#EndWhiteSilence: 4 Ways to Help Stop Urban Shield
Starting Sept. 8, an event called Urban Shield will take place in Pleasanton. For those not familiar, Urban Shield offers SWAT training, war games and a military-grade weapons expo to police and first responders from across the nation. While it’s funded under the guise of furthering the war on terror, Urban Shield really furthers militarized police violence, particularly against communities of color, as suggested by the photos below.
Photo left: From 2014 Urban Shield event via Shane Bauer of Mother Jones. His caption: “The Armored Group representative said police need these trucks for protests because protesters might shoot at cops.”
Photo right: A shirt on sale at past Urban Shield event via @resistwar.
Stop Urban Shield is a broad coalition of grassroots community and social justice organizations that are mobilizing and protesting the event… again. In 2014, Urban Shield was kicked out of Oakland thanks to organizing by community members. Now, the event has found a new home in Alameda County when really, it should be ended entirely.
How can you support the fight against Urban Shield and police terror? Here are a few ways to get involved:
1. The Mobilization
A major Stop Urban Shield mobilization took place on Friday, Sept. 9 - a direct way to protest the weapons expo. On this day, hundreds of people from across California descended on Pleasanton for a rally and cultural program. Buses and carpools from across the state were organized so that people from everywhere could attend. Joining the mobilization means saying no to the militarization of police in our communities. You can find more information about the event below.
Showing Up for Racial Justice hosted two Demilitarize Your Labor Day Fundraiser BBQs to raise funds for the aforementioned mobilization. The money collected supported canvassing operations, food and water for the mobilization and transport to bring folks to Pleasanton from across the state. Both fundraisers took place in the East Bay and included food and music.
BBQ #1: Sept. 3, 2016 from 3 PM to 5 PM PT
Where: 1633 Channing Way, Berkeley, CA 94703
BBQ #2: Sept. 5, 2016 from 5 PM to 7 PM PT
Where: Strawberry Creek Park - 1260 Allston Way, Berkeley, CA 94702
And if you can’t make either BBQ, you can still support the fundraiser here.
Stop Urban Shield has also started a petition, which demands the Alameda County Board of Supervisors stops hosting Urban Shield and declines all collaborations in the future. As the petition itself explains, “If our public officials want greater emergency preparedness and response, it will not come from Urban Shield’s militarized war games and blatantly racist and violent weapons expo.”
Before and after attending these events — or even if you cannot attend them at all — it’s important to do two things: First, educate yourself on the event and its related issues. This webinar from Stop Urban Shield is a great place to start learning more about the weapons expo. Second, speak up. Bring Urban Shield up in conversation with friends and families. Consider asking your networks to attend and/or donate. Share the above fundraising events on social media. This is an important aspect of ending white silence broadly and raising awareness to stop Urban Shield specifically.