Silence Is Violence

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National Crime Victims' Rights Week (Event Calendar)

Strike Tuesday

Date: Wed, Jan. 25, 2012

STRIKE AGAINST CRIME: Tuesday update

Thank you to all who supported the family of recent homicide victim Kedrick Morris during the memorial in his honor last night. Your presence and concern meant a great deal to the family.

This evening the Strike Against Crime continues with a special edition of our SilenceIsViolence Music Clinics, led by Shamarr Allen (Sound Cafe, 2700 Chartres Street). Some 50+ young people come each week to study music and positive expression with Shamarr and his band. This week, the artists of YAYA will also lead a "Peace Coconut" art workshop, creating hand-painted coconuts with an anti-violence message for Mardi Gras. The full schedule of Strike Against Crime Week activities is posted below, and available on our website: http://www.silenceisviolence.org/strike/ Today we also share the story of homicide victim Gervais Nicolas (16) and his family. Gervais was a junior at Cohen Senior High School when he was killed on Tulane Avenue on January 12, 2008. His mother had recently returned home from Lafayette and was deeply concerned about her children's safety once back in New Orleans. Gervais was a smart, active young man, and his family was determined to help him stay on track. Tragically, the streets took Gervais before he could even graduate from high school. Witnesses identified the shooters, who were subsequently arrested. These suspects have been in jail for the past four years.

During this time, Gervais's family has done everything they can to stay informed and engaged in his case. The case has had 10 different Assistant District Attorneys assigned to date. None of these ADAs has remained in close communication with the family, who regularly learn of continuances and other developments only when they show up in person, or a matter of hours in advance. Given that several family members still live out of town, and must take time off from work and travel in order to attend court, this is a considerable difficulty. The District Attorney's office last contacted the family 18 months ago.

Meanwhile, the case has taken a nasty turn, which Gervais's family learned about in the Times-Picayune. Detective Catherine Beckett, the investigating officer on the case, was fired in 2011 due to violations of department policy. Now one of the suspects is seeking to have the case thrown out on the basis of Detective Beckett's dismissal. Although the firing occurred several months ago, nobody contacted Gervais's family with this information.

Gervais's case is an unfortunate but common example of family experiences with the Orleans Parish criminal justice process. Strike Against Crime, January 23-28

Pre-Strike: Friday, January 20: 
Students from the Cohen High School SilenceIsViolence Peace Club counter the culture of violence through creative expression. Art House on the Levee, 4725 Dauphine Street, 10am-noon.

Strike Week Activities:

Monday, January 23:
 Crime Happened Here public awareness campaign begins. City-wide.

Memorial for Kedrick Morris. Bullard and Dwyer, New Orleans East, 6pm.

Tuesday, January 24: 
SilenceIsViolence Music Clinics and Peace Coconut painting session. Visual arts, word art, and music. SilenceIsViolence headquarters, 2700 Chartres Street, 5:30-7:30pm.

Wednesday, January 25: 
Public Forum: "Breaking the Code of Silence-Engaging in Solutions." Featuring Mike Quinn, Ursula Price, and the students of Clark School. Clark Prep High School, 1301 N. Derbigny Street, 5pm-8pm.

Thursday, January 26:
 Uptown Peace Walk, in memory of Eula Mae Butler Ivey and Ralph Bias, Jr. START: Harrell Park, Claiborne at Leonidas, 6pm.

Friday, January 27: 
Annual Victims Memorial, City Hall New Orleans, Noon.

Saturday, January 28: 
Community Picnic. Featuring Peace Walk by the Original Prince of Wales Social Aid and Pleasure Club; police vs. firefighters flag football match; face-painting by YAYA; bubble maker by the Louisiana Children's Museum; water courtesy of Breaux Mart; and king cake thanks to Whole Foods Market. Lyons Playground, Tchoupitoulas at Delachaise, 12pm-3pm.

For more information please email SpeakUp or call (504) 948-0917.