An organizer of a group against the 2028 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles said the event will only worsen the social problems the United States is witnessing.
“We believe that any Olympics is going to exacerbate the crisis that we currently face in our cities around racist, militarized policing, around displacement and social cleansing,” said Anne Orchier of NOlympics.
She, along with Albert Corado, hosted a NOlympics virtual town hall recently to talk about the dissonance and fundamental incompatibility between supporting the Olympics and reimaging public safety along with racial justice.
Guest speakers were Dr. Melina Abdullah, co-founder of Black Lives Matter Los Angeles, and Hamid Khan, campaign coordinator for Stop LAPD Spying Coalition.
The NOlympics coalition, which grew out of a committee in the Democratic Socialist of America (DSA) in 2017, is made up of and partnered with various groups and organizations in LA, like Black Lives Matter LA, LA Tenants Union and Crenshaw Subway Coalition.
NOlympics “formed to create a formal space and structure of all these different groups and communities to voice their opposition (toward the 2028 Summer Olympics),” Orchier said.
President Donald Trump confirmed the federal government’s assistance for security and other resources for the 2028 Summer Olympics in a meeting with the Olympic committee in February.
“I’m very glad to be in partnership with NOlympics and definitely see the overlap between what (BLM and the NOlympics) coalitions are talking about,” Abdullah said. “The idea of bringing in more policing (for the Olympics) to maintain safety means safety for white, affluent communities. It means safety for folks that want to roll into our city, and it means less resources and more repression for Black, brown, unhoused and poor folks.”
Khan drew parallels from the 1984 Olympics in LA to what the 2028 Summer Olympics might look like.
“We have to look at the Olympics as more than a sporting event,” Khan said. “When we look at the Olympics, especially in 1984, a lot of the elements and tactical operations of the national security police state that we see today can be linked to (the Olympics of 1984).”
According to NOlympics’ campaign website, pickasidela.com, there is a direct correlation to the militarization of police, due to the 1984 Olympic games in LA that resulted in an increase of police brutality and, ultimately, the uprising of the 1992 Los Angeles Riots. The NOlympics coalition considers whether it will be the same for the 2028 Olympics.
The website says, “The LAPD is one of the most militarized police forces in the United States because of the (1984 Olympics). The federal government provided military arms and tactics …” and “from 1984-1989 there was a 33% increase in complaints against LAPD for police brutality.”
“Who’s the most at risk,” Abdullah asked in reference to the potential for more law enforcement and security measures during and after the upcoming Olympics.
“We know that more police means more abuse, repression, brutality, criminalization and killing of Black people. Those at risk are absolutely Black people, poor people and neighborhoods like the Crenshaw district.”
In a statement, Orchier said, “We have been formally trying to have discussions about how to reform (the Olympics). The people who are leading the charge, like Casey Wasserman, Eric Garcetti, Chad Wolf, Donald Trump, have not only expressed disinterest in any type of reform, they have continued to up the ante in terms of what security and policing will look like for 2028.
“For (NOlympics), reform is not something we’re not interested in; it’s not even being offered. So now, we’re talking about how we’re going to stop (the Olympics).”
Its current endeavor, alongside Lennox-Inglewood Tenants Union, was organizing and protesting against SoFi Stadium to call attention to sports real estate displacing communities in the Inglewood area. The stadium, which is home to the Los Angeles Chargers and Los Angeles Rams, is expected host of the Olympics’ opening and closing ceremonies.