peaceful protesters

MAP: How Far Do You Live from a Government-Surveilled Peace Group?

Did you know that the U.S. government has kept tabs on church-based and other peace groups? "Mission Creep" in the July 2012 issue of Sojourners looks into this dirty practice, past and present. Click on the red dot below to see where the FBI barged into an activist meeting in a Memphis church last year, or view the blue dots to see just a few of the anti-war protester groups that were monitored as “potential threats” by the Pentagon database TALON (Threat & Local Observation Notices) between 2003-2006. (Sources: Mission Creep, Sojourners, July 2012; “No Real Threat,” 2007 ACLU report based on Freedom of Information Act data).

View How Far Do You Live from a Government-Surveilled Peace Group? in a larger map

Elaina Ramsey is assistant editor of Sojourners.

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Watching Democracy Happen

When some of these local young people heard about my event, and asked the church if they attend, the church graciously gave them free tickets. Apparently, the word spread and a big crowd of protesters descended on the already large audience. It soon became clear that Occupy Grand Rapids was in the house as they enthusiastically participated in the discussion, offering very civil, but also very challenging questions.

After the program ended, the young Occupy Grand Rapids activists asked if I would spend some time with them, to which I quickly agreed. But they also asked the Mayor to stay, and bravely, he also accepted - a decision I thought was in keeping with what a responsive democracy should look like.