Stories

  "I like living here because all my friends from school live here too, so when I go to the park on the weekends I get to see them."

 

"I like living here because all my friends from school live here too, so when I go to the park on the weekends I get to see them."

"I was raised in Alsen, and Alsen was/ is a community of working class people, but very neglected. As my grandmother used to say, "A lot of good people have come out out of two-street Alsen." But because of conditions- and really the environmental factor- people move away. I remember meeting a lady who told me, "I was going to buy a house in Alsen but the water is poison. My realtor told me don't buy that house." She didn't realize I was from there. I have 3 acres, built the land up, had the contract ready, and it only appraised for $180k because of what they built around me.  I've heard people say that they'd like to see us bought out. I don't want to be bought out. I'd like to see them cease what they're doing, not allow any additional permits, and then see the area rezoned. I even worked on a project to see how to create a community redevelopment zone where people would get mini grants, upgrade their homes, and help bring some morale back. And maybe if one of us could get a comp from nearby Copper Mill, then it would be a domino effect. We just need one. Six months later, you get yours and so on..."

"I was raised in Alsen, and Alsen was/ is a community of working class people, but very neglected. As my grandmother used to say, "A lot of good people have come out out of two-street Alsen." But because of conditions- and really the environmental factor- people move away. I remember meeting a lady who told me, "I was going to buy a house in Alsen but the water is poison. My realtor told me don't buy that house." She didn't realize I was from there. I have 3 acres, built the land up, had the contract ready, and it only appraised for $180k because of what they built around me. 

I've heard people say that they'd like to see us bought out. I don't want to be bought out. I'd like to see them cease what they're doing, not allow any additional permits, and then see the area rezoned. I even worked on a project to see how to create a community redevelopment zone where people would get mini grants, upgrade their homes, and help bring some morale back. And maybe if one of us could get a comp from nearby Copper Mill, then it would be a domino effect. We just need one. Six months later, you get yours and so on..."

  "I work in one of the elementary schools as part of a well-known program. One day a student walked up to me and said, "I know you say you're going to be here, but people quit all of the time. I don't know if you're going to make it." So we ended up shaking on the promise that I would stay until at least the end of the year. It takes time for them to open up, and then they start to depend on you which really allows you to be effective in their lives. I want to honor that commitment. People come and they leave for many different reasons, but I make it a point to always be there for my kids. It's not really a pressure, but that is my motivation- to not let them down."

 

"I work in one of the elementary schools as part of a well-known program. One day a student walked up to me and said, "I know you say you're going to be here, but people quit all of the time. I don't know if you're going to make it." So we ended up shaking on the promise that I would stay until at least the end of the year. It takes time for them to open up, and then they start to depend on you which really allows you to be effective in their lives. I want to honor that commitment. People come and they leave for many different reasons, but I make it a point to always be there for my kids. It's not really a pressure, but that is my motivation- to not let them down."

"My sister had a heart attack. We didn't know that's what it was and thought it was just chest pains, but we went ahead and brought her to the hospital in Zachary. They told her she was having gas pains and sent her home. We ended up having to drive over thirty minutes to Our Lady of the Lake and come to find out that not only did she have a heart attack, but she also had pneumonia. That terrible little hospital in Zachary almost killed my sister, but people think that those of us in North Baton Rouge don't deserve a quality facility."

"My sister had a heart attack. We didn't know that's what it was and thought it was just chest pains, but we went ahead and brought her to the hospital in Zachary. They told her she was having gas pains and sent her home. We ended up having to drive over thirty minutes to Our Lady of the Lake and come to find out that not only did she have a heart attack, but she also had pneumonia. That terrible little hospital in Zachary almost killed my sister, but people think that those of us in North Baton Rouge don't deserve a quality facility."

"My son is a gentle giant but he's been getting bullied for months. I painted a picture in my head of a huge black kid bullying him but it turned out to be a little white boy. But MY child is the one that's going to be seen as a threat to society even if he becomes a doctor, lawyer, whatever. He can have a stethoscope around his neck and still be considered a threat. I have to sit and tell my children how to act with the police. 'Just no matter what happens, even if you did nothing wrong and you have to go to jail, go to jail. Just come home. No matter what, just come home.' And it pisses me off that my white friends don't have to have these conversations."

"My son is a gentle giant but he's been getting bullied for months. I painted a picture in my head of a huge black kid bullying him but it turned out to be a little white boy. But MY child is the one that's going to be seen as a threat to society even if he becomes a doctor, lawyer, whatever. He can have a stethoscope around his neck and still be considered a threat. I have to sit and tell my children how to act with the police. 'Just no matter what happens, even if you did nothing wrong and you have to go to jail, go to jail. Just come home. No matter what, just come home.' And it pisses me off that my white friends don't have to have these conversations."

"My son was shot in his own car in 2006. Someone shot the car from behind and it came through the car and the bullet went through his lower back and through his spleen and he bled out right there. He was 25. So every year we do community clean up work and put up signs in his honor at Fairfields and Plank Road where he was killed. In 2006 Governor Blanco declared July 7, 2006 'Brian Warner Clean-Up Day.' ...I had just talked to him earlier that day. I had no idea it would be the last time I ever saw him."

"My son was shot in his own car in 2006. Someone shot the car from behind and it came through the car and the bullet went through his lower back and through his spleen and he bled out right there. He was 25. So every year we do community clean up work and put up signs in his honor at Fairfields and Plank Road where he was killed. In 2006 Governor Blanco declared July 7, 2006 'Brian Warner Clean-Up Day.'

...I had just talked to him earlier that day. I had no idea it would be the last time I ever saw him."

"We do tutoring and after school programs 2:30-7:30 Monday through Friday, free of charge. We do community givebacks- any time, small or big, we try to cater to that need. When someone reaches voter age we are big on voter registration and voter education. We do the best that we can in every area we can. We started probation and parole where people can do community service with us, so people can do community service in their own community.  Now we have the facility to have community meetings and be a hub for the people around us. If anyone needs help in any aspect of life, they can stop here and if we can't help we will guide them in the right direction." (Part 2/2)  

"We do tutoring and after school programs 2:30-7:30 Monday through Friday, free of charge. We do community givebacks- any time, small or big, we try to cater to that need. When someone reaches voter age we are big on voter registration and voter education.

We do the best that we can in every area we can. We started probation and parole where people can do community service with us, so people can do community service in their own community. 

Now we have the facility to have community meetings and be a hub for the people around us. If anyone needs help in any aspect of life, they can stop here and if we can't help we will guide them in the right direction." (Part 2/2)

 
"The Resistance started in the wake of Alton Sterling and basically with this organization we tried to formulate a plan that was not only effective, but viable and could really work and make a difference. I was always the first one to be a naysayer but had yet to do anything about it, so I decided it was time to do something.  So we asked ourselves 'What works?' We know voter registration works. Working with the youth makes a difference. So we came together and decided to work with the youth, the elderly, everyone who needs it." (Part 1/2)

"The Resistance started in the wake of Alton Sterling and basically with this organization we tried to formulate a plan that was not only effective, but viable and could really work and make a difference. I was always the first one to be a naysayer but had yet to do anything about it, so I decided it was time to do something. 

So we asked ourselves 'What works?'
We know voter registration works. Working with the youth makes a difference. So we came together and decided to work with the youth, the elderly, everyone who needs it." (Part 1/2)

"You say you're colorblind but that means you don't see me. If you are ignoring someone's color, you are disregarding that person because you are ignoring the way that they have navigated their life. For you to disregard me being black you are disregarding my experiences and how I have lived and how I see things. You are totally ignoring my pain; you're saying how I see things does not matter."  

"You say you're colorblind but that means you don't see me. If you are ignoring someone's color, you are disregarding that person because you are ignoring the way that they have navigated their life. For you to disregard me being black you are disregarding my experiences and how I have lived and how I see things. You are totally ignoring my pain; you're saying how I see things does not matter."

 
"I grew up AME and they have a really rich history with social justice and social reform. It came out of Richard Allen who wasn't allowed to serve as a minister of the Methodist church so he started his own. We have a heavy emphasis on liberation theology which is where you see the gospel from the light of the oppressed. And in that you begin to see Jesus not just as the son of God, but a 33 yearold man of color born in a poor town to an unwed mother under the Roman regime which could be compared to the current American Empire. So when I am conversing with my white friends one of the first things I always ask is, "Who is Jesus to you?" because it speaks a lot about their experience and who they are and they're perspective on social justice off the bat... We have to start having real dialogues and conversations. We can't allow the voices of the oppressed to be silenced or erased. If we want to fight racism, sexism, misogyny then it's going to start in the church."

"I grew up AME and they have a really rich history with social justice and social reform. It came out of Richard Allen who wasn't allowed to serve as a minister of the Methodist church so he started his own. We have a heavy emphasis on liberation theology which is where you see the gospel from the light of the oppressed. And in that you begin to see Jesus not just as the son of God, but a 33 yearold man of color born in a poor town to an unwed mother under the Roman regime which could be compared to the current American Empire. So when I am conversing with my white friends one of the first things I always ask is, "Who is Jesus to you?" because it speaks a lot about their experience and who they are and they're perspective on social justice off the bat... We have to start having real dialogues and conversations. We can't allow the voices of the oppressed to be silenced or erased. If we want to fight racism, sexism, misogyny then it's going to start in the church."

"A lot of what we do here is education, creating support groups, allowing people to be people. No fluff, no rules, we are just going to love on you. We let the Word do the work. As pastors we do our best to walk it out, but ultimately people have to make the decision to apply the Word to their life. I no longer feel the need to change people, and most importantly I do everything in love. You can say the right thing the wrong way and the meaning becomes convoluted." (Part 1 of 2)

"A lot of what we do here is education, creating support groups, allowing people to be people. No fluff, no rules, we are just going to love on you. We let the Word do the work. As pastors we do our best to walk it out, but ultimately people have to make the decision to apply the Word to their life. I no longer feel the need to change people, and most importantly I do everything in love. You can say the right thing the wrong way and the meaning becomes convoluted." (Part 1 of 2)

"I have lived in 70805 for eighteen years. I moved down from Chicago where I lived in a white suburb, but I have never felt unsafe or in fear in my neighborhood... One of the biggest problems I have seen is police response time. One time my neighbor's house got broken into and I caught the guy and called the cops. I waited for what had to be thirty minutes and no one ever came, until I called back and threatened to take care of it myself. Then suddenly they actually showed up."

"I have lived in 70805 for eighteen years. I moved down from Chicago where I lived in a white suburb, but I have never felt unsafe or in fear in my neighborhood... One of the biggest problems I have seen is police response time. One time my neighbor's house got broken into and I caught the guy and called the cops. I waited for what had to be thirty minutes and no one ever came, until I called back and threatened to take care of it myself. Then suddenly they actually showed up."

"My daughter goes across town to school because where else is she going to go? With the exception of Lee and Baton Rouge High, there really aren't any other top choices- especially not where we live- and I think that might be by design. A lot of money was poured into those schools while the ones here are mostly inadequate. We have one school being remodeled now, but at a fraction of the cost spent on the others. Don't they feel our children and neighborhoods are worthy of the same investment? Luckily, we have a strong community and alumni base determined to support our students in ways that the system refuses to."

"My daughter goes across town to school because where else is she going to go? With the exception of Lee and Baton Rouge High, there really aren't any other top choices- especially not where we live- and I think that might be by design. A lot of money was poured into those schools while the ones here are mostly inadequate. We have one school being remodeled now, but at a fraction of the cost spent on the others. Don't they feel our children and neighborhoods are worthy of the same investment? Luckily, we have a strong community and alumni base determined to support our students in ways that the system refuses to."

"I believe if we begin to use sports, arts, and extra-curricular activities- not for kids just to participate in, but if we use these programs to gain access to the youth- we can become mentors, counselors, help with their education, teach them about community service and giving back, and just be a supplemental resource to do and be whatever that kid needs."

"I believe if we begin to use sports, arts, and extra-curricular activities- not for kids just to participate in, but if we use these programs to gain access to the youth- we can become mentors, counselors, help with their education, teach them about community service and giving back, and just be a supplemental resource to do and be whatever that kid needs."

"We see a lot of people stereotype our area, paint everyone with same brush. But there are plenty of people out there working hard, getting an education, trying to make liveable wages; not everyone is out there committing crimes. We are just out there trying to survive."  

"We see a lot of people stereotype our area, paint everyone with same brush. But there are plenty of people out there working hard, getting an education, trying to make liveable wages; not everyone is out there committing crimes.

We are just out there trying to survive."

 

"We have owned this store for twelve years we have seen kids come through and come back. We always nudge them to finish school and get into a good career and we work with the MLK Center to put the word out and help them get jobs. One thing that holds people back here is transportation. If the bus comes late then they're late to work, or they get to the other side of town and they can't get back because of when transit runs. Then there's education- not all the resources are available to them and they may not know about it unless someone tells them. We try and always let people know about the opportunities out there,even if it's on the other side of town."

"We have owned this store for twelve years we have seen kids come through and come back. We always nudge them to finish school and get into a good career and we work with the MLK Center to put the word out and help them get jobs.

One thing that holds people back here is transportation. If the bus comes late then they're late to work, or they get to the other side of town and they can't get back because of when transit runs. Then there's education- not all the resources are available to them and they may not know about it unless someone tells them. We try and always let people know about the opportunities out there,even if it's on the other side of town."

"I get frustrated that people think we choose to live the lives that we lead, that we are completely responsible for the detriment of ourselves. If you're starting on an empty tank of gas trying to drive cross country, it's just not possible. This idea that black people don't want to be educated or do want to be on government assistance, it's just not true. People say they love you and love your hair but when it comes to issues of inequity, suddenly they want nothing to do with you. And then when black people do well for themselves, they are demonized... Look at what has happened to Obama."

"I get frustrated that people think we choose to live the lives that we lead, that we are completely responsible for the detriment of ourselves. If you're starting on an empty tank of gas trying to drive cross country, it's just not possible. This idea that black people don't want to be educated or do want to be on government assistance, it's just not true.

People say they love you and love your hair but when it comes to issues of inequity, suddenly they want nothing to do with you. And then when black people do well for themselves, they are demonized... Look at what has happened to Obama."

"I've lived in this house for 17 years. Prior to that I lived in Dixie, but it's like that statement in Boyz in the Hood where we cannot be afraid to walk around in our own neighborhoods. I've never felt uncomfortable or unsafe living in North Baton Rouge. My neighbors all look out for each other; that's the strength of many communities is that bond that we share. With the flood, the impact has grown as far as deficit. A large percentage of the flooding in EBR happened in North Baton Rouge, so now we are building on deficit plus deficit. It's important to empower people with resources and information."

"I've lived in this house for 17 years. Prior to that I lived in Dixie, but it's like that statement in Boyz in the Hood where we cannot be afraid to walk around in our own neighborhoods. I've never felt uncomfortable or unsafe living in North Baton Rouge. My neighbors all look out for each other; that's the strength of many communities is that bond that we share. With the flood, the impact has grown as far as deficit. A large percentage of the flooding in EBR happened in North Baton Rouge, so now we are building on deficit plus deficit. It's important to empower people with resources and information."

"I have two sons and a daughter and there is not equal opportunity for them. My son is the first black person to graduate from his school in the welding program and everyone else in the class has gotten a job but he hasn't... My desire is that my children dream the same dreams that other kids get to. That's all."

"I have two sons and a daughter and there is not equal opportunity for them. My son is the first black person to graduate from his school in the welding program and everyone else in the class has gotten a job but he hasn't... My desire is that my children dream the same dreams that other kids get to. That's all."

"Our country started with the genocide of one race and the enslavement of another. People said Colin Kaepernick disrespected the flag by taking a knee, but the flag was built on murder and oppression and a lot of people like to overlook the truth of that."

"Our country started with the genocide of one race and the enslavement of another. People said Colin Kaepernick disrespected the flag by taking a knee, but the flag was built on murder and oppression and a lot of people like to overlook the truth of that."

"The police killed a man here and it makes me scared when people holler. But my brother protects me if I go outside by myself."

"The police killed a man here and it makes me scared when people holler. But my brother protects me if I go outside by myself."

"This is what it feels like to heard... It feels like being trapped inside a dark room with no windows or lights. There is a singular door locked from the outside. You scream but the room is soundproof; no one hears you. One day someone opens the door and the light rushes in, blinding you. Someone takes you by the hand and leads you. You look around and there's a room full of people that you never knew were there and you know that you are seen, that you are heard, that you are not invisible."

"This is what it feels like to heard... It feels like being trapped inside a dark room with no windows or lights. There is a singular door locked from the outside. You scream but the room is soundproof; no one hears you. One day someone opens the door and the light rushes in, blinding you. Someone takes you by the hand and leads you. You look around and there's a room full of people that you never knew were there and you know that you are seen, that you are heard, that you are not invisible."

"My sister taught school for thirty years in Germany. She got cancer and her co-pay for all her treatment and everything was only $5000, but if she'd been a citizen it would've cost her nothing. I'm a veteran and every time I go to the VA hospital I have to beg them to do what they need to do. It's messed up that after serving your country you have to come home and sleep under a bridge and can't get access to decent medical care."

"My sister taught school for thirty years in Germany. She got cancer and her co-pay for all her treatment and everything was only $5000, but if she'd been a citizen it would've cost her nothing. I'm a veteran and every time I go to the VA hospital I have to beg them to do what they need to do. It's messed up that after serving your country you have to come home and sleep under a bridge and can't get access to decent medical care."

"I think Baton Rouge is divided. When I lived in Georgia I went to a pretty diverse school, but here there's a bigger separation of black and white people." Kierre Marshall, The Futures Fund student

"I think Baton Rouge is divided. When I lived in Georgia I went to a pretty diverse school, but here there's a bigger separation of black and white people."
Kierre Marshall, The Futures Fund student

"I found out about this program while running away from the flood water. We heard about it on the radio and it's been a nice distraction. In the middle of school and homework and fixing the house, coming here has provided a great getaway and a way to escape. And I really love photography." -Tia Gray, The Futures Fund student Photo by: Samantha Williams, The Futures Fund student

"I found out about this program while running away from the flood water. We heard about it on the radio and it's been a nice distraction. In the middle of school and homework and fixing the house, coming here has provided a great getaway and a way to escape. And I really love photography."
-Tia Gray, The Futures Fund student
Photo by: Samantha Williams, The Futures Fund student

"I want to be an engineer. I like trying to find out how things work, and coding is learning the ins and outs of computers. So people have a problem with their computer, they call me, I fix the problem and I make a living." Jeremiah, The Futures Fund student

"I want to be an engineer. I like trying to find out how things work, and coding is learning the ins and outs of computers. So people have a problem with their computer, they call me, I fix the problem and I make a living."
Jeremiah, The Futures Fund student

"I want to be a film director. I am trying to get assistantships and other positions to get into the industry. I'm here because I'm a self-taught photographer and you can never learn enough." Samantha Williams, Futures Fund student Photo by: Parker Guarisco, Futures Fund student [[This week we will highlighting the incredible kids who are part of the The Futures Fund here in Baton Rouge. Photos will be of (and usually by) the students of this important program. Check out their social media and their website for more info!]]

"I want to be a film director. I am trying to get assistantships and other positions to get into the industry. I'm here because I'm a self-taught photographer and you can never learn enough."
Samantha Williams, Futures Fund student
Photo by: Parker Guarisco, Futures Fund student

[[This week we will highlighting the incredible kids who are part of the The Futures Fund here in Baton Rouge. Photos will be of (and usually by) the students of this important program. Check out their social media and their website for more info!]]

"We need a lot of change. Not all the officers are bad, but many mistreat us and talk to us any kind of way because they got a badge. One told me to 'Sit my fat black ass down' and I wasn't even doing anything." #BlackOutBR

"We need a lot of change. Not all the officers are bad, but many mistreat us and talk to us any kind of way because they got a badge. One told me to 'Sit my fat black ass down' and I wasn't even doing anything." #BlackOutBR

"I'm a chemical engineer, but I came today in support of what's going on. I want to make sure my city gets answers for the issues going on so we can move on and do better as a community."

"I'm a chemical engineer, but I came today in support of what's going on. I want to make sure my city gets answers for the issues going on so we can move on and do better as a community."

"People say we are lazy because we are black. I work the night shift and see tons of people coming through from work all the time. We pay taxes, so why can't we have what South Baton Rouge has? It's so disrespectful that we don't have a real ER on our side of town. Southern University students matter just as much as LSU students." (Photo by Tam Williams)

"People say we are lazy because we are black. I work the night shift and see tons of people coming through from work all the time. We pay taxes, so why can't we have what South Baton Rouge has? It's so disrespectful that we don't have a real ER on our side of town. Southern University students matter just as much as LSU students."
(Photo by Tam Williams)

"I went from working two jobs and having my own house to having nothing. The car wreck was July 31, 2015 and I worked until December when I started to go paralyzed. It was scary but I have faith in God. They told me I'd never walk again but the next day I was up and walking. But when the doctors told me I couldn't go back to work I cried like a baby."

"I went from working two jobs and having my own house to having nothing. The car wreck was July 31, 2015 and I worked until December when I started to go paralyzed. It was scary but I have faith in God. They told me I'd never walk again but the next day I was up and walking. But when the doctors told me I couldn't go back to work I cried like a baby."

"He's in a wheelchair but he likes to be independent. He used to sit around and play video games all day but I knew he just needed some attention. Now he plays on the swings and the monkey bars; he can see he's just as normal as everybody else." (Part 2/2)

"He's in a wheelchair but he likes to be independent. He used to sit around and play video games all day but I knew he just needed some attention. Now he plays on the swings and the monkey bars; he can see he's just as normal as everybody else." (Part 2/2)

"They gave me temporary custody but they played games with me, so I came back to Louisiana to get a job and get myself established. Within three weeks I had two jobs and within a month I got my own place for us. I fought for him for a year and just got sole custody three weeks before the flood. And then we lost everything." (Part 1/2)

"They gave me temporary custody but they played games with me, so I came back to Louisiana to get a job and get myself established. Within three weeks I had two jobs and within a month I got my own place for us. I fought for him for a year and just got sole custody three weeks before the flood. And then we lost everything." (Part 1/2)

"I got three things working against me: I need dental work, my size, and my color. But I'm a proud black woman and I don't let nothin' stop me. Never judge a book by its cover- especially this book." (Part 2/2)  

"I got three things working against me: I need dental work, my size, and my color. But I'm a proud black woman and I don't let nothin' stop me. Never judge a book by its cover- especially this book." (Part 2/2)

 

"I started doing housework and sitting work in 1989. My family is full of hardworking women. They all had more than one job and were strong black women. I was put on this earth to be a caregiver, to make people smile before they leave." (Part 1/1)

"I started doing housework and sitting work in 1989. My family is full of hardworking women. They all had more than one job and were strong black women. I was put on this earth to be a caregiver, to make people smile before they leave." (Part 1/1)