Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Bill Quigley is our Dawg
A few thoughts on a presentation we saw by Bill Quigley, the director of Loyola Law School's Katrina Law Clinic... unfortunately, I won't be able to do him justice. In case anyone wasn't aware of this, Katrina wasn't a storm. It was a blatant manifestation not of the government's failure to take care of its most needy residents, rather its intent to leave them behind. Quigley described the depth of the institutionalized racism that Katrina exposed - from media images whose captions described residents as "looters" or "finders" of food depending on whether they were black or white; to local politicians advocating for ordinances that forbid people with dreadlocks from living in their parishes; to the efforts of the current local government to transform New Orleans into a white, upper class, business- and tourist-friendly city. The number of people living in low-income housing, receiving Medicaid, and attending public school, are all half what they were in 2005. Listening to Quigley made us realize how crucial it is that progressives in New Orleans fight back against the city's attempts to prevent people from coming home.