Silence Is Violence asked me to serve on their advisory board, and of course I said yes. I went to the first meeting last Monday night, and I have to say it was one of the most uplifting meetings I’ve been to all year.

I met Linda Tapp, better known to the world as Soulja Slim’s mom. (If you’re not into hip-hop, you should know that Soulja was a local star who was murdered several years ago in front of his mother’s house.) She’s also a founding member of the Ladybug Steppers Social Aid and Pleasure Club.

I met an FBI agent, who had some very interesting things to say.

And I met James Carter of the New Orleans City Council. He was talking about a program which looks at crime mapping from a different angle. Instead of concentrating on where crimes take place, it looks at where the neighborhoods where incarceration rates are particularly high. Then resources are concentrated on improving opportunities in those areas. This is obviously a long-term strategic approach rather than a short-term tactical one.

But most inspiring and invigorating of all, was the presence of so many positive young people. I don’t remember all their names, except for Nakita Shavers, Dinerral’s sister. She’s on her way back to college now. She deferred last semester after her brother’s murder, to stay in New Orleans and work with Silence Is Violence.

Big props to Baty, a New Orleans native who is able to bring a diverse array of people together and accomplish so much with so little.

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