What is Urban Shield?
From October 25th -28th, 2013 in Oakland, California, Urban Shield - a trade show and training exercise for SWAT teams and police agencies will bring local, national and international law enforcement agencies together with “defense industry contractors” to provide training and introduce new weapons to police and security companies.
The Facing Urban Shield Action
We know what this really means: more police and state repression, more tragedy and more death - since these weapons are used primarily against our communities. Over 20 local Oakland groups have formed an action network to express our opposition to the militarization of police and corporate complicity in it.
It Doesn't Work
Urban Shield arises out of the incorrect assumption that suppression methods, such as the Wars on Drugs and Terror, as well as profiling tactics such as gang injunctions reduce violence in our communities. In fact, the opposite is true. The militarization of police and increased use of suppression tactics in schools, prisons, at the border, in our streets and against our youth are counterproductive to community well-being. Spending billions of dollars to militarize police agencies is deeply misguided.
We Need Alternatives to Policing
Instead of pouring resources into the militarization of police, we need to promote a culture of peace and health, and not one of more violence, war, poverty and incarceration. That is why over 20 groups in the Bay Area oppose Urban Shield and seek to hold our local government accountable for the massive waste of resources on policies and practices that do nothing to sustain our dreams or wellbeing. We want to send a clear message to repression profiteers and police that they must be directly accountable to the communities they now patrol.
Instead of militarization, invest in life
The focus of the Facing Urban Shield Action Network is to bring public awareness to Urban Shield 2013, as well as to:
- Increase awareness about the harmful impact of police violence by sharing stories about the ways it impacts our lives in the Bay Area
- Reimagine ways to positively invest in our communities
- Promote and support the goals of grassroots organizations in our network to strengthen the movement for racial and economic justice in the Bay Area
- Expose corporations that profit from the sale of tear gas and other so-called "riot control" technology used by police against our communities
- Cultivate international solidarity with movements in Egypt, Mexico, Turkey, Bahrain, Palestine, Canada, Venezuela and Tunisia, all exposed to tear gas made by the US-based Safariland corporation, a main sponsor of Urban Shield 2013
Co-organizers of Beit Convivencia*: Noura Khouri and Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb, in partnership with Facing Tear Gas, a campaign of War Resisters League to end the use of tear gas and related chemical weapons, initiated this network. Please contact beitconvivencia [at] gmail.com or facingteargas [at] warresisters.org for more information.
*Beit Convivencia is an initiative of Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb and Noura Khouri. Beit means 'house' in Arabic and Hebrew. Convivencia is a Spanish word for living well together. Beit Convivencia seeks to bring together groups and individuals committed to ending systemic racial, economic and gender injustice and violence; as well as lifting up human creativity and resourcefulness.