Area teen adding voice for change: Reserve event features Dr. King’s nephew, anti-violence strategy discussion

Published 12:20 am Wednesday, June 6, 2018

RESERVE — Years of seeing gun violence and police brutality reports flash across the news encouraged Kaylin Clay Daigle to mobilize young people while using her voice to promote societal change.

Daigle, a 17-year-old Destrehan High School rising senior, aims to denounce violence of any kind through peaceful protest and reformation in the judicial system.

With help from her political activist grandfather, the Rev. Byron Clay of LaPlace, Daigle secured permits, insurance and nonprofit organization funds to host three peaceful assemblies this month.

Daigle will conduct a peaceful sit-in Thursday at the Kenner City Council, located at 1801 Williams Blvd. Joined by ministers and community leaders, she will bring awareness to police brutality, especially concerning the senseless deaths of locals Armond Jairon Brown and Alton Sterling.

The Rev. Byron Clay of LaPlace and his granddaughter, Kaylin Clay Daigle, look over pictures documenting Clay’s career as a political activist, which include a photo in the foreground picturing Clay and former U.S. President Bill Clinton. (Brooke Robichaux/L’OBSERVATEUR)

Strategies to address violence will highlight a 7 p.m. June 13 service at New Pilgrim Baptist Church in Reserve, coordinated by Daigle and Clay and featuring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s nephew, Isaac Farris, as special guest speaker.

Daigle said the sit-in and service lead up to the main event, a peace and prayer rally kicking off at 2 p.m. June 14 at A.Z. Young Park in Baton Rouge.

“I don’t think there’s an age limit on doing things like this,” Daigle said.

“Violence happens to people in my age group, minority teenagers, fairly often. I asked myself, what can I do at my age to spread awareness? I want to educate citizens in the community of their rights and liberate them while doing so.”

By hosting the peace rally in Baton Rouge, featuring Farris as well as the families of Brown and Sterling, she’s reaching the justice system at its core.

Her long-term goal is to impact the laws that hold those who commit violent crimes accountable.

Onsite blood drive and voter registration booths, speakers, performers and preachers add vibrancy to the rally.

In Reserve, the community is welcomed to attend the June 13 session to hear from Farris and the Rev. Dr. Forell Bering.

Clay said Farris is an articulate and powerful speaker whom he knows through the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, an African American civil rights organization.

According to Clay, the lesson is especially applicable to St. John the Baptist Parish residents mourning the recent killing of Cameron Mack, 29, and his 4-year-old daughter, Cali.

He commends Daigle for taking a stand.

“Kaylin’s a young lady of prodigious energy,” Clay said. “God’s hand is upon her, and the nation is calling for her.”

This month’s events are only the beginning, according to Daigle, who said she plans to pursue a career in political science to keep the momentum going.

“Even if you can’t make the event, stay tuned,” Daigle said.

“I want us as a community to do all we can to promote unity, peace and nonviolence in all areas of our lives.”