April 24th Weekly Update!
Date: Thu, Apr. 26, 2007
April 24, 2007
This Thursday and Friday afternoon, we encourage all of you to visit the New Hope Baptist Church in Central City, where Pastor John Raphael has coordinated an amazing month of neighborhood canvasing and community prayer. Friday will be the final day of the program, and city officials will be on hand to congratulate Pastor Raphael on his remarkable influence over his beleaguered neighborhood. The night before Pastor Raphael's walks began, young Antoine Williams was shot and killed just a few blocks from the church, one among a tragically high number of violent deaths to occur in this district in recent months. Yet since that day, there has not been a single murder in the area. We would like to recognize the impact of Pastor Raphael's activism on this statistic and to continue to support his work in the community.
On Thursday and Friday, beginning at 5pm, community members will depart the New Hope Baptist Church (1807 LaSalle St.) and fan out through the neighborhood with trash bags, cleaning the streets in a symbolic cleansing of the district's spirit as well. At 6pm on each evening, citizens will convene at the intersection of St. Andrew and South Robertson streets for a brief prayer circle.
Pastor Raphael has been an inspiration for the SilenceIsViolence organization since its inception, and we must let him know how important his presence is to the entire city by supporting his efforts in Central City. Please make every effort to join us on Friday evening at 6pm for the culmination of a month-long accumulation of hope in a neighborhood that had been one of the city's darkest points.
Our own SilenceIsViolence City Walks are about to benefit directly from Pastor Raphael's leadership and wisdom. Following a two-week hiatus (due to repeated requests in consideration of Jazz Fest), we will re-establish the City Walks with his help. The Walks will continue to link neighborhoods in our city, blending the aim of citywide solidarity with an increased focus on specific areas that need the kind of psychological and spiritual shift now occurring in Central City. Pastor Raphael has generously offered to collaborate with SilenceIsViolence as we develop the City Walks program, adding a spiritual dimension and helping us to find ways in which we can have the greatest impact in our communities.
On a different note, thank you to all who attended last week's extraordinary program at Douglass High School with actress and author Victoria Rowell. Ms. Rowell was scheduled for one hour, stayed for two, and ultimately had to be pulled away to race to another scheduled event. Her advice to the students was inpiring and tough, and her book, The Women Who Raised Me, has been seen circulating the Douglass halls ever since. Students are eagerly anticipating the remaining weeks of the literature-oriented program. Future sessions are not open to the public, but we will give you a report at the conclusion and hope to share some of the students' literary responses with you.
Finally, please keep all victims of violent crime in your thoughts and prayers this week in honor of National Crime Victims' Rights Week, as we continue to work toward a city that does not tolerate a single violent death. We'll be gearing up with more activities and actions once the busy Jazz Fest season has passed.
Have a safe and fun Jazz Fest.