Left Coast Voices

"I would hurl words into the darkness and wait for an echo. If an echo sounded, no matter how faintly, I would send other words to tell, to march, to fight." Richard Wright, American Hunger

Archive for the tag “Lower 9th Ward Village”

Classless Bureaucrats

I never understood why I saw this sign was on every street corner in the Lower Ninth Ward, New Orleans, amidst the devastation and tragedy.

Sign says: We Cut Tall Grass

Don’t these people have enough to contend with without worrying about the state of their lawns? Hear what Mack, the visionary leader of the Lower 9th Ward Village, has to tell you about this:

After all these people have been through, you would think the local government would be happy to cut their grass for them, seeking any way to help them return to their homes.

It defies the imagination how these bureaucrats can have the audacity to actually fine displaced people, their own people, who paid their taxes their whole life under the illusion that their government was there to help them when they needed it.

Mack tracks where his neighbors are settled.The sign hangs on the outside of the community center so that no one will forget.
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Alon Shalev is the author of The Accidental Activist and A Gardener’s Tale. He is the Executive Director of the San Francisco Hillel Foundation, a non-profit that provides spiritual and social justice opportunities to Jewish students in the Bay Area. More on Alon Shalev at http://www.alonshalev.com/ and on Twitter (@alonshalevsf).

Remembering Your Neighbor

On the outside of the Lower 9th Ward Village, where my friend Ward “Mack” McLendon, is struggling to provide a hub for the people who have returned to reclaim their homes and community, there is a colorful mural to track the people who lived here before Hurricane Katrina.

Here is a beautiful 7-minute video of Mac explaining what the mural symbolizes and why he has it in full view for anyone who enters the center or just passes by.

I want to help Mack realize his dream of a thriving community center to help the residents of the Lower 9th. I support his frank assumption that if we do not provide something stable for the children and keep them in a safe environment, then they are vulnerable to a tough street reality. A summer camp will keep these children off the streets and give them a positive and exciting experience.

This is the second of three posts (a link to the first post) about Mack and his vision. If you can possibly help, please click here. Every dollar brings the community center closer to making the dream a reality. Thank you for considering a gift to the Lower 9th Ward Village.

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Alon Shalev is the author of The Accidental Activist (now available on Kindle) and A Gardener’s Tale. He is the Executive Director of the San Francisco Hillel Foundation, a non-profit that provides spiritual and social justice opportunities to Jewish students in the Bay Area. More on Alon Shalev at http://www.alonshalev.com/and on Twitter (#alonshalevsf).

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