Hey everybody, this post is gonna really suck, since I'm just doing a general check in to prove to everybody that I'm still alive, if eaten alive by mosquitos. :P
San Antonio was awesome, the train rides were decent and I met some interesting people, though the trains took forever because of all the delays. I'm amused that letting it be known that I dated calculusdude16
gets me all sorts of street cred with the really nice Mexican people I met on the trains from San Jose to San Antonio. XD I got into New Orleans all right, and I've been here a week and a half, every day being a little different with all the activities I'm getting into.
Let's see- quick highlights: Mostly I'm doing office work of all sorts, helping to prepare, because August 29th is the 1 year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, and the People's Hurricane Relief Fund www.peopleshurricane.org
is planning a united front commemoration, to remind people that hey, it's been a year and jack has been done with rebuilding, with bringing people in the New Orleans Black Diaspora home, with addressing issues of racism and classism that has permeated New Orleans from pre- and during Katrina, and since then.
So I've helped put names from 6000 people who were at the Convention Center (like the Superdome, only more so because that place was not equipped for evacuation, so no med or food or water supplies) in a survivors' database we're keeping, been to community meetings here and there, did administrative stuff, walked the streets of New Orleans doing flyering and outreach, and started learning the different neighborhoods that make this place unique.
Also I've seen the lower 9th ward (go to www.nola.com
, to the Times-Picayune and they have a flash animation that shows the progress of the various levee breaks and flooding during Katrina- crazy) and the richer, whiter neighborhoods for contrast, and the divide is deep. I've hung out in the French Quarter with my lunchbuncher gal the Queen, watching tourists go by and marveling at the architecture and eating tasty Lebanese food at Mona's and lamenting the damage visible here, when it is so much worse elsewhere.
And I've been to a city planning meeting, where the city is planning to rebuild, and rebuild the black people right out of it. New Orleans here is the center of a storm, and at the PHRF we're trying to nurture a grassroots movement to get people organized, working class and poor folk across color lines, because the people most impacted negatively are the black people remaining in the city, and the Mexican and other Latino laborers being brought into the city to work in the construction and demolition and whatever.
It's kinda crazy, I guess. But I'm glad that I'm here, that I'm doing the work that I'm doing even if I don't see the results right away, like they do over at Common Ground where they're gutting houses in the Lower 9th for free because people are displaced and might not be able to come back to do it themselves. And meanwhile check out the UN Human Rights Committee, because they released a report July 28 criticizing and warning the US about human rights violations, and that is some interesting reading right there.
Am I sounding too radical and crazy for what people know me as? Maybe, but I've always had it in me. And now I'm glad I get to act, when at Scripps it was all talk-talk-talk, and all the action was limited to the campus. And yeah, I'm Asian American, but one thing I've learned is that movements that were led by and helped out African Americans, like the Civil Rights Movement, tend to bleed across society and help people across the board, so this is work that needs doing.
But since I don't feel like doing a crazy detailed online journal entry, when I've got various journal entries on paper, I'll link y'all to my photobucket. I've got photos from San Antonio posted, and some photos from New Orleans posted. http://s21.photobucket.com/albums/b297/rhythmia/
That's all for now, I prolly shouldn't lollygag too much longer. I'm a volunteer, so I'm not stuck with 9-5, but since I get housing, I figure I should put in the time. Most of us here put in lots of time anyway. :P Gimme a call some evening if you're so inclined, I carry my cell around with me, and I'm at CST so two hours ahead of home in California.