"Courage is the most important of all the virtues, because without courage you can't practice any other virtue consistently. You can practice any virtue erratically, but nothing consistently without courage." Dr. Maya Angelou
Voices from the Bayou is a group of writers from Baton Rouge Community College. It was created by Professor Clarence Nero and the Creative Writers Club. During the year of 2016, Baton Rouge saw its share of traumatic events. In July of that year a local resident by the name of Alton Sterling was shot and killed by the police. His name became a hashtag soon after. The nation was already in a rage because of police brutality against black men and women. The news of his death went on to make local and national headlines. Around the time of Sterling's' death there were riots, lockdowns around the city, protests and threats to local police officers. Residents were creating noise to express their disgust towards the injustice. There were police officers who were killed during these events as well. Racism was a big topic around the ordeals.
In August Baton Rouge suffered from a historic flood. Just as Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans a few years before, the flood came and took lives, businesses and homes. It destroyed some neighborhoods completely leaving debris in its wake for weeks to come. In the midst of the trauma around Alton Sterling, the flood forced people to work together. During the few weeks following July, there were no sides. The city, for the most part showed unity by helping others find shelter, volunteering to help rebuild homes and spending hours handing out food and clothing. Because of the effect those events had on the city, Clarence Nero decided to have his Writers Club tell how they felt through narratives. He soon realized that the narratives should be turned into an Anthology which would consist of various writers. It became something that he was very passionate about and opened up the opportunity for his students to participate in the book as well.
Nero felt as if his students voices were important and could help the community unite. The members of Voices from the Bayou hope to get others to come forth and reveal some of their stories to bring awareness to the events that took place. They are striving to create unity, peace and equality. In their writings they will reveal their take on racism, police brutality and the historic flood. Nero praised his students for having courage to use their voice for something he hopes will have a positive outcome.