Silence Is Violence

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June 5th Weekly Update!

Date: Tue, Jun. 05, 2007

Hi, everyone...

We have two events this week to tell you about. One is the

culmination of the first semester of our Program for Peace in our

Schools. This Wednesday, June 6, we will host SPEAK UP: A Showcase of

Words, Music, Art, and Actions, from 4 to 7pm at Sound Cafe (2700

Chartres St.). Students from Douglass and Rabouin High Schools will

present creative works, utilizing aesthetic expression to address,

both directly and indirectly, their own reactions, responses, and

alternatives to violence. The event is free and will serve as the

first in a series of SPEAK UP events designed to spotlight non-violent

and anti-violence aesthetic expression among the youth of New Orleans.

Details:

SPEAK UP: A Showcase of Words, Music, Art, and Action

Featuring works by the students of Rabouin and Douglass High Schools

Wednesday, June 6

4-7pm

Sound Cafe (2700 Chartres St. at Port)

947-4477

No cover; donations to Program for Peace in our Schools accepted

In addition, on Thursday, June 7, we will hold our next

SilenceIsViolence City Walk. Starting back at the New Hope Baptist

Church, where Pastor John Raphael was our exceedingly gracious host

last week, we will walk through Central City, across St. Charles

Avenue, and into the Lower Garden District. The complete route

follows and, as always, is available on our website,

www.silenceisviolence.org: START: New Hope Baptist Church, 1807 LaSalle St., 7pm sharp! From in

front of the church, walk up Felicity St. to Simon Bolivar. Turn

RIGHT onto Simon Bolivar, LEFT onto St. Andrew St., RIGHT onto S.

Saratoga, and LEFT onto Josephine St. Follow Josephine to Magazine

St.; turn LEFT to Sophie's Ice Cream Parlor, 1912 Magazine St.

Sophie, the proprietor, has arranged a banjo player to entertain us

over our sweet rewards, and SilenceIsViolence will sponsor FREE ice

cream cones for kids under 12! As always, transportation will be

provided back to the starting point between 8 and 9pm. As many of you know, yesterday the FBI released crime statistics for

2006 and the news was not good: New Orleans topped the list of most

murderous cities. And violent crime is on the rise nationwide. This

is particularly true in large cities, which have seen an increase of

6.7% in the murder rate compared to 2005. Looking at the stats by

region, only the Northeast was spared and the greatest increases were

seen in the west. But these statistics should not be used as comfort

or excuse. We need to continue our work within our own communities in

order to turn it around. When we formed SilenceIsViolence in January, our goal was to focus the

attention of our city leadership onto the critical problem of violent

crime in New Orleans. On January 11, by means of the March For

Survival, we walked straight to the door of our elected leaders and

demanded that they turn their ears upon our voices and their eyes upon

our anguish and their resources upon solving the problem of violent

crime in New Orleans. The response from most of our leaders has been

decisive and sustained, and we take pride in the small but significant

decrease in local violent crime that began to take hold in late

January, 2007. Yet we also quickly recognized the importance of

citizen outreach, citizen intervention, and a gradual but insistent

citizen-led shift in the psychology on our streets. We must, within

our communities and sometimes within our homes, replace of a culture

of suspicion, intimidation, and violence with one of respect,

education, and long-term prevention. This is why we designed the

SilenceIsViolence City Walks, which draw together neighbors and

neighborhoods and reaffirm our common determination to render New

Orleans safer and more liveable. It is why we designed the Program

for Peace in our Schools, which invites the school-age children who

exist in the midst of the most excruciating and debilitating local

violence to join our citizen coalition in pursuing alternatives. We invite you to join us through support of both of these programs.

Without letting up an ounce of pressure on our leadership or a decibel

in our demands that they do their jobs in protecting us, we must do

our own part to shape a more civil and secure city. The SPEAK UP

showcase taking place this Wednesday marks the culmination of our

current Program for Peace session, but during the 2007-2008 academic

year we will conduct committed, year-long programs in six New Orleans

Recovery District high school and two middle schools. If you cannot

attend the event this Wednesday, please comtribute funds toward next

year's sessions through our website, www.silenceisviolence.org (a

Paypal donation button is at the bottom of the home page). And please

join us on Thursday, whether for the entire walk from Central City to

the Lower Garden District or for ice cream at Sophie's at the end of

the route. If we are to continue holding our leaders accountable, we

must also demonstrate that we are doing our part as citizens, delving

into the streets and the schools and turning our neighborhoods around

from the ground up.

Be safe, send your thoughts, and work for

Peace,

Ken and Baty