There are 75,000 evacuees from Hurricane Katrina in Arkansas,
according to Kathryn Hall-Trujillo. She is the director of the Birthing Project
USA, a maternal and child health program nationwide.
“On my recent trip with Pastors for Peace to Arkansas, I
listened in horror, sadness and outrage as people who survived Katrina spoke of
their lives before and after the hurricane,” she says. “I wanted to slap the
taste out of Mrs. (Barbara) Bush's mouth as she declared they were better off
in shelters (like the Houston Astrodome).”
With other working people, Hall-Trujillo helped bring and
coordinate hurricane aid to evacuees in Arkansas, her birthplace. The airport
in Little Rock is a main arrival point for aid, so local folks are well aware
of the aid volume arriving at the facility.
A main challenge in distributing Katrina aid to the rural
populace is developing relations with grassroots aid providers within the
context of the politics of displaced persons. This means dealing with FEMA and
the American Red Cross.
Can you say ineffective bureaucracies? By contrast in Little
Rock, Hall-Trujillo was very impressed with how labor and interfaith folks are
cooperating to try and improve people's living standards.
A driving force for this activism is Curtis Muhammad's Community Labor United
coalition, which includes 30 organizations. This is a model of political
organizing for other American people to learn from and with.
Plainly, in the context of imperial wars overseas and
climate change-caused weather catastrophes stateside, it is high time to
rethink the concept of national security.
“One of the most patriotic duties we all have right now is
to mobilize ourselves and let Congress know that it is genocidal to divert the
resources of our country to kill people who are not our enemies both at home
and abroad,” Hall-Trujillo says.
Sandronsky is a member of Sacramento Area Peace Action and a co-editor with
Because People Matter, Sacramento's progressive paper. He can be
reached at: email@example.com.