The State of The Black World II Conference in New Orleans began with a Town Hall Meeting held at the Ernest Morial Convention Center on Thursday evening.
As I rode into the city, passing the New Orleans Superdome on my way to my hotel downtown, it was moving to actually see the place where so many of our people suffered during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. I remembered seeing the vivid images of mothers asking for food and water for their small babies, elderly with a terrified look of panic, and others with an empty and dazed look on their faces.
The scenes at the Superdome reminded me of what we sometimes see on the faces of mothers and their children in parts of Africa affected by drought or famine, or perhaps in India after the tsunami.
The people are gone, the images, tragic memories and problems still remain.
The great irony is that it appears as if the downtown area- like most urban downtown areas appears to be built up with hotels and businesses, and the French Quarter is still a constant party, however, a majority of those displaced by Katrina are still in other areas, primarily Atlanta, GA and Houston, TX, because they are still unable to return to their old neighborhoods because the homes have not been rebuilt and the services in many areas are still uninhabitable some three years later.
Why couldn't some of the wealthy Black businessmen and women across the country unite and rebuild affordable housing for those displaced by Katrina?
Several hundred attended the town hall meeting and heard comments from Marc Morial who served as New Orleans mayor from 1994-2002, president of Bennett College, Dr. Julianne Malveaux, and political scientists Dr. Ron Walters, pan-Africanist activist Mtangulizi Sanyika was also on the panel. The discussion was moderated by radio hosts Bev Smith and Mark Thompson.
I will be bringing you the latest on the "Pan African Policy Forum" taking place later today featuring award winning actor Danny Glover as well as main session tonight dealing with "The Future of the Black Freedom Movement: A New Generation of Leadership."
Spotted at the conference: Rev. Jeremiah Wright, African affairs commentator and radio talk show host Akbar Muhammad, the Nation of Islam's Jamil Muhammad and hip-hop journalist Davy-D.
(I know you are wondering, Rev. Wright was not making media comments, however, he received a tremendous amount of love and greetings. He appeared in good spirits, and was gracious enough for a few photos. The above photo was taken by The Final Call's very own Jesse Muhammad.)
Any questions or comments, let me know.