Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Katrina: One Year Later

As I age, one thing that continues to amaze me is the speed in which the weeks, months and years pass by. Today marks the one year anniversary of the land fall of Hurricane Katrina. The worst natural disaster in American history, it is not an exaggeration to claim its wrath and destruction were in proportion to events described in the Bible. The storm caused us all to re-evaluate the value of life and to more closely examine the persistent poverty still in existence in many of our urban centers.

I have visited New Orleans on four occasions, each time either staying in hotels in the suburbs of New Orleans, the French Quarter, or downtown. Outside of taking a street car tour, I never realized the poverty facing African American New Orleanians, especially while partying in the French Quarter or taking museum tours.

Hurricane Katrina also marks the one year anniversary and cause of the end of my association with newly formed National Black Republican Association. I proudly announced on this blog its formation and mission, including my new role as its communications director.

The NBRA started out with great promise, gaining the attention of the national press and of the Republican National Committee. Our board consisted of African American grassroots leaders from all over the nation. I truly believed we were on our way to making a difference. This was a ground up organization instead of a top down organization, or so I thought. As Katrina devastated the Gulf coast and washed away homes, businesses, and destroyed lives; leaving the ugliness of sheer devastation. Katrina also washed way the false veneer of the NBRA being a truly grassroots organization - as we were lead to believe by the chairman. Thus circumstances being as they were, six board members along with myself resigned in protest from the authoritarian control of Chairman Frances Rice.

As I stated earlier, the organization had great promise but as the past year has shown, the National Black Republican Association has become irrelevant and impotent They are now relegated to selling T-shirts on their website proclaiming "Martin Luther King was a Republican" and supporting the laughingstock Florida U.S. Senate campaign of Katherine Harris. Even Francis Rice, Chairman of the NBRA, admits they haven't had much influence or success in the past year:

"Frances Rice, chairwoman of the National Black Republican Association, said the group, started last year, has yet to see a significant exodus of African Americans from the Democratic Party."

What a year it has been.

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