Communities Gather for a Night of Safety and Liberation

By N. Jamiyla Chisholm Aug 06, 2019

As the nation struggles to reckon with what it has wrought in the form of fatalities from mass shootings, the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights is encouraging people of color to imagine what public safety looks like in their communities.

On Tuesday (August 6), people from more than 25 cities across the country will participate in the seventh annual Night Out for Safety and Liberation (NOSL). The initiative was launched in response to the murder of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin by vigilante George Zimmerman, and it’s held as an alternative to the police-driven National Night Out.

Each year, NOSL and organizations across the country partner to host block parties, vigils, rallies and other events where participants can discuss how to build safe neighborhoods. The goal, according to the Ella Baker Center, is to shift the narrative about public safety away from fear and punishment and toward building dignity, power and opportunity by reinvesting in communities.

“Safety does not begin with police, safety begins with building healthy communities,” Zachary Norris, executive director of the Ella Baker Center said in an emailed statement. “We can all play a role in creating public safety for our communities by strengthening our relationships and looking out for each other. Night Out for Safety and Liberation provides that space for us to build with each other.​”

Find an event near you here.

*Story has been updated to reflect the number of times the Ella Baker Center has hosted NOSL.