The following is a letter NISGUA sent to the Alameda County Board of Supervisors, expressing our opposition to the requesting of funds for Urban Shield. NISGUA has joined the Stop Urban Shield coalition to demand an end to the SWAT team training and weapons expo that brings together local, regional, and international police and military units to collaborate on new forms of surveillance, state repression, and state violence. Read this important report on Urban Shield.
October 10, 2016
Alameda County Board of Supervisors
Att: Supervisor Haggerty, Supervisor Valle, Supervisor Chan, Supervisor Miley
Dear Board of Supervisors:
On behalf of NISGUA (Network in Solidarity with the People of Guatemala), we write you today to express our opposition to requesting Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI) FY2017 funds for Urban Shield. Staffed by Alameda voters and with an office in Downtown Oakland, NISGUA calls upon Alameda County not to request future UASI funds for Urban Shield. We also call upon you to allocate any remaining funds to programs that center the health and well being of our families and communities.
As a local organization that provides international human rights observation to human rights defenders and groups in Guatemala, we have monitored the disastrous impacts of militarized policing approaches such as those promoted by Urban Shield. Grave human rights violations can be averted and community integrity supported when funds are used for community-driven and community-determined projects in lieu of militarized policing models; NISGUA strongly urges you to consider the alternatives outlined in the 2016 report, “Urban Shield: Abandoning Hope, Not Building Hope”, linked here.
Thank you in advance for prioritizing the health and safety of communities.
Bridget Brehen, Director, Guatemala Accompaniment Project
David Imhoff, Programs and Operations Coordinator