Silence Is Violence

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Strike Against Crime (PDF)


Date: Wed, Jul. 11, 2007

Dear Mayor Nagin,

Six months ago, you stood and listened while the citizens of New Orleans told you how we felt about the violent crime crisis in our city. We were gratified when, following the January 11 march and rally, you announced that violent crime would become your number-one priority in your job as mayor. We are not satisfied, however, with the manner in which you have followed up on this announcement. We were particularly stunned, after six months of near-silence from you on the subject, to hear your cavalier comments made on July 7th. Pinning some of the blame for the slow recovery on the high crime rate that you have refused to address, you added, metaphorically, “At some point in time, you as citizens of New Orleans have to say, ‘Enough is enough, we’ve got to get together, and we’ve got to fire our bullets at the right targets.’”

The citizens of New Orleans have had enough. And we have said so time and time again. We continue to lose neighbors, children, parents and loved ones every day to the crisis in our streets. We have asked you to respond as the city’s leader and role model, and you have given us silence and apparent indifference.

We are calling on you today to reinvigorate your resolve to deal with violent crime in your city. As you stood and listened to us on January 11, we invite you to Speak Up, and we will listen.

Next Tuesday, July 17, at Sound Cafe in the Marigny, we will hold a special edition of our Youth Music Clinics as a tribute to victims of violent crime and a renewal of our promise to our young people to build a safer city. We invite you to join us for this event. We hope you will share with us on that occasion your perspective on the past six months, and your vision for a safer future for our youth. The audience will be full of the young New Orleanians who need your leadership most of all.

We hope you will join us at 6pm next Tuesday evening. We look forward to hearing your thoughts and plans as we seek to move, unified in civic pride and solidarity, toward a safer New Orleans.

Ken Foster Baty Landis Helen Gillet Nakita Shavers