A Virtual Zine Project
c/o Project Nia & Interrupting Criminalization

Explore snapshots of community-based safety strategies that expand our ideas about what keeps us safe.

One Million Experiments is...

︎︎︎ a place to browse community-based safety projects for inspiration, 

︎︎︎ a podcast featuring experiment creators,

︎︎︎ a zine series that highlights the nuts and bolts of particular projects, and

︎︎︎ an opportunity to share your projects.

Experiments updated at the beginning of the month. Follow @interruptcrim for news.


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[Erin Clark/Boston Globe]


Location: Cambridge, MA

Organization: The Black Response Team

Contact: theblackresponsecambridge@gmail.com

The Black Response is made up of a group of young Black Cambridge residents who are committed to implementing transformative practices and policies for public safety into the City of Cambridge.

︎ Does not collaborate with police
The Cambridge Holistic Emergency Alternative Response Team (HEART) is a proposal for a non-police emergency response system. The model, developed by The Black Response Team, was conceived and designed with Cambridge community members:

“We have been committed to using a collaborative community-based approach to developing a public safety program that met the needs of our communities. This approach has involved developing a coalition of impacted members of the community, service providers, and local organizations invested in this work to design a program that centers the needs of those most impacted by police violence and other forms of systemic harm.”

The process included in-depth interviews, general community surveys, and a specific survey for youth on policing. The model also emphasized accountability to the communities it serves:

“Cambridge HEART is designed to be a multifaceted, holistic safety response program that is composed of and accountable to Cambridge community members, particularly those most impacted by carceral systems. This requires coordination between pre-existing community-based organizations, newly developed response and wellness teams, and administrative and technical teams all working in concert to support the long-term safety and well being of the Cambridge community.”

You can read more about the model in their zine, and explore The Black Response Team’s linktree.

The main services that the HEART model seeks to provide are:

  • Conflict resolution through restorative and transformative practices
  • Mutual aid services (access to food, materials goods, etc.)
  • Public response (non-violent approach to supporting the unhoused, intoxicated, those in crisis in public spaces from drugs, mental health issues, etc.)
  • Database for accessible communication and coordination among service providers and the community
  • Aftercare team/proactive community cohesion
  • Community-based skill-building trainings

Source: Cambridge Holistic Emergency Alternative Response Team, The Black Response Team, 2021 zine