Tuesday, October 30, 2012

"Bounce Nation" Holds Protest at Local Radio Station, Station Management Threatens Arrest

Reposted from the Alliance Institute:

Supporters of bounce music culture rallied on Oct. 18th in front of 201 St. Charles, home of Cumulus Broadcasting and 102.9FM Radio, asking that station management reinstate the “Power Posse” morning show.

Recently the “Power Posse” was taken off the air to make room for the “Rickey Smiley Show,” a nationally syndicated radio program.  “We don’t oppose syndicated radio, however, we just want to keep our local musicians and artists working,” said Bounce Nation community organizer and bounce rap artist Crystal “Crowd Mova” Dixon.

Supporting local musicians and artists and keeping local jobs here in New Orleans should be a top priority of all groups, organizations, and companies doing business here in the city, said Dixon.

The Bounce Nation rally brought together bounce rap artists and supporters, as well as ministers from several local churches.

“We know that our future is inextricably bound up and linked with young people,” said Pastor Dwight Webster of Christian Unity Baptist Church, addressing the crowd gathered in front of the building entrance. “This bounce phenomenon is not something that’s going to go away, but the jobs are going away. If we don’t pay attention to what is necessary to keep the local jobs here and support the local efforts, we’re going to lose our young people.”

Bounce Nation collected over 1000 signatures from New Orleans youth and other bounce music supporters calling for the reinstatement of the “Power Posse” morning show. In addition to being the only local morning radio show targeting New Orleans Youth and Bounce Culture, the “Power Posse” promotes local artists who in turn create jobs for youth and positively contribute to the local economy.

Bounce Nation representatives attempted to turn in the petitions and a letter to the 102.9 program director at the Cumulus Broadcasting office on the 2nd  floor, but were barred from entering by building security personnel. The head of security said that Cumulus management did not want to let Bounce Nation and rally participants inside the suite and refused to accept the petitions, and then asked the contingent to leave the building altogether or risk being arrested.

Bounce Nation is a youth empowerment project of Alliance Institute that uses bounce music culture as a way of helping young people establish a voice for themselves and impact the future of New Orleans.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Librotraficantes Mark Opening of New Latino Cultural Space in Central City

From a press release from friends of the Librotraficantes:
Join the Librotraficantes for an evening of contraband prose at Casa Borrega, 1719 Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard, Friday, November 2, from 7-8:30pm.

Imagine the New Orleans School Board banning African American books. Well, the equivalent of this happened just this year in Tucson where the Latino population is comparable in size to that of the African Americans in New Orleans.

In January 2012 the Tucson Unified School Board banned Mexican American ethnic studies. This means no history, prose, fiction or other forms of Mexican American culture can be taught in the schools.  This includes classics like Bless Me Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya and The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros. This anti-constitutional book ban is part of a curriculum change to avoid “biased, political and emotionally charged” teaching. In response to this law, the Librotraficante Caravan to Smuggle Banned Books Back to Tucson grew and blossomed into a movement. In March of 2012, the group organized six cities, smuggled over 1,000 “wet-books” donated from all over the country, and opened four Under Ground Libraries.

According to their website, “The Librotraficante movement is the tip of the pyramid. It stands on the base created by its parent organization Nuestra Palabra: Latino Writers Having Their Say. Nuestra Palabra has been promoting Latino literature and literacy in Houston, Texas since 1998. “

The original Librotraficante and founder of Nuestra Puebla is professor and writer Tony Diaz, the author of novel The Aztec Love God, which was selected as the 1998 Nilon Award for Excellence in Minority Fiction. Ishmael Reed called Diaz “Relentlessly brilliant.”  Diaz has just completed his second novel The Children of the Locust Tree.

According to the New York Times, “Mr. Diaz is the impresario behind an inspiring act of indignation and cultural pride.”  Tony explains, “My first job as a child was to translate the outside world for my parents. Now, I translate our culture for the rest of the world.”

Tony and fellow Librotraficantes Liana Lopez and Bryan Parras are travelling the country to raise awareness sharing their mind altering prose, news, and writing-before it is confiscated.

With its growing Latino population, Greater New Orleans has been desperately in need of a gathering place to celebrate the cultural life of this important ethnic group. Casa Borrega intends to fill the gap, and this event serves as a sneak preview for the venue, which will open later this year.

Casa Borrega will have an altar installed to celebrate Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead).

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Inmates at Angola Prison Complain of Excessive, Unrestrained, Frequent and Unjustified Use of Chemical Agents on Prisoners

From a letter sent today by the ACLU of Louisiana:

October 25, 2012

Dear Warden Cain:

In the past few months, the ACLU of Louisiana has received numerous allegations of excessive or unjustified use of chemical agents, such as OC (oleoresin capsicum), upon inmates at Louisiana State Penitentiary (LSP). We write to bring the issue to your attention, and to request that you provide us LSP’s policies on chemical spray use, investigate the matter and immediately correct any unlawful practices.


Specifics vary, but the theme of each account is the same: with increasing frequency and decreasing restraint, corrections officers at LSP are using chemical irritant upon offenders in inappropriate ways. The spray is not being used sparingly to discipline unruly or disobedient inmates, but gratuitously to punish offenders who pose no threat and are engaged in lawful activity.

For example, in several complaints, inmates state that chemical spray was discharged into their locked, unventilated cells and left to linger there, forcing them to breathe the acrid fumes for hours at a time. They add either that they were not given opportunities to decontaminate, or that decontamination followed only many hours later - in some cases only when the trapped inmates were in respiratory distress and required medical attention.

Inmates also allege that they were sprayed for complaining about minor problems, such as not being allowed to shower during a regularly-allotted bathing time; or for requesting emergency medical assistance; or for minor incidents such as failing to clear the cell floor of water that had spilled from a blocked toilet. Inmates state that on several occasions, Without instigation, they were taken in groups to the showers, stripped naked, doused with pepper spray and simply returned to their cells Without explanation.

Perhaps most seriously, quite a few inmates complained that they were sprayed in retaliation for filing administrative grievances, and in some cases were specifically told by corrections  that they would be sprayed again unless they withdrew their complaints.

Law Regarding Pepper Spray Use

As you are aware, the law does not permit use of chemical agents upon inmates for purely punitive or malicious purposes - use must be justified either by disciplinary need or a threat to security. Indeed, the federal courts of both Louisiana and the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal have specifically addressed some of the factual scenarios we describe above. For example, the Fifth Circuit on more than one occasion has held it unlawful to spray inmates who are confined to a cell and pose no threat to corrections officers. Chambers v. Johnson, 372 Fed. Appx. 471, 473 (5th Cir. 2010); Johnson v. Dubroc, 3 F.3d 436 (Sth Cir. 1993) (Eighth Amendment violated where an isolation-tier inmate who loudly called out to another inmate
from inside his cell was sprayed in the face, treated and allowed a shower and change of clothes, but then was returned to his still-contaminated cell).

Similarly, the Middle District of Louisiana has stated that chemical agents cannot be used against inmates maliciously or for no apparent reason. Causey v. Poret, 2007 WL 2701969 (MD. La. 2007) (Eighth Amendment violated Where officers maced, choked, and kicked inmate in the shower  removing him from the kitchen area, where he had been accused of looking at a female officer).

Likewise, the Middle District has recognized excessive force where corrections officers pepper­sprayed an inmate after commanding him to take off all his clothes and locking him in a segregation cell, where he then became argumentative but still posed no threat. Young v. Huberl, 2008 WL 2019576 (M.D. La. 2008).

And of course, retaliation against an inmate for filing a grievance is unlawfull in any form, including retaliation by chemical spray, as it violates the First Amendment. Morris v. Powell, 449 F.3d 682, 684 (Sth Cir. 2006) (prison officials may not retaliate against a prisoner for exercising his First Amendment right of access to the courts or to complain through proper channels about a guard’s misconduct through the grievance process).


All of the scenarios we have listed above seem to be increasing in frequency, and all cross the line into excessive force, and therefore violate the Eighth andfor First Amendments. We therefore request the following:

(1) That you investigate the use of chemical agent at LSP to ensure that such use comports with applicable regulations, state and federal law;
(2) That you immediately curb any unlawful chemical spray practices at LSP and take all measures necessary to ensure that such practices do not recur including training all appropriate personnel on the lawful use of chemical agents;
(3) That you provide this office with a report of your investigation, including a report of any remedial or corrective measures taken; and
(4) That you provide this offìce with a copy of all guidelines, rules and regulations applicable to chemical spray use at L-SP3.

I will expect to hear from you within 48 hours. Please do not hesitate to Contact us if you have any questions. I look forward to your response.


Marjorie Esman

Reflections on the Protest at Walter L. Cohen High School, By Parnell Herbert

While in Houston TX. to attend a convention on reparations I began receiving phone calls, text and email messages describing a situation back home in New Orleans. It appeared that juniors and seniors at Walter L. Cohen walked out of school on Thursday October 4, 2012. Students say they are “Tired of the lies and misrepresentations” of New Orleans Recovery School District (RSD) administrators and Future is Now (FIN), a national charter school organization. The last straw was RSD Superintendent Patrick Dobard’s decision to fire Cohen’s principal, his staff and several teachers who students say they had grown to love and look upon as members of their Cohen High School family.

Students say that decision, coupled with Dobard’s unilateral decision to turn over governance of Cohen’s 11th and 12th-grade classes to FIN was the final straw and prompted them to walk out and refuse to return to class until a list of demands were met. Student Demands appear basic and reasonable to some, while unacceptable to others.

As a community organizer I wore my Peace Keepers shirt and spent the entire day with the students, parents, and other organizers. Monday October 8th was probably the coldest day since last winter. At 8:00AM students braved the cold in their school uniforms prepared for class they anxiously gathered around the front door of their school to hear the decision of school administrators.

When administrators offered access to the building but failed to address their demands, students refused to enter. Administrators retreated to the inside of the building and soon returned to offer the protesting students access to the school’s library to escape the cold. Students declined the offer. Some began chanting “NO, NO. WE WON’T GO.” They all laughed at the imitation 60’s chant as I realized they had no idea of how similar they were to the movement of the 60’s.

During the half hour we lingered in front of that door, students selected five facilitators. We decided to shift our headquarters to the corner and warmth of the sun. One of the adults suggested we get chairs from the school for the students to sit. As I walked with him to request the chairs we were met by Dana Peterson, one of Dobard’s assistants. We asked him who we would need to speak with to get the chairs. He said “They will probably say no.” I asked Peterson why they would say no to chairs when they invited the students into the library earlier. He replied “That was to get them into the school. He became irritated as I charged “You mean you were using the warmth of the library to lure the kids into the building?” He appeared irritated at my charge and said “You can phrase it however you want to.” As he turned and started to walk away we noticed students walking out of the school with stacks of chairs to bring to their classmates. He then relented “Obviously you can” as he stormed away.

As the day progressed more parents and organizers began to arrive. Later neighbors, Cohen alumni and other concerned citizens joined us. More puzzle pieces were discussed. Some questioned why would this RSD superintendent sell these Cohen High School juniors and seniors to FIN? Others theorized; FIN has acquired John McDonough High but fell short in their commitment to enroll 300 students as their current enrollment is closer to 100. By acquiring Cohen’s 120 juniors and seniors FIN gets closer to the needed 300 students although the students would remain housed at Cohen they would be added to FIN’s head count which would bring FIN closer to their million dollar payday.    

Several retired teachers arrived to hold class with the students who were eager to resume the process of learning. Around noon the students, who were amazingly well disciplined and controlled, were obviously growing cold, tired, hungry and confused. We all were. But much of the student’s confusion was intensified by administrators planting false seeds into their minds as they attempted to turn the students against their adult supporters.

Chad Brousard introduced himself to organizers as a Breaux Bridge resident who was brought in as principal of John McDonough and later shifted to Cohen. Brousard began with what sounded like a canned speech about students exercising their rights to protest as our ancestors had done…  he said he wanted to speak with the students in small groups. We asked in the spirit of transparency if he would speak with them as one group, they were all assembled just a few yards away in front of our faces. He agreed to do so but turned back as we approached the students. We later found that he had somehow managed to get a few students into the library and had them sitting at a table writing out a list of demands.

We asked administrators if they planned to feed the student’s lunch. They said the students were welcome to eat lunch inside, in the school cafeteria. The large majority of students declined the invitation. Adult supporters hurriedly worked it out and bought food and drink for the children to eat.

A group of seven or eight boys huddled near a car decided to break ranks with their classmates. They walked around the other students and headed to the door. One of the teens tapped Brousard who was standing near the door who immediately followed them inside.

After a half hour another organizer and I went into the school library where we found some of the boys seated while eating doughnuts. A group of FIN teachers were lounging on the other side of the room. The students told us they had gone inside the school because they were concerned and wanted to study for the test they would soon have to take in order to graduate. My colleague then demanded the teachers to relinquish their seats and to begin the process of educating the students. They hurriedly complied.  

As the cameras assembled for the scheduled 3:00PM press conference a woman (some say she was an obvious provocateur) was sent to disrupt by accusing an organizer of betraying the students by working for the RSD. Again the awesome students held their composure and proceeded with their press conference as scheduled.

Many of the students remained seated and composed after the press conference because they intended to remain for the RSD scheduled meeting with parents and students.

An obviously nervous Superintendent Dobard convened the meeting by telling the students “We as adults like to keep doing things as before…” as to imply they were being manipulated by their adult supporters. He informed us all that “A contract has already been signed.” He promised the students that “All seniors and juniors will graduate from Cohen High School from this building.”

He said “I made a decision because I could not standby to watch students not being educated,” He threatened that “Staff will be available to work on transfers tomorrow for students who want to transfer elsewhere.” He responded to shouts from students regarding books “We will address books.” When students complained about ceiling tiles on one side of the cafeteria designated for New Orleans College Prep (a charter school that shares the building with Cohen) and missing tiles on the Cohen student’s side of that same space he said “We will evaluate the ceiling tiles.”

Adults in the audience became disruptive and started yelling complaints to him. I could not hear the questions but I did hear his responses which were “I will work on that and I will address that.”

As I spoke to students to ask for clarity on some of their complaints I learned that they do not have individual books and must share books in the classrooms. When they need to go to the restroom they must go to the office to request toilet paper. I began to reflect on my days in the Orleans Parish school system during the Jim Crow era. We did have toilet paper in the restrooms and every student had a full set of books although most of them were handed down out dated books from white schools when they became tattered, worn and too old for white students. I began to wonder if we were better off during Jim Crow days. Now that African Americans hold executive positions in our education system are we now in “Tom Crow Days?”

One former teacher (Black male) said he holds a master’s degree and was fired by State Superintendent John White who has a bachelor’s degree. He further stated that proven certified teachers are being replaced with uncertified/under qualified teachers. Upset adults went off again when Dobard responded with “Everything is not about qualifications.”

A newly fired Cohen teacher became emotional when he spoke. He said “I was hired on Friday, my first day was Monday, I was evaluated on Tuesday and fired on Wednesday. Students later rushed over to embrace their teacher and assure him that everything will be alright.

An adult supporter who spoke directly to Dobard spoke of a West bank girl who lives six blocks from Landry High School but has to awaken at 5:30AM to be bussed to a school in New Orleans East. He told Dobard “You are guilty of Black on Black Crime.”

The meeting ended abruptly when many of the frustrated students stood up and angrily walked out. I found it ironic that in today’s world with all of the anti-bullying campaigns that a school system would so BRUTALLY BULLY children placed under there care.    

Parnell Herbert is a recently returned New Orleanian who was previously displaced to Houston by Hurricane Katrina. He is active on many social justice causes, including the right of return for New Orleanians, and freedom for the Angola Three. His new play, Angola Three, has been performed in New Orleans and other cities.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Students at Walter L. Cohen High School Walk Out to Protest Firings of Teachers

From a press release from students and their allies at Walter L. Cohen High School:

See below for the students' demands - written by the students on October 7, and revised by the students on October 10.

See video from protest at Recovery School District offices here.

Students at Walter L. Cohen in New Orleans began a walk out/protest on October 4th, 2012 when their teachers and administrators were dismissed and the announcement was made that Future Is Now Charter (Steven Barr, formerly of Green Dot in California, and Gideon Stein) would be taking over the governance of the school.

This is against the firing of Cohen teachers and administration and the take-over by Future is Now (FIN) charter. Decisions about the governance of the school, including New Orleans College Prep being housed in Cohen's building, must be reversed and remade to include students and parents of Cohen. Cohen students and parents must be made a part of all decisions about Cohen.

Press Conference
Monday, October 8, 3:00pm
Walter L. Cohen High School
3520 Dryades Street, New Orleans, LA
Contact:  Elizabeth Jeffers at 504.237.3741 or Katrena Ndang at 504.701.8783

Official Demands Written by Walter L. Cohen Students on October 7, 2012 (edited to reflect changes made on October 10):

1. Resources and Building repair for Walter L. Cohen High School.
- Photos of building providing evidence of different conditions between NOCPREP and Cohen

2. Graduate Exit Exam (GEE) and End of Course (EOC) waivers given caused by disruption learning.
Students must not be penalized for missing seat time until our demands are met.

3. Students cannot be bought and sold. This situation is very frustrating and opinions should have
been considered, and not done behind closed doors. Walter L. Cohen students and parents
demand real “CHOICE” to determine the governance of the school. Any previous decisions made
determining the governance of Cohen should be reversed and required to go through parent/
student/teacher/administrator committee. If the decision is to return the school to Walter L.
Cohen under Orleans Parish School Board (OPSB), New Orleans College Prep students will be
welcome. All current students graduate from Walter L. Cohen.

4. This type of hostile take-over did not just begin with Cohen; it has been going on since the weeks after Hurricane Katrina.

5. The Recovery School District (RSD), Future is Now Schools (FINS), and New Orleans College Prep Charter School (NOCP) do not have our best interests at heart. These administrators have their
educations, and yet when we are so close to completing high school, they decide to make this
unexpected decision.

6. ALL Teachers, administration and faculty must be retained. Any faculty member from school
year 2012-2013 fired must be reinstated. We need written documentation demonstrating why
any faculty members were dismissed. We need written documentation of any reprimands of
faculty members. In the future, if a faculty member is to be dismissed, written documentation
and a plan must be created and followed.
ALL teachers and administrators must be fully certified by the state of Louisiana (which
must be documented online at TeachLouisiana.net). Out of State Certifications are

7. Data from New Orleans College Prep, Cohen, and Future is Now Schools must be made available concerning the following information:
- Student testing history
- Suspension / expulsion data
- Police reports
- Attrition rates for students and teachers
- Graduation rate data
- Post-secondary data (admission statistics for graduated seniors)

We, the students of Walter L. Cohen Senior High School, need the RSD, FINS, and NOCP to listen to us. This is a crisis, and everyone should listen. This is real, and it is happening to us right now.

New Orleans cannot be a city with all charter schools. Charter schools do not admit or keep all students.

No unnecessary suspensions and expulsions for students in New Orleans. We need official handbook with policies concerning retention of students developed by parents, students and teachers citywide.

Image above: A handwritten list of demands by Cohen students posted to the school wall Monday afternoon. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Obama, Romney, and Race(less De)Baiting
, By Rosana Cruz

Reprinted from the Bridge The Gulf blog:

While Romney and Obama dance around race, the Gulf Coast continues to suffer devastating racial disparities, worsened by the government's inaction

New Orleans finally came up this week in the presidential contest – in a soundbite about race and the government's response to Hurricane Katrina. But before anyone gets too excited – the soundbite won’t do a thing to support our struggles for justice, equality, and safe, healthy communities on the Gulf Coast. It won’t help us build affordable housing, it won’t strengthen our struggling school systems, and it won't help reform our corrupt police departments. Our brief reemergence in national prominence won’t address other regional challenges that could desperately use national concern and intervention – not damage from Hurricane Isaac, the staggering mass incarceration of African Americans in Louisiana, coastal land loss, nor the ongoing health disaster wrought by BP’s oil.

Instead of talking about these very real and pressing racial disparities, the presidential campaigns on both sides have turned talking about race, and (barely) acknowledging racism, into the political version of the cooties.

We watched Obama-opponents use Katrina as a political football this week. A conservative website “released” a video from a 2007 speech by then-Senator Obama, in which he said things that most of us on the Gulf Coast don’t find too scandalous – that the federal government’s response to Katrina “tells me that the people down in New Orleans, they don’t care about as much.” But because the message was delivered to a Black audience and because it displayed the slightest acknowledgement that racial injustice is a national problem, conservatives used it, two days before the first presidential debate, to reiterate their idea that in "post-racial" America, any and all talk about race is divisive (especially when coming from people of color).

On Wednesday, we watched President Obama take the “post-racial” bait in a “post-racial” debate. In a 90-minute debate about the economy, neither the President nor Mitt Romney made a single mention of race, let alone discuss a plan to address the yawning economic and racial disparities in America.

While both parties take a cowardly and opportunistic approach to talking about race, the entire Gulf Coast, especially poor communities and communities of color, bear the brunt of very real racial disparities, which we need our next President to acknowledge, talk about, and fight.

Here’s just one conversation we can't have if our President won't talk about race: A conversation about the Stafford Act, which legislated how the government responded to Hurricane Katrina, and how it responds to all national disasters. In the supposedly inflammatory 2007 video of Obama talking about Katrina, he implies that the federal government applied the Stafford Act unequally – by waiving the requirement that local governments match a percentage of the federal funds after 9/11 in New York, but not on the Gulf Coast after Katrina.

What Obama didn't say is that the Stafford Act, even when it is upheld and used to the full benefit of disaster victims, still falls short. Survivors have no rights to the most basic emergency medical care or food. The government has total discretion whether and how to spend funds in the wake of a disaster. As Advocates for Environmental Human Rights has been arguing since Katrina, disaster survivors in the United States would have many more rights and protections if we adopted principles used by the United Nations which ensure the right to recovery for people in similar situations in foreign countries. Adopting a rights-based approach to disaster recovery would benefit all communities in the U.S., not just communities of color.

Obama wasn’t saying any of this in that 2007 speech. He wasn’t calling for what we really need - a change in the Stafford Act. He was simply calling for the equal application of the Stafford Act. Now, in this 2012 political contest, even that position is being recast as extreme. This is the dynamic of how we talk about race. Over the past few decades, real conversations about race have been pushed underground. It’s gotten even worse in “post-racial” America, when even the most basic calls for racial equity made by Senator Obama of 2007 are being cast as extreme for President Obama of 2012.

 This public discourse on race is incomplete and dishonest, and it doesn't bring us closer to a more democratic and inclusive America. On the Gulf Coast, it doesn't bring us closer to justice or recovery.

Until 2008, we had never had a President who could have seen himself reflected in the faces of people stranded on roof-tops after Katrina, or in the bodies shot down on the Danziger Bridge. When Senator Obama voiced his anger over the Stafford Act and the government’s response to Katrina, he showed he was someone who could empathize with our experience in New Orleans and on the Gulf Coast. Since 2008, our President seems be too hamstrung  to do much with that empathy, and he has shied away from even talking about racial equity. In 2012, empathy and understanding are just too politically risky.

Ultimately, it’s on us to push both candidates to be more honest, and it starts with being honest ourselves. We must tell our stories – about our lives, our experiences, and how they've been shaped by racial inequity and injustice. We must acknowledge people's suffering and anger, and insist on remedies that address root causes.

In New Orleans, on the Gulf Coast, and in communities across the country that were excluded or ignored in the debate this week – we can’t let our experiences be reduced to soundbites for someone else’s political gain. That means saying we still have a race problem, and that problem continues to fester each day we, our elected officials, and the media, buy into the fantasy of post-racialism.

Rosana Cruz is Associate Director of VOTE (Voice Of The Ex-offender). Previously Rosana worked with Safe Streets/Strong Communities and the National Immigration Law Center. Prior to joining NILC, she worked with SEIU1991 in Miami, after having been displaced from New Orleans by Katrina. Before the storm, Rosana worked for a diverse range of community organizations, including the Latin American Library, Hispanic Apostolate, the Lesbian and Gay Community Center of New Orleans, and People's Youth Freedom School. Rosana came to New Orleans through her work with the Southern Regional Office of Amnesty International in Atlanta.

Jasmine Groves Invites Community to Memorial For Victims of Police Violence

This letter from Jasime Groves comes via the New Orleans Independent Police Monitor:
From Tragedy to Triumph: Advocating for your family and community after a Police Shooting

Kim Marie Groves Homecoming Memorial


You are cordially invited to the 18th Annual Memorial for Kim Marie Groves and Families of People lost to law enforcement excessive force. In 1994, my mother was brutally and senselessly murdered for speaking out against police corruption, but I know she is one of many others who have not seen the justice as my family has. Len Davis is on death row, but how many other families never got their day in court or even an explanation of what happened to their deceased loved one?

We all deserve better and I believe we have the power to win better treatment for ourselves, our loved ones and our entire community. Every year, I hold a public memorial to honor my deceased mother, Kim Marie Groves, on the date of her death. My relationship with the Independent Police Monitor has inspired me to expand that memorial to remember the hosts of others lost. Also, I think we can do more than just remember our loved ones. We can change the rules of the game so that others won't have to suffer as we have.

Join us at Forstall Park (on the corner of Lizardi and Marais) on Saturday October 13th from 1:00- 5:00 PM. We will enjoy performances from local artist and the Red Hawk Hunters as well as hear from the family members of people like Henry Glover, Ronald Madison, and Adolph Grimes.  Come out and  Remember our lost loved ones, Celebrate their lives and Empower ourselves to build a safer, stronger community.  A flyer is attached. If you have any questions, please call me at 504-645-7690.

Thank you in advance for your leadership and support.

Jasmine Groves