Defund Urban Shield: Get Involved

On Friday, September 9, 2016, we successfully mobilized hundreds of our friends, neighbors, comrades, coworkers, and family members from across California to disrupt the Urban Shield weapons expo in Pleasanton. Made up of over 15 grassroots organizations with a strategy committee composed of the Arab Resource and Organizing Center, Critical Resistance, BAYAN USA, the Black Alliance for Just Immigration, and the Xicana Moratorium Coalition, the Stop Urban Shield Coalition is grateful to have joined with you and members of all of our communities to unite against global policing, repression, and militarization.

As a SWAT training and weapons expo that brings together police units from across the country and world – including from Apartheid Israel – Urban Shield seeks to increase the power of policing over our communities by expanding the tools, technology, weaponry, and tactics that are used to oppress people everywhere. But we are fighting back.

Our mobilization against Urban Shield on September 9th made an impact. The Alameda County Fairgrounds where the weapons expo was held was locked down like never before, with no business as usual. One of the police trainings that was scheduled to take place as part of Urban Shield was canceled!Our collective action let the proponents (and profiteers) of Urban Shield  know that our communities will meet the expansion of repression with an expansion of resistance.

On Tuesday, September 13th we delivered our coalition’s report Urban Shield: Abandoning Hope not Building Hope to the Alameda County Board of Supervisors.  This is part of our push to pressure this decision making body to stand on the right side of history and end Urban Shield. Report produced by the Stop Urban Shield Coalition on why and how Alameda and San Francisco Counties can defund Urban Shield. Download PDF Here. 

CONTACT BOARD OF SUPERVISORS TO DEMAND THEY DEFUND URBAN SHIELD!

Supervisor Haggerty
shawn.wilson@acgov.org
(510) 272-6691

Supervisor Valle
christopher.miley@acgov.org
(510) 272-6692

Supervisor Chan
jeanette.dong@acgov.org
(510)272-6693

Supervisor Miley
anna.gee@acgov.org
(510)272-6694

Supervisor Carson
amy.shrago@acgov.org
(510)272-6695

Palestine Cultural Day

On May 24th, 2016,  the Alameda County Board of Supervisors proclaimed May 15th, 2016, the 68th anniversary of the occupation of Palestine, as “Palestine Cultural Day.” It is the third proclamation from the board of supervisors recognizing the cultural richness of Palestine and the Palestinian community.

Thank you for those who came out and supported the Proclamation – AROC: Arab Resource & Organizing Center, Friends of Sabeel – North America FOSNA Buena Vista United Methodist Church, and the Middle East Children’s Alliance, community members, and allies.

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Watch Lara Kiswani speak to the Alameda Board of Supervisors

Lara Kiswani spoke on behalf of the Arab community: “On behalf of the Arab community, we would like to thank Supervisor Chan for spearheading this Palestine Day proclamation and for the support of all the Supervisors in this effort. As Palestinians in the US, we see this step as not simply an act of recognition, but also an expression of your commitment to hear our community concerns, value our experiences and contributions, and to take a stand for social and racial justice.

We are living in a time where Arabs, Muslims and particularly Palestinians are criminalized, marginalized and often made invisible. We understand this experience as part of a long history of racism and violence that has impacted people of color and poor people all across the world. We understand that recognizing Palestine and Palestinian people is in of itself taking a stand against racism. After all, there are many billions of dollars, energy and political interests that go into wiping our history and identity. Just as historically there have been similar efforts made to erase the history of the Indigenous people of this land, to normalize the segregation of Blacks in Apartheid South Africa. We see ourselves as part of this history, this movement for social justice, part of the global community that strives to achieve self determination, dignity and justice.

We come here today to thank you for your act of solidarity, particularly at this time. And we ask you to put your solidarity into action by taking a stand against Islamophobia, and anti-Arab racism. And by extension, taking a stand against all forms of racism, discrimination, and State violence. And we ask you to challenge the inequity, segregation, and militarism that saturate our cities from Ferguson, to Jerusalem to Oakland. There are indeed ways that we can make changes today.

One way we ask you to explore and examine is defunding the attempts to militarize and make war on Arabs, Muslims, poor people and people of color right here in Alameda County. Pay close attention to the way in which Alameda tax dollars are used to make an enemy out of local residents. Things such as the SWAT training and weapons expo known as Urban Shield and hosted in Pleasanton, that celebrates military exercises and encourages emergency responders to relate to people in your backyard, to relate to many of you and your families, as enemies rather than people worthy of health and care. Defunding Urban Shield, stopping military states and human rights’ violators such as Apartheid Israel from training local law enforcement, continuing to invest in and celebrate culture, and community are some steps in that direction. We would be thrilled to partner with you in such efforts to better Alameda County and the lives of all its residents.

Thank you for taking the time to honor our history and culture, to hear our concerns, and see us as part and parcel of social fabric of Alameda County.”

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‪#‎Palestine‬ ‪#‎Palestineculturalday‬ ‪#‎BDS‬ ‪#‎StopUrbanShield‬

AROC Community Defense Training Protect Yourself Against Undercover Cops, Informants and Cooperating Witnesses

Join AROC in partnership with the National Lawyers’ Guild-SF and the Electronic Frontier Foundation for:
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AROC Community Defense Training

Know Your Rights: On the Street, On the Web, and Beyond
اعرف حقك

Protect Yourself Against Undercover Cops, Informants and Cooperating Witnesses

Date: Saturday, June 18, 2016
Time: 1:00pm – 4:00 pm
Location: The Eric Quezada Center for Culture and Politics
518 Valencia Street,
San Francisco, CA

 

منذ الحادي عشر من سبتمبر والعرب والمسلمون (وحتى من يظهرون مثلهم) موضع شبهة وتهديد من قوات الأمن من دون مبرر غير الخلفية العرقية والدينية. وتعاونت عدد من اجهزة الأمن ومنها مراكز الشرطة المحلية، مكتب التحقيقات الفدرالية ال (FBI) ووزارة الأمن الداخلي (DHS) لتشكيل ما يُعرف بالقوة المشتركة لمكافحة الارهاب (JTTF)، والتي اقتطعت اموال من الموازنات العامة من اجل التجسس والإيقاع بأفراد من الجاليات العربية والمسلمة وغيرها في سبيل حرب الولايات المتحدة على الإرهاب. شاركونا يوم السبت الموافق 6/18 في النقاش المجتمعي لمعرفة الكيفية المناسبة للتعامل في مثل هكذا قضايا.

This training is intended for youth, families and activists in the broader community. Come learn about ways to protect yourself, friends and community with digital security, what to do if you or someone you know are visited by law enforcement, or if someone feels that they are being targeted for their political activity.

RSVP by emailing info@araborganizing.org or calling 415-861-7444.

Read NLG statement:

English | Arabic

May Day Event Report Back

Oakland –  Hundreds of people are taking part in a regional march in celebration of this year’s International Workers’ Day, themed Our Vote is in the Streets. Communities traveled from cities across the Bay Area to join people in Oakland for a lively march through East Oakland, beginning in the Fruitvale neighborhood. The regional May Day event this year emphasized the growing movements for workers’ and migrants’ rights, an end to the police and state violence, and international solidarity with all people resisting U.S. imperialism.

A rally began at 12PM that featured inspiring speakers from many different organizations, and exciting performances from the region’s artists and cultural workers, with the march beginning at 1PM.

“As the country is focused on the ridiculous presidential elections, we are here to say that our vote and power is in the streets. Whether Democrat or Republican, this system was not made for us, as Obama’s administration has deported over two and a half million immigrants – more than any other president in history,” said Sagnicthe Salazar of Xicana Moratorium Coalition, one of the lead organizers of the march. “We’re coming together this May Day to amplify the resistance of migrants, workers, and communities of color.”

Speakers during the march made connections between the powerful upsurge of immigrant peoples’ ongoing struggles for civil and human rights across the country, the increased outrage of Black and Brown communities against policing and state violence, and the struggles against U.S. imperialism internationally.

“May Day is a celebration of international solidarity, and the Bay Area is continuing that legacy by marching against state violence, whether that is the policing of Black and Brown communities here, or U.S. imperialism abroad,” says Lara Kiswani of the Arab Resource and Organizing Center. “We demand an end to collaborations between oppressive regimes, such as between the U.S. and Israel, and march in solidarity with oppressed people fighting for self-determination all over the world.”

“The US continues its attack on immigrants and people of color, particularly Black communities, but our struggle and organizing have intensified,” says Devonte Jackson of Black Alliance for Just Immigration. “In cities everywhere, the routine violence of the police is being challenged more than ever, and we are here to uplift that resistance, and demand our dignity.”

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Media Round-up:

  1. CBS Local 5: http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/video/category/news-local-news/3394048-may-day-marchers-protest-across-the-bay-area/
  2. San Jose Mercury: http://www.mercurynews.com/bay-area-news/ci_29839019/oakland-roughly-1200-people-demand-social-justice-at
  3. NBC Bay Area : http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/Scattered-May-Day-Protests-Shine-Light-on-Social-Injustice-Wage-Discrepancies–377754961.html
  4. SF Gate: http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Oakland-May-Day-march-fuels-economic-political-7386797.php#photo-9927907
  5. San Jose Mercury: http://www.mercurynews.com/bay-area-news/ci_29837659/bay-area-may-day-hundreds-march-support-workers
  6. The Guardian: http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/may/02/may-day-protesters-immigration-donald-trump-seattle-los-angeles
  7. CBS: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/may-day-marches-held-across-the-us-seattle-los-angeles-san-francisco-portland/
  8. Real News Network: http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=16248

On International Women’s Day, we honor our beloved Rasmea Odeh

On International Women’s Day, we honor our beloved Rasmea Odehrasmea2 In commemoration of International Women’s Day, AROC community and allies gathered in San Francisco at 518 Valencia: The Eric Quezada Center for Culture and Politics Saturday evening to celebrate the granting of the appeal of Rasmea Odeh’s unjust conviction and learn about ways to organize in her defense.

Speakers, Nadine Naber and Lina Baroudi, shed light on Odeh’s work in the Arab immigrant and refugee community and the impact this decision has on the lives of hundreds of women in Chicago, immigrants and communities all across the US.

As anti-immigrant sentiment continues to rise in national debates, supporters of Rasmea Odeh, a long-time community leader for Palestinian, Arab, and Muslim women immigrants in the US, are continuing to fight against state violence and repression. Rasmea, the Palestinian American icon, was convicted of a politically motivated immigration violation in 2014, and sentenced to 18 months in prison and subsequent deportation.

Donate to her defense and get involved in supporting Free Rasmea Now: www.justice4rasmea.org

Contact AROC to get involved with the Bay Area defense committee or to organize an event or meeting for your community or organization.

‪#‎justice4rasmea‬

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AROC & MECA: Feature Remi Kanazi

Photos from last week’s AROC & MECA cosponsored event. Featuring artist Remi Kanazi on the first event of his new book tour. AROC’s own Sharif Zakout was the MC for the night. Opener was local Bay Area poet Sojari Bradley. Thank you all for attending, we were able to pack the venue last week. It was a beautiful night of poetry and resistance.

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[Read More]

Bay Area Arab Youth Speak Out

On February 19th, 2016,  AROC held it’s second community forum Bay Area Arab Youth Speak Out. 7 AYO leaders from 4 different High Schools and 1 college spoke directly about their experiences as Arabs navigating through SF public schools. They spoke about the way in which our political climate makes its way into the classroom, and ways in which they’ve faced anti-Arab racism and Islamophobia. Many highlighted the challenges of not having language access in their schools. All of them spoke about the support they received and how it important it was for them to have family and educators committed to their success. Thank you to everyone who joined us and came out to support our community #AYO #YouthPower

 

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AROC is this year’s Partners in Liberation

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Our Annual Testimonial Dinner will be Saturday, April 9, 2016 at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco. We will honor our Champions of Justice, Jody LeWitter and Pamela Y. Price, Unsung Hero, Gabriela Lopez, and Partners in Liberation, the Arab Resource and Organizing Center.

Ready to register?

Show your support for our honorees and the NLG by placing a message of support in the Testimonial Dinner Journal or becoming a ticket sponsor.

Champions of Justice Jody LeWitter & Pamela Price

Jody LeWitter is a graduate of Barnard College, Columbia University, and the University of Michigan Law School. She moved to California from Michigan in 1986, where she has practiced employment law ever since. Jody’s victories include Behne v. MicroTouch Inc., an employment fraud case in which her client was awarded, what is believed to be, the largest employment fraud verdict in California at the time.

Jody is a long-time member of the National Lawyers Guild, active nationally and locally, holding positions including past co-chair of the Testimonial Dinner Committee, Vice President of the Bay Area Chapter and the Detroit Chapter, and past co-chair of the Central America Task Force. She is also a member of the Equal Rights Advocates Litigation Committee and has volunteered with the Workers Rights Clinic, Legal Aid Society of San Francisco and the Asian Law Caucus.

Jody has received numerous awards and recognition. In 2011, she, along with her firm, Siegel, LeWitter & Malkani, were listed in The Recorder as one of the ten top employee side practices in the Bay Area. She has been named as a Best Lawyers in America for Labor & Employment (2007 to present) and a California Super Lawyer for Employment Litigation (2007 to present).

Pamela Y. Price is a graduate of Yale University and Boalt Hall School of Law. While at Yale, she spent her Junior Year Abroad at the University of Dar-es-Salaam in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, East Africa. Pamela has been a member of the Guild and has worked with other NLG members on cases and continuing legal education seminars over theyears. She has mentored some of the NLG’s most active young leaders.

In 1977, Pamela joined the landmark case of Alexander (Price) v. Yale, the first sexual harassment case brought under Title IX. She was the only plaintiff to proceed to trial in January 1979. The case established that sexual harassment in education is illegal and led to the establishment of grievance procedures at every level of education in compliance with Title IX.

In 1991, Pamela founded her own law firm in Oakland, specializing in sexual and racial harassment and discrimination cases. In 2002, the Firm made legal history in Morgan v. Amtrak by winning the appeal of a defense verdict in the Ninth Circuit and the U.S. Supreme Court. Pamela successfully argued the case before the Supreme Court.

Pamela has received numerous awards. Every year since 2004, she has been named one of the top 5% of Northern California “Super Lawyers” by San Francisco Magazine. In 2007, she served as the Interim Executive Director for the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of San Francisco, and she is a past Co-Chair of the LCCR Board of Directors. Her victories at trial and tenacity as a litigator have become legend in the Bay Area legal community.

Unsung Hero Gabriela Lopez

Gabriela Lopez is an Oakland based immigration and criminal defense attorney who practices deportation defense for immigrants with criminal histories and criminal defense for immigrants and activists. She has represented numerous activists and individuals arrested at demonstrations and received the 2015 Law for the People Award for her work on the legal team for the Trayvon 2. Gabriela is on the board of governors for the California Attorneys for Criminal Justice, a former Co-Chair of The United People of Color Caucus (TUPOCC) of the Guild and a former member of the NLG’s National Executive Committee. Gabriela has developed and conducted know your rights presentations for people affected by discriminatory policing practices and those affected by post 9-11 policies. Prior to law school, she organized low wage cafeteria workers in the Bay Area and advocated for a living wage and worker retention for subcontracted workers.

Partners in Liberation Arab Resource & Organizing Center

The Arab Resource and Organizing Center (AROC) is a grassroots organization working to empower and organize the Arab community towards justice and self-determination for all. AROC was created in 2007, out of the San Francisco Chapter of the American Arab anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC-SF). Since its founding, AROC’s membership has engaged in work around immigrant and civil rights, and against war, occupation, surveillance and racial profiling. AROC continues to build on the history of Arab organizing in the Bay Area committed to the liberation of all oppressed people, and remains one of the few Arab-led grassroots organizations in the country.