Say no to CVE in Chicago
As groups that represent, work with, and support Muslim communities across Illinois, we know that surveillance and anti-terrorism efforts threaten the civil liberties, civil rights, and well-being of Muslims. In 2014, the United States launched a nationwide Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) initiative to mobilize communities to prevent terrorism and other acts of mass violence. This effectively turns trusted community leaders, including religious leaders, mental health professionals, counselors, and teachers into national security agents who identify, report, and work with individuals perceived to be vulnerable to violence [1]. CVE, however, is driven by flawed social science research that assumes we can identify individuals in the process of becoming terrorists (radicalizing) or simply vulnerable to violence. In addition, CVE disproportionately targets Muslim communities as uniquely susceptible to violence [2]. CVE also threatens Black, Latinx, and other diasporic communities [3].

In Illinois, CVE is called Targeted Violence Prevention (TVP). Through state and federal funding, the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority (ICJIA) runs the Targeted Violence Prevention Program (TVPP). According to its Department of Homeland Security grant proposal, TVPP asks trusted community members like imams and mental health professionals to “off-ramp individuals who exhibit warning signs of radicalization to violence as well as those who exhibit behaviors signifying they may be in the early stages of planning an act of ideologically inspired targeted violence.” Even though the Illinois model seeks to correct the flaws of CVE through its public health model, this model still assumes that community members can identify individuals vulnerable to violence, despite the growing number of research studies that demonstrate that there are no proven indicators, early warning signs, and risk factors of radicalization. The Illinois program therefore relies on faulty science and reinforces the racial impetus behind targeted prevention paradigms. Moreover, the Illinois model is funded by a Department of Homeland Security CVE grant in addition to state funding [4].

Despite facing community resistance, TVPP is supported nationally. In fact, in April 2018, the National Governors Association selected four states, including Illinois, to develop a "roadmap" to "prevent targeted violence"-- essentially, the implementation of statewide CVE programs.

Communities in Illinois can prevent these discriminating programs by taking action.

We, the undersigned, pledge to:

1. Say "no" to CVE/TVPP in Illinois.
2. Refuse to participate in any CVE/TVPP-related trainings or activities.

We, the undersigned, demand that:

1. ICJIA immediately defunds and ends TVPP: Ensuring that any agency or agencies that receive funding toward CVE programming denounce and reject that funding is the first major step to stopping any further surveillance and divisiveness in our communities. In Illinois, this means demanding that ICJIA ends TVPP and refuses to accept funds for CVE programming.

2. Government officials re-engage Muslim communities as full participants in democratic society, not national security threats: To increase mutual trust, government agencies should reset engagement efforts with American Muslims to cover a broad range of issues identified by local communities, rather than directing resources to contentious anti-terrorism programs that only stigmatize and criminalize Muslims. Lastly, government agencies must provide funds for social and educational programs with no connections to anti-terrorism, surveillance, and policing efforts, and include safeguards to prevent these programs from turning into vehicles for intelligence gathering [5].

Sources
1. "Countering Violent Extremism (CVE): A Resource Page | Brennan Center for Justice." America's Faulty Perception of Crime Rates | Brennan Center for Justice. February 12, 2015. https://www.brennancenter.org/analysis/cve-programs-resource-page.
2. Patel, Faiza, and Meghan Koushik. Countering Violent Extremism. Report. Brennan Center for Justice, New York University School of Law. New York, NY: Brennan Center for Justice, 2017. 20. https://www.brennancenter.org/sites/default/files/publications/Brennan Center CVE Report.pdf.
3. Patel, Faiza, and Amrit Singh. “The Human Rights Risks of Countering Violent Extremism Programs.” New York, NY, 2016.
4. Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority. “Engaged Bystander-Gatekeeper Training for Ideologically Inspired Targeted Violence Grant Proposal.” Chicago, IL, 2016.
5. Patel and Koushik, 18. See also LoCicero, Alice, and J. Wesley Boyd. “The Dangers of Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) Programs.” Psychology Today, July 19, 2016. https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/almost-addicted/201607/the-dangers-countering-violent-extremism-cve-programs.
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