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. 


Supervisor Haggerty
(510) 272-6691

Supervisor Valle
(510) 272-6692

Supervisor Chan

Supervisor Miley

Supervisor Carson

Call to Action from Arab Youth

AROC Youth Reflect on Militarization, Zionism and Repression
Interview with AYO youth leaders, Nora Abedelal and Nour Bouhassoun

Nora Abedelal and Nour Bouhassoun
What are your thoughts on this moment of ongoing attacks on Arabs and Muslims, targeting of Palestinian activism, and criminalization of Black and Brown communities in light of the Movement for Black Lives Platform, and the growing movement against Zionism?Nour: Oppressed people have always stood up for one another. That isn’t something new. The Movement For Black Lives platform illustrates that Black people are demanding their right to self-determination. This requires standing against all forms of oppression including the criminalization of Black and Brown youth, against surveillance, against war, and the attempts to control and militarize our communities.The platform is not just an expression of solidarity with Palestinians. It is more than that. It talks about the real connections between local and global struggles against State violence and recognizes that standing together to fight for economic, social and political power is how we can all achieve self-determination. Zionism is not oppressing one community; it oppresses all communities of color and poor people and helps the US to exercise repression locally and globally.

Nora: While we are seeing a lot of communities showing solidarity with one another, we are also facing a lot of backlash with the rise of Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and conservatism in general. We know all of this reflects standard US domestic and foreign policy. So with more solidarity actions comes an increase in policing, surveillance and militarism. That’s why I am not surprised when I learn about events like Urban Shield. These are the ways they try to crush people rising up and taking action.

How can we continue to build on the connections being made between local policing and global repression and continue to fight back?

Nora: We have to understand that when we are engaged in this kind of work, it is inherently in solidarity with other communities because we all suffer from the same systems of oppression; the same systems trying to repress and control us.

We should be investing back into our communities through education, leadership development, and skill building as opposed to body cameras and prettier prisons. I have been seeing a lot of posts on social media about police giving out ice cream and playing basketball with youth. When people see that as a way to solve the problem, then they don’t understand that these are systemic issues that need long term solutions, and require grassroots organizing.

Nour:  People in this moment should know the difference between a tool and a strategy. Some of our youth are focusing too much on social media, which is a great tool, but not a strategy. It doesn’t bring people together on the ground. So what we need is to organize together. We should think of ways to engage in local efforts that weaken these systems and act as a model for the future.

There is a lot of attention on electoral politics now. Even though as we have witnessed for years, no matter who the president is, our conditions remain the same. I wish people would not see those in power as the problem solvers. Problem solvers are those most impacted.

How does stopping Urban Shield serve as a strategy for our movements and the health and well being of our communities?

Nour: Military tactics and training are used against an enemy. And when they train local police with these tactics they are training the police to treat our communities like enemies. When they purchase Israeli weapons and surveillance technology, and learn from Israeli military tactics, they are learning how to treat our communities here the same way the Israeli army oppresses Palestinians. Militarization creates a culture of fear and distrust and reinforces racism, encouraging informants and division in our community. Stopping Urban Shield is a way for our communities to demonstrate that we believe policing and militarization are not okay. If we can stop Urban Shield, we can encourage others to continue to challenge these systems in the face of repression.

Nora: I remember the police came to my house with an M16 rifle. And that is because events like Urban Shield normalize militarization. The police have historically made our communities uncomfortable and have historically repressed and targeted our communities. When I see police at protest with tanks and big guns I think of events like Urban Shield that allow these kinds of things to happen. Stopping Urban Shield would mean that instead of investing in militarization we would be able to invest in our communities. It also helps us take the focus away from individual gun violence, and instead remind people of the role that State violence plays in our everyday lives.

How do folks get involved?

Nora: Show up on September 9th in Pleasanton! Contact the Stop Urban Shield coalition for information on carpools from the Bay Area and Los Angeles.

Nour: Organize meetings to learn more about Urban Shield and the ways that we can redirect funding towards community based solutions.

For more information on how you can take Nour and Nora’s lead on mobilizing to stop Urban Shield, visit

Stop Urban Shield 2015

Stop Urban Shield 2015!


Stop Urban Shield is a broad coalition of grassroots community and social justice organizations primarily based in the Bay Area but with partnering community groups across the nation who have come together united against Urban Shield. Urban Shield, a SWAT team training and weapons expo that brings together local, regional, and international police-military units to collaborate on and profit from new forms of surveillance, state repression, and state violence. The Stop Urban Shield Coalition includes members from various race, faith, political and social backgrounds and successfully stopped the Urban Shield expo from being hosted in Oakland in 2014.  Our goal is to end Urban Shield and hold accountable our cities and counties from their corroboration in increased racialized repression and violence.

Last year, Stop Urban Shield and broader community organizations and members built upon Oakland’s rich history of organizing against policing and for self-determination by forcing the City of Oakland to stop hosting Urban Shield. This was a hugely significant victory for our city and demonstrated the power of our collective grassroots organizing.

But the fight is not over. Urban Shield mistakenly thinks that they can evade accountability to our communities by moving the convergence to the City of Pleasanton, even though the City of Oakland, along with cities all across the Bay Area, California and the U.S. will still be fully participating. Let’s show them they’re wrong! As communities around the country rise up demanding an end to racist police violence, it is now more important than ever to build upon our victories and work toward shutting down Urban Shield entirely.
While Urban Shield is just one front in the fight against the state’s attempt to militarize every aspect of our lives – from its war-making here and abroad, to the increasing presence of police in our schools, to the systemic murder of Black and Brown people at the hands of police – stopping Urban Shield would be a major victory against this growing trend of militarization in cities everywhere, from Oakland to Ferguson to Baltimore. Join us in resisting violence against our communities and in fighting for genuine visions of justice, safety, and self-determination

2015 Media Round Up: 

Ways to Join the Stop Urban Shield coalition nationally:

Sign on to our demands here.

Like the Stop Urban Shield Facebook page.

Pass this infosheet around your community (Spanish & English available).

Let’s fight for community resilience & end state repression everywhere!

Act now to #StopUrbanShield!

Endorsing organizations

American Friends Service Committee

Anakbayan – East Bay

AROC: Arab Resource & Organizing Center

Bay Area Latin America Solidarity Coalition

Bay Area Committee for Peace & Justice

Black Alliance for Just Immigration

Civilize the Cops


Critical Resistance

Grassroots Global Justice Alliance

International Action Center

International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network

Iraq Veterans Against the War – Bay Area Chapter

Jewish Voice for Peace – Bay Area

Million Hoodies

OccupySF Action Council

Oakland Privacy Working Group

Oscar Grant Committee

Palestine Youth Movement

UAW – Local 2865

Restore the 4th

San Leandro – SAFE

School of the Americas Watch – Oakland

School of the Americas Watch – San Francisco

War Resisters League

Workers World Party

Xicana Moratorium Coalition

Why Arabs & Muslims Must Say No to Urban Shield! #BDS #StateViolence

The Arab Resource and Organizing Center stands with all those Black, Brown, and trans lives who have fell victim to the state sponsored terrorism. And we are inspired by the courage of the rebellions in Ferguson and Baltimore have shown resilience in their ongoing resistance.

About the Stop Urban Shield Coalition

Urban shield has been in the Bay Area since 2007. It represents the massive militarization of the police. Each year local, federal and international agencies converge in Oakland to engage in trainings aimed at arming everyone – from health workers to Oakland Police Department – with tactics and weapons used by repressive governments, and racist, colonial, Apartheid states such as Israel. Each year they sharpen their skills at better terrorizing our communities. And last year, AROC and the Stop the Urban Shield Coalition organized to put enough pressure on the City of Oakland to demand that they stop hosting Urban Shield. And we won!

This was a significant victory that built on a history of Oakland organizing against policing and repression. But the work and struggle against State violence continues.

Arabs and Muslims

Surveillance, war and repression has a long history in all our communities. And for Arabs and Muslims it is illustrated in our homelands, in our forced migration to places like the US, in racial profiling here, and in the attacks on our organizations for fighting back against racism.

We have been increasingly racially and religiously profiled after 9-11. And we know that the U.S. government exploited 9/11 to justify the military occupation in Afghanistan and Iraq and drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia. They have strengthened their partnership with the colonial Apartheid state of Israel and have developed a system of global policing and repression that impacts us all. What we are seeing in our cities today, and what Urban Shield represents, is in fact the result of western imperialism from the days that this land was stolen from the indigenous people of the Americas.

The role of Israel

Israel is the largest producer of surveillance technology and their weapons and technology are featured in the Urban Shield expo. They have also sent several agencies to train and import their torture and surveillance tactics into the US. We all know that Israeli security forces regularly train US law enforcement. The objective of such partnerships is to bring Israeli practices of apartheid and racial segregation and militarization into our backyards. Because the interests of the US and Israel are one in the same. That is why the US supports and arms Israel to the teeth to continue its genocide against the Palestinian people.

Stopping Urban Shield

The sole purpose of Urban Shield is to justify occupation and militarization of Black and Brown communities and suppress social movements.

Only our joint work together and cross movement building will stop this imperialist war machine. Today we are mirroring the acts of solidarity from Palestine to Ferguson, and the history of struggle against global repression. Just like we won last year, we will win this fight and Stop Urban Shield in order to fight for the self determination and dignity of all our people!

Justice for Andy Lopez, Oscar Grant, and Sandra Bland! Justice for Rasmea Odeh and all those fighting political repression and state violence!

What is Urban Shield?

Urban Shield is a federally-funded program militarizing every aspect of society. With a budget of over $2 million, it hosts over 200 local, federal and international agencies, from health workers to law enforcement, for both tactical equipment sales and on-the-ground SWAT training operations. The four day convention features the latest in surveillance technology and weapons trade show which is followed by two days of war game training exercises throughout the Bay Area, from airports, maritime ports, to rapid transit. Urban Shield’s budget comes from the Urban Areas Security Initiative, a program in the Department of Homeland Security.

The Urban Shield convention not only attracts law enforcement from the local and national police departments and agencies, but also a hand fill of foreign law enforcement agencies from Israel, Bahrain, Qatar, Guam, South Korea, and Singapore. According to the Urban Shield website, the term “nexus to terrorism” is included for each training exercise.

Why Should the Arab and Muslim Community Oppose Urban Shield?

Urban Shield Urban Shield is the largest urban SWAT competition in the country and represents the massive military industrial complex financing and training of local law enforcement with “counter-terrorism” tactics and racial profiling methods. The majority of Urban Shield training scenarios involve responding to “terrorist” attacks and always include scenarios that involve stereotypes of Arabs and Muslims. The glorification of Anti-Arab and anti-Muslim sentiment is in fact central to the logic of Urban Shield.

Local law enforcement has been aggressively buying military grade equipment to ‘counter’ a potential “terrorism” scenario. The use of “terrorism” by convention promoters is aimed at constructing a narrative of fear of Arabs and Muslims to justify the massive spending on surveillance and tactical equipment and further criminalization of Black and Brown people.

The FBI, Department of Homeland Security, Joint Terrorism Task Force, and other law enforcement agencies have increasingly targeted Arabs and Muslims since 2001. This targeting has resulted in police and FBI harassment, detention, deportations, and criminalization of Arab and Muslims. Equipping law enforcement with military weaponry and tactics makes such already targeted communities that much more susceptible to State violence.

What are we fighting for?

Last year, AROC and other grassroots organizations as part of the Stop the Urban Shield Coalition organized actions to demand that the city of Oakland stop hosting Urban Shield, and we won! But there is more work to be done. Alameda County continues to host Urban Shield and dozens of agencies from across the Bay Area and California continue to participate. AROC remains committed to challenging surveillance, militarization, and repression. We are steadfast in demanding an end to all of Alameda County’s participation in the Urban Shield program, an end Urban Shield once and for all, and to end to all collaborations with Apartheid Israel.

Join us as we protest the convention being held on September 11th to build with other communities to demand an end to the Urban Shield program as whole. No to policing, surveillance and militarization! No to State violence from here to our homelands!

 الدرع الحضري”: هو مثال للعنف الدولة 

يعقد في كل عام في خليج سان فراسيسكو معرض السلاح و تدريبات مكافحة الارهاب المعروف باسم “الدرع الحضري”. يستهدف هذا المؤتمر تدريب الشرطة المحلية و الفدرالية بمنهج عسكري طبقاً لتكتيكات مكافحة الإرهاب. ويهدف هذا الحدث الى مواصلة عسكرة الشرطة إلى جانب قطاع الخدمات الاجتماعية الواسع بما في ذلك الرعاية الصحية والعاملين بالطوارئ مثل رجال الاطفاء. 
يعقد المؤتمر بمشاركة وكالات خاصة من الاحتلال الاسرائيلي والأنظمة القمعية الأخرى فضلاً عن الحكومة الاتحادية. “الدرع
الحضري” هو مثال صارخ على عنف الدولة وممارسات الشرطة القمعية والحرب.


Like our Coalition’s Facebook page and invite your friends to join!

Sign and share this petition:

Pledge your organization’s support to Stop Urban Shield. Sign your organization on to the statement of support here:

Factsheet for Arab and Muslim communities.  

We pushed Urban Shield of out of Oakland!


We Pushed Urban Shield Out of Oakland, But the Struggle Continues!

On Friday, September 5th, hundreds of of protesters gathered in front of the Marriott in Downtown Oakland, CA, to stand against Urban Shield and declare two major victories: Urban Shield will no longer be held at the Marriott and it will no longer take place anywhere in Oakland. Reclaiming the streets in celebration of our power, we made it loud and clear that we do not welcome militarization and policing of our communities.

Urban Shield is part of a growing national and international coordination of policing empowered by military tools and tactics, and our Coalition insists that we must work to roll this back while advancing community-led initiatives to provide actual safety.

The rally included music by the band Bandung 55 leading the crowd in chants, along with speakers from the Arab Resource and Organizing Center (AROC), Critical Resistance, theMalcolm X Grassroots MovementONYX Organizing CommitteeAnakbayan-East BayWar Resisters League, and the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network (IJAN) who highlighted the local, national and international dimensions of the weapons expo and SWAT training. The rally featured powerful testimony from the families of victims of police violence including the mothers of Alan Blueford, James Rivera Jr., Andy Lopez and Mario Romero, as well as Oscar Grant’s Uncle Bobby who said, “We were on the ground in Ferguson two days after the murder of Michael Brown and Oakland [police] is being prepared just like Ferguson police were prepared.” 


Moved by our growing community pressure, and mounting from an online petition and National Call-In Day, the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office announced that Urban Shield would no longer be held at the Marriott. Following the demonstration on Friday, Mayor Jean Quan announced that the City of Oakland will not be renewing their contract with Urban Shield and the controversial arms show will not be hosted anywhere in Oakland next year. This major victory for the Stop Urban Shield Coalition is the fruit of years of grassroots organizing and a key step in the work to end Urban Shield nationally.  

Our work, however, is far from over. While Oakland will not host the trade show and training, we have not received guarantees that the city will completely withdraw participation, i.e. providing city funding, sending city agencies and offering city sites for future Urban Shield exercises. Our focus now shifts directly to the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office which continues to coordinate Urban Shield. In the words of Lara Kiswani of AROC, “We say no to Urban Shield anywhere; we say no to militarization everywhere.” 


Friday’s demonstration was the culmination of a week of action and education called for by the Stop Urban Shield Coalition. The week included silk screening by Dignidad Rebelde, art and sign making by Hella Organized Bay Area Koreans (HOBAK), and community workshops and teach-ins on Urban Shield. Additionally, on Sunday, August 31st, theBuddhist Peace Fellowship blocked the door to the Marriott in silent meditation in protest of Urban Shield. On Wednesday, September 3rd, IJAN hosted a picket outside the San Francisco offices of the Anti-Defamation League for their role in training U.S. police in Israel. On Thursday, September 4th, a poster making event was hosted at Qilombo and co-sponsored by Dignidad Rebelde creating images of resistance in preparation for the next day’s rally. Earlier on Friday before the rally, family members that have lost loved ones to police violence, community religious leaders, as well as Oakland Mayoral candidates Dan Siegel and a representative of Rebecca Kaplan participated in a press conference, expressing their opposition to Urban Shield. Community members also hosted a community picnic that afternoon to highlight the families across California that have lost loved ones to police violence who then marched through Oakland to join in the rally.  

Speaking at Friday’s demonstration, Tara Tabassi of the War Resisters League said, “Urban Shield is a phenomenon spreading across the U.S. and the globe, but so are our movements.”

Our Coalition plans on stopping Urban Shield in 2015, and continuing the work to demilitarize our communities. If you or your organization, would like to be part of this ongoing work, locally in the Bay Area contact and nationally, contact: facingteargas@warresisters.orgVisit our page for more info:

Stop Urban Shield Coalition – Coordinating Committee

Arab Resource & Organizing Center (AROC)
Critical Resistance (CR)
International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network (IJAN)
War Resisters League (WRL)

Full List of Endorsers

All of Us or None
Alliance of South Asians Taking Action (ASATA)
Anakbayan East Bay
ANSWER Coalition-Act Now to Stop War & End Racism
Arab Resource & Organizing Center (AROC)
Arab Youth Organization
Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APEN)
Bay Area Childcare Collective
Bay Area Labor Committee for Peace & Justice (LC4PJ)
Berkeley Copwatch
Berkeley Women in Black
Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI)
Buddhist Peace Fellowship
Catalyst Project
Causa Justa :: Just Cause
Civilian Soldier Alliance – San Francisco
Code Pink
Critical Resistance (CR)
Decolonize Oakland
Dignidad Rebelde
Environmentalists Against War
Freedom Archives
Gab – SF
Hella Organized Bay Area Koreans (HOBAK)
International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network (IJAN)
Iraq Veterans Against the War – National
Iraq Veterans Against the War – San Francisco
Jewish Voices for Peace – Bay Area
Labor Council for Latin American Advancement, San Francisco Chapter
Lake Merritt Neighbors Organized for Peace
Media Alliance
Oakland Privacy Working Group
Peace & Justice Center – Sonoma County
Queers Undermining Israeli Terrorism (QUIT)
Restore the Fourth SF
Strike Back
SF 99% Civil Liberties Coalition
United Roots
US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel
War Resisters League
Workers World Party
Xicana Moratorium Coalition

Stop Urban Shield 2014 Media Roundup

Stop Urban Shield: Friday

arabicUrbanShield FrontUrbanShieldreduced

Stop Urban Shield in Oakland!

Week of Education & Action: August 30th-September 5th
Contact us about AROC membership meeting regarding Urban Shield.


Urban Shield is the SWAT team training and weapons expo that brings
together local, regional and global police-military units. It will be held in
Oakland September 4-8. And its host? The Marriott Hotel.
(The rally text below would be the more prominently feature text on front)
Friday, September 5th
Oakland Marriott – 1001 Broadway
Tuesday, August 26th: NATIONAL CALL-IN DAY
  • Call the Oakland Marriott Convention Center Now!
Ask to speak with Lisa Kershner, General Area Manager of Oakland Marriott City Center and Oakland Convention Center. Her direct line: (510)466- 6410
Here is a sample script:
“My name is _____ from _____, _____ and I am appalled that Urban Shield will be taking place at the Oakland Marriott Convention Center this September 4th – 8th. I am asking you to stand on the side of communities that face police militarization every day. Don’t enable the City of Oakland’s weapons expos and SWAT trainings. Please make the Oakland Marriott Convention Center a safe place for all communities. If you do host Urban Shield, I will not use any Marriott facilities until you side with communities over state repression.”
  • Sign and spread our petition, share these infographics, and e-mail to let us know how the call went. Help us reach our goal of 5,000 signatures this week!
  • To support on the ground organizing in Ferguson against police violence and militarization, as well as to sustain those affected by the current police occupation, click here.
The Stop Urban Shield Oakland campaign has 4 central demands:
  • The City of Oakland must defund all activities related to Urban Shield, and all city agencies must withdraw their participation in Urban Shield.
  • We demand an end to all City collaborations with the Apartheid State of Israel.
  • We demand that the City of Oakland invest in community-based programs proven to decrease violence and harm instead of in the increased militarization of its police force and emergency services.
  • We call on our communities to continue fighting back and resisting state violence and repression.
Sign the petition & tell Marriott not to host Urban Shield: 
Sign on to the demands:   
Visit our page for more info:
Contact with questions or for more information.
 Arab Resource & Organizing Center (AROC) – Critical Resistance- International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network (IJAN) – Alliance of South Asians Taking Action (ASATA) – War Resisters League – Xicana Moratorium Coalition – Bay Area Childcare Collective – Iraq Veterans Against the War SF – Civilian Soldier Alliance SF- Catalyst Project – United Roots – SF 99% Civil Liberties Coalition – Code Pink – Oakland Privacy Working Group – Dignidad Rebelde – Causa Justa :: Just Cause – Iraq Veterans Against the War – National – Anakbayan East Bay  – Queers Undermining Israeli Terrorism (QUIT) – All of Us or None – Jewish Voices for Peace – Bay Area – Bay Area Labor Committee for Peace & Justice (LC4PJ) – Restore the Fourth SF – Environmentalists Against War – Media Alliance – Lake Merritt Neighbors Organized for Peace  – Labor Council for Latin American Advancement, San Francisco Chapter – Arab Youth Organization – US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel  – Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI) – Freedom Archives – Berkeley Women in Black- Berkeley Copwatch – Workers World Party  – Gab – SF – Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APEN) – ANSWER Coalition-Act Now to Stop War & End Racism

Facing Urban Shield Public Witness & Rally

Facing Urban Shield Public Witness & Rally


Friday | 09:00 until 20:00

On October 25th, from 9-5 in downtown Oakland, we will hold an all day community picket and public witness in front of the Marriott Hotel to let Urban Shield know that we are putting them on notice, that they are not welcome in Oakland – as well as a press conference at 11am. From 5-6 we will hold a memorial to remember those who’ve been killed as a result of police violence or militarism.

October 25th, also happens to mark exactly two years since Occupy Oakland was viciously attacked with tear gas and other weapons, by OPD- which actually brags that they were trained in “crowd control’ methods by Urban Shield!

Following the memorial, we will rally and march to symbolically re-occupy Oscar Grant Plaza – where we’ll celebrate our return with a roasted pig, as well as some local musicians, spoken word and other festivities.