Home Alive

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Home Alive is a Seattle-based anti-violence organization that offers self-defense classes on a sliding scale payment system. Home Alive once operated as a non-profit organization and now continues to operate as a volunteer collective. Home Alive sees its work as integrated into larger social justice movements, recognizing how violence is often perpetuated through oppression and abuse. Home Alive classes include basic physical self-defense, boundary setting, and advanced multi-week courses.[1]


Following the rape and murder of local singer Mia Zapata in 1993, a number of artists and musicians within Seattle began to meet and discuss the problems of violence within the community, and the lack of available resources such as self-defense classes, which were considered impractical and somewhat unaffordable.[2][3]

A group of women, now recognized as the founders of the organization, pooled resources such as arts and music benefits in order to raise funds and study self-defense. Classes were provided to the community on a sliding scale basis, where no-one was turned away due to lack of funds. The group continues this work, providing classes to individuals, as before; but expanding to also educate establishments such as schools and businesses. With primary support still coming from the arts community, Home Alive continues to ground its self-defense education in a movement for social justice.

Home Alive moved to the Capitol Hill district in 2004.[4]

On June 14, 2010 members of Home Alive’s Board of Directors, together with the instructor collective, decided to close as a 501(c)(3) organization and to lay the Home Alive program dormant after 17 years in the community.

On July 3, 2012 four Home Alive instructors, with the assistance of a few dedicated community members, launched a new website, Teach Home Alive, a site dedicated to archiving and sharing Home Alive's curriculum.

Rock, Rage & Self Defense: An Oral History on Seattle's Home Alive, a documentary on the collective, was released in 2013.[5]


The nine people considered responsible for founding the organization are:

  • Valerie Agnew
  • Zoe Bermet
  • Gretta Harley
  • Julie Hasse
  • Lara Kidoguchi
  • Jessica Lawless
  • Mich Levy
  • Cristien Storm
  • Stacey Wescott


External links[edit]