The AFSC New Orleans’ Peace by Piece (PxP) program has created a new resource in the interest of city residents concerned about increased levels of surveillance in their communities.
#StopWatchingNOLA was created out of necessity, after the city installed an undisclosed number of cameras—about 1,500 total—in the city of New Orleans, despite many objections from residents. More cameras continue to be set up. This is not only a violation of privacy, and in some cases the Fourth Amendment, but the cameras also enable the city to unfairly track and target people under the guise of ‘security.’
Additionally, there are no publicly accessible maps of surveillance camera locations, which speaks to the city’s lack of transparency about the subject. PxP firmly believes that New Orleans residents deserve to know where the cameras are, what they are being used for, and who is using them.
While working to create awareness around New Orleans’ aggressive surveillance practices, PxP has also expanded its Hollygrove Garden project, which broke ground in the summer of 2017. The program has shared produce with neighbors, the Carrollton-Hollygrove Senior Center, a local business and the monthly food pantry at St. Peter A.M.E. Church. The garden not only provides nourishment to the collective mind, body and soul of the community, but is also an outdoor teaching space for young people that has literally become a sanctuary space.
With the help of supporters, PxP can increase the capacity of the garden space. However, the garden and community gathering space are under attack by law enforcement agencies. The city has installed a camera that directly overlooks the garden, where PxP holds community events, popular education sessions, and summer and afterschool activities. That’s precisely why PxP young adult members launched the #StopWatchingNOLA campaign—to combat overreaching surveillance and profiling of Black and Brown communities.
If you would like to report a camera in your area, please visit StopWatchingNOLA.org to submit and explore the interactive map with confirmed locations.