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Changing the Narrative of a Night Out for Safety

An event in Detroit tonight focuses on building equality, opportunity and prosperity in Michigan communities.  (Night Out for Safety and Liberation)
An event in Detroit tonight focuses on building equality, opportunity and prosperity in Michigan communities. (Night Out for Safety and Liberation)
August 2, 2016

LANSING, Mich. - Communities in Michigan and other states will celebrate National Night Out tonight to promote safety through police-community partnerships. But others are approaching the issue through a different lens. Faith, social justice, business, and other community organizations will gather in Detroit for a Night Out for Safety and Liberation.

Graham Kovich, an organizer with the Restaurant Opportunities Center of Michigan, which is hosting the event, explained they are challenging the conventional meaning of what it means to be safe.

"The mainstream narrative around safety being that in order to promote safety in neighborhoods we need more policing and more punishment," he said. "The conversation that we want to have is more restorative strategies and to redefine the way that people think about safety and the way that we create it."

Tonight's gathering at the Detroit Public Library will focus on building equality, opportunity and prosperity in Michigan communities. Similar events will be held in 20 other cities.

Kovich contended increased law enforcement in neighborhoods plagued by crime and violence has resulted in increased surveillance, mass criminalization, and stop-and-frisk police practices that do not leave residents feeling safe. He added without restorative policies and resources people who get caught up in the system can find it difficult to get out.

"I just had someone come down to my office who was just getting released and the hurdles that this guy was having to jump through just to find even a minimum wage job, he seemed very defeated by the whole process," he added.

He said a Night Out for Safety and Liberation will address how access to affordable health care, clean water, healthy food, job opportunities and quality education can help strengthen Michigan communities.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - MI