LOUISIANA––Africans were reminded yet again that self-determined responses to natural disasters are necessary after heavy rainfall on August 11, 2016 caused flooding which left the black community at the mercy of our oppressors.
In the 72 hours after the flooding, many Africans living in Louisiana began the task of returning to their homes after an emergency evacuation left them packing plastic bags and leaving their homes and belongings for higher ground.
The rainfall, an estimated four feet of water in some places, flooded the islands before surging rivers, lakes and other bodies of water.
This flood was unexpected even for the most elder community members and come just five months after another record rain flood in May. That flood, which occurred after heavy rainfall in Northern Louisiana, soon flooded the rivers, lakes and bayous of the southern section of the state including Baton Rouge.
Public response has been criticized for not responding with more urgency including. This includes U.S. president Barack Obama’s insistence on continuing his two-week vacation rather than be present for those rescued from the rising waters.
Obama, who quickly came to the aid of Hurricane Sandy evacuees and legislatures, maintained contact with Louisiana representatives via phone from Martha’s Vineyard in dry and sunny California.
During this time, he enjoyed golf and fine dining, a fundraiser for presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, and did not issue an official statement on the unnamed storm.
What is clear is that Obama, a political stooge for white imperialist power, in no way addressed the plight of the African community’s special crisis during these floods.
He showed no regard or concern for their safety and well-being. Not a far cry from former U.S. president Bush during Hurricane Katrina.
In a bold-faced move, after touching down in an Air Force One on August 24th, the president extended support and medical assistance to one of the officers wounded by Micah Xavier Johnson.
In the same visit, Obama offered hugs and heartfelt words to the family of Alton Sterling, the African man shot and killed in July whose death was live streamed on Facebook by his significant other.
Colonial media whitewashes evacuation
An immediate realization by the masses was the black-out of news coverage concerning the floods.
News outlets decided to continue Olympic coverage, no text-to-donate campaigns have graced our social media news feeds.
It is in this that we see white power media manipulation to raise awareness by promoting imagery and footage of white people in peril and as the face of the distressed.
The National Guard and other entities connected to the State are seen blatantly prioritizing white flood victims and their pets as the first to rescue.
What colonial media did not show was the imagery and reports of Africans in boats and trucks performing search and rescue of our own. There were Africans with newborn babies and small bags of belongings like diapers, wipes and formula. Africans wading in three and four foot deep waters to catch evacuation buses to temporary facilities.
Africans in Louisiana rise to the occasion
After Katrina, southern Louisiana was plagued with displacement of Africans as “refugees” to other areas of the state and country.
Many of the unnamed storm and flood victims are community members displaced out of New Orleans.
These residents, who remained in the state after Katrina, have been forced to revisit traumatic and still fresh terror. Without many belongings and still in the state of rebuilding from that 2005 catastrophic loss, these victims are all but ignored.
Don M. Green, a Louisiana photographer, captured images of Africans preparing for a reality they know all too well.
In these photos, men and women with protective hair styles and headwraps, cell phones water-protected and charged, bodies clothed in athletic gear and belongings in zip lock bags offer a far cry from a people painted as disheveled, looting and violent individuals by the very media who now ignores their great organization and self-directed first response.
Africans around the world unite with and praise the black community of Louisiana and other southern states hit with torrential down pour and record floods.
We acknowledge the lessons learned in the years after Katrina to never again rely on the U.S. government for safety, protection and humane treatment in the days, weeks and months after these natural disasters.
The call to build AAPDEP
The All African People’s Development and Empowerment Project (AAPDEP), an organization of the African People’s Socialist Party (APDP), is one such organization that believes that organization and that self-determination is critical in overturning the conditions that have been imposed on us Africans.
AAPDEP’s mission is to collectivize the vast skills of Africans in the U.S. and around the world in order to establish community-based development projects that improve the quality of life for African people while promoting self-reliance and self-determination as key to genuine and sustainable development.
AAPDEP has successfully forwarded work to overturn the Ebola Virus and its effect on the African community in Sierra Leone, with our Black Ankh project.
The call is loud for Africans to organize, plan and prepare for ourselves in response to such catastrophes. This is a call to join or donate to AAPDEP! It is critical for AAPDEP to be fully equipped with human and economic resources so that instances like the aftermath of the Louisiana flooding could be avoided.
Self-determination and political power of resource allocation, local and private boats with qualified and trained search and rescue teams, independent weather review programs and alternate evacuation models for residents of low lands traditionally inhabited by African communities like Baton Rouge and New Orleans forwards the work of AAPDEP as well as the revolution.
Comprehensive education is readiness and survival by community members and self-sustainability models for rebuilding in the aftermath is how we do right by our communities.
Join the struggle for self-determination!