Local teens team up to organize peace rally against violence




Posted on April 13, 2014 at 4:54 AM

Updated Sunday, Apr 13 at 5:00 AM

Jaclyn Kelley / Eyewitness News
Email: jkelley@wwltv.com | Twitter: @jkelleyWWL

NEW ORLEANS - In the aftermath of many shootings and murders in New Orleans, we often hear that more needs to be done to help young people escape the cycle of violence. Saturday, teens from De La Salle and Archbishop Rummel High Schools took matters into their own hands.

Just this week, two teens were arrested and charged for a home-invasion on Panola Street. Police say the teens, ages 17 and 19,  are responsible for tying up and robbing two female Tulane college students.

It's the latest round of violence and crime in the metro area, but now it has some local high schoolers saying enough is enough.

"You don't have to be directly affected by violence to realize there is a need to do something about it," said De La Salle High School senior and event organizer Julien Purpura.

"What this is for, this event, is to tell young people to get involved in their school community and organizations," said De La Salle High School senior and event organizer Shelby Boyd. 

Students from De La Salle and Archbishop Rummel High Schools joined forces and planned this peace rally. Students say it is a call to action and a way to get the community to team up against violence.

Now, local leaders like Archbishop Gregory Aymond have taken notice of the student-lead initiative.

"Sometimes we wonder when we are teaching and preaching, if people are hearing," said Archbishop Gregory Aymond. "Well we know for sure and we are very proud of the fact that these young people have heard the message"

De La Salle High School graduate and U.S. Attorney Kenneth Polite was also there to show his support for the students. He says he likes the message these students are sending to all the teens in the city.

"That message is that our young people individually and collectively are taking a stand to change our world," said Polite.

"We are praying, but we are acting," said Aymond. "We are making people aware of what's going on, but we also want to be apart of the solution."

A solution that Aymond says starts with the future leaders of our community.

During the rally, U.S. Attorney Kenneth Polite announced his first community service initiative as U.S. Attorney and Saturday he encouraged students to take part by signing a pledge to guard against gun violence.