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How Can Small Businesses Create Safer Communities?

A local coalition is training Oakland’s brick-and-mortar employees in everything from de-escalation tactics to emergency medical care.
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David Goldman/AP Photo

Inside a community space in downtown Oakland, Kori Chen learned that a tampon can be used to staunch the blood from a gunshot entrance wound. He also learned about the rights he had at his disposal in case ICE ever tried to conduct a raid inside Red Bay Coffee, the café where Chen works as a director.

This past May, Chen and other owners and employees of five local businesses attended a community safety training to learn how to handle everything from a medical emergency to an immigration raid. The session was put on by the Lightning Bolt Collective, an organization that brings together trainers from groups like Sins Invalid, which advocates for those with disabilities, and The Oakland Power Project, which teaches people how to respond to healthcare crises without putting in a 911 call, which would summon the police.