Sunday, August 29, 2010
Everyone remembers the story. The Bush administration took 5 days to respond to the disaster, which still to this day, confounds the most brilliant of minds. Meanwhile displaced survivors starved, looted and fought to survive. An out of control police department murdered residents, showing no regard for human life, the Mayor and other city officials pleaded, cried to the world to help.
There are mixed feelings and sentiments surrounding the 5 year anniversary of this disaster. Many have stated that the city is doing much better and is even in better shape then before the storm. Yet driving through much of the 9th ward, it still looks like a ghost town. The disheartening, disproportionate, disenfranchisement of of black folks in New Orleans is still a huge problem and an even bigger problem then before the storm. Thanks to organizations like the Make it Right foundation, headed by actor Brad Pitt and the New Orleans Community Development Corporation headed by actor Wendell Pierce, there are some great things happening in the city. Through the Make it Right foundation, entire neighborhoods within the 9th Ward are being rebuilt using green technology. These homes produce more energy then they use and are being developed as long income housing. For the first time ever these residents will receive electric bills where they are only being charged processing fees. Progress is being made, yet there is still so much further to go.
As our country works to restore the faith in the American dream, in the midst of a recession, a tough, seemingly impossible political climate and tensions flaring against others because of their religious views, we have to remember that our strength has always lied in our ability to stick together through crisis. We have to remember that there are those who are much less fortunate then us and that no matter how tough things get in this country we are still Americans and we are much stronger together then we are apart. Looking back on Katrina 5 years later is a strong reminder of this.