NEW ORLEANS – On Friday, Mayor Landrieu, New Orleans Health Department and the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) held its first NOLA FOR LIFE youth-police dialogue as part of an effort to engage with youth on violence prevention and help young people understand the role of NOPD in their communities. Youth-police dialogues provide participating students with an opportunity to break down stereotypes, remove communication barriers and build mutual respect and understanding.
“Through NOLA FOR LIFE, we are committed to giving our young people the tools and resources they need to end the culture of violence on our streets,” said Mayor Landrieu. “Now more than ever, we need our community leaders, educators, service providers, law enforcement and business leaders to join us and take these efforts to the next level. We all have a responsibility to do more and this first NOLA FOR LIFE youth-police dialogue is a great place to start. I am urging all New Orleanians to join us in this fight so that we can better promote a positive environment for our young people and give them the bright future they deserve.”
This first NOLA FOR LIFE youth-police dialogue brought together over 60 students and 10 NOPD officers aimed at breaking down stereotypes while building mutual respect and understanding. Students from the following New Orleans schools participated: Paul Habans Charter School, KIPP New Orleans Schools, St. Augustine High School, Crescent Leadership Academy and ReNEW Accelerated High School. The dialogue took place at the Rosenwald Recreation Center at 1120 South Broad Street in the B.W. Cooper neighborhood.
“We are doing everything we can do to prevent youth violence. This dialogue creates a conversation between our young people and our officers to develop a mutual respect and breakdown stereotypes to deter youth violence,” said NOPD Superintendent Michael Harrison. “We hope it allows the young people to understand NOPD’s role in their community and to feel safe around police. I thank our officers for their service to the City of New Orleans and for participating in this dialogue with our youth.”
“Violence is a public health issue and is preventable, not inevitable, just like a host of other health issues,” said Charlotte Parent, Director of the New Orleans Health Department. “Engaging our young people is key to preventing violence in their future and the City’s.”
Models for youth-police dialogue have been implemented with success in a number of cities, including Boston, Minneapolis, Chicago and Philadelphia.
Those interested in participating in future dialogues should contact Damekia Morgan at firstname.lastname@example.org.