Yesterday, a special Congessional hearing was held at the insistence of Rep. Cynthia McKinney, D-Ga., a member of the
Congressional Black Caucus. At the hearing black survivors of the aftermath of Katrina spoke about the racism they encountered in the government’s response to their plight. Not surprisingly, but to their eternal shame, Republican lawmakers were not sympathetic, nor did they believe the stories they heard:
Black survivors of Hurricane Katrina said Tuesday that racism contributed to the slow disaster response, at times likening themselves in emotional congressional testimony to victims of genocide and the Holocaust.
The comparison is inappropriate, according to Rep. Jeff Miller . . . R-Fla.
“Not a single person was marched into a gas chamber and killed,” Miller told the survivors.
“They died from abject neglect,” retorted community activist Leah Hodges. “We left body bags behind.”
Angry evacuees described being trapped in temporary shelters where one New Orleans resident said she was “one sunrise from being consumed by maggots and flies.” Another woman said military troops focused machine gun laser targets on her granddaughter’s forehead. Others said their families were called racial epithets by police.
“No one is going to tell me it wasn’t a race issue,” said New Orleans evacuee Patricia Thompson, 53, who is now living in College Station, Texas. “Yes, it was an issue of race. Because of one thing: when the city had pretty much been evacuated, the people that were left there mostly was black.”
Not all lawmakers seemed persuaded.
“I don’t want to be offensive when you’ve gone though such incredible challenges,” said Rep. Christopher Shays . . . R-Conn. But referring to some of the victims’ charges, like the gun pointed at the girl, Shays said: “I just don’t frankly believe it.”
“You believe what you want,” Thompson said.
Anyone who has some time today, why don’t you make a quick phone call or email to these two sterling examples of Republican “New Orleans’ Revisionists” and let them know what you think about their callous remarks.
Here are their phone numbers and email addresses:
Rep. Chris Shays
Phone: (202) 225-5541
Fax: (202) 225-9629
email: Go to this LINK
Rep. Jeff Miller
Phone: (202) 225-4136
Fax: (202) 225-3414
email: Go to this LINK
Also, I urge you to go read this excellent diary by blksista, which is currently on the top of the recommended diary list, for more about the Republican Party’s deliberate (and under the radar) policy of abandoning New Orleans now that all the major media outlests have “moved on” to other stories.
Last, but not least, send Rep. McKinney some love if you can. She deserves our respect and admiration for what she has done in trying to keep this issue alive: