Monday, October 13, 2008

Man, we have some cooks among us! Taco supreme meal, buffet-style. I am impressed!

So like I was saying this school will serve all Lower 9th Ward high school students. The "inauguration" of the site will feature a light display that includes some elements designed by the same person that put together the fireworks display at the opening ceremonies of the Beijing Olympic Games...how's THAT for raising the bar? If I could figure out how to post pictures from my borrowed digital camera, you could see some of the work right now. Unfortunately, I am challenged in that regard. So you will have to wait until I return. Suffice it to say, there is a lot of work going on at the school, and some amazing things are being planned.

After we left our project today, we took a tour of the Lower 9th. I obviously have been there before, seen it, done it...but please don't think I'm playing the drama card when I say that I was distressed by what I saw. It's been over 3 years. 3 YEARS! Why aren't these people back in their homes??? What is preventing us from accomplishing here what we are able to accomplish in Iowa after a flood, or in California after a wildfire? Why does an organization like this have to go out and cut the grass at a particular residence just to keep the city of New Orleans from serving a lien notice on the property? How is that right? And more significantly, why are we allowing that to happen? We have forgotten what is happening down here. Not what DID happen. What IS happening. When was the last time you heard a non-anniversary report about the recovery efforts? People like us are still needed. Desperately. People like us still have to take this story back, and tell people in our home towns that things are still not right in New Orleans. But don't take our word for it. Come down and see for yourselves.

Marshall, our KC team captain, has a great hold on the knowledge and history around the city and its racial makeup. He poses some interesting questions about social class, economic status, and the ineffectiveness of a government not interested in helping those who need it, rather than those who can pay for it. I can sense the excitement in his voice when he talks about the school project, and the impact it can potentially have on thousands of kids who otherwise wouldn't have the opportunity. I know people who would dismiss that excitement as naive. I know people who would look at Marshall as someone who is doing this because he can't find anything more than a low-paying nonprofit job without health insurance. I want to tell you something about his man. He doesn't have health insurance, so he actually had to stitch himself up at a job site incident a few weeks ago. Who the fuck among us would be interested in trying that, much less able to?? He's doing this because he believes it. He's doing this because it's not right that these people had to flee their homes in the face of mother nature, only to have insurance companies say that wind caused most of the damage so the payment would be far less than expected. And those homes, bought fair and square by the owners, are in danger of being re-claimed by the government and sold to developers. And we are letting it happen. Marshall isn't. But we are.

I am going to bed now, because I'm obviously wound up about this. All I'm asking is that you allow yourself to think about this situation for a minute. And if you decide that it's unacceptable to simply "let it happen", then tell someone. Call someone. Write someone. Do something within your power to raise awareness about this. This is happening to American citizens, like you and me. We're letting it happen, and we're not saying anything about it to anyone. We can change that.

1 comment:

Noelle said...

Yes, yes and YES. I remember Marshall from my trip down in summer of '07. The work he is doing is so selfless and VITAL. I'm so glad Seattle Works has continued to send volunteers down there (and that you've gone again!). What might seem like small tasks are part of a MUCH bigger effort - and I think the biggest thing is awareness. This blog post raises awareness. The stories the team shares raises awareness. It's a call to action! It's a story that MUST be told!