September 21, 2007

When We Go Marching In

Tens of thousands of people marched in Jena Thursday to shine a light on the injustice done to six young men excessively charged, some charged with murder, for beating up a fellow student. Living in an environment that allowed a white-only tree, that called hanging nooses in that tree a prank, that allowed the DA to intimidate students and discourage them from speaking out about those nooses and that tree, that allowed white students to batter and threaten black students – possibly with a weapon – and not be similarly charged, the Jena Six deserved the attention of the marchers.

Countrymen and women, meet another group that deserves your attention. Meet the NOLA 148 and growing:
Corey Hayes, Cedric Johnson, Hilary Campbell Jr., Randall Thomas, Kevin Williams, Helen Hill, Jealina Brown, Steve Blair, Jeffery Santos, Chivas Doyle, Christopher Ruth, Tyrone Andrew Johnson, Ronald Holmes, James McGittigan Jr., Roy Warner Jr., Eldon Gaddis, David Crater, Daniel Allen, Chrishondolaye Lamothe, Tamara Gabriel, Robert Dawson, Michael Dunbar, Damon Brooks, Ivan Brooks, Alden Wright, Harrison Miller, Roy Grant, David Cagnalatti, Lionel Ware III, Aaron Allen, Josh Rodrigue, Herbert Preston, Byron Love, Ronnie Keelen, Mitchell Pierce, Kevin Pham, Kevana Price, Warren Thompson, Glynn Francois Jr., Sean Robinson, Larry Ramee III, Warren Simpson, Antoine Williams, Terry Despenza, Eldridge Ellis, Travis Johnson, Phillip R. Boykins, Charley Zeno, Carl Anthony McLendon, Terry Brock, Cleveland Daniels, Alexander Williams, Terry Hall, Dominic Bell, Gregory Singleton, Damont Jenkins, Troy Thomas, Artherine Williams, Keith Moore, Nicholas Smith, Eligio Bismark Espinoza, Daniel L. Prieto, Curtis Helms Jr., Troy Dent, Curtis Brenson, Michael Combs, Jay Landers, Mark Oneal, Corey Coleman, Emanuel Gardner, Edward Charles Balser, Arthur Dowell, Montrell Faulkin, Anthony Placide, Ernest Williams, Harry Heinzt Jr., Robert Billiot, Willie Simmons, Tammie Johnson, Larry Hawkins, Terrell Ceazer, George Hammond, Persale R. Green, Joseph Magee, Albert Phillips, Samuel Gonzales, Darryl Williams, Robin Malta, Jason Wynne, Jerrell Jackson, Christopher Roberts, Samuel Williams Jr., Jeremy Tillman, Jennifer Williams, Gary Walls, Arthur Jackson IV, Henry Newman, Johnny Martin III, Travan Coates, Jeffery Tate, Jerome Banks, Eric Fobbs, Keith Page, Adrian Davis, Paul Burks, Leon Williams Jr., Dallas Jerome, James Johnson, Anthony White, Dellshea LeBlanc, John W. Barrow III, Kevin Underwood, Pablo Mejia Jr., unidentified man, Thomas Jackson, unidentified man, Demond Phillips, Michael Phillips, Luong Nguyen, Anjelique Vu, Terry Johnson, Chauncy Smith, Cornelius Curry, Nia Robertson, Kadeem Wise, Percy Read, Freddie Davis II, Edwin Stuart, Corwin Shaffer, Julio Benitez-Cruz, Wilford Holmes, Perry L. Oliver, Donald Gullage, Kong Kham Vongvilay, Wisan Inthamat, Boon Roopmoh, Louis Heim, Brandon Snowton, Carnell Wallis, Thomas Dominick, Larry Gooden, Gerald Howard, Larry Butler Jr., Phillip A. Carmouche Jr., unidentified man, Aaron Harvey, Mario Anthony Green, unidentified man…
All of these people died a violent death in New Orleans this year. I count 148. The Times-Picayune says at least 150 people have been murdered.

I wanted to make the point that this, too, is an injustice. And that it disproportionately affects the African-American community.

But I couldn’t find the numbers to back that up, even though I am confident that by far the majority of those murdered in New Orleans are African-American, based on where the murders happen and my personal experience as a news photographer and seeing the murdered human beings myself. I get my information for this blog from media accounts, and the media does not think it is politically correct to reveal the race of the victim. Obviously, I disagree with this because I think race is part of the story.

The NOPD started off the year including the race of the victim in their press releases. But they stopped. It went from "This morning, members of the New Orleans Police Department are investigating the murder of a local 40-year-old African-American male" to "This morning, members of the New Orleans Police Department are investigating the shooting death of a 33-year-old local male."

I do know, of the NOLA 148, 140 were killed by a gun or guns. 135 were men. 97 were 30 years old or younger. 33 of those were 20 years old or younger.

148 murders 264 days into the year – a murder every 1.7 days, or basically a murder every other day. At that rate, we will end the year with 204 murders. If nothing changes, 56 more human beings will die a violent death on the streets of New Orleans. In a city with a population of 300,000, that comes to a murder rate of 68 murders per 100,000 residents.

That’s too many. It’s too much.

It’s worthy of a march.

Bring down your buses. Bring down your people. Bring down your t-shirts, your celebrities, your bottle water. Bring down your feet and wear comfortable shoes.

And join the people in the 9th Ward, the 7th Ward and Mid-City. Join the people in Gentilly, the East, and Hollygrove. Join the people Uptown, Downtown, and all around town.

From Central City to Carrollton, let us march on City Hall. From the French Quarter to the Bywater, let us march on Tulane and Broad. From the Marigny to Lakeview, let us march where we need to be seen, be heard, and be felt.

Maybe the Mayor will show up for this march, too.

This isn’t a city of 3,000. We are 300,000 strong. We are black. We are white. We speak English, Spanish, Vietnamese, and every other language you would expect to hear at a port. Including pirate.

If Jesse and Al come down with their crew, they might be surprised to see more of us here than them.

Even the Saints can come. Heck, let’s do it Monday night before the game. Monday Night Foot-All live from New Orleans. Are you ready for some marching?

Are you?

1 comment:

Clifton said...

I understand where you are coming from. I will attempt to explain this in the best way I can.