Target: Okaloosa County Sheriff Larry Ashley
Goal: Stop referring to the Black Lives Matter movement as a “terrorist organization” and apologize for misleading the public.
In recent weeks, the Black Lives Matter (BLM) group has been called a terrorist organization and blamed for the slaying of several police officers by various media outlets. The latest person to refer to the peaceful protest group as a terrorist organization was Okaloosa County Sheriff Larry Ashley.
At a gathering of local Democrats known as the “Hootenanny Social Club,” Sheriff Ashley was a guest speaker and was questioned about his feelings on the Black Lives Matter movement, to which he promptly responded, “They are a terrorist organization.” Sheriff Ashley’s statements are merely an echo of the chatter going on about BLM in the last few weeks, and only proceeded to fuel the massive disinformation campaign happening right now that specifically targets Black Lives Matters and seeks to label them as a terrorist organization.
This sort of misinformation has been seen on Fox News, various conservative outlets, and even warranted a petition on Change.org that garnered over 140,000 signatures. However, the White House promptly struck down the notion that Black Lives Matters were a terrorist organization and rejected the notion that they could ever be one.
President Obama made a very important point that just because the BLM movement points out a specific vulnerability of African Americans in this country, that doesn’t necessarily make them anti-police. This seems to be a point that a lot of people, including many conservatives, seem to miss. The point isn’t that “all lives don’t matter except for black lives,” it’s that “yes, all lives matter, but right now the country isn’t treating black lives fairly, so we need to focus on them right now.”
Just because one group feels particularly targeted, doesn’t mean that the rest of the groups don’t matter, it just means that there is one very specific problem that needs to be addressed. Sign to demand that Sheriff Ashley retract his statement and apologize.
Dear Sheriff Ashley,
Your comments at the Hootenanny Social Club were painfully misguided and failed to recognize the true scope of the Black Lives Matter movement. Nobody in the Black Lives Matter group is calling for harm to come to police or to anybody–in fact it’s quite the opposite. If you were to ask anyone who identifies as a member of Black Lives Matter, they will tell you bluntly that the movement is non-violent and seeks only to end the disproportionate murder of black American citizens by the police.
It’s very unfortunate that several of your brothers in blue fell under scorn by someone who claimed to represent the movement, but nearly all of the members of BLM have renounced their actions and have repeatedly stated that the movement is nonviolent at it’s core. Black Lives Matters is made up mostly of unarmed black women who seek to end the unjust murders of African Americans by police officers. Saying that the problem is Black Lives Matter and not toxic masculinity or police culture is simply deflecting from the reality of the situation.
The reality is that there is a very serious problem with police violence in this country that needs to be addressed, and an even more serious problem with the amount of young black men and women who are unarmed and killed by the police. Your statements only help to fuel the campaign of lies being spread by the conservative right in an attempt to discredit a very legitimate grievance by the black community in this country. It is because of this I demand you to apologize for your statements and stop labeling a non-violent protest group as a terrorist organization.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Truthdig