It is time to end the 1033 program and demilitarize our police departments!
Military weapons have no place in our communities. As recent high-profile cases have made obvious, we need a new approach to law enforcement, one that allows all Americans to live full and meaningful lives. Ending the 1033 program drives us towards this goal, ending weapons transfers from the Pentagon to local police and dramatically reducing the likelihood of police officers using unnecessary force.
Let’s unite to make our country a safer and more equitable place for all: Tell your Representative you support a full repeal of the 1033 program.
WAND Statement on Chauvin Verdict
April 27, 2021 — Last week the country waited anxiously for a verdict in the trial of Derek Chauvin, the police officer who brutally murdered George Floyd in Minneapolis last summer. That Chauvin was found guilty on all three counts of murder was a relief, but hardly cause for celebration given the murders of two children, Adam Toledo and Ma’Khia Bryant, at the hands of law enforcement in the direct leadup to the reading of the verdict. While accountability for George Floyd’s murder was achieved this week, justice is a longer term, structural goal, and one that we at WAND commit ourselves to working towards.
Make no mistake—the massive public outcry, the activists who organized, and the young people who marched for change—this accountability is their achievement. As an organization committed to realizing true peace through just means, we decry all acts of state-sanctioned violence, call for greater accountability in policing, and demand systemic change that ends the cycle of police brutality. Justice can only be achieved when our governance structures by default protect the most vulnerable people in our communities.
Budgeting demonstrates government priorities, and for decades, militarized spending that criminalizes Black, Indigenous, and communities of Color has been a cornerstone of local, state, and federal budgeting. These budgets prop up the systems that perpetuate racial and gender inequalities, and enable targeted violence with little accountability. For decades, our leaders have overfunded domestic policing in lockstep with inflated Pentagon budgets, prioritizing violence over systems of care and diplomacy. Both local police departments and the Pentagon have been used as vehicles to address long-standing inequities at home and abroad.
The problems facing communities across the U.S.—including hunger, housing insecurity, sexual and gender-based violence, mass incarceration, and healthcare access—will never be solved by violent policing. These issues can only be solved through compassionate and informed policymaking and a redistribution of wealth that acknowledges the histories of U.S. policing and military harm and their intersection with the colonial violence upon which our nation was founded.
WAND Statement on the Murder of George Floyd
June 2, 2020 — As an organization of women committed to security and peace with justice, we cannot remain silent in this moment. We condemn the callous disregard for life shown by uniformed police officers as they murdered George Floyd on the street in Minneapolis. Coming on the heels of the murders of Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, and so many other Black men, women, and children before them, we join in the chants of enough is enough.
We stand in solidarity with the protesters across this country demanding justice for those discriminated against and killed at the hands of our own government. Without justice, there is no peace. We are dedicated to actively opposing racism in all its forms and call for an end to the institutional and cultural white supremacy that underpins and perpetuates this violence and devastates the Black community.
BLACK LIVES MATTER
As an organization dedicated to challenging militarism in all its forms, we recommit ourselves to collaborating with and platforming communities affected by militarized state violence both at home and abroad. Repealing the 1033 program, which authorizes transfers of U.S. military equipment to local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies, is a major WAND priority. Such transfers have occurred since 1997 and are not unique to any one political party. In fact, in the first quarter of 2021 President Biden has nearly tripled the number of 1033 transfers from President Trump’s last quarter. We commit to holding Congress and the Biden administration accountable for this policy, and to foregrounding the voices and demands of communities affected by such policies.
We additionally support efforts to advance the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act (H.R. 1280), a vital first step towards addressing racist violence and police brutality in the U.S. This bill supports demilitarizing and changing the culture of policing, as well as holding officers accountable for harm caused to those they purportedly serve. It would limit the 1033 program; ban chokeholds and no-knock warrants as policing methods—the very same ones that killed George Floyd and Breonna Taylor; reorient policing techniques towards non-violent and non-lethal strategies; and reform qualified immunity, which shields law enforcement from certain lawsuits.
As we advocate for the above policy goals, we also commit to looking inwards at injustice and racism in our own organization and in the communities that we engage in. We are deeply indebted to the work of Women of Color Advancing Peace and Security and their leadership in dismantling racism and discrimination in the peace and security, foreign policy, and national security fields. As a member of Organizations in Solidarity, we will continue to implement the 12 core commitments to combat racism and discrimination within WAND and incorporate diverse voices—especially of frontline communities affected by the policies we advocate for—into all of our programs and initiatives.
This work is often drastically underfunded. If you are able, we would like you to consider making monthly recurring donations to support organizations specifically focused on dismantling white supremacy, working towards justice, and empowering and organizing those directly affected by racist U.S. policy making. These are just a few of the organizations working day after day to protect and enhance the lives of those regularly targeted by state violence:
Southerners on New Ground (SONG) combats the strategy of the Right to divide and conquer Southern oppressed communities using tools of rural isolation, Right-wing Christian infrastructure, racism, environmental degradation, and economic oppression. They build, drive, amplify, and support Southern intersectional movement work through regional capacity building, leadership development, and organizing. Their work centers the shared interests of women, LGBTQ people, people of color, and immigrants.
Essie Justice Group is a nonprofit organization of women with incarcerated loved ones taking on the rampant injustices created by mass incarceration. They are building a membership of fierce advocates for race and gender justice — including Black and Latinx women, formerly and currently incarcerated women, transgender women, and gender non-conforming people.
Black Youth Project 100 (BYP100) mobilizes through building a network focused on transformative leadership development, direct action organizing, advocacy, and education. Its membership core believes in the principles of decision-making, radical inclusivity, and is building a Black politic through a Black, queer, feminist lens.
Women of Color Advancing Peace and Security (WCAPS) works to advance the leadership and professional development of women of color in the fields of international peace, security, and conflict transformation. They are working to change the national security field by supporting and sustaining the voices of people of color, and particularly women of color, who are often the people most affected by government security policies.
In addition to supporting the above organizations, we encourage you to research and invest in local organizers working on these issues in your city or state.