New Orleans, LA - Frustration is growing in New Orleans. SUNO's Student Government Association Vice President voiced her concerns Thursday morning during a rally. "Our black communities are suffering greatly from the injustices that our government is putting on us," said Ericka Evans. During the rallying, marchers shouted, "no peace, no justice."
People are expressing themselves in many different ways. Monday night, a person or persons expressed themselves by defacing three New Orleans monuments. The Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis and Battle of Liberty Monuments were splashed with paint.
The vandals also spray painted the names of three young black men who were recently killed by gunfire. Justin Sipp and Wendell Allen were killed in police involved shootings. Trayvon Martin was killed in Florida by a neighborhood watchman.
An anonymous online poster added these comments to pictures of the defaced monuments. "We mourn these young mens' deaths and strike out in retaliation against the system that brought them about... We want memorials to these fallen innocent youths, not to slave owners and racist mobs."
"The sprawling on the wall and other kinds of things are in many ways out of desperation for a lack of dialogue," said Charles Figley, a Tulane Professor of Psychology.
Dr. Figley says this is a dangerous time for police and for African-American men. "There is a theory within social psychology called Terror Management Theory. It essentially says that people act differently when they think they're going to die. And right now, Figley says both sides are in fear.
"There is growing suspicion, this growing theory about what 'they' will do," Dr. Figley told us. And he says the person or persons who defaced the monuments likely acted out of desperation and anger.
Anger is also what motivated Roy Pennington. Pennington owns High Pressure Cleaning Systems and spent the day removing the graffiti. "Why should some knucklehead with a $2 can of paint come out and deface city property? This is home, so I said I'm going to make this go away," explained Pennington.
But Dr. Figley says removing the graffiti doesn't do away with the real problem. "This is unprecedented as I see it and we are at a boiling point right now, " he said. "Everyone has to come together to talk about their frustrations and anger because what we're seeing now is a lack of that." He says he believes it's up to local leaders to find ways to spark dialogue and bring this community together.