Group offers alternative to National Night Out
COLUMBUS, Ohio (WSYX/WTTE) —
While celebrations were underway during National Night Out, a group offered an alternative to the event in Linden.
The People's Justice Project says they want to redefine what public safety means to them beyond policing.
Organizers say they think public safety programs should be run by community members who know what's going on in their neighborhood.
The Night Out For Safety and Liberation program began back in 2013. It was partially in response to the shooting death of Trayvon Martin by an armed neighborhood watch captain in Florida.
Organizers say they think focusing on policing as a primary path towards public safety causes harm.
Community members from 30 cities across the nation had the same kind of event, Tuesday night. The People's Justice Project set up outside of a house along Hudson Street in Linden. It's the same house where four people were shot and killed back in 2015. The house is now being renovated into a community center that will help the neighborhood in a positive way.
During the event, kids took part in different activities, there was food and also conversations about safety in the community. Organizers also passed out safety surveys to get an idea of how neighbors really feel about safety.
"What we see in our surveys is people are tired of being over policed in their communities and they're looking for a reallocation of funding. Services that are much more community-based programs that's run by community members and not by police or the city," said Amber Evans, who works with the People's Justice Project.
During the event, organizers collected school supplies that people donated. The supplies will help kids who need them once the school year starts.