|Katrina Task Force|
Katrina Task Force
NCOBPS established the Katrina Task Force in 2006 to facilitate the development and dissemination of organizational contributions to balanced discourse, public policy and research on the Katrina tragedy and its aftermath. In an effort to define its focus the Task Force examined a variety of Katrina impact points, from life and death impacts to public policy, economic, political, social and environmental impacts, as well as the impact of Katrina on global views of poverty and neglect in America. The Task Force realized early on that it had neither the time nor resources to address all of Katrina's impact points, no matter how critical. After several weeks of brain storming and planning a decision was made to prominently feature three concentration areas in three separate volumes: 1) The Case of New Orleans, 2) Katrina's Children, and 3) Katrina and Human Rights.
This three volume set is designed to give voice to the survivors of the Katrina tragedy and to promote right sized discourse on the role of the media, corporate interests, the general public and government, at all levels, in the causes and impact of the tragedy and policies and programs for rebuilding the Gulf Coast region.
Volume 1 (Published 2008): The Case of New Orleans provides context and analysis of events and actors in the destruction of the City of New Orleans, including issues relating to poverty and citizen participation, higher education, city, state and federal policies and recovery plans, local resistance to disparity, the environment, and the role of the global community in the Katrina tragedy.
New Orleans is the first area of concentration because it was the most severely damaged and the most publicized site in the Gulf Coast, and because the New Orleans tragedy was largely man made; faulty design specifications, incomplete sections and substandard construction of levee segments, not Hurricane Katrina, was the primary cause of the flooding in New Orleans (ASCE, 2006). Additionally, New Orleans is where political warfare combined with capitalist greed, poverty, racism, media bias, bureaucratic incompetence and terrorism to traumatize, devastate and dehumanize the majority population and horrify the nation and the world.
Volume 2: Katrina's Children is a forum for the authentic voices of the young survivors of this tragedy. They will be forever burdened by the psycho-social trauma that they experienced, yet, their voices are seldom heard and their needs are still largely unrecognized and unmet These children need and deserve a forum as well as support and mental health services to help them heal and move forward. City, state and federal agencies have failed to provide sufficient counseling and psychological services in the schools and communities of New Orleans. Special training programs and teaching modules should be readily available for teachers, parents and community leaders who must help the children understand what happened and comfort them when they wake up screaming at night or act out from fear and confusion during the day. Teachers must provide them with context and historical accuracy about what happened to them and their city. First and foremost, Volume 2 is a forum for their voices, where they can tell their stories and share their views and memories of the flooding, evacuation, and ongoing challenges that they face in the New Orleans school system and/or in schools and communities across the nation. However, Volume 2 also provides space for model curricula and teaching modules on Katrina. It is expected that these teaching materials with be invaluable learning tools for students in pre-collegiate schools and community centers in New Orleans and elsewhere in the USA and around the globe.
Volume 3: Katrina and Human Rights examines the issue of human rights for Katrina survivors, including the refusal of the Bush Administration to abide by international protocols for the treatment of displaced persons.