We've all got a summer reading list, but isn't it cool to think so many people in this city have their noses in the same book? Karen Spears Zacharias' A Silence of Mockingbirds: The Memoir of a Murder is the One Book One Community summer selection for Baton Rouge, and it's a harrowing true story of a child's murder, told by Zacharias, who was closely connected to the mother. In it, the author questions her own responsibility for not noticing the signs of child abuse.
So, why is this a topic for the smART City blog? On a very basic level, the book is about how we have to provide a safe community for our children, one where we look out for each other and communicate ways to make things better.
With smart growth, we talk about thoughtful planning that connects neighborhoods (think sidewalks, bike paths, better roads, public transportation) and keeps people invested in their community. The way we've designed our infrastructure and our interest in a fenced-in suburban lifestyle means we interact less and have fewer opportunities to recognize when something is wrong. To me, safe neighborhoods and smart growth go hand in hand.
More than anything, the One Book One Community campaign gets people talking about a problem in Baton Rouge. A Silence of Mockingbirds is incredibly timely in that we're still reeling from the June death of 8-year-old Xzayvion Riley, whose parents are accused of beating him to death at their Gardere home.
“People are still talking about the Xzayvion Riley story and I think our book ties very well into this community issue,” says Robin Kistler, co-chair of One Book One Community's summer initiative. “You think fatal child abuse happens in other places—not here in our community.”
Zacharias will discuss her book during a free public event at LSU’s Cox Communications Academic Center for Student Athletes on July 26 at 7 p.m.
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Elizabeth Arkley Hammett, a local nursing student and Fur Ball co-coordinator, and her husband Grey Hammett III, who works in commercial real estate, will take you through our summer guide. And they'll look good while doing it, too. Where noted, their clothes and accessories are available from local retailers.
These swimsuits will keep you stylish all summer long
Better Block BR
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