We come together as individuals, community and state organizations to oppose the use of our communities as practice sites for the U.S. military as they did, starting late at night, at 10pm on Friday, June 9th.
“This is not just about notification,” said Martha Yager of the American Friends Service Committee. “Notifying us that they are practicing war games in our neighborhoods does not make it acceptable.The U.S. military (with the exception of the National Guard) has long been forbidden from being active on U.S. soil. It practices on bases and historically fabricated city settings. It has no genuine need to practice on our neighborhoods”.
“Furthermore,” David Oppenheimer of Our Revolution RI adds, “this is said to simulate real settings which are not available on bases. Unless they are facing real fire and ambush, it is not simulating anything close to real, unless it is a dry run for occupying that specific neighborhood.”
This episode raises many questions. Why exactly were these areas of Providence and Newport chosen? Why was it necessary to practice inside U.S. communities, mostly communities of color? How can it ever be normal for the U.S. military, specifically the Army to practice combat moves on our cities? And exactly who approved these actions?
The Army did not rush in with loud weapons in economically privileged white areas of these two cities. Specifically the Providence Armory District, which was surprised by house-shaking low-flying military aircraft and multiple helicopter landings amid loud explosions, is home to many people of color. The Armory District already is subject to a high police presence, which is not always viewed as a friendly one by residents. For many, these exercises caused undue stress and anxiety.
Yes, there are questions about why people were not properly notified and there are important questions about those who made these decisions. But that is only a secondary issue. The real issue is that the military thinks it is free to hold these kind of war games in our communities. We say no.
Signed By the Following organizations:
Fossil Free RI
Green Party of RI
Humanists of Rhode Island
National Lawyers Guild – Rhode Island Chapter
Our Revolution- RI
Resist Hate RI
RI Rights; RIAC
Sisters of Mercy – Ecology