Posted: Jan 20, 2014 9:10 PM by Ryan Naquin
Updated: Jan 21, 2014 7:34 AM
BATON ROUGE - Mayor Kip Holden had choice words for the African American community during his Martin Luther King Jr. speech Monday.
"They go out and they shoot each other," Holden said in front of a crowd at Mt. Zion Church in Baton Rouge. "We have mothers pimping children. We go out and we find grown men luring little kids and they think they can have their way."
Holden also cited lyrics in rap songs as a reason why kids tend to commit violent acts, and he has seen crime against African Americans shift from being caused by caucasions during the Civil Rights Movement to black-on-black crime seen today, he said.
"We have to say 'I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired,'" Holden said.
Victims of crime support what he said.
"It's true. We have parents taking their kids to shoplift, [then] to pawn the stuff. We have fathers putting their kids on the corner to sell drugs. We have fathers giving their kids drugs to sell inside the school," Renee Pete said, whose son was killed seven years ago.
Pete's turned her tragedy into advocacy by reaching out to children and families who have lost someone to violence.
"It's a mess and I know Dr. King is rolling over in his grave because he fought for the freedom we have. They don't appreciate it. The people out there don't understand it," she said.
Pete echoed Holden's harsh realities, but said she believes more could change if Holden took his words to the streets and not preaching to the choir.
"When we do these outreaches to these people he needs to be here, instead of just sitting up there talking about it. He needs to be here," Pete said.