Photo Series: Reflections by StL Delegation on Katrina X Commemoration

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While Katrina hit New Orleans 10 years ago the intersections of systemic racism, climate justice and state failure are just as clear today -- here in St. Louis we will commemorate Katrina and the lives lost and continue the conversation about a just transition away from an extractive and exploitative coal economy that leaves residents in the dust. St. Louis is home to five coal companies, which set monetary policy and steal money from the St. Louis public schools in the form of tax breaks. As residents of the city, we feel the impacts of these intersections; for example, in 2012 during extreme heat waves folks without air conditioning, low-income black folks, died.

St. Louis residents accompanied the Climate Justice Alliance's Our Power quilt on its way to the Katrina X commemoration events at the end of August, and will share a report-back about the ideas shared at the convergence. Join us as we connect and hear stories of resistance and visions for change at this intersection of systemic racism, climate justice and just transition at a report back event at YEYO Arts on Friday, September 11th. Check out the Facebook event here.


 

St. Louis Quilt Square

Leading up to the 10 year commemoration of Hurricane Katrina this August, St. Louis artist and resident Darian Wigfall created a quilt square to represent St. Louis in a quilt about the breadth and depth of frontline community solutions in the face of climate devastation.

The creation of the quilt followed three routes running from the North—east, west, and central—to the Gulf Coast in time to join with #GulfSourthRising communities to commemorate the 10th anniversary. After starting with Indigenous Environmental Network in North Dakota, the central route took the quilt down the Mississippi River, stopping in Chicago with members of Little Village Environmental Network, Indianapolis, St. Louis, and on to Gulfport, Mississippi.


 

ALL ALONG
The Mississippi River
lie the remnants
of promises, STRUCTURES
laws, and even PEOPLE...
BROKEN
 
As we pick up the pieces
We grow STRONG
Like the ANCESTOR TREE.
 
     - Darian Wigfall, 8/2015

 


Katrina X Delegation

Last week, with the support of the Climate Justice Alliance, a delegation from St. Louis traveled to New Orleans for the 10 year commemoration of Hurricane Katrina. Below Nay'Chelle Harris reflects on elements of the Katrina X events through photos and captions.


 

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During remarks before the Second Line/March on August 29th, at the levee bordering the Lower 9th Ward. Everyone was asked to raise their fists in the air and repeat after the speaker, who among other things asked us to pledge that "We will not forget those who are gone."

 

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At a Black Lives Matter panel/event where Alicia Garza was the keynote speaker. The panel connected workers rights, education, imprisonment, environmental racism, displacement, and support for LGBT youth (among other topics) as being critical to understanding post-Katrina New Orleans. Alicia Garza said that the current Black Lives Matter movement wouldn't exist today if it weren't for the way Hurricane Katrina woke so many up to the extent to which the USA doesn't care about the lives of black people.

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One of many pieces from Exhibit Be, "the largest temporary street art exhibit in the south." Its site is a former affordable housing complex than was depopulated during/after Hurricane Katrina. Following the storm, many people in public housing were blocked from returning to their homes, even though they'd suffered little damage from the storm. Displacement, especially for those living in public housing was a huge theme across all the people we met and groups we heard from.

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A home in the Lower 9th Ward, unprepared and still showing damage from the hurricane. A lot of people were infuriated by the "resilience" rhetoric of politicians, developers, and NGOs, saying that it was a cop out for them to justify leaving behind those most in need. Much of the city is in the same condition it was 10 years ago, and despite New Orleans "revival" the people most hurt and most vulnerable still haven't recovered.

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One of the big take-aways was the harm Katrina caused for indigenous communities in the region. In addition to the fact that their land has been occupied by colonizers for hundreds of years, indigenous communities (we specifically learned about the Houma Nation's struggles) along the Gulf Coast have been neglected and left to fend for themselves. The anniversary week featured a powerful presence of both local indigenous resistance and solidarity from indigenous peoples from around the country.

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commented 2016-04-23 17:06:47 -0500 · Flag
Do you think that all white peoples right now in 2016 respect black peoples or even think they are peoples , i don’t think. do you remember the accidents which happen the last year when cups in the states kill black person just he is black .
this world unfair .
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published this page in Blog 2015-09-04 12:11:43 -0500
@organizemo tweeted this page. 2015-09-04 12:11:22 -0500
Photo Series: Reflections from MORE Delegation on Katrina X Commemoration http://www.organizemo.org/katrina_x_delegation?recruiter_id=107510