In 2017, a leak from the FBI revealed they were targeting black activists organizing to end racist policies and practices calling them “Black Identity Extremists.” This is consistent with the FBI’s long history of investigating and harassing black and brown activists. Organizations like Media Justice and the ACLU have been working to get information from the FBI about what they are doing and who they are targeting but the FBI has been putting barriers in their way. We speak with Myaisha Hayes of Media Justice about what they have learned so far and its impact on activists. Hayes also discusses their efforts to urge Congress to stop federal funding for surveillance of people exercising their constitutional rights and to educate activists about ways to protect themselves.
Myaisha Hayes is the Campaign Strategies Director at MediaJustice. She previously spent two years as the organization’s National Organizer on Criminal Justice & Technology, where she oversaw the launch of the #NoDigitalPrisons and #ProtectBlackDissent campaigns. Myaisha also brings several years of organizing experience with her from various national and local campaigns including President Obama’s re-election campaign, Fight for $15, and the CLOSErikers Campaign. As the grandchild of a political prisoner, she is deeply committed to organizing people power that leads to radical transformative change and justice. Myaisha earned her BA in Black Studies at Occidental College and currently lives in Brooklyn, New York.