Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Katrina Second Anniversary - News, Actions

As long-time Villagers may know, our cyberspace resource is produced by New Orleans-based publisher, IMDiversity, Inc., so over the past 2 years we've made a special effort to provide news and views on the goings-on in the region. Approaching the anniversary of the one-two Katrina/Rita punch that swept through and destroyed, damaged or dispersed so much in the Gulf, including our own HQ and staff, we will be posting information throughout our network, on and THE BLACK COLLEGIAN Online, about a number of events, as well as follow-up analyses of the rebuilding progress -- or lack thereof -- throughout the week.

Just a few items of interest this week is a supplemental package of AP News stories at our Career Center focusing on the ongoing impact of the hurricanes on regional employment, small business planning, insurance and housing. Among the bad news is a new study by LSU finding that even after 2 years, employment in areas hit by the storm remains woefully down. In N.O., for example, employment is still down nearly a third after the city lost nearly 21% of companies. Our section will also include featured job opportunities in Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi that employers have posted to our job bank.

As a company, we're also supporting as series of actions, including a coalition call for A DAY OF PRESENCE in New Orleans on 8/29, which aims to invite a multicultural gathering of concerned citizens from nationwide to gather for a whirlwind of events ranging from scholarly conferences and policy panels to mass demonstrations demanding a "Marshall Plan" for restoring the Gulf Coast. Among other interesting activities to commemorate Katrina is an ambitious observance by the African-American Leadership Project, "Hands Around the Dome," on September 1, which envisions a multicultural throng of thousands joining hands to encircle the Superdome, as just the crowning activity following a week of observances and volunteer service activities.

On Asian American Village, we're also interested in some other developments, and have been on a kind of "Bobby Watch" -- as in Bobby Jindal's trials and progress towards possibly becoming the first Asian American governor of Louisiana. After his easy reelection in November, partially credited to his resolute conduct during the Katrina crisis, he may have a better chance than in his first strong 2003 run against now-outgoing Governor Blanco.

We also want to give a shout to the great organization, SOS Boatpeople, which did a great job with providing relief centers in multiple locations throughout the Gulf, and made headway in the past year with rebuilding projects. SOSBP reports that many of the 30,000 Vietnamese in the Gulf Coast region are still seeking timely help and information, and invites the national community to read more about and support its relief & recovery efforts.

(On a related front, see the recommended Refuge From The Storm from Nguoi Viet, a Q&A by Anh Do: "Two years ago this month, the deadliest and costliest catastrophe in U.S. history unfurled just as Tram Nguyen started her new job with the much-lauded Virginia-based charity, Boat People SOS. Nguyen, now 26, recounts the drama on the second anniversary of the storm that resulted in more than $80 billion in damages.")

Finally, we'd also like to keep up with local community news and views, and invite people to share their stories or comments about the anniversary and recovery on the blogs. If you hear of any more resources like SOSBP or know of commemorative events in the community, please let us know.