Million Hoodies Releases Campus Militarization Fact Sheet As Part of 'We Keep Us Safe' National Week of Action
MILLION HOODIES MOVEMENT FOR JUSTICE RELEASES CAMPUS MILITARIZATION FACT SHEET AS PART OF “WE KEEP US SAFE” NATIONAL WEEK OF ACTION
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 25th, 2017
Today, Million Hoodies Movement for Justice released a comprehensive fact sheet on the militarization of campus police across the nation through the federal government’s 1033 program. The fact sheet, released in conjunction with the organization's 'We Keep Us Safe' national week of action highlights the flow of military-grade weapons to college campuses and the ramifications of wielding such weaponry in educational environments.
“Guns, Humvees, and grenade launchers have no place on college campuses,” said Million Hoodies Washington, D.C. Chapter Leader, Pete Haviland-Eduah. “When we think of what colleges and universities are supposed to stand for, we think of places that create opportunities for intellectual and personal growth to prepare young people for their futures. It shouldn’t be a place where students should be fearful of their personal safety nor should the surrounding communities be placed in the line of danger at the hands of law enforcement agencies that may not have the trainings, tools, and resources to serve those them. This problem has been lurking under the radar of our national consciousness for years but the current administration has made it even easier for law enforcement to obtain unnecessary equipment through the 1033 Program by rolling back restrictions enacted by the Obama Administration. We don’t need a cold war on the quad; we must continue to ensure that our students and our communities are safe through means that do not put them in further danger and that should begin by removing instruments of war from places of higher learning.”
Initially signed into law in 1996 as part of the Defense Authorization Act, the 1033 Program enables law enforcement agencies in the United States the opportunity to obtain surplus military equipment. This ranges from protective clothing to armored vehicles and heavy weaponry. In 2015, in the wake of the Ferguson, Missouri protests, President Obama placed restrictions on the 1033 Program in an attempt to foster better police-community relations in America. In 2017, these restrictions were removed by the current president making it easier than ever for law enforcement to obtain unnecessary fire power.
Supporters of the program believe that more powerful weapons will lead to campuses that are safer from mass shooters, however there is no statistical evidence supporting this. Additionally, incidents of violent crime have decreased over the years and with colleges and universities increasingly patrolling the surrounding communities, these institutions are at times providing an unwanted and unnecessary private services to the public and to students.
To protect and defend the most marginalized and strengthen communities against attacks on our humanity, from October 23 to October 28, Million Hoodies Movement for Justice kicks off a week-long national conversation around reimagining safety with the ‘We Keep Us Safe’ Week of Action. The ‘We Keep Us Safe’ Week of Action is a political intervention that encourages grassroots innovation to demand investments in humanity and our planet, safety beyond policing, real community control, worker rights, community defense, and divestment from militarization and other programs that oppress our people.
Million Hoodies chapters in five communities and college campuses from Greensboro, North Carolina to Bard College host local events, community forums, and direct actions to make entire campuses, cities, towns, and communities safe by building “Freedom Cities.” Freedom Cities is a movement that makes the case for grassroots organizations to be centers of innovation to build successful models of community safety.
Million Hoodies Movement for Justice is a human rights membership based organization made up of 8 local groups founded in March 2012 in response to the murder of Trayvon Martin. Million Hoodies develops the leadership of young Black and Brown people and organizes for the dignity and safety of our communities. You can find more about Million Hoodies online at www.millionhoodies.net