The Labor/Community Strategy Centers’ Fight for the Soul of the Cities, a civil rights group has forced, convinced a police department and a public agency to get out of the Department of Defense 1033 Program altogether and return the weapons. This is the first time in the United States in any city that a social movement has forced a police department to return all military grade weapons and to reduce its armaments.
LAUSD Board Member Monica Garcia and Chief Zipperman Make Important Break
It means a lot that LASPD Chief Zipperman gave, as a major reason to explain his decision to return the weapons, “…our past and ongoing commitment to strengthening trust and partnerships with the Strategy Center and other community organizations remains paramount.” We are also aware that Chief Zipperman is a unique figure in police circles, a person able to listen to protest instead of suppressing it, a person of conscience, and a person you can negotiate with in good faith. We are very appreciative of Chief Zipperman and the LASPD for making what we know was a courageous decision to listen to the demands and outrage of Black and Latino students and to reverse an entrenched policy. Likewise we want to commend LAUSD Board member Monica Garcia for being the first LAUSD Board member to publically apologize last month for LAUSD’s participation in the 1033 Program and providing leadership toward a resolution.
This is an Important Community Victory Led by Young People in South LA, Boyle Heights and Mar Vista Garden. This important breakthrough was secured by the participation of hundreds of young people, teachers, parents and community residents who ushered this victory. A big shout-out to organizing work in Roosevelt and Augustus Hawkins by Ashley Franklin and others and the sustained work of the students played a major role in influencing the board and the police department to return the weapons.
It’s Time to End 1033 Program in Los Angeles and Across the Country
We are now bringing this victory to other groups all over the country, to show that it is historically possible to reduce the weaponry of police forces, to get cities to get out of the program, and to call on President Obama to end this program altogether.
It took more than 18 months to achieve this victory. This campaign is dedicated to the Black freedom movement in Ferguson and beyond, Strategy Center was moved by the dedicated activists, organizers and everyday people who stood up to the Ferguson police and its 1033 Program war machinery after the shooting of Mike Brown, which has lit a beacon of hope and struggle. Strategy Center organizers arrived days after the major street battles to stand in solidarity and build with organizations and youth in Ferguson and St Louis area, as we returned back to Los Angeles in early September 2014 news of LAUSD and LASPD participating in 1033 Program brought us purpose and clarity that we needed to defeat this racist counter-insurgency program to defend our Black and Brown communities.
We know that given the continued economic, social, and ecological crises there will be greater protests in the schools, in the communities, and in the streets and we want to make clear that people have the right not just to speak but to challenge the institutions of our society without the fear of tanks, grenade launchers, and M-16s. This is a small but very significant breakthrough in challenging the entire police state that we believe is occupying communities.
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