Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Katrina: Could This Be America?

I would like to join people of faith around the world who are in constant prayer for the survivors of Hurricane Katrina.

Let me also join in the chorus of Americans who have been absolutely stunned and outraged at the astounding lack of leadership and the feeble, clueless response to the extreme pain and suffering of the tax-paying American citizens (poor people pay taxes too you know) who were devastated by this epic disaster. And then to add insult to injury, the victims were herded like refugees in a foreign land into the Superdome -- with no water, food or law enforcement -- only to be raped, beaten and murdered in far too many cases after being "rescued".

Even newscasters went off. I was particularly impressed with Anderson Cooper (Excuse me, Senator, I'm sorry for interrupting. I haven't heard that, because, for the last four days, I've been seeing dead bodies in the streets here in Mississippi. And to listen to politicians thanking each other and complimenting each other...) Miles O'Brien and Shepard Smith. They were just NOT taking excuses from these idiot politicians while people were dying in the streets of a major American city -- on television.

Federal, state and local officials can share the blame -- federal funding was cut that could have repaired the century-old levees, the city had an evacuation plan that was never implemented, the National Guard was NOT called in immediately by the governor -- take your pick.

There is still debate over using the term, but a "refugee" , according to the Merriam Webster dictionary, is defined as one that flees; especially a person who flees to a foreign country (not their own country) to escape danger or persecution. Although I cringe when I hear it, I don't believe that most people using the term "refugee" mean in a racist way -- but I still prefer the term "Survivor".

Of course, the middle class and people of every race have been devasted by Katrina, the worst natural disaster in American history, and the usual suspects have stepped in to take action: the Red Cross, Habitat for Humanity, the Salvation Army and the United Way. Several black organizations are also stepping forward to help the survivors:

BET and the National Urban League (led by former New Orleans mayor Marc Morial). A benefit telethon to benefit storm victims will air this Friday, September 9th on BET, beginning with a special benefit episode of 106 & Park.

Tom Joyner and Black America Web have set up the The BlackAmericaWeb.com Relief Fund to provide support to families who are assisting those displaced by Hurricane Katrina. Families hosting loved ones displaced by Hurricane Katrina can download this form and submit it to their church (churches are serving as clearing houses) who will submit the forms on their behalf.

Yahoo! is assisting the NAACP in collecting funds for their disaster relief fund. Displaced persons can also call 866-996-2227.

Oprah Winfrey did a live telecast from the Houston Astrodome today and another show will air from her home state of Mississippi tomorrow. Her Angel network is also taking action.

Bishop T.D. Jakes, who toured the Astrodome with President Bush on September 4, and his church have partnered with other ministries for Katrina disaster relief.

And of course, people from all walks of life around the country are doing their part. David Perez, COO of Surge Global Energy in Carmel Valley, California, spent $200,000 of his own money to charter a Boeing 737. He loaded the plane with supplies he purchased at Costco, flew to Louisiana and invited 86 hurricane victims to fly back with him to San Diego where he had already organized a group of local families to open their homes as temporary shelters.

I wonder if he's interested in being the new director of FEMA?


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