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Stop the BearCat! Protest at SC City Council Meeting
Date Tuesday January 13
Time 2:00 PM - 2:00 PM
Location Details
Santa Cruz City Hall
809 Center Street, Santa Cruz, Ca, 95060
Event Type Protest
Organizer/AuthorMarjorie Langdon
As you all know, our city council ''representatives'' voted to accept a grant for an armored police vehicle. City council members assert that this piece of military machinery will be used to protect our police, but we know that isn't true. Community members who are not blind to what this says about the militarization of our police are outraged, and we need to keep that clear to those who are voting more and more of our freedoms and rights away.

It is not the time to remain silent and we must not let this issue fade out of our consciousness. Be at the city council meeting on Tuesday, January 13th to protest the bearcat in Santa Cruz!

BearCat is an acronym, standing for Ballistic Engineered Armored Response Counter Attack Truck
Added to the calendar on Saturday Jan 3rd, 2015 9:35 PM
Hello and Good Evening City Council Members,

Like many other community members here tonight, I, too, am against receiving an armored police vehicle in our community. One of my main concerns is perhaps not one that mirrors what has already been said, and I want to challenge each of you on the City Council to really take into consideration what I have to say. As an expecting mother in this community, and after seeing the damage these militarized machines have on children with my own eyes, I think it is very important to consider accepting this vehicle with them in mind.

One late afternoon this past December in the Palestinian village of Hebron, I was walking down a quiet road, admiring the embroidery and lovely trinkets in the shops. About 30 feet away from me, where the shops ended, I saw a group of children kicking around a soccer ball in the road. When I walked passed them they spoke to each other in Arabic and giggled as they acted like they were going to kick me the soccer ball, but were too shy to do so. I would have loved to play with them but I needed to figure out what time I would be leaving. When I learned that we still had about 20 minutes, I turned back around to go play with the children. At that moment, a large armored vehicle drove past me. I was shocked and confused by this as I had no idea what this sort of machinery was doing in such a peaceful part of town. It was the first time I had seen an armored police vehicle in person, and the effect it had on me was detrimental to my mood, so I can only imagine what it does to children. When I realized the vehicle was heading in the children’s direction, I looked to see what they had done. The children were gone. The presence of this military vehicle ended their laughter and ended their soccer match.

During my trip, I spoke to several children who had experienced these vehicles. One boy told me they make him angry; many children told me they scare them—even if the vehicles aren’t intended for them. Upon speaking to the adults, I learned that the presence of militarized equipment is something they get used to. It is a coping mechanism. Is this what we want for Santa Cruz? Angry and scared citizens and children who eventually get used to the very things that anger and scare them? The normalization of a growing militarized community? Because even if you say these aren’t military surplus vehicles, as Mayor Don Lane claims in his recent article in the Santa Cruz Sentinel, that doesn’t mean they aren’t militarized.

You may think that these two situations are incomparable, but those of us speaking against the armored vehicle know it can and will be used to suppress dissent. There is no denying the socio-political climate rapidly changing towards revolution in our country, and Santa Cruz is no exception. But it is my hope that true democracy will reign victorious, with community members and city council members able to work together to uphold the values we wish to see represented in our community.

I, personally, feel less safe knowing our community will be receiving an armored police vehicle. While you say it can protect individuals, you ignore that it can also damage us—physically and emotionally. On top of that, I am now forced to explain to my child why our city council has agreed to accept this kind of equipment. Will I tell this future Santa Cruz child that it is for the safety of our community and law enforcement? Will that suffice this young mind’s wonder despite the fear and anger I have seen these machines evoke in children? The same emotions I am now fearful it can evoke in my own.

If I do tell my child it’s for protection, will I also tell her that our City Council members failed to respond to violence in a way that attends to its root causes; ultimately ignoring the human suffering that plagues thousands of Santa Cruz community members?

Will I tell my child that our City Council members response to violence was to militarize our community instead of implementing social programs that could not only help reduce violence, but also help our community members heal who suffer from ailments that lead to violence in the first place? Because as I see the city council accepting armored vehicles and passing laws that tell certain community members that they are ‘’less than human’’, I do not see any effective nor positive changes to the programs needed for those community members suffering from mental illness, suffering from addiction, suffering from the effects of incarceration, and suffering from homelessness. Instead, we continue to criminalize these community members through laws that prevent human dignity while the women and men in uniform writing their tickets are ‘’protected’’ by a vehicle that, according to the aforementioned Sentinel article by the Mayor, would have only been used twice in the past four years. Is this what you, members of the City Council, want my or any other child to remember you as? Or will I get to tell my child that you were brave enough to stand up to the status quo and work with ALL members of the community to make it a place we are ALL happy to call home?

I ask you to consider how your recent decisions, which lacked transparency and respect to the democratic process, are detrimental to the community, its members, and especially to our children. Instead of thinking with your minds and pockets as politicians, I ask that you think with your hearts as mothers and fathers, aunts and uncles, brothers and sisters, and as children.

Thank you.
LATEST COMMENTS ABOUT THIS ARTICLE
Listed below are the latest comments about this post.
These comments are submitted anonymously by website visitors.
TITLE AUTHOR DATE
Protest a City Council Hell Bent on Making Santa Cruz a Police StatePat ColbyMonday Jan 12th, 2015 12:34 AM
Are people really protesting at 2pm? It starts at 3pm, doesnt it?WonderingSaturday Jan 10th, 2015 10:54 AM
to not toowill be thereSunday Jan 4th, 2015 5:50 AM
Event LinkWill Be ThereSunday Jan 4th, 2015 5:47 AM

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