We are happy to announce a major development, breakthrough and victory in our struggle against the Los Angeles Unified School District participation in the 1033 Program. After a year and half the Strategy Center and its Fight for the Soul of the Cities campaign has convinced the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) and the Los Angeles School Police Department (LASPD) to return all the weapons that they have received from the 1033 Program including the 61 M-16s that they held on to even after President Obama’s order and our demands.
We are inviting your organization to participate in the National Campaign to End the DOD 1033 Program. We urge you to come to Los Angeles for a regional and national all-day organizing campaign meeting on Friday May 6 and participate in the Los Angeles campaign meeting on Saturday, May 7 to integrate the L.A. and national campaigns.
The victory and ongoing campaign in L.A. can energize our campaign to get President Obama to issue an executive order to end the Department of Defense 1033 Program altogether. The Strategy Center, through almost two years of organizing in high schools, communities, and media has forced the second largest school district in the country to return these weapons.
We are now expanding rather than ending this campaign.
We are calling on the LAUSD to:
- Stop the Cover-up about LAUSD’s Educational and Military Racism, Tell the Full Truth, Return all the Weapons, and Document that they have done so.
We need a full history of the first time the LAUSD and LASPD applied for weapons from the DOD 1033 Program, each weapon received, and when it was returned.
We need the correspondence with DOD showing each weapon received and returned to prove there are no more DOD 1033 Weapons in the possession of the LAUSD and LASPD.
- Sever All Ties with and Withdraw Completely From the DOD 1033 Program. We need a public letter to all students, parents, teachers, and civil rights groups including the Labor/Community Strategy Center and Fight for the Soul of the Cities proving there is no relationship whatsoever now between LAUSD, LASPD, and DOD 1033.
- Take Personal and Collective Responsibility for Educational and Military Racism and Counter Insurgency against Black and Latino Students and Communities. We are calling on each LAUSD board member and LASPD staff to document their role. We still have deeper questions for LAUSD Board and LASPD leadership. Who made the decision to ask for these weapons? Who approved them? What was the rationale given to ask for and receive military grade weapons to use against Black and Latino students and communities.
- Make a Public Apology. We are asking LAUSD board members and officials to publicly apologize for their actions and repudiate the entire concept of getting military grade weapons to use against our communities. We want an apology for their duplicity in asking for those weapons behind the backs of civil rights and community groups and their perpetuation and escalation of the armed occupation of Black and Latino communities in Los Angeles.
- Grant Reparations. We are calling on the LAUSD and LASPD to repair the damage they have done to their relationship with Black and Latino students, parents, teachers, and the civil rights and human rights community. We are asking the LAUSD to cut the LASPD budget by 50%, cut the LASPD police force by 50% and cut all existing LASPD weapons by 50% now.
- Stop Undermining Participatory and Democratic Rights at LAUSD. We are calling on the LAUSD board to hold board meetings on evenings and week-ends so that students, parents, and community residents can attend. We want a commitment from the LAUSD that they will not turn off the public television cameras that provide live broadcasting of meetings when civil rights and community groups protest their policies.
- Call on the Los Angeles Police Department and Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department (that presently possess DOD 1033 weapons) to withdraw from the DOD 1033 Program and to return all DOD 1033 weapons.
- Call on President Barack Obama to Completely Terminate the Entire DOD 1033 Program.In terms of our national campaign:
Please write a letter to the Los Angeles Unified School Board President Steve Zimmer and LAUSD Superintendent Michelle King in support of the demands above on your own letterhead. Please of course send us a copy as well.
We are attaching a national sign-on letter urging President Obama to End the 1033 Program. Even if you cannot attend the Los Angeles meetings please sign on to the letter.
For those who will be participating in the national Dignity in School Campaign convening in Los Angeles from April 22-24, we will host an action to end the 1033 program in front of the LAUSD school board. Please join us.
For those who will be attending the May 6 meeting in Los Angeles (and if possible staying for the May 7 meeting) please confirm your attendance.
Eric Mann, Director, Labor/Community Strategy Center
Manuel Criollo, Director of Organizing, LCSC
Ashley Franklin, Lead Organizer, LCSC
Please email all responses to firstname.lastname@example.org
Had LAUSD declared a war with its student? Why was the LAUSD Board debating if it can have weapons to shoot students or anyone else?
After a year and half of organizing by the Strategy Center Fight for the Soul of the Cities organizers, leaders and members, we have received a letter from LAUSD that announced that reportedly LAUSD had finally returned all weapons received from the federal Department of Defense 1033 Program, a real milestone for the work but in many ways for us the struggle has just began and we need your support to expose a hurtful and malign civil, human and educational rights violation.
As many of you know that LAUSD and the Los Angeles School Police Department applied and enthusiastically received surplus military weapons from the Department of Defense 1033 Program, including 61 M-16 assault rifles, 3 Grenade Launchers, an a MRAP tank, first used by Apartheid government in South Africa! LAUSD went as far to try to explain that the M-16 rifles was a “standard law enforcement weapon”; the same M-16 that was declared by the International Red Cross as an ‘inhumane weapon’, first used in the battlefields of Vietnam. At least, the LASPD rationale that while the ‘Grenade Launchers’ sounded like a bad thing, in reality we shouldn’t fret because they had no intention to use them to launch grenades but were planning to use them primarily as gas launchers for “crowd dispersal” which can only mean that the system is truly preparing itself for future social movement insurgencies that will rightfully be taking the streets to demand their rights.
Instead of taking responsibility, LA School Police and the LAUSD Board of Education has basically refused to be held accountable for their decision to support a program that armed the Ferguson Police, Baltimore Police, Maricopa Sheriff Joe Arpaio, ICE, the LAPD SWAT by participating in this indefensible program of counter-insurgency. This program transferred over $5 billion worth of weapons of mass destruction creating a military occupation mentality and that has declared a war on Black and Brown communities. LAPD has amassed over 1,600 M-16 assault rifles, a military truck, military cargo plane and helicopter; while the LA Sheriff has over 1,000 M-16 assault rifles, 2 MRAP tanks, and 62 mine detectors, all through the DOD 1033 program.
The cities of the United States are an urban battleground—a war between the system’s counterinsurgency against a people’s insurgency that is just in the incubation stages—after 40 years of the system’s counter-revolution against the Great Revolution of the Two Decades of the Sixties led by the Black and Vietnamese liberation movements. We have to understand that the militarization of local police were first established to squash the Black Liberation Movement in the 1960s and 1970s -and that Los Angeles was ground zero with the establishing of the LAPD SWAT team to suppress the Black Panther Party.
As such, we see the Department of Defense 1033 Program as part of a U.S. counterinsurgency program targeting low-income Black and Latino communities who are already suffering from poverty, gentrification, and increasingly, drought, heat, flooding, and “extreme weather events” caused by the “polluting, policing, privatizing” government. The system, in our view, is planning further suppression of the very communities who are standing up to the police state in a terrifying cycle of state violence with no end in sight.
Let’s call this for what this is, it’s a Racist WeaponGate! LAUSD sneaked in these weapons, now they want to sneak them out.
From the beginning of this debate, we asked the LAUSD to give us a full inventory of all weapons in LASPD possession-the public has a right to know, debate, question, and reject it. They have refused to answer who ordered these weapons? What were they planning to use them for? Who approved them?
LAUSD instead of publically announcing that they have gotten rid of weapons because of community pressure by the Fight for the Soul of the Cities, the LAUSD and the LASPD have been moving slower than molasses to get out of this program. We were informed by the media that the LAUSD transferred the MRAP tank to the Barstow Police Department and returned the three grenade launchers. But how could the District have asked for those weapons in the first place? In June 2015, the LAUSD and LASPD claimed to “discontinue” their participation in the Department of Defense 1033 Program, yet it had refused to provide an inventory, show written proof of ending its relationship permanently with the 1033, or given proof of destroying or returning all the weapons and in fact asserted the right to retain at least the 61 M-16 assault rifles, nor willing to take leadership to urge President Obama to end the 1033 Program.
And as a last insult, the LAUSD and LASPD leadership last week wrote an impertinent and aggressive letter announcing their decision to reportedly return the last weapons they had in their possession, expecting a thank you and let’s move forward. It has been very painful for us and the people we represent to have to continue to debate with LAUSD about the moral unacceptability, in any way, to participate and collaborate with a U.S. government Department of Defense counter-insurgency program. This is an attack on Black and Latino students and communities in Los Angeles and all over the U.S.
We need answers now! We need results, now! We need our human and civil rights now!
- You can help by writing a letter and making calls to LAUSD Superintendent King, LASPD Chief Steve Zipperman, LAUSD Board President Steve Zimmer and the entire LAUSD Board.
- Join us on March 8th for a Rally at the LAUSD Board of Education meeting at 4:00 PM. The Strategy Center’s has called for an LAUSD Board of Education motion to hold a Student and Community Accountability Session regarding the District’s participation in the Federal Department of Defense (DOD) 1033 program at 4:30 pm on Tuesday, March 8, 2016.
- Demand a Student and Community Accountability Session regarding the District’s participation in the Federal Department of Defense (DOD) 1033 program. We believe that a way to redress the harm inflicted on the community by LAUSD and LASPD deciding to participate in this program is to have a public accountability session. It is critical that students and their families are provided with the complete facts and a timeline of the District’s participation, receive a public apology, and the District should provide redress for the LAUSD’s 18 year participation in the 1033 program.
- Fight for the Soul of the Cities Can Make Presentations to Your Organization and Base on the 1033 Program and Our Fight at LAUSD and Nationally to End the 1033 Program.
- Support FFSC on social media Follow us on Twitter https://twitter.com/FightSoulCities and Facebook https://www.facebook.com/FightForTheSoulOfTheCities/ #End1033 #DemilitarizeLAUSD #ReparationsNow
#makehistory #EducationRacism #MilitaryRacism or keep up on our site fightforthesoulofthecities.com
Let’s Demand LAUSD to:
- Stop the Cover-up about LAUSD’s Educational and Military Racism, Tell the Full Truth, Return all the Weapons, Prove that You Have Done So. We need the LAUSD and LASPD to document the full facts. We need a full history of the first time the LAUSD and LASPD applied for weapons from the DOD 1033 Program, each weapon received, and if they were returned, the correspondence with DOD, which weapons were returned, and a complete inventory showing each weapon received and returned to prove there are NO more DOD 1033 Weapons in LAUSD and LASPD possession.
- Formally Sever All Ties with and Withdraw Completely From the DOD 1033 Program. We need a public letter to all students, parents, teachers, and civil rights groups including the Labor/Community Strategy Center and Fight for the Soul of the Cities proving there is no relationship whatsoever now between LAUSD, LASPD, and DOD 1033.
- Take Personal and Collective Responsibility for Educational and Military Racism and Counter-Insurgency against Black and Latino Students and Communities—each LAUSD board member and LASPD staff must document their role. We still have deeper questions for LAUSD Board and LASPD leadership: who made the decision to ask for these weapons? Who approved them? Why did they really truly need them?
- A Public Apology. We are asking LAUSD and LASPD board members and officials to publicly apologize for their actions and the entire concept of getting military grade weapons to use against our communities, their dishonesty towards the community and their perpetuation and escalation of the armed occupation of Black and Latino communities in Los Angeles.
- Reparations — We need the LAUSD and LASPD to repair the damage they have done to their relationship with students, parents, teachers, and the civil rights and human rights community and to indicate penance for these abuses. We are asking the LAUSD to cut the LASPD budget by 50%, cut the LASPD police force by 50% and cut all existing LASPD weapons by 50% now.
- Stop Undermining Participatory and Democratic Rights at LAUSD—We Want Convenient and Effective LAUSD Board of Education Meetings for LAUSD Black and Latino Students, Parents and Community Members. We need to shift the culture of having Los Angeles Board of Education meeting at inconvenient times for student and parents and transform its current format and structure to maximize public participation and district engagement.
- Call on the LAPD and LA County Sherriff’s Department to Withdraw from the DOD 1033 Program.
- Call on President Barack Obama to Completely Terminate the Entire DOD 1033 Program.