Night Out for Safety and Liberation is About Redefining Public Safety Beyond Policing

CONTACT: Terence Long, terence@ellabakercenter.org, 510-936-0344

Facing rampant gentrification, racist attacks and racial disparities in policing and punishment, Oakland activists and artists united for sixth annual #NOSL to redefine what safety means.

OAKLAND, CA​ - Hundreds of community members gathered for an evening of music, dance, art and activism as the Ella Baker Center hosted the sixth Night Out for Safety and Liberation (NOSL) in the heart of East Oakland. NOSL began in 2013 as an alternative to National Night Out, which is sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch and focuses on community-police relations and surveillance programs.

“People across the country are organizing Night Out for Safety and Liberation events to challenge the perception that safety means policing Black and Brown communities,” said Ella Baker Center Zachary Norris. “Our communities know what makes us safe. Safety comes from investment in public health solutions and the protection of all human rights."

The free family-friendly event happening in Oakland will feature music, dance, art-making, food and speakers addressing the issues facing Oaklanders today, from the deadly attack on Nia Wilson, to the rapid gentrification of the city, to people of color having the cops called on them simply for existing.

“True safety means undertaking a just transition, away from an extractive economy and culture of banks and tanks, and towards regenerative, life-affirming economies and cultures that enact human rights and the rights of Mother Earth,” said Colin Miller, musician and coordinator of the Oakland Climate Action Coalition. “We need gardens, not guns; green jobs, not jails; housing not handcuffs.”

The program included remarks by Ella Baker Center Executive Director Zachary Norris, music by Bay Area-based Brazilian band Namorados Da Lua, along with dance performances by In Lak'ech Danza Azteca and MVMNT Studio, and a land blessing by Indian Canyon's Creative Director Kanyon Sayers-Roods.

In addition to the community gathering happening in Oakland, organizations across the nation in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Phoenix, Akron, Detroit, Portland, Minneapolis and other cities hosted Night Out for Safety and Liberation events. Through planned actions, forums, block parties, and a social media campaign under the umbrella #SafetyIs, these organizers and activists will challenge the very meaning of what public safety is beyond policing.

Organizations participating in Night Out for Safety and Liberation at San Antonio Park in Oakland include:

Misssey
Native American Health Center
Transformational Body Work
The Keep Your City Project
Sustainable Economies Law Center
Bike East Bay
Oakland Climate Action Coalition
Communities for a Better Environment
Advancing Justice - Asian Law Caucus
Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR)
Community & Youth Outreach
CA Rise for Climate, Jobs and Justice
Restore Oakland
Oakland Rising
St. James Episcopal Church
The East Oakland Collective
Oakland Better Birth Foundation
YEP, Inc. (Youth Employment Partnership)
Lifelong Medical
Planting Justice

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