The following piece was originally posted on Nordette Adams’ blog, The Urban Mother’s Book of Prayers on May 30. She has graciously given permission to repost it here.
This is the photo I saw when I visited NOLA.com today. The caption says that a distraught woman is being carried after learning that a seven-year-old girl was shot during a birthday celebration (for a 10-year-old boy) “just before 6 p.m. on Tuesday, May 29, 2012. ” A girl, age 5, and a woman, 33, both died, and the birthday boy himself was grazed by bullets in the face and leg, according to the the Times Picayune, New Orleans’s primary newspaper. Early reports said that in total, five people had been shot, and you may read the full story at the Times Picayune/NOLA.com website. Since then, the death toll has risen.
The photo above unnerved me, but I still recognized that it illustrates one of the concerns of this blog, which is that mothers, wives, aunts, grandmothers–women who want their children and loved ones to survive–are repeatedly caught in the crossfire of rampant violence either as shooting victims themselves or through the loss. The photo, however, did not surprise me because I had already received a notice in email from WWL-TV reporting a “quintuple shooting.” According to WWL, the woman who died was Shawanna “Nonnie” Pierce, mother of three. She was not part of the birthday party; she was on her way to return a rental car.
In the this video , a woman shouts, “Enough is enough!” Who would disagree with her? Coincidentally, the family celebrating the birthday party were interviewed on television just a few years ago during an anti-crime rally calling for an end to the violence. Members said they hoped the rallies worked because something had to be done to stop the violence.
According to WWL, three people died and in total, nine were shot. From the station’s written account, here are some quotes:
“It’s time to end it. Enough is enough,” said Doris Stewart, the victims’ great aunt. “One baby dead, one laying in the hospital trying to survive.”
The mayor and police chief reacted with fury.
“Clearly the cowardice of these shooters must be and will be overcome by the will of the people of New Orleans. We do know that unfortunately when young children are hurt, people do come forward quick, and they come forward with good information,” Chief Ronal Serpas said.
“Both the chief and the commissioner and I and everybody else are calling on everybody who was out here. We’ve got to find these guys, and we’ve got to end this violence in the city of New Orleans,” said Mayor Mitch Landrieu.
The birthday party incident was the last of four shootings on a terribly violent day:
The picture to the left shows Brianna Allen, the 5-year-old who died. She had recently graduated from kindergarten. Brianna’s grandmother also mourns a son who was recently buried.
In other sad news, the City of Chicago experienced a plague of violence over the Memorial Day weekend. There, 40 people were shot and 11 are dead. Mayor Rahm Emmanuel said that there area a “set of economic issues” … and “a set of cultural issues” that feed into the violence that “we are not talking about.” I would say that this is also true in New Orleans, although I know some people get offended when anyone brings up the cultural issues that hurt rather than help. Perhaps we will soon be fed up enough with the cultural issues that factor into our destruction to talk about and address them with power and determination.