Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Hurricane survivors have something to say

There are lots of people making decisions about the rebuilding of New Orleans, but the hurricane survivors and evacuees are rarely among them. The future of the city that was once full of the life and culture of the Caribbean, the Cajuns, the African diaspora, is being rebuilt, and the people of the city are being left out.

There's signs that this might change. A Hurricane Survivors Assembly, a March for Human Rights, and a Gulf Coast Youth Assembly are all planned for next week. Over 50 grassroots organizations that make up the People's Hurricane Relief Fund and Oversight Coalition, and the Mississippi Distress Relief Coalition and the people most affected by the hurricane will discuss the solutions that will affect their future, and how they can have a voice in the decision making.

Here's to the people of New Orleans who made the city the cultural mecca that it once was -- and here's to hearing their agenda for the rebuilding. Who else could bring back the city in its former glory while changing the conditions that need to be changed?

And by the way, there is nothing more important to healing from a trauma than having a say over the future conditions of your life. The youth assembly could be the most healing thing to happen to the young people, still suffering from the sense of uncertainty and loss that the hurricane and subsequent mistreatment created.

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