AUSTIN — Organizers of a citywide meeting worked Thursday night to help keep community members aware and safe after a string of Austin bombings in March.
“But if there is any silver lining to these circumstances, we now have the opportunity to rethink the notion of neighbor and the notion of neighborhood,” said Robert Muhammad, with Justice or Else Local Organizing Committee.
Many different organizations showed up to Thursday’s meeting, including the Austin Police Department, The NAACP, Neighborhood Watch coalitions, The Nation of Islam, Black Lives Matter, Austin Justice Coalition, Counter Balance: ATX, and 10,000 Fearless First Responders group.
“This day will be focused on organizing and getting those that are interested in starting a neighborhood and community associations in their communities,” said Muhammad. “We want to sign people up today. We want to get as much data and information as possible so we can start organizing.”
Muhammad explained this meeting was a way for them to move forward.
"We are extremely vulnerable, and we are making a statement today that this is the beginning of a process of reclaiming our communities and becoming more responsible for what is happening and the culture in our communities,” Muhammad said.
Alicia Jackson has lived in South Austin for nearly two years.
Jackson admitted she doesn’t know many of her neighbors -- a main reason she showed up to the meeting on Thursday.
“I think we just need to communicate better," Jackson said. "If something happens in North Austin, you know who to talk to, if something happens in South Austin, you know who to talk to."
A sergeant with APD also made a presentation offering advice to help keep community members safe.
APD also offers training for community watch programs. To learn how to start your own neighborhood watch, click here.