Established in January 2009, Freedom First International (FFI) is a non-governmental organization that conducts research and advocacy on human rights-related issues. Rooted in the pro-Marxist precepts of liberation theology, FFI’s mission is “to advance the cause of civil rights, human rights and social justice in America in relation to liberation from unjust economic, political, or social conditions.”
Since its inception, FFI has sought to promote “social change” by “connecting thousands of people from all around the world [who believe] that faith-based leadership should play a major part in the lives of all.” FFI contends that people can best serve God by means of “praxis” (i.e., activity) that fosters societal transformation, rather than by necessarily embracing whatever theological or philosophical doctrines and dogmas may have currency among the intellectual elite.
On the premise that the American criminal-justice system is thoroughly infested with racism that discriminates against nonwhites, FFI has protested numerous times against what it views as an epidemic of police violence in the United States. In September 2016, FFI opposed a “Blues Lives Matter” ordinance, introduced by Chicago alderman Edward Burke, which sought to classify as “hate crimes” any attacks on the city’s police officers or other first-responders. “If we have a Blue Lives Matter,” said FFI, “then there must be a Black Lives Matter Ordinance” as well.
The day after Republican Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton in the U.S. presidential election of November 2016, FFI issued a political call-to-arms: “[W]e cannot be idle. We must get into the streets immediately. We must unite and stand with immigrants, Muslims, women, LGBTQ people, poor and working people and Black Lives Matter. Only the people can defeat racism, bigotry and hate!” Moreover, FFI joined with the ANSWER Coalition in organizing a number of massive, raucous, anti-Trump protests in Chicago.
FFI was founded by Gregg L. Greer, who currently serves as the organization’s president. A devoted admirer of the late Martin Luther King Jr., Greer established FFI, in part, as a means of helping to preserve the legacy of King’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference. A former anti-death penalty advocate with the American Civil Liberties Union, Greer since 2009 has also been president of the Urban Christian Leadership Institute, a global Christian evangelistic network that trains leaders to “tackle global poverty and disease, including the spread of HIV/AIDS, and to support literacy contemporary global problem-solving with a focus on multilateralism.” In 2016 Greer endorsed Hillary Clinton for U.S. president, citing her “strong record of fighting for families,” her pledge that she would “stand up to the gun lobby,” and her “plan to reform our criminal justice system,” as proof of her “powerful and positive vision for America’s future.”