Hats off to them. It’s a shame that their work is necessary.
On the eve of Black History Month this year, a community group based in Detroit went viral after sharing clips on social media of its members, many dressed in all-black and armed with long rifles, assisting women around the city by pumping gas into their vehicles and loading groceries into their cars.
The group’s open display of guns — broadly legal in Michigan — was greeted by many people not for being threatening but for protecting Black women in dangerous neighborhoods at night.
The group, New Era Detroit, has been carrying out this kind of public safety work in the city’s most crime-ridden streets for almost a decade.
“We do this out of love,” Nilajah Alonzo, one of the leaders of New Era Detroit, told Yahoo News.
The group’s Instagram page includes videos of members escorting child care workers home late at night from a daycare only a block from where a murder had recently taken place. Another social media post shows members hosting a workshop with children on conflict resolution.
“We’re not trying to be crime heroes or anything like that,” Alonzo said. “We’re just trying to educate and uplift our community.”