Friday, August 28, 2015

#KatrinaAnniversary: "Katrina Victims Were Forced Into Exile"

Victims of Hurricane Katrina argue with National Guard troops as they try to get on buses headed to Houston on Sept. 1, 2005. Willie Allen Jr./St. Petersburg Times/ZUMA

President Obama celebrated the 10th Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina by traveling to the scene of the crime, making a nice speech, taking some nice pictures, singing a little song, then boarding Air Force One and flying back to Washington, D.C. 

 Photo Op complete.

It's like DejaVoodoo

All Over Again 

The more things change
Ten years later, it looks like the same people in New Orleans have been left behind again. The population of New Orleans is noticeably smaller and noticeably whiter. While tens of billions of dollars poured into Louisiana, the impact on poor and working people in New Orleans has been minimal. Many of the elderly and the poor, especially poor families with children, never made it back to New Orleans. The poverty rate for children who did made it back remains at disturbingly high pre-Katrina levels, especially for Black children.
The more they don't change
Well you know, black people have been going around the country looking for good neighborhoods, trying to settle down there if they were allowed to. That is the history of black folks. And part of that history is also that white people constantly run away from those neighborhoods. And that's why those neighborhoods then become concentrations of black people and poor people. The poor part usually comes later. Because when there are no more white people there then capital is withdrawn, the employers leave, the public sector ceases to serve that community, and the police are brought in to prey on that community, which diminishes further upward mobility and causes downward mobility.
Just two weeks after Hurricane Katrina, the city fired 7,500 public school teachers, launching a new push to privatize the school system and build a network of charter schools. Many accused lawmakers of trying to break the powerful United Teachers of New Orleans union. Today former President George W. Bush will return to the city to speak at the Warren Easton Charter High School. We speak to the New Orleans actor and activist Wendell Pierce, whose mother was a teacher and union member for 40 years, as well Gary Rivlin, author of "Katrina: After the Flood." He recently wrote a piece for The New York Times titled "Why New Orleans’s Black Residents Are Still Underwater After Katrina."
And Shame 
New Orleans actor and activist Wendell Pierce looks at how insurance companies discouraged poor and black families from returning to New Orleans after Katrina by refusing to honor homeowner policies. Pierce, whose great-grandfather came to New Orleans as a slave in the 1850s, talks about how Allstate gave his parents just $400 after they paid premiums for 50 year
The Obama surge in black optimism is over.
 Now, black Americans are back to their post-Katrina consensus; a deep sense that America is indifferent to their lives and livelihoods. Indeed, when read in that light, a movement like Black Lives Matter seems inevitable. The disaster of Hurricane Katrina, and its impact on the collective experience of black America, sowed the ground for a reckoning. Yes, Obama's election postponed it for a time, but the recent eruption of black death—at the hands of the state—gave it new urgency. And now, as we can all see, it's here.
Still waiting for HOPE and CHANGE we can BELIEVE in...

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