New efforts underway to make Memphis nightlife safer with ‘Safe Bar’ program

Published: Sep. 19, 2022 at 10:35 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - An East Memphis bar is taking steps to keep its patrons safer.

Prive has become the first Mid-South restaurant and bar to implement the nationally-recognized “Safe Bar” program.

“It’s a great opportunity for a Black-owned business to be able to be one of the first safe bars in the City of Memphis, and we definitely appreciate it,” Prive owner Geraldine Mims said.

Memphis nonprofit Heal 901 partnered with the Shelby County Crime Victims and Rape Crisis Center (CVRCC) to bring the training to Prive’s staff.

“It could actually save someone’s life,” Mims said.

Staff spent Monday evening learning lifesaving tools and information to keep people safe inside Memphis bars.

“Especially in bars, you know, in places where people are sometimes under the influence, it’s good to train those who are in those spaces on how to make sure that they can look out for others when they can’t look out for themselves,” Heal 901 Executive Director K. Durell Cowan said.

The goal is to create safer spaces and reduce the risk of sexual violence by providing bystanders with intervention training.

“Everyone’s quick to pull up a cellphone and document when we see something going on, but there’s other things we can do like delegate,” Cowan said. “Beyond document, delegate, distract, there’s other things we can do to try and ease these situations.”

“We took what they were doing (nationally) and catered it and tweaked it a little bit to Memphis,” he continued. “So in the Safe Bars in Memphis, we have a slogan, and that slogan is ‘Say something, mane.’”

Mims says the training is crucial right now.

At Prive, the staff has discussed several topics, including warning signs to look out for, different types of sexual assault and harassment, and how to intervene.

“We watch a lot of stuff,” Mims said. “We watch our customers, we just want our customers to feel safe while they’re dining in (and) while they’re at the bar, or making sure no one can put something in their drink.”

Cowan also said it’s important for staff to understand how vital their role is to keeping people, specifically women, safe in establishments.

“If you see something, just say something mane,” he said.

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