Health Workers Join the Growing Call to Stop Urban Shield

 

Health workers with the Oakland Power Projects, an initiative of Critical Resistance Oakland to reduce reliance on policing and build up alternatives, have written a statement against Urban Shield, and are asking for health workers to sign and circulate:

As Health Workers, we are committed to promoting and supporting wellness and care for all individuals and neighborhoods to enable people and communities to thrive. Through our experiences, we are strongly committed to the belief that healthcare must fundamentally be decoupled from policing and militarization, because of the historic, structural and current antagonistic role that police play in relation to health and community wellbeing.

Too many times, we have seen the deadly impact of policing in our neighborhoods – through police murders of predominantly people of color, as well as the disproportionate impacts of everyday policing and imprisonment on people of color, poor people, and people with specific mental health needs/disabilities. These trends illustrate that these communities are exactly the people who cops are trained to see as “problems,” to repress through surveillance, interrogation, detainment and use of force.

Policing interferes with–if not obstructs– people’s access to healthcare and interferes with the quality of care that people are able to receive. Policing can deter people from seeking emergency medical help, impedes with the actual delivery of life-saving care during emergencies, and can intimidate and discourage people from accessing routine medical care and health support when entangled with clinics, hospitals and community-based services. Policing is a public health threat.

It is imperative that we take a clear stand as professionals and Healthcare experts against the pervasiveness of policing in our neighborhoods. Urban Shield, a program funded by the Department of Homeland Security, aims to further equip cops with military training and weapons to enhance their power over our communities. The program is held in the Bay Area every year, and I am writing to ask your support to get it out. We do not want emergency response funds to go to military, weapons, or police trainings. We do not want cops and military trainings to co-opt EMT and emergency response resources. These actions are not just wasteful, but deadly.

Join us and take action: STOP URBAN SHIELD! Please stand with us as Health Workers, healthcare professionals, and community caregivers.

Signatories

Alejandra Cano, Oakland Power Projects
Braden Lake, Oakland Power Projects
Caitlin Miller, CNM (Certified Nurse Midwife)
Danny Kim, University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) medical student
Joan Chen, Community Health Worker, Berkeley Free Clinic
Lara Barth, Community Health Educator
Lisa Guide, RN CNS (Registered Nurse Clinical Nurse Specialist)
Megan Rees, LPCC, Oakland Power Projects
Nadia Gaber, MD-PhD Candidate, UCSF
Rupa Marya, MD UCSF
Alma Sanchez, MD, MPH, UCSF Family and Community Medicine
Carolyn Kraus, MD/MS Candidate, UCSF-UC Berkeley Joint Medical Program
AJ Pluss, Doctor of Physical Therapy Student
Juliana E. Morriss, MD, EdM UCSF Family and Community Medicine
Yakira Teitel, MD, MPH Resident Physician, UCSF Department of Family and Community Medicine

 

TAKE ACTION:

Circulate this statement to Health Workers and join the signatories. Email Croakland @criticalresistance.org to sign on with your name, preferred affiliation or certification. Put “Health Worker signature, Stop Urban Shield” in the subject.

Sign the Stop Urban Shield petition 

Endorse the demand to Stop Urban Shield and with your organization, group, or network. Email stopurbanshieldnow@gmail.com.

Check out the new Urban Shield Report

In the wake of a massive mobilization against the Urban Shield weapons expo in Pleasanton on Friday, a newly published report authored by the Stop Urban Shield coalition illustrates the negative social and economic impacts of Urban Shield. The report also shows how the Alameda County Board of supervisors can take action to end the controversial program and instead fund programs less dominated by law enforcement. A digital copy of the report can be found here.

Photo credit: Brooke Anderson

Take Action: COMMUNITY MEETING MONDAY, SEPT 19 at 7PM

On Friday Sept 9, we took a powerful stance against Urban Shield and police militarization. We believe that we can defund and end Alameda County’s participation in Urban Shield, but we need your support to win this fight. Please continue the strug­gle to Stop Urban Shield by taking three simple steps:

  1. Tell the Alameda County Board of Supervisors NO MORE URBAN SHIELD. The Alameda County Board of Supervisors has the power to Stop Urban Shield! Call Board of Supervisors Pres­ident, Scott Haggerty’s office at 510.272.6691 to demand that the Board of Supervisors de-fund this destructive program!

SAMPLE LANGUAGE: Hello, I’m calling to urge President Haggerty to demand that no funding for Urban Shield be included in any funding proposals for Fiscal Year 2017. I have learned that propos­als to the Bay Area Urban Areas Security Initiative will be due on October 14. Alameda County has an opportunity to seek funding for emergency response resources that prioritize health and well being and not militarized policing. Defund Urban Shield now!

  1. HELP US MAKE A PLAN TO WIN. Today’s action is the beginning of an organizing push that can end Urban Shield in Alameda County once and for all. Bring your people to get involved in the next steps to defund and end Urban Shield:

COMMUNITY MEETING TO END URBAN SHIELD

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 19, 7PM

West Oakland Youth Center

3233 Market St, Oakland, CA 94608

  1. STAY CONNECTED.

Sign up for our email list at stopurbanshieldnow@gmail.org, and visit stopurbanshield.org to stay involved.

Photo credit: Brooke Anderson

Activists lock down entrances to Urban Shield, over five hundred community members mobilize, 23 arrested

Pleasanton – Today, activists chained themselves to the entrances to the Alameda County Fairgrounds to protest Urban Shield, the highly controversial SWAT training and weapons expo hosted annually by the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department. 23 activists were arrested, cited, and released. Over 500 community members from many cities across California, including Oakland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Sacramento, joined the Stop Urban Shield Coalition in a massive mobilization, march and rally that included powerful speakers, art, and musical and cultural performances. A broad coalition of grassroots community and social justice organizations, the Stop Urban Shield Coalition is amplifying the growing opposition to the militarization, policing, and violence in Black, Brown, and poor communities, and seeking to end Urban Shield.

Urban Shield brings together police units from across the country for 48 consecutive hours of highly militarized scenarios, a program that activists condemn as promoting further violence and an increased war mentality by police in marginalized communities. It is funded by the Department of Homeland Security through a grant program called the Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI), one of many controversial “War on Terror” efforts.

Participants in Urban Shield also include armed forces from around the world, many of which have been accused of war crimes and human rights abuses. This year, Urban Shield lists law enforcement units from Mexico and Taiwan. Israel, which is widely condemned for its abuses against the Palestinian population, has also been featured prominently in past trainings.

“When Urban Shield is bringing together repressive forces from all over the world to train with police here, we must stand together, work to end it, and fight policing and militarization here and everywhere.” said Nora Abedelal of the Arab Resource and Organizing Center.

The Stop Urban Shield Coalition, along with one of its members the War Resisters League, has been collecting the stories of survivors of SWAT raids in order to uplift the voices of people impacted by the practices that Urban Shield promotes. “Across the country, we are seeing a growing normalization of militarized policing and SWAT deployment against people of color, particularly Black communities,” said Woods Ervin of Critical Resistance. “As a SWAT training program, Urban Shield is only expanding the violence that people face at the hands of police, and must be stopped immediately.” In the 1980s, there were roughly 3,000 SWAT raids a year; today, that number is up to 50,000. According to an ACLU report, Black people are up to 40 times more likely to be impacted by SWAT raids than white people.

The coalition will continue to organize to amplify widespread opposition to Urban Shield, and militarization of police more broadly. They are planning a large town hall event in Oakland in the coming weeks focused on alternatives to Urban Shield.

Rally to Stop Urban Shield Sept 9!

Join us for a powerful mobilization against global militarization and policing.

We are only one day away from what will be the 10th Urban Shield, the largest annual SWAT training and weapons expo in the world. Forces from around the country and globe will be convening in Pleasanton to share the oppressive tactics that have been used on Black, Indigenous, Brown, and poor people in the US and abroad. Join us on September 9th at the Alameda County Fairgrounds in Pleasanton at 8am sharp!

FRIDAY, SEMPTEMBER 9th

8am-12noon

Alameda County Fairgrounds

Pleasanton Ave & Fairgrounds Rd., Pleasanton CA

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

The Stop Urban Shield Coalition has been hard at work organizing for our mass mobilization tomorrow. As we gear up to bring communities from across the state together to rally against Urban Shield, please review some important information about tomorrow:

  • We are planning to meet at the intersection of Pleasanton Ave. and Fairgrounds Rd.
  • We are planning to be out there for four hours. It will be warm, so please dress accordingly. We will have water, but do bring some with you in case.
  • Reem’s Arab Street Food will have food available for purchase.

Spread the Word! Social media info
In order to make this event even more powerful, we are calling on people to help amplify our message. We will be livestreaming on Facebook out of the accounts below. Additionally, please follow and share information coming out of these social media accounts:Spread the Word! Social media info

Facebook

Stop Urban Shield
Critical Resistance
AROC:Arab Resource and Organizing Center
BAYAN USA

Twitter

@StopUrbanShield
@C_Resistance
@AROCBayArea
@Asians4BlkLives

Transportation

The Stop Urban Shield Coalition is coordinating transportation to ensure that as many people as possible can participate in the September 9th mobilization and action day.

Accessibility

Please let us know any accessibility needs for attending on September 9th. Contact information: stopurbanshieldnow@ gmail.com or call (510) 444-0484.

For a wheelchair accessible ride, please email or call the above contacts.

Carpooling from the Bay Area and across the state

As of today we are no longer using the google form to field requests. Please email or call the above contacts.

Public Transportation

We are also encouraging local Bay Area residents to take BART to Dublin/Pleasanton BART station for those who are able. There will be some cars and a bus shuttling from the BART station. From BART, if the car shuttles are at capacity, there’s also the 10R bus that goes close by (15 min ride leaves every 15 minutes).

ACE train from South Bay

The ACE train goes directly there from San Jose and Santa Clara if you are coming from the South Bay. Note that tickets are pretty steep at $14 each way.

Parking

There is street parking in the neighborhoods near the mobilization site. We recommend you park near the intersection of Rose Ave and Pleasanton AveLook for signs or individuals directing you where to walk for mobilization.

There may also be parking in the ACE lot at the nearby intersection of West Angela St and Pleasanton Ave, however please note there are “commuter only” parking signs.

QUESTIONS?

For additional information and questions you can email stopurbanshieldnow@ gmail.com or call (510) 444-0484.

Sign our Petition! Demand an End to Urban Shield!

Sign our petition to the Alameda County Board of Supervisors here!

To the Alameda County Board of Supervisors: We urge you to take steps to end the militarization of our communities by rescinding all present contracts and declining all future collaborations with Urban Shield. Divest from policing and militarization, and invest in our communities!

To Communities Everywhere: Support our Mass Mobilization against Urban Shield on September 9!

Although proponents of Urban Shield claim that it provides police departments with emergency response training, we know that these weapons, training, and tactics become normalized and broadly used against our communities, such as in drug raids, to issue search warrants, and against protesters. These weapons and surveillance tools get integrated into the violence of everyday policing targeting Black, Brown, and poor communities. For instance, Black people are up to 40 times more likely to be impacted by SWAT raids than whites, clearly demonstrating the racism inherent in militarization and policing.

As a national and international event, Urban Shield is not only increasing militarization in Alameda County, but across the country and world. To the Alameda County Board of Supervisors: Stand with our communities in the Bay Area and everywhere, and rein in the Sheriff’s unchecked attempts at increased militarization by cutting all ties with Urban Shield!

Join our Mobilization on Sept 9! Check out New Video to Learn More

Statewide Mobilization on September 9th!

stopurbanshield_sept9_flyer-FINAL-revised

Stop Urban Shield – Informational Webinar Now Available

As part of our efforts to build opposition to Urban Shield for our September 9 mobilization, the Stop Urban Shield Coalition has been hosting town halls to engage community members on what Urban Shield is, what we are doing to fight it, and how people can get involved. To make these political education events more widely accessible, we held a webinar last week, with presentations from organizers in the Bay Area and Los Angeles, to discuss Urban Shield, policing and militarization, and community resistance. Below is the recording, please circulate to your networks!

Bay Area Communities Gather to Learn About Urban Shield

On June 24th, 2016, close to 100 people attended the second town hall hosted by the Stop Urban Shield Coalition at the East Bay Media Center. The event was co-hosted by the Anti-Police Terror Project and Berkeley Cop Watch. Community members learned about the damage caused by militarization and Urban Shield, SWAT training and military-grade weapons expo held each year in Alameda County, with war game exercises throughout the Bay Area. Devastating stories from people who have survived and lost family members to police violence showed the harmful effects of policing, which targets communities of color and is made worse by Urban Shield. Yet, it was clear that community power to stop militarization and Urban Shield is strong. The night ended with inspiring calls to action to build off recent successes and show up for a mobilization at the Urban Shield weapons expo in Pleasanton on September 9th, 2016.

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Isaac Ontiveros, member of Critical Resistance, explained how Urban Shield has been spearheaded by Alameda County Sheriff Gregory Ahern in 2007, which receives federal funding from the Department of Homeland Security to host Urban Shield. The federal program is called the Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI) . San Francisco City & County is the fiscal agent for the entire Bay Area UASI region. The Alameda County Board of Supervisors authorizes the Sheriff to an agreement between the Alameda County and San Francisco County for the distribution of Fiscal Year 2015 UASI regional funds for emergency preparedness in the amount of $5,915,179 for the period 11/1/15-2/28/17.

Local, federal, and international law enforcement agencies participate every year to train on so-called “counter-terrorism exercises” along with fire departments and, emergency medical services.The merchandise sold at the expo is evidence of the racist nature of racially profiling communities of color; for example,a “Black Rifles Matter” t-shirt with a picture of an AR-15.

IMG_4111Maria Moore spoke about the death of her sister Kayla Moore. Moore, a black transgender woman who had been diagnosed with schizophrenia, was killed by Berkeley police officers after being arrested from her home. BPD officers attempted to justify the murder of Maria Moore by alluding to her “large stature” and her “obesity.” Maria compared her sister’s case with the death of Eric Garner. She also emphasized the need for increased mental health professionals and funding to help those in needs rather than allocating those funds for a militarized police force that ultimately intimidates and endangers communities of color.  For more information, please visit: Justice 4 Kayla Moore via Facebook.

In addition, militarization of police is enabled and furthered by the global character of policing and repression. Ontiveros highlighted the relationships between repressive regimes such as those in Hondurus, Mexico and the apartheid state of Israel with the United States and Urban Shield specifically. The Israeli military and law enforcement have a history of training American law enforcement on “counter-terrorism,” which translates to overt apartheid practices on communities of color in the United States. Vendors like Motorila, Safariland, and 3M, have business ties with the State of Israel and sell their security-related merchandise at Urban Shield.

A representative of the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network (IJAN) discussed the participation of medical services in Urban Shield trainings. Both public and private medical service personnel, who participate, are trained with protocols to coordinate with law enforcement during crises and “acts of terrorism.” The negative impact of these trainings results in emergency responders shifting medical professionals’ primary responsibility of providing care to the injured into an allegiance to the priorities of the police, as in the case of Maria Moore.

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Nanci Armstrong-Temple from the Anti Police-Terror Project (APTP) started off by talking about APTP and the Onyx Organizing Committee and then discussed police militarization as it’s been linked to the death of Yuvette Henderson (among many others) in Emeryville. Armstrong-Temple shared a personal experience about the bridge shut down in January from the MLK weekend of actions and how a police officer held her and she feared for her life as a result. She explained that what that police officer did was a strategy, and that similar (violent) strategies are being taught at Urban Shield trainings. Armstrong-Temple also connected the struggle for police accountability and the creation of community-based safety programs to Black liberation movements throughout US history.

IMG_4127Emma, Charlotte and Andrea of Berkeley CopWatch spoke about the current militarization of the Berkeley Police Department (BPD). In 2012, the University of California, Berkeley planned to purchase a military armored personal vehicle known as the “Bearcat,” which is designed to withstand explosions from heavy munitions and improvised explosives. In 2012, under public and community pressure, the City Council of Berkeley rejected the request of UCB PD to purchase the “Bearcat.” A mutual aid agreement allows BPD to “borrow” armored personal vehicles from Alameda PD. In 2014, BPD cracked down on protestors during a Black Lives Matter action with their mutual aid agreement to use helicopters and armored vehicles. Video of the protests show the use of tear gas and so-called “non-lethal” munitions. Berkeley Copwatch highlighted key takeaways from the militarization of the BPD:

  • Mutual aid agreements have given BPD access to military grade weaponry without proper authorization from the city.
  • “Terrorism,” natural disasters, and “hostage situations” have been the justification for purchase of military grade weaponry and training, which only result in the repression of community of color, people with disabilities, poor people, homeless people and protesters.
  • The amount of money spent on militarization could be used to develop community-based alternatives and fund proper social services like mental health crisis services, housing, healthcare, and education.

In 2016, the UC student government passed a resolution to ban UCPD from participating in Urban Shield, which shows the consistent resistance of people to prevent the militarization of the police.

Shereen Masoud, from the Arab Resource and Organizing Center (AROC), spoke about the on-going project of community outreach to document any stories of police violence and SWAT raids. If you would like to share your story, please email us at: stopurbanshieldnow@gmail.com or visit our website: stopurbanshield.org.

Lara Kiswani from AROC and Sagnicthe Salazar from Xicana Moratorium Coalition inspired the room to mobilize for the upcoming Urban Shield weapons expo at Pleasanton on September 9th, 2016 to outreach to communities and organizations that want to end Urban Shield: “To withdraw resources from police and invest the funds in strong community-run healthcare, social services, and non-militarized “whole community” approach to emergency response.

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Two victories from the past two years include:

  1. In 2014, communities united kicked Urban Shield out of Oakland.
  2. In 2015, the Stop Urban Shield Coalition converged on the Sheriff’s office in downtown Oakland to let them know that Urban Shield is not welcome in Alameda county.

For more information, please visit: stopurbanshield.org

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