August 29th 2009
Hello comrades, friends, companera’s and allies
It is that annual time of the year when in the South the heat is oppressive, summer lingers and storms grow off shores in the distances.
While August holds on, I can never see this month the same as I had all my life. My heart and mind are forever moved by the levees failure and in turn the governments in the fall of 2005 and the spontaneous uprisings that grew from those failures.
.The historically marginalized residents from neighborhood to neighborhood resisted oblivion, they resisted invisibility and they did what they could to save their own lives—because no one else was going to.
And when they resisted others came from coast to coast to support them, join the struggles and try to set right the painful wrongs that had been perpetrated on people who were left or couldn’t leave. Together movements were born from the travesty to build and rebuild necessary infrastructure and services that were neglected way before the levees every collapsed.
Anniversaries of the cracks in history that were created and still live
It wasn’t governments, who operated in fear, loathing and failure, that set things right. It was civil society, it was you, me and thousands we don’t know. It was people who were motivated by love, by moral imperatives despite governments and large professional relief agencies. We didn’t need road maps , rules and regulations to tell us to do the right thing. We just needed each other and the belief that everyone deserves health care, dignity, shelter, support and safety.
The Common Ground Collective was one of the organizations born of that movement and now four years on we still exist, and we still support the struggles of the people of New Orleans for justice and memory.
Anniversaries so we continue our actions
Even as media and civil society forgets. We must remember and never forget. Not for morbidity, not for statistics, not for spectacle, but to keep the dreams and the struggles for better worlds alive. It can be a living memory for all of us, not of ghosts and failures, but a living memory of resistance and building.
There is much support, healing and work to be done yet. The stories of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast are not closed. Corruption, ineptitude, racism, blindness and bureaucracy of the state and big business will always stop them from being able to solve the deep rooted problems. Small grassroots work of the many organizations and neighborhood groups with continued outside support from the bottom up will grow the seeds of better Gulf Coast. Even if we falter along the way, we have walked the paths for something far better than if we did nothing.The solidarity of support, not charity of grief and guilt, of all our struggles for survival are intertwined and can overcome many obstacles. We must continue to support the communities in creating the worlds the way they imagine it; where their voices count, where it is just and sustainable.
The beauty and the tragedies are still alive for many. Anniversaries are reminders that we must never give up, give in or forget.
Still dreaming of collective liberation for everyone four years on.
From a historic drought in the concrete jungle in the great wide Gulf Coast Basin
Co-Founder Common Ground Collective