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Alameda County Residents: Tell Your Supervisor to Stop Urban Shield
by AROC
Monday Feb 25th, 2019 12:23 PM
On February 26th, the Alameda County Board of Supervisors will be voting on recommendations that call for community-centered, demilitarized emergency preparedness in the Bay Area. Come on Tuesday to thank them for their support and urge them to vote yes. Can't make it? Let them hear from you today!
aroc_stopurbanshield.jpg
How We Got Here:

Last September, we held a powerful rally outside the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office during what was the final Urban Shield war games training. The rally corresponded with the People’s Climate Mobilization, and centered the importance of fighting militarization and building community strength and resilience in the face of the increasing natural disasters our planet is facing.

Since then, and into this year, an Alameda County Ad-Hoc Committee appointed by the Board of Supervisors has met and finalized a report for what disaster preparedness in the Bay Area can and should look like without Urban Shield. The committee has provided powerful recommendations to the Board of Supervisors geared toward community-based emergency preparedness, de-escalation, and demilitarized disaster response. The recommendations include:

• Eliminating SWAT teams and competition from emergency preparedness exercises
• Eliminating the weapons expo that puts private interests and weapons manufacturers above the goals of whole community preparedness
• Ensuring that the majority of people responsible for implementing exercises are from the key disciplines of Fire and Emergency Managers, as well as community organizations serving vulnerable populations, rather than most being law enforcement
• Changing the name “Urban Shield” for exercises
• Dedicating $5 million of funding for the Health Care Services Agency and Social Services Agency to carry out emergency preparedness training and exercises

As we anticipated, Sheriff Ahern is in denial about losing the fight for Urban Shield and is scrambling. This is business as usual for the Sheriff – to attempt to completely ignore decisions made by the Board of Supervisors that were the result of community organizing.

Yet the Stop Urban Shield Coalition has built power, and the Sheriff will not succeed when we act to protect these gains. As both common sense and evidence shows, the violence of policing, and global militarism will never create healthy and resilient communities, but is rather a public health threat. Let's be ready to defend our tremendous victory this year, and build the demilitarized, community-centered alternative to Urban Shield!

Alameda County Residents: Call Your Supervisor!

Please make your call before February 26th. If you don’t know which Supervisor’s district you live in, you can find out here. Below is a sample script you can use – we *highly encourage* you to personalize the script while keeping to Stop Urban Shield’s main message.

How to Contact:

District 1: Supervisor Haggerty - (510) 272-6691, ask for Josh Thurman
District 2: Supervisor Valle - (510) 272-6692, ask for Chris Miley
District 3: Supervisor Chan - (510) 272-6693, ask for Dave Brown
District 4: Supervisor Miley - (510) 670-3691, ask for Erin Armstrong
District 5: Supervisor Carson - (510) 272-6695, ask for Shahida Lacy

Sample Script:

Good afternoon,

Thank you for your leadership in taking steps to end the divisive and harmful Urban Shield program. Now is the chance for Alameda County to proactively design and implement disaster preparedness programs that are effective, humane, and community-centered. The recommendations that have been approved by the Ad Hoc Committee are a much needed step in the right direction. These include:

• Eliminating SWAT teams and competition from the exercises
• Eliminating the weapons expo that puts weapons manufacturers and private interests above the goals of whole community preparedness
• Dedicating resources for the Public Health Department to conduct emergency preparedness exercises.
• Getting rid of the notoriously toxic Urban Shield label

I urge you to continue to embody strong leadership for the county's communities, and to give Alameda County residents the resources they deserve by voting to adopt the Ad Hoc Committee's recommendations during your meeting on February 26th.

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The Arab Resource and Organizing Center (AROC) is a grassroots organization working to empower and organize our community towards justice and self-determination for all. AROC members build community power in the Bay Area by participating in leadership development, political education, and campaigns.

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