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The North American African’s visceral response to the Lone Star State, Texas, is complex, yet not complicated. If ever a geography was seeped in policies that inhibit the freedoms of Black and, more recently, Brown people, Texas is that state or should we say country? Like California, another country with a GNP reach beyond these shores means that what happens in Houston impacts the nation, whether citizens realize this or not. Hurricanes are not unusual to the region, yet Hurricane Harvey dumped more water on the region than expected and caused much displacement and damage.
Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) is denying Texas prisoners the ability to send or receive mail in light of Tropical Storm Harvey. Although Houston is a major mail hub for Texas, this does not explain why prisoners in areas of the state unaffected by the flooding – for example, Clements Unit in Amarillo – would be denied access to mail. In a press release, TDCJ stated that five Texas prisons have been evacuated.
On June 20, the Berkeley City Council, only months after being swept in by a progressive majority, rejected the call of hundreds of people to terminate a series of entanglements between local police and the federal security forces of the Donald Trump administration. The resistance failed to resist. In the nation’s heartland of dissent. What went wrong, and why? Petitions, a huge crowd, support from prominent public figures, fact sheets, a city poll dominated by those wanting a pull-out, three hours of public comment with no support for anything other than getting out. None of it mattered.
On May 29, 2015, on the Golden Gate Bridge side of Treasure Island, smelly brown chocolate ooze began to gush from the Lundgren family’s 1201-B Bayside Drive faucets. The other side of the island had just trembled. Between the Job Corps grounds and the San Francisco Bay Bridge, Lennar Corp. engineers had penetrated 50 feet of soil with huge vibrating bores.
U.S. Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe spoke at a National Postal Forum in San Francisco on March 18, prompting picketing by rank and file postal employees and their supporters. Protestors opposed Donahoe’s support for post office closures and layoffs of USPS (U.S. Postal Service) workers. The demonstration was part of a week of actions called for by Communities and Postal Workers United .
The situation in public housing projects in Coney Island, Brooklyn remains a “humanitarian crisis” in which the government and the Red Cross have been nearly completely absent, according to Eric Moed, a volunteer aid worker with Occupy Sandy. The projects in Coney Island remain without power and often without water and necessities in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.
Ask anyone living in Cobble Hill or Carroll Gardens or Park Slope earlier this week, and they would tell you that they have power, hot water and wi-fi. In fact, most of the $1 million-plus townhouses and local businesses in Brooklyn’s wealthier neighborhoods never lost any basic necessities, even during the worst of the storm. But the Gowanus Houses, a low-income public housing complex owned and operated by the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), which falls almost at the intersection of those three neighborhoods, is an exception.
Six years ago, Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf coast. The impact of Katrina and government bungling continue to inflict major pain on the people left behind. It is impossible to understand what happened and what still remains without considering race, gender and poverty. The following offer some hints of what remains.
One year after an earthquake devastated Haiti, much of the promised relief and reconstruction aid has not reached those most in need. Less than 2% of the $267 million spent so far has gone to Haitian firms, the rest to "masters of disaster," big U.S. firms that hire Haitians to do the back-breaking work for $5 a day.
With 3,500 beds in a city of about 350,000 residents, Orleans Parish Prison (OPP) is already the largest per capita county jail of any major U.S. city. Sheriff Marlin Gusman, the elected official with oversight over the jail, has submitted plans for an even larger complex.
Four years after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, survivors living in Houston are still fighting to keep a roof over their heads. Three women spoke recently at a news conference at the Kensington Club II townhome apartments to expose the owner’s corruption and the squalid living conditions he allows.
The move by FEMA to enforce the June 1 eviction date for Gulf Region residents who live in temporary trailers not only lacks basic compassion but is also a derogation of the government's responsibilities to uphold fundamental human rights.
The fight for housing affordable to low-income families in the United States is a vortex – even unlike the work I did representing immigrants in the post-9/11 world. In my experience, fighting for public housing is more unpopular than fighting for non-citizens’ rights.
The Lower 9th Ward Village, a post-Katrina nonprofit community center, is to become a multipurpose, multi-use facility that caters to the community in general, with emphasis on providing services, skills training and recreational activities to youth and the elderly.