On Night Out for Safety and Liberation, Communities Across the Country Redefine Public Safety Beyond Policing

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

As the Trump Administration sows division and fear, neighbors in over 30 cities will come together for this alternative to National Night Out, gathering to share what safety means to their communities.

On Tuesday, August 7th, people across the country will participate in Night Out for Safety and Liberation (NOSL), where community members redefine what public safety means to them beyond policing. Leaders of Night Out for Safety and Liberation identify many factors as being the primary drivers of public safety, such as affordable housing, education, job opportunities, healthy food, and access to healthcare. As the Trump administration reinvigorates the War on Drugs, advances broken windows policing, and accelerates deportations, Night Out for Safety and Liberation offers neighbors the chance to share how their safety has been impacted by these measures.

"The Trump administration is hellbent on undermining the rights of everyday people, from threatening women’s right to control their bodies, to separating and caging families,” said Zachary Norris, the Executive Director of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights. “Our communities know what makes us safe. Safety comes from investment in public health solutions and the protection of all human rights. Night Out for Safety and Liberation is our opportunity to send this message loud and clear to elected officials at all levels."

Night Out for Safety and Liberation began in 2013 as an alternative to National Night Out, which is sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch. Their events traditionally identify neighborhood watch programs and better community-police relationships as the pathway to public safety. NOSL organizers believe that focusing on policing as the primary path towards public safety and encouraging neighborhood surveillance causes harm to people of color, and does not lead to safer, stronger, or healthier communities.

“When elected leaders and people in power focus on policing, they miss the point of what safety means to our community,” said Nicole Alequin, an organizer with the Restaurant Opportunities Center in Detroit, Michigan. “Access to clean water, foreclosure prevention, paid sick time, equity and development, and providing fair wages are issues that must be meaningfully addressed for our community to be truly safe.”  

This year, there will be NOSL events in 30 cities throughout the country, including block parties, film screenings, and rallies, where community members will build relationships and brainstorm together about how to make their neighborhoods safer. People will share meals, create murals, speak out about police violence and being survivors of crime, and discuss community-based alternatives to police.

“As families are being torn apart, deported and banned by Trump administration policies, Night Out for Safety and Liberation is an important opportunity for marginalized communities to come together and support each other in ways that will contribute to their safety,” said Lewis Conway, Jr., an organizer with Grassroots Leadership in Austin, Texas.

Follow Night Out for Safety and Liberation online with the hashtags #NOSL18 and #SafetyIs. Visit NOSL.us to find information about events, supporting organizations, artwork, and a how-to guide for hosting a NOSL event.