policy Council with representatives from more than 20 public and private agencies. The group’s goal is to reduce youth and gang violence while increasing opportunities for youths.
“Our effort to combat youth violence isn’t about federally-imposed fixes, it’s about changing the way we do business on this critical public safety issue,” said U.S. Attorney Gen. Eric Holder in an October news release.
Other cities chosen to participate in the president’s program include Boston, Chicago, Detroit, and Salinas and San Jose, Calif.
“The cities weren't selected by the size of the problem, but by their willingness to work with the federal government and other factors,” Mary Cashiola, the city’s brand manager, said in an e-mail. “I think our factors were scalability and the collaborations with Operation Safe Community and the business community.”
Anyone who plans to attend tonight’s discussion is asked to R.S.V.P. by calling 507-4198 or e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.