On Tuesday, March 27th, the Stop Urban Shield coalition put an end to the largest militarized SWAT training in the world. Urban Shield takes place in the Bay Area on the weekend of 9/11 each year, and is a war games training and weapons expo that involves international and local law enforcement agencies and emergency responders.
After more than six hours, and hundreds of people gathered to speak out and give public comment opposing Urban Shield, the Alameda County Board of Supervisors voted to put an end to Urban Shield as of 2019. “Urban Shield as we know it ends at the conclusion of this vote,” stated Supervisor Carson. Four out of the five Alameda County Supervisors, led by Supervisor Carson and Chan, voted to end the program.
Urban Shield represents everything our movements are fighting against — from collaborating and training with ICE, hosting the white supremacist militia the Oath Keepers, training with and sending officers to apartheid Israel, glorifying policing and militarization, exploiting tragedies and natural disasters and public health needs, and continuing to align with Alameda County Sheriff Ahern’s support of the Trump Administration — Urban Shield has no place in the Bay Area or anywhere.
Congratulations to the San Francisco Bay Area for once again setting a precedent for the rest of the country against racism, repression, militarism, and state violence. Ending Urban Shield reminds us that we can win through cross movement building and strong organizing. This victory comes after years of organizing. It is a testament to our ability to shift power and win!
Our work continues! Let’s continue building strong and health communities as we do away with militarization!