SilenceIsViolence is an anti-violence campaign that was founded following the murders of musician Dinerral Shavers (d. December 28, 2006) and filmmaker Helen Hill (d. January 4, 2007) in New Orleans. Dinerral and Helen were beloved friends, neighbors, and artists of the Bywater-Marigny district.
Following these tragedies, Ken Foster, Helen Gillet, and Baty Landis decided to march to New Orleans City Hall to express publicly our grief and our dismay at the lack of city leadership on the issue of violent crime.
The January 11, 2007 March For Survival was attended by 5,000 concerned citizens, and SilenceIsViolence was founded. On that day, citizens from all parts of the city had a chance to speak directly to our leaders and each other about their fears in our communities and hopes for a safer and more equitable city.
The mission of the Silence is Violence is to call upon both citizens and public officials to achieve a safe New Orleans across all communties. We engage youth in positive expressions and actions to counter the culture of violence. We demand respect for every life, and justice for every citizen in our city.
Executive Director: Tamara Jackson is a powerful force in the cultural and social justice spheres of New Orleans. A long-time social aid and pleasure club member and leader, after Hurricane Katrina, Tamara became President of the Social Aid and Pleasure Club Task Force, successfully pushing for reforms and rights on behalf of all local parading clubs. She joined SilenceIsViolence as a volunteer consultant to the Victim Allies Project in 2009, took over management of that program in 2010, and accepted executive responsibility over all SilenceIsViolence programs when the Board of Directors appointed her Executive Director in 2011.
Tamara graduated from L.E. Rabouin Vocational High School, received an Associate's Degree in General Studies from Delgado Community College, and possesses a Bachelor's Degree in Health Care Administration from the University of Phoenix. Tamara worked for the State of Louisiana at the New Orleans Adolescent Hospital for 15 years as a Medical Specialist, and at Southeast Louisiana Hopital for one year before joining SilenceIsViolence. She is currently pursuing a Master's Degree in Business Adminsitration, with a concentration in Healthcare.
Communications Director: Baty Landis. One of the founders of SilenceIsVIolence, Baty currently serves as Communications Director for SilenceIsViolence. A graduate of Isidore Newman High School, Baty possesses degrees from the University of California at Berkeley and Princeton University in Music, Fine Arts, and Historical Musicology.
Youth Programs Coordinator: Paige Valente runs the SilenceIsViolence Peace Clubs, Music Clinics, and Writing Clinics for youth. She possesses a Bachelors of FIne Arts In Graphic Design from the Savannah College of Art and Design.
Victim Outreach Coordinator: LaRaunda Hartford has a Master's Degree in Social Work from Southern University. She is the first point of contact for victims and victim-survivors of homicide in need of SilenceIsViolence/Victim Allies Project services. LaRaunda particularly coordinates grief support services for the organization.
Counselor: Michelle Longino, Licensed Counselor, provides both individual and group therapy sessions for SilenceIsViolence/Victim Allies Project clients.
Administrative Assistant: Courtney Meads, a student at Delgado Community College, is responsible for all organizational and clerical needs of SilenceIsViolence.
Baty Landis owns and operates Sound Cafe and Beth's Books in the Lower Marigny and is the Executive Director of Young Aspirations/Young Artists (YAYA). Ken Foster is a writer who lives in the Bywater District and teaches creative writing at New Orleans Center for Creative Arts. Ken is a spokesperson for SilenceIsViolence and interim President of the Board of Directors. Nakita Shavers holds a political science degree from Florida A&M University. In addition to assisting the efforts of SilenceIsViolence, Nakita runs the Dinerral Shavers Educational Fund, founded in memory of her brother. Helen Gillet is a professional cellist performing and composing across New Orleans and beyond. She helped to organize the original March to City Hall that founded SilenceIsViolence.