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The mission of the Silence is Violence (SIV) is to call upon both citizens and public officials to achieve a safe New Orleans across all communities. We engage youth in positive expressions and actions to counter the culture of violence. We demand respect for every life, and justice for every citizen in our city.
Silence Is Violence (SIV) addresses the dire issue of violent crime in the greater New Orleans area. Each act of violence disturbs and, often, devastates entire families, neighborhoods, spiritual communities, and schools. There is no simple solution to this problem, but SIV believes that progress can be and has been made by taking a broad view of its causes and effects. Recent scholarship and years of on-the-ground experience have informed our view of violence as a public health epidemic. We approach our work as Health and Human Services providers, and offer a range of programs to offer both preventive and palliative care.
Young people exposed to violence at a young age, especially after repeated exposure, may come to view it as a normal part of daily life. This desensitization contributes to the kind of cyclical violence prevalent in New Orleans. Schools in areas with the highest rates of violent crime often lack the social services needed to counteract students’ exposure to these traumatic events. Young New Orleanians need to learn strategies for coping with the prevalence of violence, and their communities need more resources to engage them in positive forms of expression. Our Peace Clinics have evolved to address these needs. We have found that creative expression, positively channeled and nurtured in young people, can be profoundly therapeutic.
Silence Is Violence directs writing and art clinics at various times during the school year, and also provides an after-school program in music for students aged 7-13.