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Rights, Recovery & Renaissance

After seeing the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, I decided to offer myself to recovery efforts in my professional area - as a management educator and researcher of organizations.

A vehicle for my contributions has been the Mosaic Project, which I launched in September.  In recent months, the project served as a means for my students to learn about management while contributing to the Post-Katrina service efforts.

http://www.dartmouth.edu/~vox/0506/1205/mosaic.html

http://www.mosaic-nola.org

Through the Mosaic Project, I helped organize a summit in Baton Rouge.  "Rights, Recovery & Renaissance" was hosted by the Louisiana NAACP with the assistance of Democracy for America. 

www.rightsrecovery.com

It was gratifying to bring together two organizations (and associated communities) that might not otherwise have joined forces, and I'd like to see more of this.   Generally, I'd like to see new relationships formed to help Katrina/Rita evacuees recover and rebuild their lives.   

Overall, I think our country's political parties have been too slow to address the needs of displaced and returning Gulf residents.   

Posted by Quintus Jett on December 19, 2005 at 07:36 PM | Permalink

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Comments

Glad to see this follow-up Quintus. Looks like y'all got some good stuff put together.

Any plans for future conferences?

- Macon

Posted by: Macon | Dec 19, 2005 7:45:07 PM

Thanks for offering this update, Quintus. Did you find it difficult to find organizations willing to work together to host/organize the event?

Posted by: Charlene | Dec 19, 2005 7:55:46 PM

Enhancing collaboration between grassroots activists and political organizations is one of the missions of MViMV. Within this sphere, we've found that those of us who have a common past experience are very good at collaborating; however, when we step beyond the smaller grassroots organizations, it's more difficult to collaborate.

Posted by: Charlene | Dec 19, 2005 7:59:02 PM

Generally, I'd like to see new relationships formed to help Katrina/Rita evacuees recover and rebuild their lives.

Posted by Quintus Jett on December 19, 2005 at 07:36 PM | Permalink

Is there a database somewhere of organizations who would like to help? If not, maybe that's something the Mosaic Project could put together so we know how to find each other?

Posted by: Jessica | Dec 19, 2005 8:04:57 PM

There's a great "Call to Action" list from the summit here: http://www.rightsrecovery.com/mc/page.do

Are there specific action items that need help from organizations or individuals?

Posted by: Jessica | Dec 19, 2005 8:08:50 PM

Hi Macon. Thanks for your help with the summit.

I'm looking at an event in January being put together by United for a Fair Economy.

It's on the Mosaic Calendar. And I'm always looking for more summits to reach and connect. We need a lot more of them.


www.faireconomy.org

Posted by: Quintus | Dec 19, 2005 8:10:07 PM

Here's the Mosaic calendar Quintus just referenced:

http://www.mosaic-nola.org/mc/community/vieweventcalendar.do?orgId=mo

Posted by: Jessica | Dec 19, 2005 8:12:38 PM

Hi Charlene,

Other than the occasional issue of personalities (some of the organizers had never met in person), I think there was an issue of how organizations work.

The LA NAACP has a mode of operating that I didn't fully understand, but seeing it in action I could see how it could be effective, although it didn't fit how I thought organizations "should" be working.

Posted by: Quintus | Dec 19, 2005 8:14:02 PM

Hi Jessica!!

Thanks for the assist with the links.

The way the project currently works is that we have a confidential email update list. However, we ask for the relevant Katrina/Rita organizational affiliations and make them public.

Go to the home page and click on "Population".

I just checked it. Unfortunately, there is a formatting issue, but you can see the organizations that are accessible through our list/database.

Posted by: Quintus | Dec 19, 2005 8:17:41 PM

I provided MViMV as an organization for the population today, but it's not up yet.

Posted by: Charlene | Dec 19, 2005 8:21:17 PM

Organization List:

http://www.mosaic-nola.org/mc/page.do?sitePageId=25692


Jessica, you also asked if there were specific action items that need help from organizations or individuals?

Yes, those that involve the environment and housing.

By environment, I mean activities to ensure that a commitment is made to a higher level of hurricane protection for southeastern Louisiana. It will require more than levees. It will require redeveloping the coastal wetlands that are eroding currently at the rate of a football field a day.

Posted by: Quintus | Dec 19, 2005 8:21:38 PM

The LA NAACP has a mode of operating that I didn't fully understand, but seeing it in action I could see how it could be effective, although it didn't fit how I thought organizations "should" be working.

Posted by: Quintus | Dec 19, 2005 8:14:02 PM

I think that's a fairly common feeling among Deaniacs ;-)

I think that since so many of us have organized things from scratch, and have had to adapt quickly to changes around our activities, that we tend to see the flaws in "estabolished" organizations that have a set way of doing things.

Posted by: Jessica | Dec 19, 2005 8:21:59 PM

Charlene: thanks for adding MViMV

I just tried to post the signup link here, but I think it was rejected because it is a secured page.

Anyone wanting to sign up can go to the home page:

www.mosaic-nola.org

Or you can email me (click my name)

Posted by: Quintus | Dec 19, 2005 8:26:17 PM

Here's an example of how organizing can occur differently.

I nearly passed out when I spoke with someone at the Southern University Law Center, where the event was being held, and there was no sign of our event on their records.

What I didn't fully appreciate was the relationship that the NAACP president had with the institution. There was nothing to worry about it. The NAACP president had told me so. But there are certain formal things that I think always need to happen when organizing.

What the experience reminded me is that key issue in organizing is trust. I don't think formal agreements can be written extensively enough to compensate for the absence of trust.

Although, I must admit, I feel more confident when things are written and agreed upon formally : )

Posted by: Quintus | Dec 19, 2005 8:31:33 PM

Hi Quintus-before I move on to a family member who's stationed in Afganistan, my Energy students at Johnson came up with a strategy for New Orleans. They came up with a plan to redevelop NO on a sustainable menu - that is - let's not see 3 trillion $ promised by Bush fueling private redevelopment of that city, but lets use that $$ to rebuild a truly sustainable community.

Posted by: bob | Dec 19, 2005 8:34:12 PM

Housing:

Lots of families have need help clearing out their flood damaged houses. It can take a dozen people a couple of days to clear out one house!!

Tens of thousands of families need help with this. The help they're getting is a trickle, offered by only private citizens, some non-profits, and faith-based organizations.

In the meantime, those who want to return to New Orleans don't have a place to stay in the city. That's why there's such a labor shortage. Businesses that are trying to open are apparently having problems finding people.

Posted by: Quintus | Dec 19, 2005 8:36:23 PM

Posted by: Quintus | Dec 19, 2005 8:31:33 PM

Gee, that's the opposite of what I thought you meant....I would have nearly passed out too...

Trust is great, but there does usually need to be some agreement too, especially when planning an event like that.

Posted by: Jessica | Dec 19, 2005 8:42:21 PM

Hi Bob. Could you send me information on what your students did? It sounds great!!!

This is the organizational issue that can facilitate a recovery that's better and faster than we currently see. We are blessed to have a country with lots of motivated and capable people, and many are willing to contribute high-quality ideas without payment. Some just want to see good things happen.

How do we aggregate this kind of expertise, which is dispersed into different locations and organizations?

The Mosaic starts with a confidential email list, but we also have a directory that allows members to see/contact each other if they choose. The calendar plays a role in this too.

Posted by: Quintus | Dec 19, 2005 8:42:35 PM

What they suggested was to develop an alternative energy community - "not" dependent upon the usual regional or national grid. They're really into local energy resources - solar, wind, biomass, which have been used succesufully in third world countries. Why not here?!

Posted by: Bob | Dec 19, 2005 8:48:16 PM

Trust is great, but there does usually need to be some agreement too, especially when planning an event like that.

Posted by: Jessica | Dec 19, 2005 8:42:21 PM


I still prefer formal agreements too : )

What I saw reminded me that many organizations rely significantly on trust and history of personal relations.

Another example: I was beside myself with uncertainty about lunch at the summit. We had no money for it, but the NAACP president had a family member organize it and find someone who would make lunch. Hundreds of dollars were collected from the audience for lunch a couple hours after that fact.

In a community-oriented organization, I think this would normally work. For an organization that lacks this kind of community orientation, I don't see it.

Posted by: Quintus | Dec 19, 2005 8:53:03 PM

They're really into local energy resources - solar, wind, biomass, which have been used succesufully in third world countries. Why not here?!

--------------

I've heard a number of interesting renewable energy ideas. I'd like to see a way to direct them towards implementation in the New Orleans.

Unfortunately, Tulane University is phasing out a number of departments Post-Katrina, and many of them are in the engineering school. Including the environmental engineering dept.

Maybe there are other departments or agencies/organizations in the city who can pick these ideas up.

Posted by: Quintus | Dec 19, 2005 8:57:52 PM

I see $$ as a problem generally - but skills and a willingness to help are the key ingedients. Where corporate America fails, neighborhood, 6 am togetherness prevails...

Posted by: Bob | Dec 19, 2005 9:00:06 PM

So sad to hear environmental engineering phasing out.

Many volunteers find positions through the United Way's volunteer board on their website in the Greater Boston area. Do you know if the United Way offers anything down there?

Posted by: charlene | Dec 19, 2005 9:02:51 PM

I have to head out but want to thank you for tonight's discussion, Quintus!

Posted by: charlene | Dec 19, 2005 9:03:51 PM

I see local communities working with these issues - they just need the knowledge and skills to drive it through - get down into the streets, talk to the locals, believe in their needs, work for their survival. Talk their language, love their children, believe! Sorry, Afgan calls, talks to all of you again...thanks for this opportunity.

Posted by: Bob | Dec 19, 2005 9:04:56 PM

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