Silence is Violence

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April 5th Weekly Update!

Date: Thu, Apr. 05, 2007 >Hi, everyone-
>First of all, we want to say thank you to the musicians, children, and
>supporters who have come out for our Youth Music Clinics. The
>Wednesday evening clinics have been great, and we have reached
>children from all over the city during these few months. The onset of
>festival season marks the end of this first series of clinics, as our
>music coaches become busier and busier. We will restart the clinics
>later in the summer-and we will be sure to let you all know when to
>stop by again!
>Police-community relations:
>One of the major changes we called for during the January 11 March to
>City Hall was a revision of the relationship between New Orleans
>police officers and the community they serve. This means both
>recognizing and building upon positive aspects of the NOPD and
>demanding improvement where appropriate. On the first point, this
>evening Silence Is Violence will host the first of several police
>meet-and-greet events. These events will offer an opportunity for
>citizens and the police in their districts to get to know each other,
>for us to build connections with those members of the force who are
>our true partners and protectors against criminals.
>Today's reception will be held in the Fifth District. If you would
>like help planning a police meet-and-greet in your neighborhood,
>please write to us at; we will be glad
>to get involved. The details for tomorrow are:
>Meet and Greet your 5th District Police Officers
>Thursday, April 5
>2700 Chartres St. (corner of Port St.)
>For more information call 948-0917
>Unfortunately, not all police officers are equally professional, and
>those members of the New Orleans Police Department who are not
>prepared to do their jobs properly are damaging the reputation and
>effectiveness of the entire force. In an effort to increase police
>accountability and to ensure that negative perceptions of the NOPD are
>focused on the few officers who are undermining the department,
>beginning this week Silence Is Violence will add two police corruption
>trials to the list of cases we are observing through our
>court-watching program. Thus we will be tracking five murder cases
>and two police corruption cases through the system.
>City Walks:
>The City Walks have been tremendously rewarding-and enjoyable-events.
>Our destination this past Sunday was Parkway Bakery and Tavern: Thanks
>to Jay at Parkway for the lovely reception, and to the Rebirth Brass
>Band for entertaining us there AND for participating in the walk
>beforehand! We will take this Sunday off (for Easter) but will
>recommence the walks next Sunday, April 15, starting back at Parkway
>at 7pm. The route will be posted next week.
>Tragically, the violent crime situation has intensified again over the
>past several days. Last week, when Pastor John Raphael of the New
>Hope Baptist Church had barely begun 30 days of preaching in the
>streets of Central City, he encountered a mother who had lost her
>17-year-old son, Antoine Williams, to gunfire the day before. As
>Pastor Raphael spoke with Tina Williams, her son's friends were
>gathering near her house, plotting revenge. Pastor Raphael and
>members of his congregation confronted the boys and dissuaded them
> from striking out against Antoine's murderers, thus perhaps saving a
>life that day.
>It is not easy to speak out, to step out, to reach out against
>violence in a city that is the murder capital of the United States and
>one of the bloodiest cities in the industrialized world. Yet if we do
>have the hope of saving one mother's son or daughter tomorrow and
>perhaps the next day, then all of this work is worth it. As New
>Orleanians we are blessed and burdened with a responsibility to save
>the children of the city that we love, however irrationally, and that
>has been so deeply wounded by both past and recent histories.
>Silence Is Violence represents one set of ideas and actions rooted in
>hope and faith in our ability as citizens to save our children and our
>city. We invite you to move forward with us as we pursue these ideas
>and actions, or to find your own path. Either way, let us all walk,
>undiscouraged, toward a safer New Orleans-
>Ken, Helen, and Baty