Silence Is Violence

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National Crime Victims' Rights Week (Event Calendar)

April 5th Weekly Update!

Date: Thu, Apr. 05, 2007

>Hi, everyone-

>

>First of all, we want to say thank you to the musicians, children, and

>supporters who have come out for our Youth Music Clinics. The

>Wednesday evening clinics have been great, and we have reached

>children from all over the city during these few months. The onset of

>festival season marks the end of this first series of clinics, as our

>music coaches become busier and busier. We will restart the clinics

>later in the summer-and we will be sure to let you all know when to

>stop by again!

>

>Police-community relations:

>One of the major changes we called for during the January 11 March to

>City Hall was a revision of the relationship between New Orleans

>police officers and the community they serve. This means both

>recognizing and building upon positive aspects of the NOPD and

>demanding improvement where appropriate. On the first point, this

>evening Silence Is Violence will host the first of several police

>meet-and-greet events. These events will offer an opportunity for

>citizens and the police in their districts to get to know each other,

>for us to build connections with those members of the force who are

>our true partners and protectors against criminals.

>

>Today's reception will be held in the Fifth District. If you would

>like help planning a police meet-and-greet in your neighborhood,

>please write to us at SpeakUp@silenceisviolence.org; we will be glad

>to get involved. The details for tomorrow are:

>Meet and Greet your 5th District Police Officers

>Thursday, April 5

>5-7pm

>2700 Chartres St. (corner of Port St.)

>For more information call 948-0917

>

>Unfortunately, not all police officers are equally professional, and

>those members of the New Orleans Police Department who are not

>prepared to do their jobs properly are damaging the reputation and

>effectiveness of the entire force. In an effort to increase police

>accountability and to ensure that negative perceptions of the NOPD are

>focused on the few officers who are undermining the department,

>beginning this week Silence Is Violence will add two police corruption

>trials to the list of cases we are observing through our

>court-watching program. Thus we will be tracking five murder cases

>and two police corruption cases through the system.

>

>City Walks:

>The City Walks have been tremendously rewarding-and enjoyable-events.

>Our destination this past Sunday was Parkway Bakery and Tavern: Thanks

>to Jay at Parkway for the lovely reception, and to the Rebirth Brass

>Band for entertaining us there AND for participating in the walk

>beforehand! We will take this Sunday off (for Easter) but will

>recommence the walks next Sunday, April 15, starting back at Parkway

>at 7pm. The route will be posted next week.

>

>

>Tragically, the violent crime situation has intensified again over the

>past several days. Last week, when Pastor John Raphael of the New

>Hope Baptist Church had barely begun 30 days of preaching in the

>streets of Central City, he encountered a mother who had lost her

>17-year-old son, Antoine Williams, to gunfire the day before. As

>Pastor Raphael spoke with Tina Williams, her son's friends were

>gathering near her house, plotting revenge. Pastor Raphael and

>members of his congregation confronted the boys and dissuaded them

> from striking out against Antoine's murderers, thus perhaps saving a

>life that day.

>

>It is not easy to speak out, to step out, to reach out against

>violence in a city that is the murder capital of the United States and

>one of the bloodiest cities in the industrialized world. Yet if we do

>have the hope of saving one mother's son or daughter tomorrow and

>perhaps the next day, then all of this work is worth it. As New

>Orleanians we are blessed and burdened with a responsibility to save

>the children of the city that we love, however irrationally, and that

>has been so deeply wounded by both past and recent histories.

>

>Silence Is Violence represents one set of ideas and actions rooted in

>hope and faith in our ability as citizens to save our children and our

>city. We invite you to move forward with us as we pursue these ideas

>and actions, or to find your own path. Either way, let us all walk,

>undiscouraged, toward a safer New Orleans-

>

>Peace,

>Ken, Helen, and Baty

>www.silenceisviolence.org