This summer, JVP Bay Area will be involved in Stop Urban Shield (http://stopurbanshield.org/), a local and diverse coalition of progressive groups campaigning to end Urban Shield (http://urbanshield.org/), a police training program that teaches military style tactics, using racialized scenarios to do so, and also includes a high tech weapon exposition and trade show for police departments. In previous years it has been held in Oakland, but the community stood strong against it so it was moved to the suburbs and, this year, will be held in Pleasanton.
We read almost daily in the news about the killings ofpeople of color such as Alton Sterling and Philando Castile by police hands, and it has become increasingly clear that we should be investing in projects that strengthen communities, address structural racism, and support more rehabilitative forms of justice, rather than spending approximately two million dollars (http://bordc.org/news/bay-area-organizes-to-stop-urban-shield/) on the further militarization of the police force.
Because of our own experiences with injustice, many Jewish communities have made an effort to support those who are oppressed. As a progressive Jewish voice that focuses on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, there are many reasons that this movement relates to the work JVP does. On a practical level, many of the weapons sold at Urban Shield are Israeli designed, and made by companies that have been targeted by BDS movements. Furthermore, it is well known that Israel has on many occasions trained American police forces in riot control and other operations, teaching techniques that have been “tested” on the Palestinian and Bedouin population. This has led to an increasingly militarized police presence in America that the public has seen on a number of occasions, ranging from the response to hurricane Katrina to more recent protests in Ferguson and Baltimore. This trend of militarization, supported by programs such as Urban Shield, disturbingly has many parallels with Israel’s occupation.
One of the main ways that Stop Urban Shield addresses this problem is through the education of the community of Pleasanton, because the campaign will rely heavily on local opposition. There are many ways to get involved:
1) JVP is organizing an educational flyering effort at the Pleasanton farmers market. We will meet somewhere in Oakland, and this time frame includes an hour for training before leaving for the market. We will carpool together to the market. For those of you in SF, we can arrange to pick you up at an East Bay Bart station.
Saturday, August 6th, 9:00am-1:00pm
Saturday, August 20th, 9:00am-1:00pm
Saturday, September 3rd, 9:00am-1:00pm
2) The Stop Urban Shield coalition is also organizing canvassing in Pleasanton on some Sundays. They meet in Oakland, and include training, food and travel to and from Pleasanton.
Sunday, July 31st, 9:30am-6:00pm
Sunday, August 21st, 9:30am-6:00pm
Sunday, September 4th, 9:30am-6pm
3) All of these efforts are leading up to a very important, large demonstration on September 9, 2016 in Pleasanton at the start of the Urban Shield exposition.
4) In preparation for the September 9 demonstration, we will also be holding a sign making party on the evening of August 31st so we can show the support of the Jewish community and make the public connection to Palestine!
It is critical for as many JVP-Bay Area members as possible to get involved in this effort! If you are interested in helping out this summer, please RSVP by email to firstname.lastname@example.org for and provide info on the days you can come to help with the flyering effort, the canvassing, the sign-making and, most importantly, the September 9 demonstration!