Silence is Violence

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Date: Wed, Jan. 26, 2011

Earlier this week, we as New Orleanians witnessed with horror a Martin Luther King Day that tragically defiled that visionary leader’s name. Monday, January 17 was scarred by shootings, many of them fatal, across our city. The beginning of 2011 overall has been reminiscent of the bloody month of January 2007, when thousands of us marched together, unified by grief, to the steps of City Hall. There, we demanded that our leaders do more to protect and respect every life in our city—and the SilenceIsViolence movement was founded.

Four years later, we still hurt. We still mourn—we mourn Dinerral Shavers, Helen Hill, and all whose lives were lost in those dark days that closed 2006 and opened 2007. And we mourn hundreds of fresh losses, as violence continues to rob us of sons, sisters, fathers, neighbors, and those with whom we never had a chance to become friends.

Next week, during the third-annual Strike Against Crime week, we renew our call for an end to senseless killing, and our call for compassion and respect for victims in our city. With energetic new leadership in City Hall, there is reason to sound our concerns—and our demands—with renewed hope and fervor. We have invited our leaders to take part in the Strike Against Crime and hope to work with many of them next week.

The idea of the Strike Against Crime is to take time out from our ordinary routines to address the problem of violence in New Orleans. Between January 24 and January 29, SilenceIsViolence will sponsor vigils, memorials, community meetings, Peace Walks, and youth outreach events. Watch our website,, for evolving details. We hope that each of you will join us during these events, or choose actions and expressions of peace that are meaningful to you. Send us your plans, and we will post them as well.

On Friday, January 28, victims and victim-survivors of violence will convene at City Hall, as we do each year, to remember the lives lost to violence in New Orleans during the past year. We call upon concerned citizens to wear red on that day wherever you are, in memory of those slain in our city. And by speaking, at City Hall, the names of those murdered, we hope to re-ignite the spark of community determination to make 2011 the year in which peace gains a foothold in New Orleans.

Please join us next week as we renew our commitment to work for peace in our city.