Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Katrina: Demand a Change Follow up

Okay, the first thing I realized that if I was going to place a demand on people, or the media then I had to place a demand on myself. This meant that I had to get off my own rear end and put in some work. So you know I got a little crunk on the media with the whole Katrina ordeal. I thought I'd give you an update on what went down after my little crusade ended.

The first thing I learned was that writing news stations took a lot longer than you think it would. You have to read everything about three times before you send it so that you won't end up on the FBI terrorist suspect list. Sista is not trying to do 20 to life with Big Ruth (as my friend put it). Don't quite see that in the forecast.

So after I sent my emails to all the local stations, the three major networks, CNN and MNBC, I decided to get up and get involved with the relief recovery effort. What started out as a day of absolute frustration and disgust turned into a week of giving and blessings. Truthfully, this has been a true turning point in my life for the better.

My girlfriend (we'll call her Lady J) and I decided to do some volunteer work. I had gotten an email that a particular apartment complex needed help repairing apartments to rent. We got there around 8:30AM, and this man was going on and on about the Reunion Arena and how terrible the conditions were there. He broke down crying at the apartment complex, and we were like, “Dang Gina!”

You know me. I wanted to be in the midst of the action, and Lady J is about as crazy and passionate as I am when it comes to black folks. He must have thought we were some weaklings because we were all peppy looking. He told us not to go if we had weak stomachs or if we cry easily. Obviously, he didn't know that he was talking to two soldiers. We were like, “Mike Jones, baby.” Needless to say we spent our Saturday assisting the evacuees at the Arena. We had a great time, and we got to hear some very inspiring testimonies. (Remind me to tell the story of Zach and Marshall in a later blog.)

The next day, I helped out at the church for several hours doing the same thing I did at Reunion. That was so cool because I ran into Zach and Marshall again. Long story short, lady J and I finally went through our Red Cross training so we could actually go inside and visit with our new neighbors. (Interesting stories that I will have to share in a later log too.) We have been going out there in the evenings and on the weekend. It has truly blessed us.

I did want to let you know the feedback that I got was positive. I got a response back from all of the local networks and CNN. Basically, all of them felt that their coverage was not biased and informed me that they were not referring to victims as “refugees” but evacuees instead. I did notice the sudden change, so somebody of power must have called them to the carpet on it. As far as the looting, several of them expressed that their coverage of the looting was minimal compared to their coverage of the story as a whole. I chose to disagree, but I did send a final email to all those who responded thanking them for their time. All were receptive to my comments and said that I could write them any time. Also, I made a new friend with one lady from the local station. She was actually trying to help me find the boys I mentioned earlier. She is a believer in Christ and is truly dedicated to this cause.

I posted the follow up letter I sent to the stations if you're interested. I don't know if it was my email to them or Oprah putting them on blast about it, but the coverage did get a lot better. I'm sure it was Oprah though. I couldn't possibly have that much pull (not yet at least).

So, I guess my biggest take away from this adventure is to be a part of the solution and don't just gripe about the problem. In some kind of way find a way to make difference. It doesn't matter how big or small your actions are, but do not be afraid to stretch yourself. If your heart is in the right place, then you do not labor in vein. Also, make sure you have a road warrior with you who's as equally down for the cause as you are. Thanks Lady J.

Back onto the campaign trail,

Kidd Grown


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Katrina has truly changed my life. It has truly affected me indirectly yet not directly. The minute I saw thousands of faces that looked like mine on TV the day after the Hurricane I felt compelled as a Christian and woman/person of color to help out in anyway I can.

I not only wanted to help out monetary but with physical deeds as well. I quickly got information as to how to help with Red Cross and my "warrior" Kidd Grown pulled ourselves up by our boot straps and went to work.

It was awesome helping those in need and when we got to the shelters to work with the "evacuees" or should I say "family." Like I said earlier I saw my face in the crowd many times, as well as my mama, grandparents, sister, cousins and uncles.

I digress, so as we continued to help our "family" we were surprised to see they didn't appear as the media made them out to be. They were kind, appreciative, humble and grateful. Look I'm not saying those people weren't ready to get out of New Orleans and may have been acting "crunk" but you find yourself in an arena full of people you don't know, sweaty, hungry, urine around and on you, murders, rapes going on and tell me how "crunk" you would be; oh yes and looting as the media put it. Well in the words of Chris Rock, "I'm not saying I agree but I do understand." In times desperate times people do desperate things.

Our "family" were receptive to all the help we could give them and Kidd and I were blessed witht their strong testimonies.

But I must say there was something that really affected me dearly. I saw so many of our "family members" out there yet I didn't see our family involved interacting with them. I saw a lot of white people caring for our grandmothers, grandfathers, aunts, uncles, sisters, mothers, etc.
Now don't get me wrong no direspect to my caucasion family helping because it really appeared if they weren't there it would not have been much help provided. But BLACK PEOPLE where were y'all? The needed to see US. The more love we poured on them the more they poured back into our life.

God needs to see our service not only us paying our tithes and thinking that we did GOD a favor.

Let me tell you a secret....the only reason it was not you affected directly by Katrina is because the same grace/mercy that you wake up with daily was over you when it happened, so it's not by works that this did not happen to you but because GOD help up a standard against it and said "no".

I'm not passing judgment, trust...I'm not even in the position to do that but, all I'm saying is remember our service attitude.

I know some of you are saying my church did this, or we did this at my church. Well for those let me say this...that is good. My church did a lot too. But sometimes we must get out of the "church dwelling" and go in the cities to touch the people.

Your biggest blessing may not come in the way you thought so as Kidd said stretch yourself and whatch the manifestation of the LORD.

-Lady J
(as my (new) New Orleans family would say..."You Heard")

5:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

sorry I didn't get a chance to a little too crunk

Lady J

5:37 PM  
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