Night Out for Safety and Liberation: Nationwide Movement to Redefine Public Safety on August 4th

On Tuesday, August 4th, organizations across the country will host a Night Out for Safety and Liberation, an alternative to National Night Out where community members can re-imagine and redefine what public safety means to them.

Every year, more than 30 million people in the U.S. participate in neighborhood block parties as part of the National Night Out sponsored by the National Association of Neighborhood Watch. Traditionally, National Night Out events focus on community-police relations and neighborhood watch and surveillance programs, but Night Out for Safety and Liberation will emphasize that #SafetyIs about more than policing and crime.

“For too long, a narrative has been constructed to equate the idea of safety with policing. In communities of color around the country the reality tends to stand in direct contradiction. We demand a new standard for safety for our communities and generations to come,” said Montague Simmons, Executive Director of Organization for Black Struggle.

Through forums, block parties, vigils, protests, and a social media campaign under the umbrella #SafetyIs, organizations in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, Oakland, and St. Louis will challenge the very meaning of public safety by starting a different conversation—one that is focused on how we can reinvest resources to build equality, power, and opportunity in our communities.

“Right now, criminalization and incarceration first are the prevailing public safety approaches,” said Zachary Norris, the Executive Director of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights. “We want to develop alternatives.” Night Out for Safety and Liberation will focus on equal access to employment, healthcare, education, and restorative justice as the path to public safety.

With Sandra Bland's recent death and the upcoming anniversary of Mike Brown's death, organizers believe now is the time to reclaim the meaning of public safety, which has been co-opted to criminalize, brutalize, and incarcerate communities of color.

“While the violence by the state expands against communities, corporate violence against workers is also sanctioned. While Eric Garner was killed by police who face no repercussions for their actions, many workers are forced to place their lives on the line by criminal corporations, like the case of Delfino Velasquez,” said Daniel Carrillo, the Executive Director of Enlace. “Today we join others across the country saying that more police and prisons do not make our communities safer, we need reinvestment in our communities.”

List of Actions:

Chicago: Restaurant Opportunities Center-Chicago and Workers Center for Racial Justice are hosting a community-led discussion of what safety means to the Black community where people will share testimonials about their own perspectives on safety.

Media inquiries: DeAngelo Bester, Workers Center for Racial Justice, deangelo@center4racialjustice.org, 312-361-1161 ext. 201

Los Angeles: Black Lives Matter Los Angeles, Dignity and Power Now, Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, Los Angeles Community Action Network, Restaurant Opportunities Center-LA, Stop LAPD Spying Coalition, the STOP Coalition, and Youth Justice Coalition are hosting a vigil at LA Live for victims and survivors of law enforcement violence.

Media inquiries: Mark-Anthony Johnson, Dignity and Power Now, markanthonyj@dignityandpowernow.org, 818-259-1322

New York City: Enlace, ICE Free NYC, Million Hoodies, NY Workers Center Federation, Safety Beyond Policing, and Restaurant Opportunities Center-NY are joining to protest the increase of 1,300 new NYPD officers, home raids happening in NYC, and the deaths of workers in work sites in NYC. 

Media inquiries: Daniel Carillo, Enlace, Daniel@enlaceintl.org, 323-303-4434

Oakland:

The Ella Baker Center for Human Rights is hosting a community gathering where neighbors can discuss what safety means to them. There will be recognition of victims and survivors of law enforcement violence, as well as music, spoken word, and dance, and a mural-making project.

Media inquiries: Zaineb Mohammed, Ella Baker Center, Zaineb@ellabakercenter.org, 630-921-1741

The North Oakland Restorative Justice Council is hosting a block party to connect neighbors, share information about community approaches to restorative justice, and talk about types of accountability and healing that people would like to see in their neighborhoods.

St. Louis: Organization for Black Struggle is hosting a block party where they will educate the community about the past, present, and future work of OBS with regard to police-related issues. At the block party, other organizations will share the work they are doing with community members, and give them avenues to engage in issues that matter to them.

Media inquires: Waylon McDonald, Organization for Black Struggle, press@obs-stl.org, 859-907-2478

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter with the hashtags #NOSL15 and #SafetyIs. Visit NOSL.me for more information about specific events and supporting organizations.

Contact: Zaineb Mohammed, Zaineb@ellabakercenter.org, (w) 510-285-8236, (c) 630-921-1741

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