SURJ (Showing Up for Racial Justice), Bay Area chapter, is part of a national network of groups and individuals organizing white people for racial justice. There are over 150 chapters and affiliates nationwide. Through community organizing, mobilizing, and education, SURJ moves white people to act as part of a multi-racial majority for justice with passion and accountability.
Berkeley Police Department’s Special Response Unit re-enacts the Garland, TX shooting at Urban Shield 2016. Credit: Mary Noble.
In 2016 I bluffed my way into Urban Shield, the massive police weapons fair in Pleasanton, California, that is also one of the world’s largest police training exercises. What happens here shapes policing all over the US. What I saw shocked me. The training exercises were far more racist than I could ever have imagined.
Urban Shield is really two different events: A weapons trade show in Pleasanton, and a 48-hour SWAT training exercise at locations all over the Bay. When I arrived at the weapons expo in Pleasanton, security was tight. Only one gate was open to cars. Police checked credentials through car windows. I hadn’t pre-arranged a press pass. But I showed my press pass to a cop and asked whether they’d accept me, a blogger for the Huffington Post. To my surprise, the answer was yes.
The exhibition hall was surrounded by hundreds of cops clustered in small groups, each group wearing different matching camo and tactical gear. I learned later that these teams would compete in Urban Shield’s 48-hour training exercise, which involved role-playing 36 mass casualty attacks on zero hours of sleep.
Then I went into the exhibition hall, which was full of tables loaded with weapons: AR-15s, body armor, rifle scopes.
One of the first things I saw was a medical mannequin of a bomb victim with its leg ripped off, blood spurting, for police to practice tourniquets on (pictured). I was told that the dummy, body armor, and guns would be used in the 48-hour training, so that police could try them before buying for their departments.
Join fellow community members to let fascists, the alt-right and all white supremacists know that they are not are not welcome in the Bay Area. Saturday, September 23, starting at 12 noon, at 63rd and Adeline in Berkeley.
Stay through the march or meet up afterward for a festival of resistance to celebrating black, POC, Muslim, immigrant, queer, trans, dis-abled, and interfaith communities!
This march was organized so that we can take the streets on our own terms - counter-demonstrations are very important, but we live here, this is our community, and everyday is a good day to be united against white supremacy.
This march takes place the day before upcoming far-right, racist events set to take place on (and off) UC Berkeley campus, but it isn't taking place at the same time as any of those events, nor is it a specific response.
This is for us to come together on a day of our choosing and show unity and solidarity in the struggles against all forms of oppression!
Af3irm SF/Bay Area
AFSCME Council 57
Anti Police-Terror Project
AROC: Arab Resource & Organizing Center
Bay Area Queer Anti-Fascist Network (Queer As F*ck)
Berkeley Federation of Teachers, local 1078
California Coalition for Women Prisoners
Code Pink Women for Peace: East Bay
Community READY Corps
Critical Resistance Oakland
Ella Baker Center for Human Rights
The Center for Political Education
International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network
Jewitch Collective: Jews, Pagans, and Those Who Love Them
Jewish Voice for Peace
John Brown Anti-Klan Bloc
Left of the Dial
Middle East Children's Alliance
National Lawyers Guild San Francisco Bay Area Chapter
Oakland Brown Berets
SURJ - Oakland/Bay Area
SURJ SF - Showing Up for Racial Justice
Workers World Party - Bay Area
Want to get involved with SURJ Bay Area? Come learn about our current work and activities. You'll also hear about SURJ's new pathways for entering the work, including study and action groups, committee work, upcoming workshops, and events. We'll answer your questions and share how you can get involved in the movement for racial justice.
Getting Into the Lobby:
The doors for the Sierra Club building lock right at 7pm, so please do your best to arrive prior to 7pm. We will have someone stationed at the Webster entrance to the building until 7:15 for late arrivals. If you arrive after 7pm, please use the Webster entrance.
Parking and transportation:
The closest BART station is 19th Street BART and the Sierra Club is 4 blocks from BART. If you come by Bart, head north on Broadway and then east (right) on 21st Street and left on Webster to the Building entrance. There will be a greeter in the lobby until 7:15, but please arrive well before 7 pm so we can begin promptly. If you are driving, please try to carpool and arrive early to leave time to find a spot.
Building Accessibility: There are two entrances to Sierra Club Office building on Webster and 21st both of which are accessible for mobility devices. The building has an elevator, and the kitchen space, conference room, and restrooms can also all accommodate mobility devices.
Scents: The Sierra Club’s space endeavors to offer a scent free environment; however as the Club is currently transitioning towards the use of only scent free products, we cannot guarantee an entirely scent free space. We ask everyone to please arrive at meetings fragrance free to support access for folks who experience multiple chemical sensitivities and allergies. This means using only body products and laundry detergent that say “fragrance free” or “unscented” on the label and do not have scented ingredients. See https://eastbaymeditation.org/resources/fragrance-free-at-ebmc/ for more info on going fragrance free.
Restrooms: Restrooms are currently labeled in a gender-binary way. The Sierra Club is working on changing this and has an office policy that all restrooms are available to anyone, regardless of lived or perceived gender identity. We ask that folks choose the restroom that is right for them, and that no one question a person’s chosen restroom.If you have questions or offerings, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.