A group of people enjoy the live music during the National Night Out event at St. James Park in San Jose, Calif., on Aug. 3, 2021. (Harika Maddala/ Bay City News)
National Night Out made its return to St. James Park in San Jose on Tuesday. The event took place from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. and had live music, ice cream and information booths that offered resources to the public amidst the pandemic and the fear of evictions.
President of San Jose Downtown Residents Association Elizabeth Chien-Hale said, “The event is traditionally a public safety event, but we rebranded it as a community event for 2021.” National Night Out is an annual event held on the first Tuesday of August, promoting police-community partnerships.
“With everything that happened last year, we wanted it to be a community-positive event where we could meet new people, eat ice cream, enjoy some music and have a good time,” Chien-Hale added.
Chien-Hale explained that the event would provide an opportunity for the downtown community to learn more about the available resources. CommUniverCity San Jose, City of San Jose Housing Department’s Eviction Help Center and the offices of County Supervisor Cindy Chavez and Assembly Member Ash Kalra set up tables at the park during the event.
Another table at the park set up across from the event was a collaboration between HERO Tent and BLACK Outreach San Jose. The table decorated with a banner that read “Defund SJPD” gave out free pizzas to the public attending the event. “We expected the police to be here at the event tonight, but I believe that our message has still been conveyed effectively regardless,” said Joy Shah, a volunteer with BLACK Outreach San Jose.
The audience consisted of a small crowd of residents of Downtown San Jose, who received invitations through the newsletter and Facebook page of the San Jose Downtown Residents Association.
The 408 Collective performed live at the event. The band’s lead singer Miso James said, “Today’s performance was a really intimate one for us, which we’re not a stranger to. We have been playing at Great America every Saturday and Sunday, but it’s really nice to kick back with [smaller crowd]. It’s easier to connect with them.”