The petition, started by a group using the name We The People, was published on July 6, and has since garnered over 141,000 names. "Terrorism is defined as 'the use of violence and intimidation in pursuit of political aims,'" the petition read, "This definition is the same definition used to declare ISIS and other groups, as terrorist organizations."
We The People seeks to have the Pentagon give the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement the designation of terrorist group "on the grounds of principle, integrity, morality, and safety."
Since the petition gained over 100,000 signatures in 30 days, the White House was compelled to respond. The response acknowledged that it is a "difficult time" in America, but since "The White House plays no role in designating domestic terror organizations," and the US government doesn’t "generate a list of domestic terror organizations….we are not able to address the formal request of your petition."
The response recalled comments US President Barack Obama made at a town hall meeting last week, speaking to a group of activists, law enforcement officers and elected officials. "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," he said, adding, "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. I think we have to be careful about playing that game."
On July 7 five police officers were shot and killed at the end of an otherwise peaceful Black Lives Matter march. The shooter was not affiliated with BLM, but had been previously suspended from the Houston, Texas, chapter of the New Black Panther Nation.
Deray McKesson, a prominent activist typically associated with BLM, said, "I'm waiting for more information like everybody else…I have more questions than answers."
McKesson said of Black Lives Matter, that it, "began as a call to end violence; that call remains.