Author: Critical Resistance Page 2 of 4
This weekend we won a victory against white supremacy, powerfully united in the thousands across communities, to kick fascists off the streets of San Francisco and Berkeley. Despite police collaboration with the alt-right and the targeting of counter protesters, we stayed together and kept each other safe against both the police and the white supremacists. In the days following, with Berkeley Mayor Arreguin calling to label antifa a gang and the media reframing our mass mobilizations as violent, we will stay united and continue to fight back against fascism and oppression.
We know that these emboldened acts of white supremacists are symptomatic and fundamentally connected to state violence and police militarization. We must bring the same unity and mass power that we did in the streets this last weekend to the ongoing local struggles against policing, militarization and violence.
Fascism and White Supremacy in Our Cities
In the aftermath of last weekend, we look ahead to the weekend of September 8th when Alameda County Sheriff Ahern will once again host the militarized and xenophobic Urban Shield weapons expo and SWAT team training. This is the same Sheriff who endorsed Jeff Sessions, is working on the Santa Rita jail expansion, collaborating with ICE, and most recently whose office retweeted white supremacist Richard Spencer. Urban Shield is exactly the kind of training that prepares Berkeley Police to collaborate with the alt-right, to criminalize counter protesters, to racially profile Berkeley residents, and to use military grade weapons and equipment in everyday policing.
On Tuesday May 16 more than 200 people turned out to the Berkeley City Council
in anticipation of the Council’s vote on whether or not to continue Berkeley’s participation in Urban Shield. After waiting six hours for the agenda item to be heard and after giving powerful testimony, we were told that the Council once again decided to postpone the vote. The coalition and supporters staged a walkout to show the Council that we won’t stand for this kind of manipulation.
We have gotten word that the Council will now be hearing additional testimony in a special session and will actually be voting sometime in mid-June at a date, time and location to be determined. We are making sure that this special session will be held in a location that will be able to accommodate the huge number of community members who will be mobilizing
PLEASE STAY TUNED. WE STILL NEED YOUR SUPPORT!
We want to redouble our efforts at the upcoming meeting in showing the Berkeley City Council that they need to stand on the side of the people and not on the side of militarization and oppression.
In the meantime, please call and email the mayor and Council people to urge them to vote No To Urban Shield!
District 3/ Ben Bartlett/ (510) 981-7130/ bbartlett@CityofBerkeley.info
District 4/ Kate Harrison / (510) 981-7140 / kharrison@CityofBerkeley.info
District 5 / Sophie Hahn/ 510) 981-7150 / shahn@CityofBerkeley.info
District 6 / Susan Wengraf / (510) 981-7160 / swengraf@CityofBerkeley.info
District 7/ Kris Worthington / (510) 981-7170 / kworthington@CityofBerkeley.
District 8/ Lori Droste / (510) 981-7180 / ldroste@CityofBerkeley.info
Last night the Berkeley city council decided yet again to postpone a potentially historic vote to withdraw the city of Berkeley from participating in the Urban Shield war games and militarized SWAT training.
More than 200 community members and Berkeley residents came out to show their opposition to Urban Shield and to pressure the Council to listen to their constituents. Many people waited through a packed agenda for nearly 6 hours, some camped out in the downstairs lobby due to an already crowded upstairs chambers, in order to have their voices heard.
“SWAT teams break down the doors of Black and Brown community members’ homes to serve search warrants at four and five in the morning using tactics they learned at the Urban Shield training,” said Sagnicthe Salazar, a member of the Stop Urban Shield Coalition and the Xicana Moratorium Coalition. “The decision to postpone the vote has nothing to do with the lateness of the hour and everything to do with members of the council bowing to political pressure from Berkeley PD and Sheriff Ahern.”
Despite the large and visible presence of people clearly organized around the Urban Shield agenda item, Mayor Jesse Arreguin intentionally chose to push the agenda item to the very end of the meeting. The Stop Urban Shield Coalition believes that this strategy was used deliberately to limit the number of voices present to speak out against Urban Shield; despite this at least 100 people remained to give testimony on the item which did not begin until around 11:30pm.
“Berkeley residents came out to this meeting in force to let the Council know that we understand the harmful and far reaching effects that militarized trainings for cops have on communities” said Ellen Brotsky, a Berkeley resident and a member of Jewish Voice for Peace, “Not only is Urban Shield antithetical to Berkeley values, it also undermines the ability of cities like Berkeley to seek out community-based alternatives to Urban Shield.”
Then, in a clear undermining of the democratic process, the Council decided at 12:30 am that they would adjourn and that they would not cast a vote concerning Urban Shield at this meeting. While the crowd erupted in boos of anger and disappointment we remained disciplined and organized and collectively decided to exercise our power to end the meeting on our own terms. We walked out before the conclusion of the meeting with chants of “Stop Urban Shield” echoing in the hallways. This move showed the City Council that the community will not tolerate this kind of manipulation. The council moved to set another meeting at a date and time to be determined where they assured those present that a vote would be held. The Stop Urban Shield Coalition will ensure that the meeting is held in a space that can accommodate the powerful showing of our community, and turn out in force again, larger and stronger to raise our demands.
The decision to further postpone this vote, rather than taking the decisive action that Berkley needs, undermines the trust that the people of Berkeley have placed in their elected officials and calls into question the legitimacy of the Council as a decision-making body. Furthermore, the call to postpone the vote is a slap in the face to community members, working people, mothers and fathers, who gave hours of their time waiting for the item to be called as well as organizers who for the third time in as many months, met with council members, outreached to community leaders, and mobilized people to the meeting.
The Stop Urban Shield Coalition is urging people to email and call the Council members and let them know how you feel about this further postponement and urge them to take swift action to end Urban Shield:
CONTACT INFO FOR BERKELEY CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS
Please stay tuned for more information on the promised vote and how to mobilize and/or support.
Town Hall on Militarization and Law Enforcement Agreements: Berkeley City Council Considers Ending Involvement in Urban Shield
Join the Stop Urban Shield Coalition for a town hall hosted by members of the Berkeley City Council as they prepare to discuss withdrawing from federal funding for militarized law enforcement training through Urban Areas Security Initiative and the annual Urban Shield training and weapons expo. The Stop Urban Shield Coalition has been fighting Urban shield on every front. We’ve been at Berkeley City Council Meetings to convince representatives that Urban Shield hurts Berkeley residents, particularly in Black and Brown communities.
Join us for a community town hall hosted by Council Members Cheryl Davila and Kate Harrison.
Date: Monday, April 17th, from 6-8pm
Location: The Way Church, 1305 University Ave, Berkeley Berkeley City
All Out to Berkeley City Council Meeting to Say No to Urban Shield!
In an unprecedented move, the Berkeley City Council is considering fully withdrawing their support for local agency participation in the Urban Areas Security Initiative and Urban Shield. This meeting is critical for the fight against Urban Shield. A decision in favor of pulling out of Urban Shield by the Berkeley City Council paves the way for other cities in the Bay Area to do the same.
Date: Tuesday, April 25th at 7:00pm
Location: Berkeley City Council Berkeley City Council Chambers, 2134 Martin Luther King, Jr. Way between Allston and Addison (near downtown Berkeley BART)
Look for more information in the coming days about calling Berkeley City Council members to urge them to support ending Urban Shield!
The California Nurses Association (CNA), one of the largest labor organizations in the state, has joined the ranks of dozens of other organizations and hundreds of community members and health care professionals in taking stance against the militarization of police by opposing Urban Shield. In a recent letter to the Alameda County Board of Supervisors CNA points to the critical nature of emergency preparedness and how the militarization of such a response actually undermines community safety.
“We strongly support the development, support, and expansion of true Emergency Preparedness programming in Alameda County. We are distressed to learn that our Board of Supervisors plans on allocating five of the $6 Million dollars granted by UASI Urban Shield, while not spending a single dollar on many of the emergency preparedness goals, such as Goal 1: Planning and Risk Management, Goal 5: Medical and Public Health, Goal 6: Emergency Planning and Community Preparedness, or Goal 7: Recovery.
We do not support programs that train first responders and law enforcement officials to see the people who live in our communities as their greatest threat. We do not support increasing the use of militarized weaponry and tactics in everyday law enforcement. These training exercises perpetuate racist and xenophobic stereotypes and increase trauma in communities already suffering under the massive number of police killings, militarized SWAT raids and sweeps, and surveillance technologies and are further eroding already fragile community / police relationships. This decreases public safety, destabilizes communities, and puts more cops at risk.”
On Tuesday, February 28th at 2pm the Stop Urban Shield Coalition will pack the San Francisco Board of Supervisors meeting as the City votes whether or not to apply for the 2017 Urban Area Securities Initiative funds from the Department of Homeland security, the funding that is used to finance Urban Shield. While the Supervisors have shown that they are concerned about the militarized police training and the harm and violence that Urban Shield brings into our communities and have introduced several amendments to the resolution, we still need to show them that ending Urban Shield altogether is strongest path forward.
At the same meeting, community members will also be urging the Board of Supervisors to divest from banks that are financing the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. Indigenous Water Defenders and their allies have been defending the land of the Standing Rock Sioux in North Dakota for months and have repeatedly faced militarized police forces trying to repress their efforts. They have drafted an open letter to the Board of Supervisors and are asking for supporters to sign on. They have also asked attendees to wear blue as a show of support. Additionally the Supervisors will be voting on a resolution to prevent the use of City infrastructure to enforce a registry based on identity, national origin, religion or ethnicity. Such a resolution would prevent the City from complying with the Muslim registry that Trump has repeatedly promised to implement.
The Stop Urban Shield Coalition recognizes that these issues are part and parcel of the same resistance. The violence of policing, racial profiling and militarization affects communities of color, immigrant and indigenous communities from Oakland to San Francisco to the Standing Rock reservation. Given the very real threats we face under the Trump administration we need to stronger than ever in the defense of our people and especially standing together in struggle across our communities.
Turn out to 1 Dr Carlton B Goodlett Pl at 2pm to say No War on Communities of Color, Immigrant, Indigenous and Muslim Communities!
This Thursday, February 2, 2017, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors Budget and Finance Committee will discuss and vote on a resolution authorizing designated City and County officials to execute and file on behalf of the City and County of San Francisco any actions necessary for the purpose of obtaining State and Federal financial assistance under various grant programs, including the Federal Fiscal Year 2017 Urban Areas Security Initiative Grant. This currently includes Urban Shield.
Demand that the Supervisors exclude Urban Shield from the resolution tomorrow!
As the fiscal agent for Bay Area UASI funds, the SF Board of Supervisors has the power to exclude Urban Shield as a program funded by this money. Let’s turn out strong for this meeting! As we have seen with the ban on refugees from Syria and immigrants from predominantly Muslim countries issued by Trump on Friday, this administration and the Department of Homeland Security (which provides the funds for UASI and Urban Shield) will stop at nothing to bring harm to our communities.
San Francisco has already demonstrated that it wants to push back against this executive order as well as the systematic dismantling of other protections for Muslim, Arab and immigrant communities such as Sanctuary City ordinances. Urban Shield is part and parcel of these recent actions and will contribute to the continued war on our communities and families here in the Bay Area and around the world. Join us to put an end to it.
Turn out to the Budget and Finance Committee meeting: 2/2/2017, 10am, SF City Hall, 1 Dr Carlton B Goodlett Pl , San Francisco, CA 94102. Say NO to Urban Shield!
Tomorrow, January 25, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors Budget and Finance Committee will decide whether or not to allow San Francisco to receive funding that supports the Urban Shield police war games and weapons expo.
On January 10, we showed Alameda County of Board of Supervisors the strength of community opposition to Urban Shield. Now it’s time to show their peers in San Francisco.
Tell San Francisco Board of Supervisors: No to Militarization! Vote No on Urban Shield!
Fight for stronger, safer, and healthier communities.
Take these two steps to end Urban Shield now:
1. Call the SF Board of Supervisors today, January 24th. Tell them to vote no on Urban Shield!
Please spread the word and encourage your friends, family, co-workers, and neighbors to let the Board know, we want and end to Urban Shield now! Use the script and contact information below.
Dear Supervisor _________,
I am calling/writing to urge you and all San Francisco Supervisors in the Budget and Finance Committee to take leadership in putting an end to the militarization of police and the militarization of disaster preparedness in the Bay Area. On Wednesday, you will be asked to decide whether to authorize the City to enter into an agreement with the Department of Homeland Security’s Urban Areas Security Initiative. Because San Francisco is the fiscal agent for these programs in the Bay Area, this agreement will include funding for the militarized Urban Shield training and weapons expo, unless you amend the resolution to exclude Urban Shield. Several of your Supervisor colleagues last year publicly called for an end to Urban Shield. [see attached] As you are aware, the divisive election of Donald Trump has raised concerns about an increase in militarized policing and attacks on immigrants, Arabs and Muslims, communities of color, and poor people. We call on you to stand with the communities you represent and end the divisive, dangerous, and xenophobic Urban Shield training and weapons expo.Tomorrow, we urge you to exclude the authorization of any funding for Urban Shield. Thank you.
Call or write San Francisco Board of Supervisors Budget and Finance Committee members:
2. Bring yourself and your people out to make a public comment on Wednesday, January 25th against Urban Shield.
Wednesday, January 25th, 10:00 a.m., San Francisco City Hall Room 250. Sign up for public comment on Item 161354 (8thitem on the agenda).
If the committee approves this resolution, it will go to the full Board of Supervisors, where there will not be an opportunity for public comment.
* * * * *
By listening to the clear and powerful voice of San Francisco residents, the Board of Supervisors has the opportunity to shift away from the cynical fear mongering at the heart of Urban Shield and toward an approach that responds to genuine Bay Area disaster threats by investing in health, food security, emergency shelter, and community resilience.
From the disturbing images of police repressing indigenous resistance in Standing Rock to the often unreported near-daily SWAT raids in Black and Brown neighborhoods in our cities, we know that police militarization is a violent strategy of containment, control, and warfare. But we also know that all over the world, people are fighting back. The Stop Urban Shield coalition sees its work as a tangible and winnable step toward diminishing the destructive impacts of police militarization that serves to destabilize our communities. In 2016 the organizations that make us Stop Urban Shield have been proud to come together with others to educate ourselves about the shady path of resources and power involved in police militarization, to strategize to disrupt that toxic flow, and to take bold and inspiring actions against warfare in our neighborhoods and cities.
In 2016 many hours of outreach and building with community member and organizations culminated in a powerful direct action and civil disobedience against the Urban Shield weapons expo in Pleasanton in September. This mobilization disrupted both the expo and some of the war games crucial to an increase in police militarization. Building on the momentum of that action, we were also able compel elected officials in Alameda County to finally call critical questions about Urban Shield and the unaccountable and untransparent power exercised by the Sheriff’s office in controlling this program. All of this work was held together by different volunteer members of our coalition thinking together to research, analyze, understand, and critique Urban Shield. We are proud to this year to have issued our report Urban Shield: Abandoning Hope Not Build Hope as a strong educational foundation to our work.
Moving into 2017, people are all too aware that the destruction being proposed by the incoming Trump regime will require a redoubling of our efforts to come together, to defend our communities, and to fight back. Trump’s campaign has been a platform of fear-mongering and hate – calling for increased policing, mass deportations, surveillance, registries, detention and deportation of immigrant and Muslim communities, and has even labelled social movements like Black Lives Matter as terrorist organizations. The communities that will be highly targeted and affected under a Trump administration are the same ones targeted by policing and militarization programs like Urban Shield.
Stopping Urban Shield in Alameda County is a key local step to resisting the threats posed by Trump. Alameda County must stop sponsoring the racist, xenophobic, and lethal strategies, tactics, and technologies being spread by Urban Shield. Ending Urban Shield is more important than ever.
Just days after the Start of 2017 we invite you to take action to stop Urban Shield.
On January 10, 2017, due to community pressure, the Alameda County Board of Supervisors will conduct a long overdue information session on Urban Shield. We know that the Sheriff will use every trick in his book to rationalize and defend this violent program. We need as many of our people there to raise our voices and share the true impacts of Urban Shield and police militarization, and to compel the Board to take the only rational and humane step possible: Stop Urban Shield.
when: Tuesday January 10, 10am Press Conference and Rally
where: Alameda County Administration Building 1221 Oak St., Oakland
Following the Press Conference and Rally, we will pack the Supervisors Meeting to show our county’s elected officials Urban Shield needs to be ended once and for all!
P.S. Are you an Alameda County resident? Sign our petition!