Friday, April 20, 2007

IS RACIAL CLEANSING GOING ON HERE?

A young man I met from California who is here volunteering in the 9th Ward was looking at my "book of pictures" that I carry around with me, to share with those I meet about the level of suffering that is still occurring in the city.

Whilst he was looking at the pictures he asked me "Do you think there is racial cleansing going on here?"

"Yes." I said.

I do think there is racial cleansing going on here in New Orlean's - it is subtle . No one is saying "out loud" so to speak, that the poor, especially the poor African Americans who once inhabited the greater part of the city, aren't "welcome." It is said, very subtly, in the lack of development, especially in the areas where there was poverty and blight before the storm.

You may ask me, how could I know this as I have only been here since February of this year? I formulate my opinion after spending countless hours and days on the streets in this city often in area where there was poverty before the storm and how like a cancer, it continues to grow without treatment.

I have been told by the locals of people who had been previously living in HANO (public housing) who were so desperate to get back to their homes, they went and cleaned and gutted them out and fixed them up. One would think, these are the type of tenants you would want... No,they were thrown out by the government.

It is in my humble opinion, that if it weren't in many cases for the shear strength of the individuals in the communities themselves, the volunteers who pour in and help gut and rebuild, and the charities and non-profits who supply the volunteers, food, help, and legal aid - many of the lower-income neighborhoods would look worse than they do in the pictures I share with you on this blog.

In Peace.

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