Friday, August 23, 3011

Introducing the Blue Light Safety Project

The Blue Light Safety Project is a Santa Cruz local community effort to provide temporary safe spaces for people who are feeling unsafe. Community members who want to provide a safe space to those in need simply put a blue light on their house.

People in our communities, especially those in vulnerable populations, sometimes need a place where they can stop for a brief time to seek help or safety, make a phone call, wait for a ride, or rest for a moment. For example, female-bodied people or youth walking alone at night, people escaping intimate violence, queer or trans people who've been threatened, or elderly people who need a brief rest might feel supported to have a house in their neighborhood where they know they can find a temporary safe space.

The project is an attempt to provide safety in our community outside of institutional solutions such as police.

You may see signs at houses around town:
This is the Blue Light Safety Project.

A blue light signifies that this house is a temporary safe space,
open to anyone that feels in danger or threatened.

Knock on the door and the residents will provide support
until you feel safer or can make other arrangements.
If no one is home, you are welcome to sit on the porch
for a short time until you feel safe to continue on your way.
There are several ways to support the project:
  • The simplest way is to become a Blue Light House.  Put a blue light on your home and become a temporary safe space in your neighborhood.
  • Talk to your neighbors about the project
  • Put a sign up to explain why you are a Blue Light House.
  • Donate to the project.
  • Come to a Community Safety Workgroup

3 comments:

  1. While I think projects that seek to solve problems without the cops is great, I guess the first question that comes to mind is that if you're going to go out of your way to 'start a program' in which you let everyone know that blue light = 'safe space' (which certain restrictions depending on the person it seems like), then why not just get to know all your neighbors on the street. Spending a couple late nights around my house and you'll get to know everyone pretty quickly. Where I live, in a working class/poor neighborhood in Modesto, we also have relationships with local stores and neighbors because of the projects that we do. Cleaning up certain areas, putting up slow down signs, doing copwatch, distributing a magazine, etc.

    Also, the way this projects sounds is more like the guidelines for a SERVICE, not the start of relationships of people that can actually come together to solve problems outside of the police.

    What makes more sense, people having relationships, so they know that they can go to certain people for help, or trying to convince people that everyone with a blue light in their house will be able to help them out in their time of need even if they don't know them? It's great that some people want to help out in someone's moment of crisis and will put a blue light out to signal that they are a good Samaritan, but we should also think about creating neighborhoods where the kinds of activities that make people feel unsafe in the first place are combated. For us this has meant everything from talking to neighbors, watching the pigs, and standing in front of our homes with guns to keep our cars from getting broken into. It also sometimes means telling people that are really fucked up on drugs and also homeless that they do have to kick rocks because they are making us unsafe.

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  2. Lilprole, these are all great observations. Of course, personal relationships are always more valuable and more fruitful than any program or project. Part of the idea of this project is to make participation very simple, to lower the threshold for people who want to form those relationships, but don't know where or how to start in their often disconnected lives. Additionally, we hope the blue lights are helpful to people who may just be passing through a neighborhood, one in which they do not already have relationships.

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