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'We are the future' | Students start 'NOLA LOVE' movement to fight violence

"We have a lot of kids in our community that have great talent and can reach a high potential."

NEW ORLEANS — When New Orleans made headlines as the homicide capital of the country, a group of high school students took it as a call to action.

Their work manifested today as the "NOLA LOVE" rally.

It all centers around a pledge.

Thousands of New Orleans students came together to change the culture of violence in their city. And it all starts with them.

"I will strive for greatness every day! I will strive for excellence in my home, community and school," the thousands of students said in unison. "I will inspire my family, peers and colleagues to end youth violence and crime in our city. I will be the change agent that inspires my school and city. I am NOLALove and will love myself! I am powerful and beautiful!"

Highschool students at Inspire NOLA schools created the NOLA Love initiative. It's an expansive plan complete with a mission statement, guiding principles, pillars and a pledge all focused on making sure community youth feel seen and heard.  

"We have a lot of kids in our community that have great talent and can reach a high potential," Jidyn Smith, a junior at Eleanor McMain said. "If we do this we can bring attention to those kids."

The main goal was to motivate students and ensure they all have a responsibility when it comes to crime involving our youth. 

That violence hits home for most of the students there. Just this week, a 17-year-old was shot and killed on Carrolton Avenue. A few days later, a 16-year-old was killed in a hit-and-run crash in the Desire neighborhood.

"We need to do this. The City of New Orleans needs to do this and I'm happy all the schools are here today," Keith Patterson, a senior at Eleanor McMain High School said. "We are the future. We can do this. We can stop the violence."

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