Silence is Violence

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SilenceIsViolence partners with many community businesses and organizations to bring uplifting and thereputic events to our community.

March 21st Weekly Update!

Date: Thu, Mar. 22, 2007 March 21, 2007

Hi, everyone:

This weekend, SilenceIsViolence is proud to inaugurate our City Walks: weekly evening strolls from one New Orleans neighborhood to another. These casual walks are designed to nurture bonds among neighborhoods and to strengthen our solidarity and focus in the fight for our city. The first City Walk will take place this Sunday, March 25, between 7 and 8pm. It will begin in the Marigny (Sound Cafe) and end in the Seventh Ward (Seal’s Class Act). The total distance is 2 miles. All New Orleanians are invited, but residents of the Marigny and Seventh Ward are especially encouraged to walk, to meet us at the end of the route, or to step out onto your doorsteps and greet us as we walk by! Next week, we will meet back at Seal’s and walk into a new neighborhood.

The full route for this Sunday is as follows:
START: Sound Cafe (corner of Port and Chartres St.), 7pm. Walk up Port St. to N. Rampart; turn left onto N. Rampart St. Proceed across Elysian Fields to Touro St.; turn right. Turn left onto St. Claude Ave. and proceed to St. Bernard Ave. Turn right onto St. Bernard; continue under the Claiborne Ave. overpass; veer right onto A.P. Tureaud. Turn left onto N. Miro St. STOP: Seal’s Class Act (corner of Aubry and N. Miro). A small reception will be held at Seal’s with music by the Hot 8 Brass Band. Transportation back to Sound Cafe will be provided.

As for our ongoing projects, the Public Access TV spot with Mayor Nagin has been postponed until next week due to changes in his schedule. We will definitely keep you updated on the date and time that it will air. We continue to meet with various members of the city leadership as we seek new opportunities for citizen action and for cooperation with our government.

To this end, yesterday we met with District Attorney Eddie Jordan and two of his Chief Assistant District Attorneys (George Bourgeois and Ralph Brandt) for several hours. We came away from this meeting with some specific commitments on each side:
1. The District Attorney’s office will recommence the recording of witness assistance, protection, and cooperation and the correlation between witness participation in a case and the prosecutorial success of that case. These records will be made available to the public in a format that will help to clarify the importance of witness participation; to sharpen the DA’s sense of responsibility to protect and assist witnesses; and ultimately to increase witness participation in violent criminal cases in New Orleans.
2. On our side, SilenceIsViolence pledged to help seek both private and public support of witness protection, in both the financial and logistical realms. As we begin to define opportunities for such support, we may be calling on the businesspeople among you to contribute whatever resources you have access to. During our meeting Mr. Jordan acknowledged outright that witness protection is solely his responsibility. But until his office demonstrates a readiness to provide this protection on a level that makes New Orleanians feel more comfortable coming forward, we as a community must seek opportunities to stem the culture of silence in the face of violent crime that is proving so fertile for criminals.
3. We mutually agreed upon the need for a case procedural manual for the layperson. Mr. Jordan pledged the full participation of his office in the creation of this manual. It will be a guide for citizens who would like to follow the basic workings of the criminal justice system on a case-by-case basis and will form a complement to formal court-watching programs by providing individuals with the tools to track cases through the media, the criminal sheriff’s docket master, and the public information that the DA has promised to provide on an ever-increasing level. Through these means, the criminal justice case procedural manual will contribute to greater confidence in the system.
4. Finally, on the topic of court-watching, we outlined with Mr. Jordan a list of target areas for our observations that can be most helpful to his office. As such, our findings in these target areas will be submitted to his office on a regular basis. Some of you have already contacted us to volunteer as court watchers. If anyone else is interested in court watching, please write to us, as opportunities for participation will broaden later this week.

Finally, we want to let you all know about an upcoming evening with James Bernazzani, our Regional Director for the FBI. Mr. Bernazzani will speak to SilenceIsViolence and several other grassroots organizations on the topic of crime in New Orleans. He will present his perspective on the current crisis and will offer guidance for citizens who want to be part of the solution. All of you are invited. Here are the details:
Citizens for 1 • Coast Guardians • Levees.org • Silence is Violence • Women of the Storm
Invite you
to a discussion and update with
Jim Bernazzani
Regional Director for the FBI

Thursday, March 29
6 p.m.
Audubon Tea Room
Magazine Street in Audubon Park


Be sure to check out our new website, where thanks to the help of David Blanchet of Climax Designs you can now submit photographs, thoughts, or other memorials to victims of violent crime and can learn the latest about SilenceIsViolence programs.

And please do join us in the Marigny and the Seventh Ward this Sunday evening, as we lay positive, energetic claim to our sidewalks in the name of our neighbors and our neighborhoods.

Walk With Us!