One way in which Black Lives Matter has influenced IMPACT Chicago is in our examining and revising our approach to getting to safety after an attack. For many years, our getting to safety mantra ended with “911.” We have changed that mantra to end with “Get to safety” or “Walk to Safety.” * The original mantra was based on good intentions but didn’t reflect the realities of Black women who have defended themselves against violence. The guiding principles of Black Lives Matter and Mariame Kaba’s book No Selves to Defend helped us see the necessity of changing our safety mantra.
The change to “Get to Safety” is consistent with our commitment to expanding people’s choices and not offering a formulaic approach to self-defense. Everyone has benefited from this change because the emphasis is on people making choices based on their assessment of themselves, their relationship with the person(s) targeting them, and their knowledge of the situation they are in and no assumptions about what safety is for all. This is an example of how centering the lives of Black people benefits everyone.