On MLK Day, kids offered safe haven from violence - FOX 8, WVUE, fox8live.com, weather, app, news, saints

On MLK Day, kids offered safe haven from violence

"MLK Skate for Peace"  (photo by Jessica Holly) "MLK Skate for Peace" (photo by Jessica Holly)

Metairie, La. - While New Orleans police were working the scene of a quintuple shooting in Central City, dozens of kids were lacing up roller skates in the name of peace. 

It wasn't a traditional gathering in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., but that is exactly why 9-year-old Diamond Walker and her cousins were there.

"He said no matter what the color of your skin is, he loves everyone." said Walker. "I like to write things about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr."

Diamond Walker wrote an essay asking for peace. "Young people are killing for little things such as words, schools, shoes and drugs," read Walker.

"The kids are 9 and 7 years old, thinking about violence in the city. That's shouldn't be," said Tamara Jackson with Silence is Violence.

Silence is Violence is hosting a series of events called Strike Out Against Crime. "We decided to have this event so kids can have a safe haven, as opposed to the parades, as we all know, usually end up in a shooting," said Jackson.

Not long after the annual Martin Luther King, Jr. March, five people were shot near the intersection of MLK and Lasalle. 

NOPD Superintendent Ronal Serpas was at the scene. "Any time we have an act of violence on Martin Luther King Day, it's really even a bit more sad, more sad for the young men who have lost their way," said Serpas.

Last year on this day, a woman was shot on Louisiana Avenue when a stray bullet went through her front door.  The year before that there were three separate shootings: Four people were shot, and three of them died.

New Orleans certainly isn't alone. On this day in 2009, there was a shooting at a Marrero playground, just as an MLK parade came to an end. Two people were shot, including an 11-year-old boy.

"Our message is there's a war going on outside that nobody is safe from," said Tamara Jackson. "The shooting today is an example that anyone can become a victim of violent crime."

And while this day at the skating rink was fun with family and friends for little Diamond Walker, she knows that's not what brings her here.

"We as a whole world need to pray more," she said.  "Let's stop the violence and walk in peace. Amen. Amen."

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