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January 30, 2006

“Let My People Return”

Well, here is a Jesse Jackass campaign that I can support.

The Rev. Jesse Jackson said Sunday a coalition of black city and state leaders will mount a public initiative for housing and jobs aimed at bringing home every displaced New Orleanian who wants to return.

Jackson kicked off the drive in the pulpit of Central City's New Hope Baptist Church, where he called on church members suffering from Hurricane Katrina to demand rapid access to jobs and housing so they can rebuild their shattered neighborhoods.

"You have the right to return," Jackson told a standing-room-only crowd of 300 or so, including about 70 church members who were bused in from Houston.

He urged the congregation to join a mass public march across the Crescent City Connection on April 1. For many, the bridge has become a symbol of injustice after people trying to escape the growing chaos at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center on Aug. 31 were turned back by Gretna police on the West Bank. Gretna officials said that city had no facilities to accept any more fleeing families.

Jackson also announced that his Rainbow/PUSH Coalition has set up a local office and named state Sen. Cleo Fields, D-Baton Rouge, its statewide coordinator.

Jackson's latest effort to bring back displaced New Orleans residents will be his second since the Aug. 29 hurricane. In October, his coalition organized a caravan of five buses that were supposed to be filled with 200 displaced New Orleanians, but instead were filled with adventure seekers and homeless people from cities across the Midwest and South. Only 14 passengers in the group were New Orleans residents.

Regarding his latest attempt, neither Jackson nor Fields proposed policy specifics in an interview Sunday. But they made clear they felt emerging state and city plans to redevelop New Orleans do not do justice to people -- most of them African-American -- who remain in cities like Atlanta and Houston and are unable to return to New Orleans.

We here in Houston will be quite glad to shove most of the New Orleans evacuees back onto buses and get them out of our city as soon as possible. We would like that crowd of whiners, complainers, grifters, robbers, and killers to go back where they came from.





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