Houston and Austin join national Night Out for Safety and Liberation for #NOSL17

The #NOSL17 in Austin featured spoken word and rap performances, a cookout, and a community project where we defined together what #SafetyIs for our communities. All Austin event photos by Jaynna Sims.

The Night Out for Safety and Liberation is a national event that seeks to redefine public safety by challenging us to question what #SafetyIs for black, brown, and poor people. Texas Advocates for Justice chapters in Houston and Austin came together for #NOSL17 to imagine, celebrate, and connect.

A collective art project at NOSL in Austin, August 1, 2017.

The NOSL has its origins in Oakland, where the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights began holding forums and block parties as an answer to the National Night Out sponsored by the National Association of Neighborhood Watch. That National Night Out promotes the idea of police as the ultimate source of safety. But NOSL pushes back by building powerful and healthy communities that are safe because they are organized, not because they are policed.

TAJ local chapters in Austin and Houston hosted NOSL events on August 1 that included music, food, art, and performances. In Austin, a block party at Lanier High School transformed the school lawn into a space of music, art, and community. In Houston, TAJ members gathered at the 3rd Ward Multi-Service Center for forum with local leaders. TAJ is proud to have created a free, fun, safe event in these two cities.

NOSL in Houston featured a diverse crew of community leaders and a forum on public safety in the 3rd Ward on August 1, 2017.

The NOSL events in Texas wouldn’t have meant anything without the valuable community partners it brings together. Those representing at NOSL in Austin and Houston included: Alliance for African-American Health in Central Texas-Project Breast CARE, The Financial Literacy Coalition of Central Texas, AIDs Service of Austin , Mama Sana Vibrant Woman, allgo , Workers Defense Project, Black Sovereign Nation, Inside Books Project, Project HOPES, Red Salmon Arts, Fight for 15 , Counter Balance: ATX , Lilith Fund, Austin Voices for Education and Youth, Texas Organizing Project, Latinas Trans de Tejas, LifeWorks , Decarcerate ATX, The SAFE Alliance , Foundation Communities, Harm Reduction Coalition; artists Jhazmine Billups, JusLyric, Chi-Clopz, and JasThePhilo, yoga instructors Carla Paulina Bermeo, Melanie Holst-Collins, and Angelena Stokes-Wickersham; and many more.

We redefined safety with ourselves at the center in Houston on August 1, 2017.

Learn more about the history and meaning of the NOSL by checking out the Ella Baker Center and all of the work they to do build the power of black, brown, and poor people to break the cycles of incarceration and poverty and make our communities safe, healthy, and strong.