ALGIERS, La. – After a weekend of violence on the West Bank, a group of mentors want your help, to help curb the violence one child at a time.
One mentor explained how he helps teens understand discipline and respect.
"'You aren’t talking back to me, so why are you talking back to your mama?" said Tory Davis, 38, a life-long resident of Algiers. “It was the discipline part. I would say, 'How can you love me and not love the woman who gave life to you?"'
His group of long-time Algiers residents is speaking out about what's causing the crime in their neighborhoods, and how they are working to change the violent way of life.
It is a group that loves each other, New Orleans, Algiers and the potential each child possesses. However, they said they hate what crime is doing to all that they love.
"We start getting these young men to start realizing that it's not cool to be that gangster,” Davis explained. “We start getting these young ladies to start realizing that, no, it's not cool to like that boyfriend. You think just because he smokes weed and keeps a gun that he's cool? Well, what about that guy who's in class every day doing what he's supposed to?"
David is a member of the Algiers Mentors Group (AMG). It is made up of parents, school coaches and teachers who teach youth how to score with a ball and in life.
"We become an extended family and that helps out,” mentor Skip LaMothe said. He is the head football coach and a teacher at Helen Cox High School.
“I know I'm fussing all the time and I'm on y'all case and I'm gonna stay on it,” LaMothe told a 15-year-old football player. “I'm going to stay on because you know what? Life can be cold blooded."
The group Mother-2-Mother is also joining in.
"Fear is not an excuse to not stand for what's right,” said Ashonta Wyatt of Mother-2-Mother. “My son is 10 and because his life matters, I will not sit on the front pew of anybody's church and let people grieve over my kid at 17. I refuse.”
They said it starts with drugs.
"That is a serious problem,” said Davis. “That's a serious addiction and of course they do anything to get the drug so that's where the crime starts."
He added another issue is a generational turf war that started in the 1990’s.
"These young guys that's just killing each other don't even know half the guys that were murdered in the 90s,” said Davis. “But all they know is, ‘I hate Algiers. I hate the Fischer. I hate the Cutoff,’" said Davis.
Daivs said guns laws have no meaning and are bought out of trunks of cars.
"A lot of them are passed on for years,” he explained. “A lot of guns, guys have gotten real good at cleaning guns, knowing what forensics are now, so you have guns that have been on the street for almost seven, eight years."
The groups mission is teaching discipline, respect of authority and how to set education goals.
"It's a beautiful place, with beautiful people and smart, awesome people,” said Davis.
“We have to start getting that love and that true New Orleans culture back into the city."
The Algiers Mentors Group is fundraising by raffling for two tickets to the Beyonce' concert at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome September 24.
The group also invites everyone to the Algiers Peace Summit and March taking place Sunday, July 10, at 4 p.m. at Behrman Stadium.