New Orleans Walk Against Gun Violence Commemorates Six Children Who Died Before They Were 12

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht

A walk in the memory of children who died from gun violence is being held in New Orleans on Sunday. “Walk a Mile for a Child” commemorates six children who died before the age of 12.

The event was organized to support protecting New Orleans youth from gun violence.

Organizer Wilbert "Mr. Chill" Wilson told the Times-Picayune public outrage calls for community intervention.

"We have to think in a proactive way" to support youth, he said, "not just finding the shooters and arresting them."

The walk will be attended by the mother of 1-year-old Londyn Samuels, who was shot and killed in her babysitter’s arms while on an evening stroll in her Central City neighborhood in August.

The walk commemorates Londyn, as well as 11-year-old Arabian Gayles, who died Sept. 2 when gunshot erupted in the street outside her home. She was shot several times as she slept in bed beside her cousin, who was also injured.

"I see these kids every morning walking to school," said Wilson, who owns a barbershop. "They're not there anymore. These are two kids that won't be walking to school," he said of Gayles and her cousin.

Briana Allen, 5, was shot with an AK-47 in 2012 when a gang member opened fire on a crowd of people gathered for a 10-year-old’s birthday party.

Toddler Keira Holmes was shot in 2011 less than a week before her second birthday. Gunmen were aiming to kill another man in her housing development.

Jeremy Galmon, 2, was killed by a stray bullet while sitting in his grandmother’s car in 2010.

Ahlittia North, 6, is also being honored. She was raped and stabbed inside her Harvey home. She was found days later dumped in a trash bin.

New Orleans Mayor Mitchell Landrieu, alongside Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, told the National Press Club this week that urban violence required national attention. 

"Every day, from before dawn to the stroke of midnight, on average 40 more of our fellow citizens will be lost, 40 more killed in the neighborhoods of America," Landrieu said, noting that since 1980 more Americans have been killed in urban streets than in all wars since World War I combined. "So, Mayor Nutter and I come to you today as generals during wartime," Landrieu said. "We are telling Congress, we need a surge on the streets of America."

Source: Times-Picayune,