|On the night of July 7th, 1993, a woman named Mia Zapata said goodbye to friends and walked out of a bar on Seattle’s Capitol Hill. Shortly afterwards, she was raped and murdered by a man she didn’t know. This shocking incident deeply affected many people. Mia was a well-known powerhouse in the Seattle music scene — she sang for a popular punk band called The Gits.
In the aftermath of Mia’s murder, a number of people, primarily women, who had known her started getting together to share their grief and rage. People shared stories and fears of stranger assault, but just as importantly, about other forms of violence as well. Childhood sexual abuse. Date rape. Intimate partner violence. Street harassment. It soon became evident that all these abuses were connected. The talk turned to ways to keep themselves and their communities safe.
The women tried out the self defense classes they could find locally, and found them lacking. First, they were expensive; second, they offered restrictive rules that the women experienced as unhelpful and unrealistic. For musicians and artists, for people employed as bartenders or sex workers, for those without safe and reliable housing, it wasn’t useful to be told to dress conservatively and never walk alone at night. They realized that if they wanted relevant, affordable self defense training, they’d have to create it themselves.
Home Alive began as a collaborative between many amazing, hardworking people. They wrote curriculum, organized benefit concerts and CD’s, taught classes, made connections with other organizations, and struggled through meetings, meetings, meetings. They inspired and empowered a lot of people in Seattle and worldwide.
In 2010, due to the continuous financial up- and down-swings that seem inherent in the functioning of small nonprofits, Home Alive folks decided to close down the nonprofit aspect of the organization. Since then we have continued as a small, loosely functioning volunteer collective. We are teaching a handful of classes at high schools and for other progressive organizations, as capacity permits. We hope to magnify our impact by making our awesome curriculum available on this website for all to use!