Civil Rights Leaders Say No Progress Since Katrina

Anna Varela, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, July 29, 2006

As the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina approaches, some civil rights leaders say they will call on President Bush to organize a summit to review the government’s rebuilding efforts along the Gulf Coast.

“We ought to demand a meeting with the president,” the Rev. Al Sharpton said Friday during a panel discussion at the annual National Urban League Conference, being held in Atlanta. “A year later, nothing’s changed.”

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The push to “shrink” New Orleans was rooted in a desire to use Katrina as an opportunity to push poor minorities out of the city in a 21st century version of “urban renewal,” Morial said.

“That notion was morally wrong,” he said.

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The Rev. Jesse Jackson repeated his call for a program for the region like the Marshall Plan that aided post-World War II Europe, providing long-term, low-interest loans to help people recover. Jackson also suggested a “massive” program to teach skills that would allow unemployed youth in the area to get jobs helping to rebuild their communities.

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Also Friday:

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——A New Orleans judge said that unless officials act swiftly to fix the city’s hurricane-ravaged indigent defense office, he will begin releasing defendants whose trials have been delayed. The ruling could affect up to 6,000 defendants.

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