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.
Author: Critical Resistance (Page 2 of 2)
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:
- 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!
- 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
- STAY CONNECTED.
Sign up for our email list at email@example.com, and visit stopurbanshield.org to stay involved.
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.
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
Alameda County Fairgrounds
Pleasanton Ave & Fairgrounds Rd., Pleasanton CA
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
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.
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.
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.
There is street parking in the neighborhoods near the mobilization site. We recommend you park near the intersection of Rose Ave and Pleasanton Ave. Look 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.
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!
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!