In an effort to halt the recent rash of violence in our community, a candlelight vigil will be held Friday, June 24, 2011 at 7:00 PM on the front lawn of the Percy Hebert Building. The purpose of the vigil is to call attention to the seriousness of the recent problem and encourage residents to band together to “stop the violence” in St. John the Baptist Parish.
In recent months, incidents of irrational violence have occurred resulting in the loss of several lives in our community, which prompted Councilman Julien to call for a candlelight vigil. This is a call to action for residents to defend their neighborhoods and band together to assist the sheriff’s office in solving these crimes and preventing retaliatory actions. Out of concern for the recent increase in violence, Parish President Natalie Robottom stated, “St. John is experiencing a wave of immorality, with no distinction between right and wrong. These senseless murders and shootings are evidence of the total disregard for life that is plaguing our community. It’s time to say, No MORE.”
Although the violence only escalated in recent months and appears confined to certain areas, its impact is felt by residents throughout the parish. Subsequently, all residents, family, and friends are invited to attend the candlelight vigil Friday night. “This violence has shaken ‘our community’ to its core and crosses social barriers, racial barriers, and religious barriers. It has to stop, said Councilman Charles Julien.”
According to Sheriff Wayne Jones, keeping St. John a safe place to live is his number one priority. Sheriff Jones stated, “I strongly support the candlelight vigil and encourage citizen participation. Combining individual efforts into one united front amplifies the efforts of making our community safer for everyone.” This sentiment was echoed by District Attorney Tom Daley, who also supports the vigil. “Illegal use of handguns is our community’s most pressing public safety problem. We must unite around one strong message, ‘STOP THE SHOOTING’. Too often, witnesses are unwilling to give information to the authorities concerning illegal gun use fearing retaliation. We must stand strong together and oppose gun violence; it is a choice between good and evil and good must prevail. Tell your friends and family, leave your guns home. If you witness someone illegally discharging a gun, call the police immediately,” stated Daley.
Everyone is encouraged to participate in this community effort aimed at putting an end to senseless violence. Candles and candle holders will be provided at the vigil Friday night.