Teaching Nonviolence on New Orleans’ Mean Streets

Nearly 30 years ago, Lisa Fitzpatrick was the target of a gang initiation.

She had pulled off the highway in Oklahoma City, to buy something at a convenience store, when a car pulled up alongside hers. She noticed two 12-year-olds struggling with something in the back seat. Suddenly, they were pointing a gun at her.

“I saw their faces, and they were terrified,” she said.

Then the shot rang out.

The bullet only grazed Fitzpatrick, leaving a scar near her nose, but the incident changed the way she thought about gang violence. She said she later learned from police that the children were told they had to kill someone that night or someone in their family would suffer violent consequences.

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