More from the press release:

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 with each other and brainstorm together about how to make their neighborhoods safer. During NOSL events, people will speak out about police violence and being survivors of crime, create murals, and discuss community-based alternatives to police. Night Out for Safety and Liberation began in 2013, partially as a response to the murder of Trayvon Martin and the ongoing and longstanding violence inflicted upon black and brown communities by law enforcement. 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.


I often go back to James Baldwin’s seminal 1966 piece written for The Nation, “A Report From Occupied Territory,” in which he makes plain that: “... pious calls to ‘respect the law,’ always to be heard from prominent citizens each time the ghetto explodes, are so obscene. The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer. To respect the law, in the context in which the American Negro finds himself, is simply to surrender his self-respect.”


There can be no toxic, potentially fatal, relationship between the oppressor and the oppressed. There can be no police officers singing and dancing and basketball shooting—those insulting visuals amplified in the wake of lynching after lynching—without the knowledge that the goal is distraction and placation, not mutual respect for humanity or safety.

There can be no obscene kumbaya moments between law enforcement and community children without the acknowledgment that black and brown communities are too often concrete cemeteries—places where the only beauty is carved out by the beautiful, resilient people who inhabit them and who have an ancestral will to survive.


There can be none of these things without first dismantling relentless and unrelenting systems of oppressions built, maintained and nourished by the dehumanization of black and brown people in this country.

What good is building bridges over people already drowning?

Healthy relationships are reciprocal. Healthy relationships do not begin with one party’s ability to shoot the other party dead in the street for being perceived as breathing the wrong way in the wrong skin at the wrong time by the wrong people. Safety is not defined by a badge and a bullet for anyone who finds themselves on the wrong side of either.


Safety cannot be defined by “neighborhood watchmen” whose idea of protecting institutionally and systemically targeted black communities is to pathologize blackness and ask for assistance in doing so under the crooked banner of progress and peace.

That is not what safety is, not what safety ever will be; this is why Night Out for Safety and Liberation is so critical.


Safety is liberation. Let’s get free.

Follow Night Out for Safety and Liberation online with the hashtags #NOSL17 and #SafetyIs. Go here to find information about events, supporting organizations, artwork and a how-t0 guide for hosting an NOSL event.