On Tuesday August, 1st, Enlace joined dozens of organizations from across the country to participate in the Night Out for Safety and Liberation (NOSL), a community-driven alternative action to the National Night Out—a police-centric event that highlights “police-community partnerships” as the pathway to safety. From coast-to-coast, the Enlace community came together to redefine what safety truly means for the people who have been most targeted by state and corporate violence.
To us, safety is divestment from policing and militarization, and reallocating our taxes to programs that support our communities, including housing, jobs, quality public education, mental health and harm reduction services, and healthcare. Safety is freedom from criminalization. Safety is public protections for all oppressed communities including immigrants, Black people, Muslims, queer and trans communities, women, and workers. Safety means political power and community control over the institutions that we interact with daily, exploring alternatives to state policing, and strengthening the accountability of public agencies meant to serve us. Safety is economic justice, including workers’ rights and self-determination.
Report-back from PDX:
In Portland, 200 people took over Laurelwood Park and SEIU 503 to redefine safety. The park was filled with people sharing food, music and dialogue, getting arrests and criminal convictions off their records, accessing information on their rights as tenants and as immigrants, learning self-care practices from youth leaders and community medics, creating art projects with children, letter writing to people in prison, smashing AllLivesMatter and Trump administration piñatas, and sharing their visions of safety in a video booth.
We recognized that defining safety must include recognition and respect for indigenous culture, pride and self-determination, our ancestors whose shoulders we stand on, Black pride and liberation, and youth leadership. We brought together Black, environmental justice, tenant, houseless, youth, queer and trans, immigrant and Palestinian rights solidarity communities.
Report-back from NYC:
This year we brought NOSL to the Bronx where we gathered alongside community members, our partner organizations within the New York Workers Center Federation and members of the Freedom Cities movement for our 3rd annual NOSL. We united in a beautiful showing of solidarity as we stood in our visions of what safety looks like beyond policing. We were blessed to have been able to host the action at Brook Park, a community space and cornerstone in the South Bronx.
We first assembled in Brook Park and later marched to the National Night Out hosted by the NYPD 40th Precinct. We were well over 75 people when we rolled through their block party chanting, “Black Lives Matter!” and “when people of color are under attack, what do we do? Stand up fight back!” Despite the NYPD’s attempt to bar us from entering, we made our way to the front of the party with our posters and signs held high! After crashing the party we returned to the park where we enjoyed a delicious dinner provided by our allies from the Street Vendor Project while we enjoyed a powerful open mic featuring some incredible poets and artists. Our energy filled the park with love, laughter, and a spirit of liberation.
We all deserve to live with dignity and have the opportunity thrive. Together, we are creating our own true visions of safety that are simultaneously and unapologetically pro-Black, pro-immigrant, pro-queer and trans, pro-Muslim, pro-different ability, and pro-worker. We are committed to building this vision and will keep fighting for Freedom Cities!