Street Safe New Mexico is an all-volunteer 501(c)(3) nonprofit that follows a harm-reduction philosophy by striving to reduce the harmful consequences associated with life on the street. Most of the women we serve have been victims of sex trafficking, while others have struggled with homelessness and addiction.
That is who we are on paper.
But at our core, Street Safe is something of a “guerrilla” nonprofit.
Or more technically, an “agile” one — meaning we purposely have lessened the number of administrative hoops to jump through so that we can respond quickly to solve real-life problems on the ground.
But at our core, Street Safe is something of a “guerrilla” nonprofit. We don’t sit around and talk about how to best advocate for the people we serve, clutching our pearls and measuring our words.
We take action.
We got tired of seeing women we’ve known for years be raped and killed, so we bottled paper spray and made nonlethal hand-to-hand combat weapons. We’ve handed out gallons of spray and hundreds of weapons for free.
We got sick of the nameless men who get away with these crimes. So we created a list of the attackers that we hand out every week to the women.
This “act first“ policy makes us a ragtag bunch of volunteers.
We are not slick. We are not poised. We do not know how to practice politics.
We prefer to be where we make a difference — on the street. Talking and laughing with the women we serve. Helping them stay alive.
This is how we advocate. Hard.
SHORT, AWARD-WINNING VIDEO ABOUT STREET SAFE
Julie Mowrey — a graduate of the University of New Mexico's film school — won the College of Fine Arts Senior Prize for her video about Street Safe.
In 2009, when Christine Barber first met Cindy Vigil Jaramillo, it was with the intention of writing a book about Cindy’s life, which included being kidnapped by David Parker Ray, aka the Toy Box serial killer, while she was doing dates on the streets of Albuquerque, NM, in 1999.
But something else happened in 2009 — the bodies of 11 women who also did dates on the street were found buried on the West Mesa of Albuquerque, NM, the victims of a different serial killer.
Cindy knew if she hadn’t escaped her serial killer after three days of torture, she would have ended up like the women on the West Mesa, who had been missing for six years before their bodies were discovered. While it is uncommon for women to go missing from the streets, when it does happen, it is common for law enforcement and the public not to take notice
Cindy knew if nothing was done, history would repeat itself. "All I want is for there to be a group that pays attention to the women (on the street)," she told Christine one day when they were supposed to be busy writing,
And Street Safe was born.
As for the book, they are still figuring that out.
If you would like to learn more about Cindy's story, you can go to her personal website
If you would like to see a zoom-able version of the background image on this page, which sort of tells the story of our organization, click here