From White folks calling the police on Black people for existing to police officers who kill Black people with impunity, it seems that White supremacist structures are fully engaged in defining what it means to be “safe” in America. But today (August 7), people of color around the nation are wrestling with that notion.
As part of this year’s Night Out for Safety and Liberation (NOSL), organizations across the country will host community events—think: rallies, concerts, block parties, teach-ins, letter-writing workshops—in 30 cities, all aimed at defining what safety really means for people of color.
The annual event launched in 2013. Per a statement from organizer Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, the event began as an alternative to the National Association of Town Watch-sponsored National Night Out.
“Their events traditionally identify neighborhood watch programs and better community-police relationships as the pathway to public safety,” it reads. “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.”
“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,” Zachary Norris, the executive director of the Ella Baker Center, says in the statement. “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.”