A notorious Islamophobe teamed up with arms dealers at ITOA, a Chicago-area SWAT gathering.
We told its host, Stonegate: "Don't Host Hate!"
From October 9–13th, the Illinois Tactical Officers Association Conference (ITOA) profited off a growing culture of fear. ITOA's keynote speaker was anti-Muslim bigot and Fox News regular Dr. Sebastian Gorka, a self-proclaimed counterterrorism expert who has advised the CIA as well as Trump's campaign. ITOA has historically collaborated with the brutal Chicago PD and Cook County Department of Homeland Security for tactical trainings.
UPDATE: PRESS Coverage from our Day of Action & more!
Chicagoist: Activists Shut Down Michigan Ave Post Marathon To Protest Police Training Conference
NBC: 15 Arrested at Protest Near Chicago Marathon Route
Chicago Tribune: Protest against police policies near marathon
Chicago Monitor: Chicago Youth Protest Police Militarization and Anti-Muslim Training
Truthout: Activists Shut Down Chicago Intersection to Protest Police Training Conference
ABC7/SunTimes Wire: 15 people arrested at protest near Chicago Marathon route
Alternet: Far-Right Trump Consultant to be Honored Speaker at Illinois Police SWAT Training
Waging Nonviolence: How the ‘use of force’ industry drives police militarization and makes us all less safe
#StopITOA Coalition video
Lifted Voices: #StopITOA: Shining A Light On Militarization
Medill Reports: Chicago Activists Protest Police Militarization
Storify on Stop ITOA: Demilitarize CHI: Teach-In on Police Militarization
RadFag.com: No Abolition Without Demilitarization: Black and Muslim Solidarity for Ending Policing Worldwide
For more information:
1. Check out the Stop ITOA coalition page here
2. Read this in-depth article on ITOA & SWAT trainings generally on Waging NonViolence by Anna Feigenbaum here
3. Follow for updates #StopITOA and #DemilitarizeCHI
4. Share these Stop ITOA memes!
5. Read up on ITOA here
Check out our Petition Demanding Stonegate not host ITOA
Check out our Call-in Day Asking Stonegate to apologize for hosting ITOA
ITOA's impact reached far beyond Chicagoland. With police departments and DHS agents from around the country, ITOA sets a precedent for police militarization nationally. Just as these SWAT trainings are national, so is our growing movement! From the Bay Area to upstate NY, coalitions demand resources be put towards community needs, not fear profiteers and weapons dealers. Stand with us to Fund Peace, Not Police!
ITOA's 29th annual conference was set for October 9–13th at the Stonegate Conference and Banquet Center in Hoffman Estates, Illinois. By hosting ITOA, Stonegate enabled racism and repression, partnering with companies like Safariland, ITOA's central sponsor, and maker of tear gas canisters that have harmed millions around the world.
Even more disturbing, Charles Baptist, Stonegate's General Manager, refused to take action regarding the venue's complicity in housing a hyper-militarized conference rampant with Islamophobia. Instead, Baptist suggested that profits would be placed over community concern and safety. "If David Duke wanted to throw a birthday party here," he told CAIR-Chicago in a recent meeting, "why would I say no?"
STOP ITOA COALITION DEMANDS:
As part of the growing movement against policing, we call for the immediate cancellation of the 2016 ITOA Tactical Training Conference. We also call on Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle to end Cook County’s relationship with ITOA. Join us in demanding an end to ITOA’s training of law enforcement and EMTs from around Cook County and the Midwest in SWAT tactics. We demand that Cook County and the City of Chicago prioritize spending for human needs, including mental health care and education – not militarization and violence.
#StopITOA is endorsed by:
For The People Artists Collective
American Friends Service Committee – Chicago
The People’s Response Team
War Resisters League
Council for American Islamic Relations – Chicago
Organized Communities Against Deportations
Black Lives Matter – Chicago
Students for Justice in Palestine – Chicago
Arab American Action Network
Invisible to Invincible: Asian Pacific Islander Pride of Chicago (i2i)
Center for New Community
Anakbayan – Chicago
Iraq Veterans Against the War
Stop Urban Shield Coalition
National Lawyer’s Guild – Chicago
Black and Pink – Chicago
Jewish Voice for Peace – Chicago
Showing Up for Racial Justice – Chicago
Chicago League of Abolitionist Whites