Race And Class In Katrina's Aftermath

I haven't seen a lot of progress. I think it's certainly on everyone's minds. We know that the storm exacerbated and heightened those issues in our community, but has there been a lot of change in the last year to really deal proactive with these issues, I'd have to say there has not been. Tulane University in concert with some of the other universities here like Dillard and Xavier, we are forming a group to deal with race and poverty. We're just in the early stages of deciding on how we want to address these issues and how we can do it individually and collectively as a set of universities but we ourselves are probably a year a way from doing something on a large scale basis. So I would have to say that there hasn't been a lot of progress in the last year other than awareness.

Race and poverty issues are very complex issues and there are not many communities of any size around the country that actually have dealt really proactively and positively with these over a period of time. So I think we have to be realistic about what can be done and try to understand what has worked in other communities and what hasn't and what would be best for New Orleans.

To be honest, we have so many issues we have to deal with coming out of Katrina, everything from the levees to rebuilding the neighborhoods to public education to our criminal justice system and I could go on and on. I don't think there's anybody to blame, I just thing there's a lot to be done. There is just not a lot of people to get it done, so I think everybody's working extremely hard to rebuild the city and this issue whereas it is absolutely critical for the long term vitality of New Orleans is not something that's on everybody's screen right now because we have to deal with so much to repair the physical damage of our city.

What we're going to have to is I think we're going to have to over time develop a community dialog on race and poverty begin to understand what has occurred in our community why has it occurred and what are some of the practical interventions we can do in New Orleans to begin to change the tide on race and poverty. I don't think there's a quick fix here I don't think there's a silver bullet where you just do this and everything is taken care of. It starts with awareness and continues on to education and then continues on into intervention. So I think we're in for the long haul here. Awareness is certainly there now we need education and then we're going to need intervention. I am also realistic to say it will take many many years for change; nothing over night is going to happen.

JUDSON MITCHELL Staff Attorney, Loyola Law Clinic

"I don't think so. I think that the city is so over burdened with just establishing basic services and basic safety that the larger social justice problems haven't been really looked at."

Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...