Reasons to Oppose CVE
Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) is a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) counter-terrorism program that profiles Muslim, Black and Brown youth as inherently suspect and prone to radicalization. Disguised as a "community-led public health" alternative to heavy handed law enforcement initiatives, CVE endangers impacted communities in the very places they turn to for safety and healing: community spaces, mental health services and schools. CVE relies on community policing to locate individuals on the "path to radicalization" using indicators that criminalize the outward expression of Muslim, Black and Brown identity, political thought and religious practice.
Communities are organizing to resist CVE by all measures based on concerns that:
CVE is informed by a debunked theory without empirical evidence, which assumes there is a reliable way to identify "behavioral indicators" that can predict who may be on the path to radicalization.
CVE focuses on Muslim communities, and the false premise that Muslims are more prone to radicalization than other religious or ethnic groups, particularly when White supremacists commit far more acts of extremism.
CVE chills First Amendment protected activities (such as worship, activism, and expression of ideological beliefs) and further stigmatizes Muslim communities as inherently suspect with a dangerous intersection of mental health and law enforcement.
CVE is a counter-terrorism program with a national security agenda. With these strings attached, CVE threatens the safety of our communities, all the while framing itself as a program dedicated to "building community resilience" by providing social services.
CVE: A Video Breakdown
CVE in Los Angeles: An Overview
In 2014, Los Angeles became one of the first pilot cities for CVE. Since then, LA has been a pioneer in creating an "LA CVE Framework" amongst DHS, the FBI, US Attorneys Office, LAPD, L.A. County Sheriff, Mental Health and Social Services and hand- picked Muslim community groups. Civil Rights groups were never consulted.
In 2015, the DHS Appropriations Act enabled the allocation of $10 million to expanding CVE efforts nationwide. Through this funding or separate DHS resources, the Los Angeles Mayor's Office began to launch local CVE efforts without transparency to community groups, limiting opportunities to resist.
Through such resources, Los Angeles Muslim communities are now threatened with emerging programs such as LAPD's Recognizing Extremist Network Early Warnings ("RENEW") program with the intent to identify "early warnings of potential violent behavior" that involves "law enforcement tracking" and "mental health and wrap around services".
In Jan 2017, civil rights groups began to place public and private pressure on groups who were awarded CVE funding, including the LA Mayor's office, the Muslim Public Affairs Council and the Bayan Claremont Islamic Graduate School. Since then, Bayan publicly declined funds, MPAC's grant was rescinded, and the Mayor's office, although it has now returned the funding, still supports the CVE theoretical framework.
Our Victory Message: We Organize, We Win
Organizing Tools Used in Los Angeles
Vigilant Love conducted a series of events to provide a space for community engagement around CVE. These events included:
- Film Screenings
- Listening Sessions
- Creative Organizing Workshops
- Community Gatherings including the annual Bridging Communities Iftar