A petition to the White House to formally recognize Black Lives Matter as a terrorist organization gained 141,444 signatures, well over the 100,000 minimum required for a White House response from the “We The People” team.
The petition argued that terrorism is defined as “the use of violence and intimidation in pursuit of political aims” and that “Black Lives Matter has earned this title due to its actions in Ferguson, Baltimore, and even at a Bernie Sanders rally, as well as all over the United States and Canada.”
The White House rebuffed this petition’s argument on a technicality and also with more depth.
The response stated, “The White House plays no role in designating domestic terror organizations. The U.S. government does not generate a list of domestic terror organizations, and therefore we are not able to address the formal request of your petition.”
The response also noted that the President has directly addressed the concern that the Black Lives Matter slogan, social media movement, and the associated protests are inherently anti-police.
Barack Obama said, “I know that there are some who have criticized even the phrase ‘black lives matter,’ as if the notion is, is that other lives don’t matter. And so you get ‘all lives matter’ or ‘blue lives matter.’ I understand the point they’re trying to make. I think it’s important for us to also understand that the phrase ‘black lives matter’ simply refers to the notion that there’s a specific vulnerability for African Americans that needs to be addressed. It’s not meant to suggest that other lives don’t matter. It’s to suggest that other folks aren’t experiencing this particular vulnerability.
“And so we shouldn’t get too caught up in this notion that somehow people who are asking for fair treatment are somehow, automatically, anti-police, are trying to only look out for black lives as opposed to others.”
The petition response also recounted the President’s words at the memorial service for five slain officers in Dallas, when he urged Americans to try to see the world from other vantage points.
He added, “With an open heart, those protesting for change will guard against reckless language going forward, look at the model set by the five officers we mourn today, acknowledge the progress brought about by the sincere efforts of police departments like this one in Dallas, and embark on the hard but necessary work of negotiation, the pursuit of reconciliation.
“With an open heart, police departments will acknowledge that, just like the rest of us, they are not perfect; that insisting we do better to root out racial bias is not an attack on cops, but an effort to live up to our highest ideals. And I understand these protests — I see them, they can be messy. Sometimes they can be hijacked by an irresponsible few. Police can get hurt. Protestors can get hurt. …
“But even those who dislike the phrase ‘Black Lives Matter,’ surely we should be able to hear the pain of Alton Sterling’s family … and know that his life mattered to a whole lot of people of all races, of all ages, and that we have to do what we can, without putting officers’ lives at risk, but do better to prevent another life like his from being lost.
“With an open heart, we can worry less about which side has been wronged, and worry more about joining sides to do right. Because the vicious killer of these police officers, they won’t be the last person who tries to make us turn on one other. … We know there is evil in this world. That’s why we need police departments. But as Americans, we can decide that people like this killer will ultimately fail. … We can decide to come together and make our country reflect the good inside us, the hopes and simple dreams we share.”
See the full response online at bit.ly/BLM-petition-response.