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.”
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.
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.
— — 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.