VOLUNTEERING AND ACTIVISM IN NEW ORLEANS: AN ANTITHESIS TO THE "COMPASSIONATE" POLITICAL AGENDA IN BRAND NEW ORLEAN$
Published on Friday, December 21, 2007 by The Independent/UK
New Orleans to Demolish Thousands of ‘Poor’ Homes
by Leonard Doyle
Published on Friday, December 21, 2007 by Huffington Post
The Shock Doctrine in Action in New Orleans
by Naomi Klein
These two articles one written from a UK newspaper and the other from the Huffington Post - both have given me a sense of solidarity in reading many of the articulate responses in the comments sections - from others who seem much like myself - they see what is occurring, they do care about the welfare of their planetary community.
Too many times have I been accused and heard others accuse those who are here to help in the rebuilding process of New Orleans as "white" or "northerners". "Why," I ask myself, "did race not matter in the early days of the recovery process after Katrina and the levee failures?" Why now, I question, has the color of my skin become such a big deal that news agencies (especially the local ones) must constantly make mention of this racial difference when people like myself (racially) have come here either to dedicate a year or years of our lives and/or how many months or days of our time for the betterment of "all" who have suffered from the flooding and the rebuilding process?
I have actually been attacked by individuals who, without having knowledge of my life history and financial means, of "being a middle class or wealthy, white person, who is a hypocrite for advocating on behalf of the poor". This type of prejudice (in varying degrees) has come from white and black alike. Many people don't understand that some planetary brothers and sisters are willing to give up all or most of the trappings that a consumeristic - materially based life offers, in exchange for the meaningfulness found in serving humanity.
I am a planetary sister to all my brothers and sisters alike. No matter race, creed, or anything else that others would use to create an illusion of 'separateness'. I am able to dedicate my life and my time, thanks to the donations and support of others who cannot because of their paths of their own lives, come down here to help themselves. People who deeply care about the well-being of their planetary brothers and sisters also. I am not a non-profit, I draw no salary, and never know most (not all of the time) when and if a donation 'might' come in. My decison of this life path frequently brings me to choices of having to go "without" for myself when faced in the moment with the decision to help another whom is worse off (financially, emotionally, psychologically, or spiritually) than I am. Unless guidance is needed, I rarely have to think twice about what is being asked of me.
This is my work in the world. We each as planetary individuals, have our own paths and work to do whilst we are embodied on this planet Earth.
At this time, my heart, my soul, calls me to serve in New Orleans, and to serve the least among us. The poor and the homeless. I give whatever I can in helping those who have suffered and continue to suffer as a result of the levee failures and the ensuing flooding. Using my talents, my gift for writing and photography, and any other privileges I have been given in New Orleans. 'Privileges' which I have never seen before which have been mainly created by and for, those who live oddly insouciant lives in the city of New Orleans. These 'other" privileges I enjoy are based solely on the color of my skin and I make the best use of them, like my talents, not for my personal benefit, but to enhance the lives of others who do not enjoy the same 'privileges'.
To be chastised for serving and helping those who have been less fortunate in their lives as someone who is quixotic is to miss the (REPEATED) teachings of the many Prophets, Sages, and holy men and women, who have blessed this planet with their presences in the span of our embodied existences as planetary brothers and sisters.