Silence is Violence, the activist group that led the Jan. 11, 2007 march on New Orleans City Hall, is trying it again tomorrow with a series of events that acknowledge what we all know: 2009 in New Orleans has gotten off to a particularly crappy start. More info on SIV's Web site, but here's the schedule:
Tomorrow, January 9, 2009, we will Strike Against Crime, voicing community-wide condemnation of violent crime in New Orleans and memorializing those whom we have lost to the violence. We call upon citizens, businesses, and city government to pursue policies and programs that spread peace through our neighborhoods and our city as a whole.
Community-led efforts and activities will be going on across town throughout Friday and Saturday. The following major activities will bring coordinated peace and social justice messages to downtown, uptown, and City Hall:
10am: Peace Motorcade, beginning at the intersection of North Claiborne Avenue and Gov. Nicholls Street. Nakita Shavers will lead this motorcade in memory of her brother, Dinerral Shavers, and Helen Hill, the two artists whose 2006 murders led to the founding of SilenceIsViolence.
12 noon: Victims memorial, steps of City Hall. We will read the names of all New Orleanians lost to homicide during the past year. Citizens and elected officials, including District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro, will participate in the memorial reading of the names. We invite any New Orleanian who mourns the loss of our citizens to join us in this annual memorial.
6pm: Procession and Vigil for Ja'Shawn Powell. Led by the city's Social Aid and Pleasure Clubs. Gather at New Hope Baptist Church, 1807 La Salle Street, at 6pm for prayer; walk to the corner of Jackson Avenue and Danneel Street; candlelight vigil in Van McMurray Park.
In addition, please WEAR RED on Friday to show your respect for victims of violence and your pledge to work toward peace in New Orleans.
I don't know. I admire the work of Silence is Violence, and this is no disrespect to them, but it feels like thousands of people marched on City Hall two years ago, demonstrated and organized ... and, through no fault of theirs, nothing changed. I guess we have to keep trying, but the Ja'Shawn Powell murder seems to have thrown some pretty battle-scarred friends of mine for a loop, and the murders and the marches and the murders and the marches are all beginning to feel like Groundhog Day.