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The Legacy Of Katrina


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What We Have Learned Ten Years After Katrina

Tomorrow marks ten years since Hurricane Katrina’s landfall in New Orleans. The storm flattened entire communities, took the lives of 1,800 people, displaced more than one million others, and caused more than $100 billion in damages, making it the costliest national disaster in our nation’s history. Hurricane Katrina drew attention to the consequences of poverty, segregation, and police brutality, a decade before Black Lives Matter activists began fighting to protect and invest in black communities.

The storm devastated the city of New Orleans, but the damage was not equally distributed. As a result of years of segregation and disinvestment, the city’s poor and African American communities were disproportionately harmed. Today, most of the city’s neighborhoods have restored 90 percent of their pre-storm populations, but in the Lower Ninth Ward, the city’s poorest neighborhood, only 37 percent of households have returned. The Lower Ninth Ward also suffered the most in the immediate aftermath of Katrina. For weeks after the storm, up to 12 feet of water remained stagnant, leaving many people stuck without power or water service. Under those dire circumstances African American residents were quickly labeled “looters,” and automatically seen as criminals.

The chaos after the storm led to police brutality not unlike the kind that sparked the Black Lives Matter movement. In the time immediately following the storm 11 people were shot by law enforcement officials. These incidents helped sparked a wave of activists speaking out about the relationship between police and African American communities. Indeed, there is a connection between today’s Black Lives Matter movement and the violence seen after Katrina, as Tracey Ross explains here.

Yesterday President Obama visited New Orleans to commemorate Katrina and celebrate how far the city has come. In his speech at a new community center in the Lower Ninth Ward he spoke of the city’s resilience in the face of the storm and the growing threat of extreme weather events. Across the country, as in New Orleans, African American and poorer communities are much more vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, including the risk of being permanently displaced from their homes.

And as climate change threatens to make severe storms more extreme, these communities are increasingly at risk. Because of its disproportionate impact on African American and poor communities, climate change has become a civil rights issue, but it is one that can be addressed with investment in at-risk communities. In this video, Sam Fulwood, Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress, discusses the aftermath of the storm and what we’ve learned since.

BOTTOM LINE: Hurricane Katrina was the costliest storm in our nation’s history, but climate change threatens to make storms that severe the new norm. Without investing in our most vulnerable areas the same issues of poverty, segregation, and police brutality will continue to devastate communities across the country.

Beyond Sandy ~ An Immigrant Story


Hurricane_Sandy_Pic_16.jpg

Posted by 0pc on February 01, 2013 · Flag

After hearing that Sandy was coming, I prepared to evacuate from my Far Rockaway home and go to a hotel close to JFK Airport. Unfortunately, the storm winds were already in the area before arrangements could be made – forcing me to stay. At 6:30 pm, I heard my neighbor call out, “Ms. Stewart! The water is coming in!” As hard as we tried, we soon found our efforts to keep the water out futile. We watched and prayed as the water covered cars, SUVs, and minivans, and eventually entered the 2nd floor where we were sheltering. At 9:20 pm, the storm surge ended, leaving me without a home and most of my belongings. Since that time, I have been displaced, relying on the generosity of friends to keep me sheltered and warm.

This experience is not totally foreign to me. As an immigrant, I faced the same challenge of homelessness when I first arrived in New York City after being recruited from Jamaica to serve as an educator in the public school system. Since that time, my career has changed from teacher/educator to an everyday survivor of the problems inherent in the New York City Department of Education’s treatment of Caribbean teachers. Similar to my experience with Sandy, the situation with the Caribbean teachers has gone from bad to worse.

Beyond Sandy, I look forward to President Obama passing a Comprehensive Immigration Reform policy so that my adult child, and those of other Caribbean International teachers, can shed the cocoon of being “Aged-Out” of status; an issue which the NYC Department of Education did not address. I hope to see our children move beyond a dream deferred to a dream realized, so that even as immigrants, they are able to experience the same events that the American children we teach do.

Please join the AIE and The Black Institute in showing support for teachers like me by coming to the Beyond Sandy Benefit Dinner. Click here for more details.

And so, what lies ahead? For the Rockaways, it is renewal and restoration. With the little help from FEMA or Insurance companies so far, I am faced with the daunting task of completing the repairs over time, on my own as best I can. Also, I’ll decide how much more “survival teaching” I will continue to do. No matter what lies in store for me, I’m grateful that a benefit dinner is being held for me and those Caribbean teachers in similar situations. For those of you who make a donation or buy a tickets for the Benefit Dinner, I appreciate your effort, your sacrifice, and your commitment to help those of us who suffered Sandy’s wrath. Now, I’m reminded of the words of a song I sang with my alumnae in high school, and it goes something like this,

“When you go through a storm,

hold your head up high

And don’t be afraid of the dark

At the end of a storm, there’s a golden sky

And the sweet silver song of the lark

Walk on through the wind, walk on through the rain

Though your dreams be tossed and blown

Walk on with hope in your heart

And you’ll never walk alone”.

Beyond Sandy I reminisce, I sing, I dance, and I pray, but most of all I dare….

Beyond Sandy, I see the isles of the Caribbean, Jamaica – Land we love, and America the beautiful, a Land of immigrants. I dare us to put a face to our immigrant stories so as to command the passing of Comprehensive Immigration Reform. Beyond Sandy as an immigrant, do I dare…?

Love you all!

Agape love,

Yasmin

A message left over 8years ago follows …

Helping victims of Sandy is great. How about fired teachers? How about children that have aged out? How about a union that has taken millions from teachers and have given nothing to international teachers, because they are immigrants. Black immigrants. Only the Federal government can help with the backlog, but the union could have helped with subsidized legal counsel on issues regarding aging out, malpractice by DOE recommended lawyers, crisis intervention for teachers that were in danger of losing their jobs and most important monitoring the relationship between international teachers and the DOE. The DOE took advantage of International Teachers, because the union was sleeping. These teachers have been misguided, over and over, with people with hidden agendas. Where is the litigation against the DOE and the Union?

1600 acres of coastal habitats set to be destroyed


Petitioning Nelson Parker, Marco Roca, Eddie Lynn

Don’t destroy a delicate marine ecosystem

Petition by Mangrove Action Project
2,315
Supporters

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Haiti struggles to stem cholera as rains come early … Haiti still needs help


 Reuters

BOGOTA (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – The number of Haitians infected by cholera has risen more than 300 percent in the past year as early rains, poor sanitation, and a lack of funding means the impoverished Caribbean nation struggles to stem the disease, the United Nations said.

From January to April this year, 14,226 Haitians were infected with cholera, a 306 percent increase from the same period last year, with the Haitian capital Port-au-Prince hardest hit.

“An upsurge in the last quarter of 2014 continues to affect Port-au-Prince’s metropolitan area, illustrating the shift of the epidemic from rural to urban areas,” said the latest U.N. humanitarian agency (OCHA) report on Haiti.

“This raises concerns with regards to the upcoming rainy season, when cholera in Haiti traditionally expands.”

Cholera, a water-borne disease, has killed nearly 9,000 Haitians and infected 738,000 since the outbreak began in the aftermath of a devastating 2010 earthquake.

Infection is caused by drinking and using contaminated water, triggering diarrhea and vomiting that often brings on severe dehydration, which if not treated quickly can be fatal.

Haiti leads the world in suspected cholera cases. So far this year, at least 121 Haitians have died from cholera, according to OCHA.

The rainy season — which tends to cause a spike in water-borne bacterial diseases like cholera — usually runs from April to June, but this year heavy rains began to fall a month early.

Evidence strongly suggests U.N. peacekeepers from Nepal were the source of Haiti’s cholera epidemic, when they were stationed near a river and discharged raw sewage, according to a 2011 report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The U.N. was sued in 2013 by the Boston-based rights group, the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti, demanding improved water and sanitation infrastructure, compensation for thousands of cholera victims and an apology.

A New York federal judge threw out the lawsuit in January, saying the U.N. could not be sued because it has legal immunity. The rights group recently filed an appeal.

A lack of funding amid numerous global crises has meant little progress has been made on improving sanitation in Haiti, a key way of combating cholera.

Forty percent of Haiti’s population of 10 million do not have access to clean water, while nearly half of the country’s hospitals lack either drinking water or sanitation, according to the Pan American Health Organization.

In a bid to eradicate cholera in Haiti and the neighboring Dominican Republic, the U.N. launched a $2.1 billion 10-year campaign in late 2012, of which just 18 percent has been funded.

(Reporting By Anastasia Moloney; Editing by Ros Russell)